Spoilers for the season premiere of How I Met Your Mother coming up after the jump:
A show called How I Met Your Mother isn’t going to be very interesting if it continues to be mainly about its title: most people will—as I suspect most fans have—get tired of caring about the mother or get frustrated that she keeps receding like a mirage.
Where HIMYM succeeds is that the title is really just a ruse to tell different stories, one of which is: How I Became Your Father. So it was kind of a relief that we did not, in fact, meet The Mother in that architecture-cum-econ lecture. (I didn’t think for a second that the blond girl was going to be her; she had Bit Role written all over her. Also, I’m guessing the ultimate mother proves to be an older student, lest Ted seem to be straying into inappropriate territory.) As a story instead about how Ted got his sea legs as a professor—and presumably, started on the road to become the kindly pedant who has been imparting life lessons to the same bored-looking kids for five years—it worked nicely. (Nice touch, by the way, to have a Vampire Weekend song in an episode set largely at Columbia, assuming the soundtrack didn’t change from my review DVD.)
The Barney-Robin story, meanwhile, kept that story line alive while posing an interesting question for the season going forward. HIMYM has usually been a story about with an even balance between singles and couples (with Ted as the swing vote at any given time). If Robney, or Barnobin, or whatever, is a long-term phenomenon, does that throw off the show’s balance? Does it become something different, maybe better? Are we looking at a long stretch of singledom for Ted, to keep things interesting? If Ted also ends up in a relationship, does the series become like the last season of Friends, but without a Joey? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I have no idea. But I did learn that Barney has “a whip guy,” that his and Robin’s safe word is “flugelhorn” and that “the rules for girls are the same as the rules for Gremlins.” For now, I’ll take that.