Major Themes and Symbols

by Hayley Igarashi

This chapter is a free excerpt from Quicklet on How I Met Your Mother Season 3 (TV Show).

Barney: “Open your brain tank bro, cuz here comes some premium 91 octane knowledge. There’s three rules of cheating: 1) It’s not cheating if you’re not the one who’s married, 2) It’s not cheating if her name has two adjacent vowels, 3) And it's not cheating if she’s from a different area code. You’re fine on all three counts.”

Themes

Moving On


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Barney: “Open your brain tank bro, cuz here comes some premium 91 octane knowledge. There’s three rules of cheating: 1) It’s not cheating if you’re not the one who’s married, 2) It’s not cheating if her name has two adjacent vowels, 3) And it's not cheating if she’s from a different area code. You’re fine on all three counts.”

Themes

Moving On

Perhaps the biggest theme of Season 3 is the simple and all too familiar struggle to move on after a difficult break-up. Ted and Robin’s relationship dominated the last season, but now they have to find out how to make their friendship work for the sake of each other and the entire gang. The ups-and-downs they experience as they try to distance themselves from their relationship really provides the emotional core of this season.

Married Life

But while Ted and Robin struggle with the end of their romantic relationship, Marshall and Lily are experiencing the very beginning of life as a married couple. For fans of How I Met Your Mother, this is incredibly rewarding to watch. After all, Marshall proposed to Lily in the very first episode of the show, and their life as husband and wife is a delightful culmination of their journey so far.

Rules of Friendship

Besides his often hilarious and repulsive womanizing ways, Barney brings a sense of structure to the gang that manifests itself in the Bro Code. He speaks often about the duties that friends have to each other, duties that are actually written down in the Code. While these responsibilities can often be silly, Barney’s rules actually provide a thoughtful analysis of the imagined duties we all believe friends should have.

Symbols

The Yellow Umbrella

How I Met Your Mother fans know that the yellow umbrella is significant because at one time it belonged to the mother. After a crazy St. Patrick’s Day party, Ted actually picks up an abandoned yellow umbrella, which Future Ted reveals was there because the mother left it behind. The umbrella symbolizes a future for Ted that seems very distant at this point. In many ways, the St. Patrick’s Day celebration was an all-time low for him, but the yellow umbrella appears to give viewers (if not Ted himself) the hope that the mother is not too far away.

Sandcastles

Sandcastles appear prominently in Robin’s failed Canadian pop song “Sandcastles in the Sand.” In the song, Robin uses sandcastles as a metaphor for something that wasn’t meant to last. However, in the scope of the show, sandcastles represent instability. In the same way that sandcastles are built upon poor foundations, Robin finds herself atop shaky ground with her friendships with both Ted and Barney.

Red Cowboy Boots

Ted owns a pair of red cowboy boots that nobody but him and a G-CWOK believe he is successfully pulling off. The silly boots represent the need to make something work that shouldn’t. Season 3 witnesses a lot of tension between Ted and Robin, and it’s an unhappy notion to consider that perhaps Ted and Robin’s friendship is just not supposed to work.

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