A Conversation About HIMYM

The season finale of “How I Met Your Mother” aired on May 14 with some major surprise plot twists. Two longtime fans, Jordan O’Donnell and Mike Shulman, discuss the developments and what it means for the characters’ futures. They also air grievances about a fictional show they have invested far too much time into.

Jordan:  So last night’s finale featured the big surprise that it’s in fact Robin who Barney is to marry. When the Barney wedding was first revealed, we may initially have thought it would be Robin. But Quinn’s introduction put a halt to that, and following the very obvious proposal that was the magic trick, we’re left with a cliffhanger that Barney somehow switches brides. Do you think this is the right direction to go? Should the writers have revealed this now and taken away the surprise when the engagement falls apart?

Mike: Maybe the biggest non-shock of the whole series. At least I always felt that Robin and Barney were great together because she allowed Barney to mature and maintain his bro-status. It may be the best foil to the Lily/Marshall relationship. I loved the proposal because it allowed for signature Barney jokes. However, I felt that the writers spent so much time making the viewer like Quinn, we might feel bad for her as the inevitable break-up occurs. Overall, Robin (with an “I”) is an upgrade because she is still hot (despite the show dressing her like crap), Barney won’t have to be paranoid about the stripping, and I won’t be stuck with overused stripper jokes for another season. The only shock is the one I called last week, Ted and Victoria. Did we meet the Mother?

Jordan: Well, Quinn quit stripping, which she said she would for Barney, so that’s all put to rest now. Barney and Robin don’t ever seem to be on the same page, and it’s sort of awkward that Ted confessed his love but has just put it all behind him now. All this does is create a doomed relationship with Barney and Quinn, just as we know all of Ted’s relationships (including the new/old one with Victoria) are doomed because those women can’t be the Mother. While I enjoyed Robin’s speech to Ted, which was a long time coming, I didn’t like the execution with Victoria. I realize Ted had to “make” it happen as opposed to wait, as Robin instructed, but he was once left at the altar, and is thus less sympathetic now having stolen Victoria away. I do not think Victoria can be the Mother because of the details we know, barring some gigantic work-around. But thinking about it, both Barney and Ted are (or will be) dating women they were already with. Does this mean the show is coming full circle or is it just running on fumes?

Mike: Ted’s rooftop “I love you” earlier this season was total desperation. His girly biological clock is ticking faster and it is easy to just try to force something with Robin (I’ve been working on my best girl friend for years). Moreover, Barney and Robin’s eventual marriage finally shuts up all the “Robin is the Mother” theorists. I hope Victoria sticks around. She was by far the best relationship Ted was in, but it is a very fair point that Ted looks pretty bad interfering in a wedding.

Back to Barney and Quinn. I wonder if they will use next season to show the demise of the relationship, or will the season opener use flashbacks to show how Quinn departs?

We are also overlooking the central plot of the episode: Marvin Waitforit Erikson. Maybe overlook is a bad choice of words because I could care less about these two characters. This show is great because it is so different from other sitcoms, but Marshall and Lily are too much of a crappy sitcom in their own right. I think a lot of it is the result of Jason Segal being in movies and playing with Muppets, as he just seems less committed. Thoughts?

If I am not mistaken, the show has at least two more seasons under contract. So will next season be (1) Barney/Robin/Quinn; (2) new baby Marvin jokes; (3) Ted/Victoria/ Mother? I would like some time spent on Ted’s reaction to Barney and Robin because it really could be crushing for him. I think this show is no longer powering to a conclusion, but coming full circle on the fumes it has left.

Jordan: Victoria was definitely his best relationship, and while I was delighted she showed up this season, the circumstances are poor. A lot happened in a half hour. I hope the Victoria character we like isn’t tarnished by what happened in the finale. Maybe they’ll tease her being the Mother only to end it right before Barney and Robin’s wedding.

I have to imagine the writers use the season to end Barney and Quinn, then build up Barney and Robin. There’s a chance they coincide. They have to keep the timeframe in the present to explain Ted and Victoria.

I also sort of agree on Marshall and Lily. They have always been two of the most reliable characters, but a pregnancy/new baby storyline, while necessary, is cliché on a sitcom. Hopefully some new material can be gleaned from this, but it’s most likely the case that these two have peaked. Very little else can happen to them of significance at this point. They are supporting characters along the way for the other three main characters. Having said that, Waitforit is an excellent middle name, maybe narrowly surpassing Danger as my favorite of all time.

