Season premiere review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Farhampton': Marvin's room
A review of the "How I Met Your Mother" season premiere coming up just as soon as I replace you with a tiger...
Last week, CBS screened "Farhampton" for LA-based critics and reporters, and Carter Bays and Craig Thomas took a few questions about how they're approaching what's designed to be the final season of the show, but which may not be if all the actors agree to return for a ninth season. At one point, Thomas said, "We’re writing this season like it’s the end and we’ll have to sort of figure it out and have a Plan A and a Plan B going, and we’re approaching the moment where those two things will diverge. But we really feel like this launches the last season of 'How I Met Your Mother.'"
As someone who used to dearly love "HIMYM," and who is apparently going to ride with it all the way to the end, I'm not sure if any interpretation of their remarks, or the current situation, or what's set up in the season premiere, feels promising to me. When Robin was revealed as Barney's bride at the end of last season, that seemed to seal the deal on Ted not meeting the Mother until the end of season 8 — which may or may not be the end of the series — because I'm familiar with the pace at which this show advances its stories, and we would need that long to get Robin and Barney out of their current relaltionships, get them back together and seriously enough to consider marriage, plan a wedding, etc.
And you know I think waiting for the very end of the series is a bad idea, not because I care about who the Mother is, but because the constant stretching out of that plot has gotten in the way of what actually makes the show work (when it still works these days). I wanted them to introduce the Mother a few seasons ago, make her a character, and move on with other ideas. But I've made my peace with the idea that Bays and Thomas are taking the title of the show literally. But if their Plan B involves finding a way to stretch out the story of how Robin and Barney get to the altar for another season beyond this one? Oy.
(The only acceptable season 9 scenarios to me are 1)The Mother as an ongoing character, or 2)The idea Thomas once floated where it's 22 episodes of Bob Saget telling the kids, "Oh, and here's some other crazy stuff I forgot to tell you about before!," all set in between episodes from earlier seasons.)
So where the opening and closing sequences set "A little ways down the road" would have once upon a time excited me, now they just make me groan, because I know the show is going to drag its feet to get to that moment in the present, it'll involve some silly plot contortions to get there, and all for an outcome I lost interest in years ago.
I always enjoy Thomas Lennon doing funny accents, and therefore got a kick out of him playing Victoria's fiance Klaus, and Barney summarizing the entire series in 60 seconds ("... Also, I went on 'Price Is Right' and I won a dune buggy") was a nice bit of writing by Bays/Thomas and reciting by NPH, even if it pointed out how unnecessary so many earlier big arcs have been.
On the other hand, even though I've gone through newborn-related sleep deprivation twice now, Marshall and Lily's short-term memory loss and fishbowl vision were gags that worked once but probably shouldn't have been used repeatedly the way they were.
At one point, Klaus describes to Ted the German concept of something that is "almost the thing that you want, but it is not quite." I don't want that to be a metaphor for "HIMYM" itself. But I'm pretty much watching/writing out of institutional loyalty at this point, and because every now and then the show turns out an episode (usually completely unrelated to anything Mother-y) that reminds me of the good old days. "Farhampton" was not that.
What did everybody else think?