Hello, fellow mother lovers! Now feels like a good time to touch base regarding new developments in the world of How I Met Your Mother. Season 8 was – and remains – a bit of a bumpy ride, but we are at least moving forward.
First, a confession…this ain’t my favorite season. Season 7 was my LEAST favorite, so for a while I was excited by season 8 just because it was better than the last. When it’s held up against other seasons, though, I don’t think 8 fares well.
After talking a bit with Ross from Ted-Mosby.com, I get the feeling that I’m not the only one. He noted that the relationships between Ted and Victoria, and Robin and Nick, felt rushed and perhaps incomplete. I feel the same way about Barney and Quinn. I also did not enjoy how Victoria was transformed from a quality love interest into a farce of her former self. I accepted all of that, because I want Robin and Barney together, and I didn’t like Victoria as The Mother. But in terms of writing and a fluid storyline progression, it was all a bit much.
That’s not to say that everything has been horrible these past few months. “Who Wants To Be A Godparent” (S8E3) was classic HIMYM hijinks, and I think they pulled the entire episode off really well. Similarly, I enjoyed the gang’s recaps of their juvenile delinquency in “Twelve Horny Women” (S8E8). I am, however, conflicted on the return of so many old faces…
On the one hand, how fun is it to revisit with Brad, The Captain, and Coat Check Girl (Wench)? On the other hand, I was comfortable leaving those characters in the past. I think the writers may be clearing out all options for The Mother that people have speculated on, and thus bringing some characters back just to show that they’re not a part of his future.
I do wonder how much – if any – of the plot this season has been influenced by fan speculation online. The infamous Carly Theory was neatly dismissed in one episode, despite being perhaps the strongest fan theory out there. I do wonder if she was originally intended to be The Mother, or (more likely) she was a character that they never planned to bring back. We’ve certainly seen other character’s siblings disappear, and that was after they actually appeared in episodes.
So it is reasonable to guess that the Thomas and Bays may have tweaked her character’s importance, to satisfy – or poke fun at – the fans. I did appreciate one aspect of how they handled her, though: Ted did indeed meet her randomly, and not via Barney. The biggest hole in the Carly Theory was that Ted wouldn’t have needed this whole journey just to meet his BFF’s sister. But the writers arranged it so it was still very serendipitous, which I appreciated.
The group’s obsession with Woodworthy Manor (akin to the real life show Downton Abbey) also made me wonder if the writers were speaking directly to the fans. At one point in “The Fortress” (S8E19) a plot twist turns out as Ted expected. This caused him to yell (at the TV) that he totally called that like two weeks ago on the online forums! I need to re-watch the episode to confirm his exact quote, but that was the gist. So perhaps a subtle nod to all of us that are blogging and obsessing via Reddit, Television Without Pity, etc.
As for “Time Travelers” (S8E20), well spoiler ahead if you haven’t seen it. I have a perhaps irrational dislike of dream sequence scenes. I don’t like them in books, I don’t like them in movies, and I especially don’t like them on television shows. They feel like a waste of time to me. I did actually enjoy this episode, though, because it brought in several saving grace elements:
- Robin and Marshall’s dance-off was indeed a memory, and not a dream. I would be happy if every TV show ever had dance-offs, so I’m 100% in favor of that part. I just wish I could have seen more of it. I may have also been saying “Cause I’m Sparkles, bitch!” on a regular basis ever since.
- Ted’s interactions with Jayma Mays (coat check girl) were heartbreakingly realistic. When her future versions point out that all of Ted’s relationships always end the same, the tears started to fall. It is SO HARD to maintain hope when it seems like the outcome is always the same negative thing. Ted has been losing hope throughout the past few seasons, and it truly does humanize him in many ways. Of course, his interactions were actually with himself, as this moment happened only in his imagination. Same goes for what Barney said to him in the end:
- That whole episode could have been total crap and I still would have loved the multiple Ted and Barney a capella version of “The Longest Time”. I’m still singing it. Here it is for you to enjoy…
Next up – a review of Barney and Ted in “Romeward Bound” (S8E21)