As for the future of this show, the biggest issue is how much longer CBS wants to renew it (this season actually saw increased ratings). But the revelation of the Mother cannot be dragged out much further. I became visibly angry at episodes that run circles and do not advance the plot. I want to know, or at least come closer to knowing. The creators will have to decide whether to end the show by revealing the Mother, or have a period where we get to know her. I feel at this point we should get to know her, but there are risks, in that we may not like her. I’ve even imagined a possibility where Ted meets two women at the wedding and we are unsure which is the Mother, and there is then an even bigger risk that we prefer the wrong one.

Mike: Yes, because we need to see Victoria, and the Barney/Quinn/Robin love triangle will have to play out in real time. Side note: the chick who plays Quinn is on another show, so we should have seen this coming. I want to say that I feel in next season, Ted will hit rock bottom right before the wedding. However, I don’t know how much more I want depressed Ted on the show. Moreover, the audience needs to see the Mother when Ted does. No cliffhangers, please.

I think we both agree and cannot stress enough how insignificant Marshall and Lily have become, but hopefully we get a strong dose of flashbacks each episode of Beercules and sandwich eating. Asking now, over/under 10 jokes of Robin not liking babies and avoiding Marvin? I am taking the over. Was reading that the writers see the show going past next season, so I hope this not only means we meet the mother next season, but we get to know her before the series is over. What if the audience doesn’t like her?

Jordan: I’m over depressed Ted. He’s a drag and annoying, and more annoying than most people find regular Ted to be, which is a lot. I agree we need to meet and get to know the Mother. I won’t buy that she’s just some girl he sees or says hello to. We need context. We deserve it, dammit!

It was inevitable that Marshall and Lily become less interesting or just became “the parents.” The show has had some of its best emotional moments with the, including their break-up, wedding, parents and conception of Marvin. I’m sure the shower is capable of keeping them fun, and it will be important to avoid the parental sitcom clichés.

I’m worried too many seasons with an already-determined ending means it will be like “Lost”— dragged out with a bunch of nonsense in between. If we don’t like the Mother, it will be fine, though, because we don’t really like Ted.

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Author: R. Byrnes

Ryan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Yi! News.

2 thoughts on “A Conversation About HIMYM”

  1. (just grinded the 7th season in 8 days)

    I agree with your analysis of the progression of the show. Even as a Clevelander (one who actually worked as a lifeguard at the country club Ted references in season 4), I’ve never been able to sympathize with him. He’s a whiny, narcissistic, self aggrandizing tool. Furthermore, as you say, Lily and Marshall are boring as all hell.

    That said, I think you miss one fundamental strength of the series: the dialogue. We’ve been treated to some pretty epic story arcs since the show has started. Indeed, the very title of the show makes us constantly wondering where it will take us. But, looking at things from a high level, we’ve already followed characters along insanely improbable paths to this point. Realism has been thrown out the window, even by sitcom standards. By this point, nothing should really surprise us.

    The comparison to “Lost” is apt and yet slightly off. The only thing keeping viewers watching that Ubaldo Jimenez of a show was the outcome. I think there’s a lot more to HIMYM.

    What keeps me loving the show is the solid combination of immature humor, occasional emotional moments, and the constant Upper West Side bar setting. These three things are quite literally the bulk of my life, but can probably be related to by folks outside of Manhattan as well.

    Two more major points strike me:

    1-The political laziness cum liberalness of the writers is striking, especially as shown in “Trilogy Time”. We are shown newspaper headlines from various points in the “future” as idealized by Ted, Lily, Marshall, and Barney.

    Every newspaper has some form of commentary on the presidential election; in 2003, “President” Gore seems to have passed some sort of “Major Bill”. In 2006, we see a Howard Dean reference. (P.S: he couldn’t even beat John Kerry in his own primary.) In 2009, under what was the Obama administration (keep in mind the episode was written in 2012), rather than seeing a headline about the tanking economy or drone strikes, we see a “Nation Regrets Electing Bush to Third Term” headline. This is liberal cognitive dissonance at its most naked.

    2-Season 7 definitely relied on a few flashback type episodes, but I’m surprised it took them this long. The season maintained originality through the first 18-19 episodes in my opinion, something quite impressive for a single-location sitcom this late in the game.

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