Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm Starting To Get, Wait For It, Frustrated

Ok, so I just watched the season finale of How I Met Your Mother. This was the 5th season. We have yet to meet the mother. At the end of the 4th season finale there was a scene where Ted was teaching a class and said something to the effect of, "as you know kids, your mother was in that class." And then the whole following season, no freaking mother. There was an episode this year, one episode, where Ted dates this girl who is the mother's roommate. But he never meets the mother. And they never mentioned it again.

I'm not gonna say that this is at Lost levels of frustration, but I am officially disappointed with How I Met Your Mother. We must meet the mother. We must. You guys have already used a lot of the cute couple material on Lily and Marshall, so I know you can do it. There's a whole relationship between meeting, dating, engaging, marrying, and so forth that is ready to be explored. Please, season 6, let's meet the mother. Thank you.


Side Bar said...

Thank you. Please email this to my wife (as you know, she won't read the blog). I have not watched the finale yet (cheers, Time Warner's inexplicably awful DVR technology - something about taping two whole shows at once was too much for my cable box), but I am not at all surprised to hear that it was a letdown.

This show has been in a major, major slump lately. Seasons 1 and 2 were sharp, smart and very, very funny. But ever since then, the plot has failed to advance, and while it is still occasionally funny, it is not nearly as entertaining as it was a few years ago.

This is the problem with these shows that just linger on and on with no end in sight. I made this observation about The Office a few months ago (and compared it unfavorably to the UK version, which ended after a crisp and hilarious two seasons).

And while you are right that this show and Lost are not in the same universe (get it?) and really cannot be compared, maybe there is one comparison: if you are going to do a thematic show that carries a single story (beginning, middle and end) across multiple seasons, you really need to know the number of seasons at the outset. This is exactly where Lost got, well, lost in Season 3 (as the producers have openly admitted), and it is happening right now with How I Met Your Mother.

Think about Seinfeld, Cheers, the Cosby Show, the Simpsons, Law and Order, and some of the other very good, very long-running network dramas and comedies. They were all able to stay on as long as they did because there was no single story weaving through them all - they were true episodic shows that do not try to tell a larger story over a course of months or years.

Both have their place - and I have enjoyed episdodic shows as much as thematic shows - but when you do the latter, you need to stay true to the story, and not just pause it for the middle three, four or five seasons simply because the networks offer bigger and bigger paychecks as an enticement. But, of course, that may not be realistic (and not only because people want to be paid as much as they can for their work, but also because you can rarely tell what will be popular and what will not be popular when you first pitch a show).

Ironically, the shows that do it best, and end on the right note, are the ones that are LESS popular, because they aren't given the rope with which to hang themselves (Arrested Development comes to mind. Is Freaks and Geeks also a good example of this? I don't know - I didn't watch it).

This might deserve its own post; I might expand this and do that.

ChuckJerry said...

This show, and many like it suffer from something I'm going to call "SNL Syndrome". When SNL finds a funny sketch, they put it on again and again and beat it to death to the point where they have to stretch so far for jokes that it's painful.

It's most obvious on SNL because when they repeat sketches it's clear they're just trying to capitalize on past success. Episodic shows with the same characters every week have a certain amount of leeway in repeating themselves and so it's less noticable. But once the shows start to drag, it's clear that they're just running on empty.

At that point they can get better (rare to never), end (sometimes), or jump the shark trying to introduce new life into the show (most of the time).

The thing with How I Met Your Mother is that they have a built in premise to capitalize on. As soon as the show starts to drag they can play the mother card. Except this was clearly the season where they should have played the card.

Open Bar said...

I absolutely HATE IT when you guys go on and on about some show I don't watch. So rude.