Tuned In

HIMYM Watch: Conceiving of Change

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Spoilers for How I Met Your Mother’s season finale coming up:

We’ve reached the end of another season of How I Met Your Mother. How far have we come? Robin dated Barney, then dated Don, and is now single again. Barney is hooking up with as many people as possible. Ted is… well, Ted is blond. The people who have come closest to changing over the season are Marshall and Lily, who have gone from married and childless to married and considering having a baby.

This would not always be a problem in a sitcom; time was, sitcoms by definition always returned to the same status quo. HIMYM, however, defined itself some time ago as a sitcom on which things changed. At some point this season, though, the producers of the show seemed to become uncomfortable with things changing.

This might not be a problem if the individual episodes operated at a high level of funny, though that’s been uneven this season as well. But I’m at the point with HIMYM where–though I have a fixed habit with it and will probably keep watching regardless–I might consider dropping it from the rotation next fall to make room for other reviews on the blog. There’s only so much point, if the story stays static, in finding ways to describe how a particular set of jokes work, or, worse, don’t.

As for this episode, it did at least showcase one of HIMYM’s most off-the-wall and inventive running gags this year, the doppelgangers. And while I don’t think Marshall and Lily can carry the narrative momentum of the show on their own, I’m curious what a baby would do to the dynamic of the group. (Carter and Bays can’t write off a baby if they have second thoughts the way they did Barney and Robin’s relationship! At least I think they can’t!)

Like The Office, I think HIMYM is at the point where it needs an end date, to allow the writers time to set up Meeting Your Mother. I don’t expect it to happen. Beyond that, I’ll probably give HIMYM a little time when it comes back next fall, but if it doesn’t find a way move forward, I may not be writing about it. Maybe my doppelganger can do it.

Now the hail of bullets:

* I can’t say I’ll deeply miss Don (if he’s gone for good), but I did enjoy the puppet discussion of the relative dangers of soft drugs. “Not looking for gray areas here, Moo-Moo!”

* On a more serious note, it was a change for Robin’s character to decide that she was committed enough to a relationship to turn down a job–even if I suspect the main motive was to find a way to write off Don.

* “Stay out of this, Brigitte Nielsen or Dolph Lundgren from Rocky IV!”