Monday, April 12, 2010

The Unreliable Narrator

Mad props to How I Met Your Mother for giving the unreliable narrator entire episode? Tonight's episode basically called attention to the fact that Ted is telling this story to his kids and for all we know he could be lying essentially all the time. Not content with just pointing that out, they spent the entire episode examining lies in storytelling (Barney: "People want the lie") and driving the point home by wrapping Marshall's lies in Barney's lies and tying them all up with the usual framing device of Ted telling his kids about it in a story with an extremely suspect ending. I'm not sure it worked as well as they thought it would, but How I Met Your Mother is the home of the unreliable narrator ("Uncle Marshall and I were eating a sandwich") and it was ambitious to spend the entire episode on it. (New Metanarrative, now with 30% more monkeys!) It was a little like those pictures you had as a kid where the kid is holding a book with a picture of a kid holding a book with a picture of a kid holding a book....

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