Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How I Met Your Mother - Season 6

I'm a little conflicted about this season. On one hand, it was funnier and more clever than last year, when the show was still pretty good but didn't quite have the creative spark it did earlier. The gimmicks came back in a big way, and while relying on tricks to get by can seem tacky and often result in stuff that just doesn't play well, this show makes it work. It's part of its charm - the jokes aren't usually as sharp as some better comedies, but the cast is a lot of fun and they're always trying new things, messing around with time and hidden clues. I think this season did well with that stuff, and it was generally funny too.

On the other hand, the amount of progress we're making towards the show's promised end game is pretty pathetic. I know it's silly to complain about the overarching plot in a sitcom, but the show is called How I Met Your Mother, and every single episode features Bob Saget using narration to frame the story within the context of his long journey towards maturation and finally meeting the woman of his dreams. All we really learned this year is that Ted won't meet her until he's at someone else's wedding, and now we have to wait for that character to get married before he can really get anywhere. I believe the show has been renewed for two more seasons, and if that marks the show's end and he doesn't meet her until the finale - well, eight years is a heck of a lot of background to give your kids before you get to the point of the story.

Again, it's a sitcom - the point of the show is to entertain the viewer with jokes and likable personalities. But the writers of this show have always obviously put more effort into the story that you have to in these cases, and I just want it to pay off. We don't really know if the show will end when they meet or if it will keep going to show how they get together, though the former seems more likely as each season passes by without them meeting, and the hints and gotchas are starting to become a strain on the series, and a satisfying ending seems like a difficult proposition. Not that they can't do it, but I'll be impressed if they do.

The whole issue is affecting the week by week course of the show, too. It's gotten to the point where I can no longer give a crap about any of Ted's relationships anymore, because I know that these women aren't going to end up mattering. This entire season found him balancing a woman with a professional conflict she caused, and it was frustrating because I knew, and the writers knew, and everyone knew that it was a dead end. The show has had success here in the past, but it's starting to not work anymore. Luckily Marshall and Lily were really strong this year, particularly Jason Segel's Marshall, who had probably the best single season of development and growth of anyone yet in the series. Their family changed and and moved forward while Ted and to a similar extent Robin and Barney basically spun their wheels. I'm going to keep watching the show because it's still fun and I still have hope for the long term elements, but I'm definitely less confident than I was before.

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