Mother_1016 “If we were friends with Garfield, we wouldn’t set him up with Mondays.”

That was a joke on CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” this week.  And it was offered without qualification, without irony.

I kept thinking that surely it was a set-up line, that surely, on a show in which the characters are constantly testing and teasing each other’s coolness, Marshall (Jason Segel) would be mocked for making an “Garfield” analogy.

Nope.  That was it. Just a bunch of cool twentysomethings in the 21st century, batting no eyes at a reference to a comic most people last enjoyed nearly 30 years ago.

This wasn’t “Peanuts” or even “Family Circus.” This was “Garfield,” perhaps the most cachet-free, zeitgeist-immune comic one can think of. Did the “Mother” generation ever even like Garfield? I really think it was one of the oddest moments I’ve seen on TV so far this season.

Of course, I shouldn’t get too holier-than-thou.  After all, I understood the joke …

— Jon Weisman