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Arts and Entertainment

Friends, Meet Your Mother

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Billed as the next Friends, the new CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother made its debut on Monday night. But there is a big difference between the two shows: Friends focused on the relationships between six likeable friends in New York, while Mother has just only five. (And for a city as diverse as New York, the cast is all still pretty vanilla. Likeable, but we're just sayin'.)

The pilot for sitcom focuses on Ted (Josh Radnor) whose nesting instinct kicks in immediately after his best friend and hapless roommate Marshall (Jason Segal from Freaks and Geeks) proposes to his longtime girlfriend Lily (Alyson Hannigan, with shades of her American Pie persona). He calls wingman, and bit of a wingnut, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) to kvetch, and Barney immediately tells him to "suit up" and meet him at their watering hole (a cross between Central Perkand Cheers.)

At the bar, Ted spots beautiful Robin (Cobie Smulders) and the attraction is immediate. He scores a date for the following night and tries to be suave and charming -- all up until he blurts out "I love you" at the end of the evening. Understandably, the level-headed Robin is taken aback, in a kind of "who is this psycho?" kind of way, but still intrigued. So this is where the comedy takes us -- on the road to romance between Ted and Robin. But...there's a little twist:

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The story is told through a series of flashbacks by an older Ted (voiceover by Bob Saget) to his incredulous teenage kids, hence the title of the series. At the end of the pilot, Ted reveals to the kids, "So that's how I met your Aunt Robin." And they -- as well as the audience -- let out a collective "whaaaaat?"

Hopefully, Hannigan and Segal will get to strech their comedic skills in future episodes, and Ted will get to develop more of a personality rather than play a puppy dog. And so far, we can relate to Robin's normalcy -- and her character seems to have a little more depth than the usual romantic interest. But most importantly, Mother marks the return of -- ready for it -- Doogie Howser, M.D.

In the end, How I Met Your Mother is a story about the journey and not the destination. LAist will go along for the ride -- for a few more episodes, anyway.