What were the last words you said to a loved one as you walked out the door? Were they meaningful or mundane? This season on How I Met Your Mother an episode entitled “Last Word” did a beautiful job getting their audience to look at how we say goodbye and how important last words really are.
To regular viewers of How I Met Your Mother, the death of Marvin Eriksen Sr. was an emotional rollercoaster filled with a number of laughs and tears. We are guided along with each character as they search out for the role they could play to make everything better for their dear friend Marshall. Lily, Marshall’s wife, desperately wanted to be of help to her husband and mother in-law; she relishes her role as “Judy’s punching bag,” letting her mother-in law’s take out her anger and frustration. Robin wanted to be the “vice girl” with her Mary Poppin- style bag, offering to get Marshall and all the guests anything they need; including alcohol and drugs. Adhering to the old adage laughter is the best medicine, Ted and Barney tried to crack Marshall up with a “four star nad rattler” you tube video. Each one reached out to him in the best way they knew how. As for Marshall, saying goodbye to his father became harder and harder as he heard all the stories about people’s last moments with him.
The writers of How I Met Your Mother did a great job, leading you through Marshall’s memories of those final moments he shared with his father—as well as the last words his friends shared with their fathers. Each moment was funnier than the last, and through the laughter we agonized alongside Marshall as he searched for those special last words.
How we handle death has always been a difficult subject for television to tackle, but for sitcoms the challenge is to balance emotions with laughter. In the past, classics like MASH, Night Court, Scrubs, and Cheers have all delivered touching death episodes. How I Met Your Mother carries on in the same spirit with a beautiful balance of tears and laughter.
How I Met Your Mother reminds us how important last words are. So what were the last words you said to a loved one as you walked out the door?
If you didn’t get a chance to see this episode the first time around, go to CBS.com. You should watch the leading episode called “Bad News” first.