How I Met Your Mother: Coping with Death


In one of my favorite television shows, How I Met Your Mother, one of the main characters, Marshall Ericksen’s, father dies. Death in the show is portrayed dramatically and really emphasizes the fact of last words. In the wake, the family members go around and discuss to each other what their last words were with the deceased and Marshall realizes that he didn’t have a “final” moment so to speak with his father and it changes how he deals with his father’s death. This portrayal is useful because it makes the viewer think of how he or she should treat their family before they pass and not knowing if their encounter would be the last one.

Its unfortunate to think, but a lot of the times when someone dies in the family there may be other family members that weren’t talking to the recently deceased for various reasons such as a quarrel or disagreement that they had with each other. Thus, they seriously regret that fact and have guilt because they realize they should have put their differences aside and reconciled. The show does a good job at making the audience think about their current life and reflect on the fact that there may be some people they aren’t talking to and it may make them reconsider what really is important in life.

Media in general  portrays a diverse ideal of death and how to cope with it. In the show, as stated before, the main way that the characters coped with the death of Marshall’s father was to reflect on their last words. Another way the characters coped was through laughter. Marshall’s best friends, Ted and Barney, tried to show Marshall funny videos of animals to try and make him laugh. This illustrates a different portrayal of how society deals with death.

One of the ways to cope with death and a depressing moment in ones life is to be around friends, have a good time, and talk about what is of concern. It is a stress reliever and clears ones mind for a while. This show uses these ways to portray how society deals with death and dying. Finally, the only thing that this particular show doesn’t do is support the idea that America is a death denying culture. They very  much accept the fact that Marshalls father died, but what they really focus on is the coping mechanisms that are used throughout the episode and even a few episodes afterwards to deal with death.  Since it was a one episode event, the show quickly picked up and didn’t portray the grieving process that normally occurs in individuals who experience this traumatic event.