Tuesday, April 01, 2014

How I Watched How I Met Your Mother

I'd never seen an episode of How I Met Your Mother, but I heard the hour-long finale was happening so I checked it out.  A pointless exercise.  Fans have gotten to know and love these characters over nine years, but it was meaningless to me (though I did get to find out how this guy met his kids' mother). Sure, there were big moments, almost nothing but: marriage, divorce, birth, death.  But it all meant nothing.

The format was odd, traveling ahead through the years to show us what would happen to the characters.  But it wasn't the future I needed to know, it was the past. There was no resonance to anything anyone did.  I should add the jokes also seemed to be few and far between. I assume the show normally is funnier, or at least has more gags.

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend catching a long-running sitcom on its last episode, especially one with an arc.  I don't think it gives you a fair idea of what the show is like.  But if anyone asks, I wouldn't recommend How I Met Your Mother based on the finale.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So these Goddam previous urbans are gone- time for the next crew of Goddam precious urbans.

9:53 AM, April 01, 2014  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Why does Anonymous hate urbans so? (S)he always does this.

3:23 PM, April 01, 2014  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Well, I must agree with your analysis of why you didn't like it, since I've watched every episode of the series, and I enjoyed the finale. But some caveats:

(1) The first three seasons were definitely the best.

(2) Before the finale, we had seen dozens of flash-forwards of the future. So the finale didn't even show the whole future: it just showed the missing pieces of the future we didn't know yet. However, this was no Lost: it was a good show because of the routine comedy, not because of the mystery.

(3) Extrapolating from people I know, I think the fans were divided between the Ted/Robin 'shippers who yearned for them to get together, and the Robin haters (including me) who wished they would write her out of the show. I was very glad when they introduced the "mother" this last season, since she was a much better person than Robin, IMO. And because of the flash-forwards, we had even seen her life with Ted before the finale -- just not the moment they met. But I must say, the writers found an ingenious and unexpected way to give both groups of fans what they wanted: Ted happy with the mother, and Ted (presumably) marrying Robin, all in one episode. A few weeks ago they hinted that the mother was going to die early, but it wasn't until halfway through the finale that I realized what they were planning.

(4) In my opinion, the worst thing a show can do is to assume the viewers deeply care for all the characters. In the finale, I was clearly expected to cry and say "I will miss these characters so much!" And while I have usually enjoyed the show, it's still just a show about single people dating and doing silly things. If I want more of that, I have no doubt that the networks will oblige. So no tears from me.

5:11 PM, April 01, 2014  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Update: After reading various TV critics' comments and other useful pieces on the web, it seems 90% likely that the writers actually planned the twist ending from the very beginning. If so, I agree with this critic's analysis: a twist ending that was objectively clever when the show began should have been abandoned after nine years of character development rendered it just plain wrong. As a corollary, this shows that a dud ending isn't always caused by inconsistent writers forgetting the point of a show (BSG, Lost) -- it can also be caused by overly consistent writers who are so focused on reviving the show's early seasons that the offer something inconsistent with the later ones.

5:51 PM, April 01, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The funny thing is a major reason I didn't watch the show is I found the concept (where the whole thing is a story he's telling his kids about how he met their mom) to be oppressive. It kept me away. Just have funny, unburdened plots, don't have everything be (allegedly) predetermined and remind me that I should worry over how it'll work out.

To Denver Guy: I don't think anon necessarily hates urbans, I think he hates a certain type of urbans who keep showing up in sitcoms. I admit I feel something similar when I talk about how here's yet another show about hipster douchebags commenting ironically on their lives.

6:21 PM, April 01, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hipster douchebags- You said it much better LA Guy.

PS I meant to hate on precious *young* urbans but typing and remembering all the works have never proven to be strengths. The TV critics who liked this show hated Everybody Loves Raymond because it was about boring married suburbanites (i.e. not like them). To be honest I sort of liked both shows equally- especially when the jokes worked. A plot is not a plus on sitcoms (except when a plot works well you don't notice it)

11:53 AM, April 02, 2014  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I agree with Anonymous on this. As someone from the suburbs myself, I must say that I don't "get" the hatred that the HIMYM characters displayed for the suburbs. They preferred to live in Manhattan (in an apartment so huge that if it really existed, none of them could have afforded it) and despised everyone who lived in the suburbs. When Ted was engaged to Stella, he insisted that she move out of the New Jersey suburbs (where her young daughter was in school) and come to NYC -- and it seemed that the audience was supposed to be on his side. I just didn't get it.

Sure, living in the city puts you closer to theaters. How many days per month do you go to theaters? How many days per month do you go to a grocery store? I like being able to park.

Besides, the HIMYM characters always went to the same bar every day, so what good was living in the city to them anyway?

5:27 PM, April 02, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then, when they leave the city, they move to awful Suburgatory.

7:30 PM, April 02, 2014  
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