Psychology of Popular Media Culture is releasing a study this month that suggests people who watch sitcoms like How I Met Your Mother are more cynical about love versus people who watch rom-coms and marriage-based reality shows. I almost feel like you didn't need a study to come to a conclusion as obvious as that, but okay.
The study concluded that the more sitcoms a person watched, the less they believed in the idea of soul mates, love at first sight, and "perfect" true love.
First of all, my main problem with this study is the use of the word "cynical". It just sounds like sitcom watchers have no heart and are soulless human beings. I think "realistic" or "cautious" would be a better choice.
As someone who watched every episode of How I Met Your Mother, actively live tweets episodes of The Bachelorette, and watches more rom-coms on opening night than any 20-something ever should, it's unfair to call sitcom watchers cynical just because we don't believe in love at first sight; we believe that love is hard work and it's not always perfect.
Calling out How I Met Your Mother specifically makes no sense to me. Look at Ted Mosby. He believed in love so much that it took nine years to tell his story. Granted, he was desperate and kind of pathetic most of the time, but Ted believed in true love, he believed in finding his soul mate, and he also believed in moving forward with your life. None of Ted's qualities were cynical, and they could inspire the audience to go the distance, which would seemingly contradict the whole study.
Furthermore, Marshall and Lily were basically the world's greatest couple. When they argued, they talked out their problems. They had a good, healthy sex life (even 10-12 years into the relationship, might I add) and while they could be away from each other, they didn't want to be. How is that not "true love"? Lilypad and Marshmallow are the couple we all want to be.
How could watching HIMYM be considered a flaw when rom-coms promote some of the most unhealthy and unrealistic relationships out there? I mean, obviously businessmen fall in love with hookers on the reg, right?
The story of How I Met Your Mother was meant to show that life can take you down random paths, some parts are filled with love and other times sadness. If believing that makes someone a cynic, then I guess that's what I am.
By the way, when Ted first saw Robin, he said it was like something out of a movie, love at first sight. So, what now psychology?