Fall TV In Review, Pt. 1: How I Met Your Mother

At the beginning of this TV season, I reviewed A LOT of television. I think that blogging about that many shows in that brief a time period resulted in some serious burnout, and the ensuing months-long hiatus I took. Fast-forward to now, and I’ve got the pop-culture equivalent of cabin fever. Everything is on hiatus, and unlike last year, I don’t have a ton of amazing (read: Oscar-bait) movies to see in theaters. SO, what I’m going to do is this: a few times a week, I’ll  be posting my follow-up reviews to every show I reviewed back in September, one at a time. Hopefully this will keep me occupied while preventing burn-out. So… here we go.

By and large, the first half of Season 7 (SEVEN, people!) has been very inconsistent. I thought the first half of the premiere was excellent. Drunk Marshall is typically pretty funny, and I’m a fan of any synchronized dancing. But then the second half was really disappointing. More Drunk Marshall, awful Martin Short, worse green screen… ugh. But then it bounced back with the story of the Ducky Tie, which was a hilarious episode. Things were going up with the next episode – focused on Ted’s perpetual 3rd Wheel status to Lily and Marshall, plus Kal Penn, plus the really funny doctor Sonya (“just a little bit”). And it goes on and on. Some episodes were good, some were mediocre. None were really fantastic, and I was getting seriously down because I began to realize how far this show has drifted from where it started.

And then Robin and Barney hooked up. And I was pissed. Unlike most people (I’m assuming), I’m not a big fan of Barney/Robin. I mean, they were awful together. They were just hooking up in secret. When people found out, they pretended to fake being a couple to shut them up. And then they got fat and ugly and mean. They fought all the time, and eventually broke up.

Now, I suppose that the scene where they danced together at Punchy’s wedding was supposed to show that they really do go well together. After all, it’s been a couple years, and they’re different(ish) people. Robin is no longer so focused on her career she is willing to sacrifice relationships for it. Barney is no longer pathologically afraid of anything real. So maybe they CAN work. I’m just going to need some more convincing.

Then Robin announced she was pregnant.

And I was pissed.

Not because she was pregnant, per se, but rather for what it meant for the show. I mean, first she reveals that she and Kevin have never had sex – which is basically TV code for “This is a relationship that isn’t going anywhere.” Then the fact that she’s pregnant, and Barney is all on board, basically removed all tension in the story! I mean, was there any doubt at all that Barney’s wedding in the future is to anyone but Robin? That’s just bad storytelling.

Then the latest episode happened.

And I was blown away. That episode was so wonderfully constructed. It’s all from Robin’s point of view, talking to her future kids. It’s just like any other episode, just with Robin in Ted’s place. You find out that Robin and Barney get together, and raise two great kids together, and everything seems to be great. Marshall is hanging out in the suburbs, getting into trouble with some douchey neighbor kid, Ted’s going home for Christmas… yawn, right? WRONG. Because it’s ALL A LIE.

Robin is not pregnant. She is barren. And she is talking to imaginary kids. She doesn’t get with Barney (at least not yet), and not everything is sewn up beautifully. Instead, we see her bawling her eyes out in Ted’s arms as he cancels his plans to show her he’s there for her with a big gesture. This episode was wonderfully written and directed; more so, it was beautifully acted by Cobie Smulders, who deserves some recognition. I think that this episode is the “Marshall’s Dad Dying” episode of the season, and I think that this will be the episode that proves Victoria’s prediction correct: that the Ted-Robin-Barney triangle is far from over, and that there are unresolved feelings on every side of that equation.

All in all, this was a decent season of HIMYM. It had flashes of brilliance here and there, but was largely just solid. That being said, it ended on a serious high note, and that has got me excited about the rest of the season, as well as the conclusion in a year and a half.

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