Monday, November 14, 2011

November Sweeps Catch Up: How I Met Your Mother

Robin and Barney share a moment on "How I Met Your Mother"
Credit: CBS
I take a look at the current state of How I Met Your Mother after the jump.

This week's installment of the series proved to be the perfect episode for me to write a piece on the current state of the show. It illustrated the elements of the show that are still working very well, but it also illustrated the elements of the show that have faltered. The decline of How I Met Your Mother is happening, but there's still enough material that is working to keep me watching.

One thing I can't deny is the complete crash of the "mythology." Quite frankly, I don't care who the mother is. I was never too invested in this ongoing storyline because I started watching this series a couple of seasons ago. I only care about the group and the interactions of the group. I just want it to be over. I don't want to be teased anymore because the teases are a waste of time.

Another area where the teases are causing problems is the Barney and Robin love quadrilateral. I admit, I wasn't a fan of the idea when it was introduced back in September. After last night's episode, I went from slight dislike to complete dislike. I feel cheated by the writers trying to avoid the inevitable. It was a problem last season with Zoey, and the problem continues in a different arc this year. Barney and Robin have shown that they work as a couple. The problem is the show seems like it is going to do absolutely everything it can to prevent that from happening.

If the series wants to keep these two apart, they have to show that there's a reason for the separation. The issue with that is last night's episode pretty much soured me on any other possible person for either of them besides each other. Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders have fantastic chemistry and the characters seem to be at a point in their lives where it would be worth putting them together. The problem is the show has written itself into a hole. They can't put the two of them together without making the characters seem like horrible people. I understand why the show wouldn't want their relationship to come from them cheating on their current companion. Essentially, my problem comes from the writers' plan of attack. It doesn't help that the episode essentially told us that Barney would be marrying Robin. (*)

(*) Think about it, unless he meets someone else who the show hasn't introduce yet, she's the only option.

The reason why I haven't given up on the show is that it still can put together very funny self-contained plotlines. This is a cast that still works together remarkably well and on an episodic standpoint, HIMYM is still a very strong sitcom. For example, the B-story in last night's episode with Ted and Marshall getting high was a fun little plotline. It didn't do anything for me beyond making me laugh, but I was OK with that. Other examples of plotlines that have worked on an episodic standpoint include Barney having to wear the Ducky Tie (*) and the gang riding out Hurricane Irene in Barney's apartment.

(*) And giving the HIMYM writers two more slaps to work with in future episodes.

Some other thoughts:

  • The arc involving Lily and Marshall having a baby has actually been fantastic. Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel are both doing amazing jobs with the plotline.
  • Kal Penn is doing a fine job as Kevin. He's perfectly fine and perfectly funny, but I don't like the role that he is playing in the series.
  • Nora continued to not do anything for me this year. I felt nothing when she broke up with Barney in last night's episode. 
  • Is it just me, or has Cobie Smulders been doing absolutely fantastic work this year? She is giving it her all to sell absolutely everything she is given this year.
How I Met Your Mother is not a show that I want to dislike at all. I love the cast and the show is absolutely still capable of being very, very funny. The only issues that the series is running into are that Ted's ongoing plotline and the plotlines with the Barney and Robin "love quadrilateral" have not been good. 

What do you all think about this season? Is it still great or has it begun its decline?

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