This series of clips from CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” gives an interesting commentary on the idea of the road.
Marshall (Jason Segel) and Ted (Josh Radnor) are shown back in 1999 on a road trip from Wesleyan University in Connecticut to their favorite pizza place, Gazola’s……in Chicago. Even though the pizza was admittedly terrible, the two made this pilgrimage often because it was an adventurous way to strengthen their friendship. In 2009 (real-time on the show), Ted hears that Gazola’s is closing, so he and Marshall decide to take one last road trip there, this time from New York. As they have come a long way since college, Marshall has been married his college girlfriend, Lily, for a few years. She insists on coming along on the roadtrip, irritating Ted. Eventually, the two leave her at a bed and breakfast so they can rekindle the spirit of their former trips, just the two of them. Marshall feels bad for abandoning her, as stated in the video, and the two eventually get in a fight because of Ted’s anger at Lily’s accompaniment on the trip.
The road in this piece acts as a symbol for freedom when Marshall and Ted were young, allowing them to do something as crazy as driving 14 hours just to get awful pizza. It was also a great way for them to connect as friends at a time in their lives where road trips can be seen as a sort of learning experience. As they age, though, the road seems to become more of a trap, making the two realize what they’ve left behind (both literally and figuratively: a wife and their childhood) and how picking up and leaving on a whim just isn’t quite the same when you’re 30 instead of 20. Marshall and Ted’s experience shows that as much as you may want to rekindle lost experiences on the road, responsibilities and growing up take precedence.