Friday, October 4, 2013

Overuse of the Macguffin plot device in HIMYM

What exactly is the Macguffin plot device?
It is a plot vehicle adopted by several writers to advance or propel a story forward, a fulcrum in certain cases but which is of secondary importance to the developments in the main story. The use of this plot device was mainly popularized by the famous filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, who used it in multiple creations of his. This device is mostly used in thrillers, detective fiction and suspense stories where the Macguffin is revealed at a critical moment. The same device has been used in several TV seriates where usually the Macguffins are restricted to one episode or to one season. But there are shows like HIMYM who use the Macguffin for the entire set of seasons as a single thread.

How does the TV series How I Met Your Mother overuse this plot device?
The entire set up of the show is based on Ted Moseby searching for his perfect soul mate, the mother of his two kids to whom he is shown to be telling stories in every single episode about how he met their mother. The show is a sitcom and is amongst the very few in the genre which use the Macguffin plot device for the entire stretch of its origin, from the very first episode to almost the last.
The show has reached it’s ninth (and hopefully final) season and it is only in the final episode of the eighth season that the eagerly waiting audience and perhaps the very bored Moseby kids get to actually know about their real mother after hearing hundreds of tales about Ted and his awesome friends. The thrill of waiting to know how Ted meets his soul mate has slowly faded with time as viewers slowly have started to get frustrated by hopelessly waiting for the mystery woman to be unveiled.
Continued here....

This post was written for Half Baked Beans blog. Check the link for the rest of the post and also to read other awesome entries.

On a different note, Subho Mohalaya to all our readers, it is pujo time again!!

Till next,


  1. i don't really like HIMYM. but it is far better than 2 and a half men. I think a single Macguffin plot device was used by The Killing in its 1st 2 seasons much to the frustration of the viewers who had to wait 2 entire seasons to find out the killer.

    1. Well neither do I. I used to like Ted's character in the beginning but he slowly turns out to be a complete jerk as the story progresses. Yes The Killer...and if you watch pretty little liars...the entire story is based on who A is. But well atleast they have good twists and it isn't exactly a Macguffin coz it actually is important to the plot.

    2. True
      pretty little liar is actually superb. they havnt exaggerated even for single episode. how for HIMYM seems more of a drag.
      Hadnt it been for ted, I would have stopped following it long ago. I must admit ted mosby is gud..:)

    3. Hello there, Monica :)
      I love pretty little liars...but I admit, I watch it for the clothes :P
      HIMYM is pretty independent without the whole mystery about the mother...I hate how Ted's character has deteriorated with time, I watch the show for Barney and his craziness...he is an extreme sexist and misogynist, I admit but then the character is honest while Ted isn't...
      thanks for dropping in :)

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