It pains me to say this, but I have never hate-watched a show more than I am currently hate-watching HIMYM. How did one of the greatest new shows on TV go so wrong? How could they have lost their way so pathetically badly? What were they thinking? I can think of only one answer: they weren’t.
To end on a high note, HIMYM should have wrapped up at season 6. Hell, even at season 7 they might have still gone out with some dignity. Not a lot. But some.
Nope. They had to drag it out to season 8. And then season 9. And now it is arguably the worst TV-turned-trainwreck I have ever seen. HIMYM used to be refreshingly witty and brilliantly funny. It somehow managed to put an original spin on the tired cliche of “friends in their late twenties living in New York!!1!1!” (Let’s be real, after Friends nothing will ever come close). For a long time, it worked. It kept me captivated and entertained. It became a tradition for my group of friends to gather at an apartment every Monday night, open a few beers, and laugh until we cried at the newest episode. Now, me and my roommates begrudgingly turn on the TV to sit in stony silence for a painful 22 minutes, forcing ourselves to see it through out of loyalty but not out of love.
It breaks my heart. So this is my attempt to pinpoint what went wrong and why. It won’t bring back the old HIMYM but….
It won’t make the current one better either…
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show where the main character is so unbelievably, unbearably unlikeable. Ted represents the dangerously realistically “nice guy” persona that seems to fill every women’s life. It didn’t take long for his character to come across as desperate and cringe-worthy. While his dorky quirks seemed amusing in the first seasons, the character has been stretched so thin with virtually no development that it now painful to watch.
2. The Mother Reveal
This may be me being nitpicky, but while I was glad they finally put a face to the name, I was disappointed with how The Mother’s character was introduced. I guess I was always expecting to see it from Ted’s eyes, you know? The moment the entire show has been building up to it ended up being a bit anti-climatic when it came down to it. I wanted the first moment that Ted laid eyes on her to be the first moment we laid eyes on her too. Instead, she steps forward to buy a train ticket in the last few seconds and we have to wait until the next season to really know her. I should say here that I think her character, in the few episodes she has been, is probably the only good thing about this last season. But I was still disappointed about the way she was brought in.
3. Robin & Ted
Guys. This ship has sunk. Let it die. Literally for like three seasons straight, I thought we had finally, finally, FINALLY moved on. And just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! (Sorry. Had to be done.) But really, the Robin and Ted plot line has been overdone to death. They even resolved it somewhat satisfactorily. So why why why why do they keep dragging it back? I read a theory somewhere that the show isn’t really about how Ted meets the mother. Rather it’s about how Ted gets over Robin. How Robin was the end-all, be-all girl for him and when he meets The Mother is when he finally truly completely lets go. I’m not sure if I buy it but that’s because I think Robin’s character can be kindly poorly written at times and doesn’t necessarily merit all the attention and fawning the show constantly throws at her.
4. The Setting
I think the worst idea they ever came up with is deciding to make the entire ninth season an hour leading up to the wedding. It is already mind-numbingly boring and the fact that absolutely nothing happens in each episode doesn’t help. When my friend asks what they missed, my answer is always “Literally nothing.” So far, not a single thing has happened that has made any impact on the season, the show, or the characters. Every plot line they try to bring up comes off as a weak and pathetic attempt to salvage some sense of direction. And it fails every time.
5. The Writing
Ultimately though it comes down to the writing. Every failure of the show can be blamed on the downfall of pure comedic writing to lame tricks for a cheap laugh. No more originality. Just the continuous recycling of the same old jokes and gags. Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it wasn’t the only thing the show was depending on. This is what kills me. I was originally drawn to HIMYM for the writing. Now it repulses me.
Indeed, how the mighty have fallen.