HIMYM Series 01: The Olive Theory (S01:E01)


Putting a HUGE spoiler tag right here. If you haven’t seen How I Met Your Mother and wouldn’t like certain things spoiled for you, please skip this blog series. If you don’t mind. Read ahead. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Starting off this blog series is daunting. I’m going through How I Met Your Mother episode by episode and talking about things that I took away from each one, there’s a lot of meat that I need to chew through. Specifically, the sheer number of episodes, some 180. At the very least, I’ll never run out of stuff to blog about. That’s a plus.

Looking at the first episode, like every other show before it, it’s building this idea in your head about all of the characters. Who they are, what they will be like and where they fit in this big story. It’s the same as life. If you were to take 180 days out of any person’s story you’d see all of these other characters in play, their parents and their best friends and their enemies and their love interests. We all have these huge stories to play. It’s important to take note of.

I want to talk about The Olive Theory. In the first episode, Ted mentions that Robin hates olives and he loves them, a theory that Marshall and Lily had made up, leaning towards the idea that opposites attract.

I like this theory, because if it’s true, if there is anything to glean out of this big puzzle that my life is, it’s that whoever I am with will be the opposite of me, which means they will get enough sleep and make sure we are both eating good food and keeping me away from all of my other numerous bad habits. I’ll hopefully inspire them to laugh and to joke and to have fun with life. It’s that whole thing about opposites attracting. But who knows, after all, this is just a television show that has grown close to my heart. It’s just a theory, and it’s just a show. But as the saying goes, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”

I think what makes this show so down to Earth is that we can connect on a very real level with all of the characters. From the standpoint of someone who hopes to do the same thing, that’s an accomplishment.

My favorite scene from the first episode is when they are in the cab with Ranjit and driving to Robin’s apartment. If you look on the dashboard, you can see some baubles lying there and cluttering the cab, making it feel used. When I re-watched the episode to glance over it for blog content, I noticed two of the items that stuck out. On the left there were a few bracelets that had a beach-bum, free love kind of pattern and design on them, like those cloth ones you can buy in a head shop or at a convenience store. The red yellow green color combination that makes you feel like you’re supporting some kind of mass marketed Bob Marley peace effort. To the right of the bracelets is a rose, which, as I’m a fan of the song already, makes me think of “La Vie En Rose” (Which I personally believe to be the best love song ever written.)

Both of these things are super relevant to Ted’s quest for love in that Robin left to Argentina for a time after her break up with Ted, trying to find herself in a new place. The rose connecting to La Vie En Rose I feel like is a shout out to way in the future, when Ted hears the Mother play that song and falls in love with it.

The thing that makes this so special to me is that it all falls in line from day one. The Olive Theory, our lives being puzzles. (“Why is your bar called puzzles?” “That’s the puzzle!”) and this eternal quest for love that Ted is going on. It all hits home, right out of the gate and we never notice it. While Barney dismisses the Olive Theory in practice, in the end, it still stands. He can’t be with someone who is just like him. Ted can’t either. Through every relationship in the show we can watch how it all unfolds.

I’ve started to think that The Olive Theory is just a fun name for maturing in your life. That over time, we quest for these people who will complete us and we find those things not through the physical, but through the mental and the spiritual and emotional connections we form with them. Those things are always changing, just like our hearts. It’s powerful. It’s a hell of a way to start off a show, that’s for sure.

The best part about it is that we had no idea what it all meant in the beginning.

Just like life.

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