May 13, 2013

Watching: How I Met Your Mother

I first found out about How I Met Your Mother on Reddit. I think that at the time it was in its 3rd or 4th series, and people were saying lots of very positive things about it. We watched the first episode, and were immediately hooked. It was uncommonly funny. There are very, very few things that actually make Karen laugh out loud, and this was one of them.

You may have noticed quite a bit of the past tense there, and sadly it’s not accidental. This show has gone so far off the boil that it’s now just a pan of tepid water in the middle of a windy field. The show’s basic premise is that a father is telling his two children the story of how he met their mother, but he’s clearly meandering and just telling them stories of all sorts of wacky capers that he got up to with his friends in New York in the early decades of the 21st century. This was cute, at first, because no apology was made for this. However, after about 5 seasons, the writers started making an effort to push towards the grand reveal, the supreme denouement, and it’s all been downhill since then. Partly because they started the push too early, and partly because this is pushing the characters into some very unfunny scenarios. Remember how in early series of Friends, Chandler was the sarcastic, pseudo-depressed one with commitment issues? And then he got together with Monica, and that basically sounded the death knell for his character, because now he had nothing to complain about any more? In the last few series, with the exception of a few plotlines when he got a job in advertising, he was wallpaper. Okay, imagine that, but now imagine it happening to every single main character in the show, simultaneously. Even the erstwhile unstoppable womaniser Barney Stinson is settling down. There’s still a whole season to go, plus 3 remaining episodes in the current one. The only thing keeping us watching it at this point is our previously-mentioned desire for completeness, which right now is seeming like a most undesirable trait.

This program shouldn’t be called How I Met Your Mother. It should be called How I Killed Your Sitcom.

Pete

13 thoughts on “Watching: How I Met Your Mother

  1. Concur.

    I saw a good tweet that “8 seasons should be more than enough to figure out who your mother is” or something to that effect.

  2. Also agreed. I found it easy watching, not necessarily great (in my opinion, obviously others vary!) but the most recent season has been so bad that I gave up on it completely.

  3. Modern Family has replaced HIMYM for me as my most enjoyable relaxing mild sitcom.

  4. We’ve started watching Arrested Development very recently and that’s looking like it might be our new favourite sitcom.

  5. Yeah I’ve heard good stuff on that too.

    “New Girl” isn’t bad (but fluff) and I watched an ep of “The Mindy Project” which looked like it had potential.

    Community (S1-3) is definitely worth a look in.

    (Then theirs Californication and Weeds, but they are more adult comedies than Sitcoms)

  6. I watched a “New Girl” a few weeks back. Didn’t do much for me. We’ve also watched 3 series of Weeds but have been reliably informed that this is definitely the right time to stop watching it.

  7. Unless you like one of the bloke roommates, I can see NG being a wash.

    I liked all seasons of Weeds, but it does wane a bit. A bit like your comments on HIMYM, eventually seems they’re trying to a force a smart initial idea just too far.

    (I think this is a problem almost any TV show has that goes on too long, that eventually it just gets unrealistic. e.g. M and I watch Grey’s Anatomy. And almost everything happens at this hospital. It’s basically a magnet for disasters. It starts wearing thin. Something I think ER did well to avoid)

  8. Now you come to mention it, I’ve been mostly reviewing US programs, because I’ve been trying to gravitate towards programs that are still running. Many of the good UK TV programs are either short lived (like sitcoms that only run for 3 or 4 short series) or limited-run dramas (Broadchurch, The Politician’s Husband etc). Such programs rarely outstay their welcome.

  9. I agree with that characterisation – I think we get some short but very high quality stuff on British TV; whereas US TV takes an initially good idea and fails to notice when it’s no longer good. Then again, Misfits.

  10. I think I’m just going to go back and rewatch M*A*S*H

    Clair on May 13, 2013
  11. MASH is on our current watching list, I think we’re on about series 7. It starts off laugh-a-minute, but gets bleaker and bleaker. I’m not sure we’ll make it to the end.

  12. Also, what’s this “things rarely make Karen laugh” business? I laugh at you all the time.

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