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.