The stagnation of How I Met Your Mother: Who is the mother already?

November 18, 2012

How I Met Your Mother, the show that introduced everything from the “Bro Code” to Robin Sparkles, has kept its audiences tuned in weekly to hear Ted Mosby tell his kids the story of how he met their mother. The show has delighted audiences with its eccentric humour and distinct story structure for seven seasons, and has even gone on to win the People’s Choice Award for Best TV Network Comedy in 2012. However, it has garnered criticism this season, where mainly due to the rehashing of the same old style. To summarize: “This is so not Raven, much less legendary.” The audience is starting to feel the kids’ pain, and it begs to be asked: is it about time the show comes to an end?

The premise of the series revolves around Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget), in the year 2030, with a framing device in which he narrates to his son and daughter the events that led to him meeting their mother. The focus then shifts to the present social and romantic lives of Ted (Josh Radnor) and his friends Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris). The most central plot in the show is the mystery of the eponymous mother, accentuated by branching stories that bring all the characters together. Indeed, much of the humour stems from the crazy antics that come to mind with living in Manhattan. As a result, audiences have been introduced to plenty of crazy elements, many of which have become revered hallmarks, such as slap bets, interventions, doppelgangers, and “eating a sandwich”.

How I Met Your Mother

photo via Nicholas Ramey

However, in its eighth season, HIMYM has started to show its age, with most criticisms referring to the seemingly forced humour and tired storylines, rendering the show as immature instead of hilariously outrageous. The jokes now feel unnatural and artificial, especially as the shenanigans from earlier seasons have become ancient history (with the characters taking more responsibility for their actions). While it is meant to demonstrate the characters’ increasing maturity, the humour is largely comprised of mundane issues being dealt with irrationally or unrealistically, from disagreements for pre-nuptials to troubles finding a nanny. This is especially true with Marshall and Lily, now dealing with parenthood and its associated obstacles. It no longer makes any sense for them to participate as frequently in the gang’s mischief because of the fact that they have an infant son to take care. As the characters develop, it is more cringe-inducing rather than amusing when they blunder in their individual endeavors. It would seem the source of humour of late is simply a reference to their past antics.

As for the tired storylines, HIMYM aims to progress the plot like most other sitcom series, and it has even revealed the circumstances regarding the monumental meeting rumoured for the series finale, wherein Ted finally meets his kids’ mother. While not explicitly revealing the ending, the hints included in the show have been significant enough to force the story to work towards the ending as per the hints alluded. Most believe the surprise is no longer present, as the audience knows who is going to be together with whom in the end. This is reflected with Ted, Barney, and Robin, as the audience already knows that none of them will remain with their current spouses and will be expecting to see it end. Despite the return of older characters and revisiting storylines from as far back as the first season, it is no longer relevant beyond prolonging the story for the length of the current season.

HIMYM has even already revealed hints for beyond the series finale, such as in one episode in the near future wherein Ted arrives with his infant daughter to watch Star Wars with Marshall and Barney. By this point, it is unlikely there will be any further course of action for the series beyond progressing towards the series finale. And as the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end”. But of course, there is still an entire season left for the story to develop towards its ending, and hopefully it will be “LEGEN…(Wait for it)…DARY”.