By: Kristen Reid
I chose the television show How I Met Your Mother for my popular culture artifact. Ever since the show began playing in 2005, watching How I Met Your Mother has filled my schedule on Monday nights. The ninth, and final, season is currently being aired on CBS. Each episode of How I met Your Mother is ultimately Ted (Josh Radnor) telling his two children the story of how he met their mother. It is interesting though, because the series began in 2005, while Ted was telling the story to his children in the future, year 2013. For this assignment, I knew that I could use How I Met Your Mother, because the characters are extremely close and usually do not mean everything that they say, so the non-verbal communication between the characters are key to the whole television show.
The video above was the commercial ad for Season 7 of How I Met Your Mother. This promotion used many verbal and nonverbal communication concepts to effectively catch the attention of faithful fans, like me, and hopefully new viewers. The video starts by exciting the audience with some of the cast dancing. Then, they used kinesics like emblems by having an attractive woman (Robin) count from one to three with her fingers. Next, a woman (Lily) yells a popular expression adapted from the Lion King Movie, which most of CBS’s audience would understand without having to look further into. This confirms that language is commonly learned through socialization and experiences.
One of the main characters, Barney, creates a perception by wearing a suit in every scene. There are times when he is on a jet ski, but is still wearing a suit. He even sleeps in a pajama suit. We, as viewers, draw meaning to it. Maybe he believes that wearing a suit will make him look respectable, or even superior. If you haven’t seen the show before, you might think that he is a professional of some sort. If you’re from a foreign country, you might think it’s totally normal for a wealthy man in our country. How nonverbal communication reasons its use totally depends on the audience. Barney also says the phrase, “It’s gonna be LEGEN…wait for it… DARY,” numerous times throughout every season. Usually the line is followed by a few high fives, using both verbal and nonverbal cues. Robin, another main character, releases a loud screeching noise every time she lies, which is paralinguistic to create vocal nonverbal cues.
This blog assignment has helped me develop a unique perspective on communication through media. I recognized that verbal communication is essential, but it would be extremely boring without nonverbal communication. Also, I am now mindful that I can’t always assume things based completely off of nonverbal communication. I could have overlooked an important cue and totally misinterpreted their whole message. This would lead to a terribly hopeless conversation. Similarly, this lesson has taught me to pay more attention to the nonverbal cues that I give off in my everyday life. I would hate to send the wrong message to someone without even know I did so!
Kang, K. (2012, April 9). Trilogy Time. Bays, C., Fryman, P., Greenberg, R., &Thomas, C., How I Met Your Mother. New York City, NY: Bays & Thomas Productions