2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2013
*** Review Will Contain Spoilers ***
There were some major bumps in the road, but How I Met Your Mother finally got there. After eight seasons, they finally lived up to their title. Well, technically, Ted hasn't met her yet, but we can finally put a face to this highly anticipated character. We can finally picture the couple that gave this show its premise. Of course, there's a lot to be said about the closing moments of Season 8, but I'll save that for last.
This was a difficult season to grade, because the peaks and valleys were so steep that you didn't know whether the writers had completely lost their minds or were completely genius. Let me put it this way: I look at Season 8 as two halves separated by the hour long mid-season finale. The first half was clumsy, ridiculous and unfunny. The second half was clever, creative, vintage How I Met Your Mother. In December I was writing my eulogy for the show I love so much. And then something strange happened... it got good again. Really good. And I'm fully aware that this isn't a unanimous opinion; I've read the comments, I've heard the criticism. But as a long-time fan of this show, I thought the last 14 episodes of Season 8 were excellent television.
- "Splitsville" (ep. 8.06)- Robin and Nick's breakup certainly lacks originality, but Nick is just so hilariously dumb that it makes for a charming episode.
- "The Final Page, Pt. 1" (ep. 8.11)- As a fan of the show 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', I was pleased to see Alyson Hannigan reunite with her old flame, Seth Green. The jinx storyline was genius; Neil Patrick Harris played it beautifully and it was hilarious.
- "The Final Page, Pt. 2" (ep. 8.12)- This was dramedy at its absolute finest. As touching as Barney's proposal was (and I won't get into details on that), I thought the most moving moment of this episode was the final shot of Ted gazing out over the city, clearly unhappy in spite of all he'd accomplished. If a single shot could be considered "powerful" in a comedy, that was it.
- "P.S. I Love You" (ep. 8.15)- Robin Sparkles goes the way of many of today's young ex-Disney stars. And boy, is it good! [Dave Coulier's appearance was a hilariously welcome surprise]
- "Bad Crazy" (ep. 8.16)- The Robin and Lily story is vintage HIMYM. I love when the same string of events is revisited time and time again in an episode to account for revelations that change what actually happened. The same goes for "The Ashtray" (ep. 8.17), which was one of my favorite episodes of the season and reintroduced one of the show's best recurring characters, the beloved Captain.
- "The Time Travelers" (ep. 8.20)- Very interesting episode and easily one of the best of the series, in my opinion. One of the things I love about How I Met Your Mother is its tireless attention to continuity, and this episode is a great example of the writers maintaining a believable timeline. 'Robots versus Wrestlers' could have easily been a silly, forgotten anecdote in the grand scheme, but it was brought back as a reminder to us that the group would go together every year. And who thought we'd ever see Coat Check Girl again? Very pleasant surprise, if you ask me. Then you had Josh Radnor's speech in the closing minutes, which was beautiful and heartfelt. Honestly, it was so good that for a moment I forgot it was scripted. Fantastic episode on every front.
- "The Bro Mitzvah" (ep. 8.22)- If you're a fan of 80's movies, you can't miss this episode. What an homage it paid to one of the great movies of that decade. And it was funny--- classic, HIMYM funny. Easily one of the highlight episodes of the season.
- "Something New" (ep. 8.24)- I know it didn't develop the way many people wanted it to, but I thought by far it was the best finale the show has produced since Season 4. In a way I think it justified the years of teasing this wedding, because it revealed more than just the mother. It revealed what was at stake for each of these characters in the days prior to the wedding. It put every single character's life at a cross roads at that point in time, and I think it was a perfect way to magnify the wedding we've been hearing so much about.
What dragged it down?
I was thrilled to have Victoria back on the show. Unfortunately, the writers decided to make her a shell of her former self, portraying her as demanding, pushy and illogical. Gone was the charm the character once possessed, and gone was the chemistry she and Ted once shared. Victoria was a major disappointment for me, and she was out the door before she could even make her presence felt. I also thought the ultimatum she gave Ted about Robin was a major cop out by the writers. They messed up big time with Victoria, plain and simple. The character deserved much better.
There are very few episodes in this series I would consider altogether bad. In my opinion, "The Stamp Tramp" (ep. 8.07) and "Twelve Horny Women" (ep. 8.08) were by far the two worst showings of the series. What makes matters even worse is that they were not meant to be filler episodes; they were important to Marshall's story. The courtroom scene in "Twelve Horny Women" was the most ridiculous and regrettable thing I have ever experienced in eight seasons of this show. It made a complete mockery of Brad (who I've always liked as a character) and ruined the story of Marshall's path to judgeship. Additionally, Barney's return to the strip club scene in "The Stamp Tramp" (following his break-up with stripper Quinn) was absurd, unbelievable and not funny in any way. If I had to rank the worst episodes of this show, these two would would top the list. If you asked me where How I Met Your Mother hit rock bottom, I would tell you to look no further.
"Weekend At Barney's" (ep. 8.18) inexplicably backtracked on Barney's supposed burning of 'The Playbook.' The proposal scene in "The Final Page, Pt. 2" was supposed to be the big turning point for the Barney Stinson character. Instead, the writers cheated us by implying that Barney and Robin's magical moment was not as genuine as it seemed. I've seen enough of the Barnacle's sexual escapades over the years. I wanted to see real personal growth, and rather than allow Barney to take that step, the show faked it. I was very disappointed in the deceitful path the writers took Barney on. I thought the character was really turning the corner.
Like I said, the first ten episodes were a complete mess. It was uncharacteristically not funny, unimaginative and for lack of a better word, pathetic.
I actually cannot recall an episode in the first half of the season that Lily wasn't crying about something. It could be funny once, maybe twice, and then it just gets stupid. Marshall's role was so lacking at times that he probably could have been reduced to a recurring character. Yes, he was there, but he added nothing at all to the story. While the mid-season finale explained Barney's bizarre behavior throughout the first half, it doesn't make watching it back any more enjoyable. Then there's Robin, who was turned from a strong, independent woman into a neurotic lunatic, playing right into Barney's diabolical plan week after week after week. And the stories? For lack of a better word, at times they just plain sucked. For example, "Who Wants To Be A Godparent" turned what's supposed to be a humbling honor into a ridiculous competition among a group of friends that forgot how old they were. I could go on, but this review is already going to be too long.
Now onto the big talking point, eight long years in the making--- the mother. And I think she's absolutely perfect.
I've been reading comments and reviews from fans that think she's not pretty enough, she should have been a brand name actress, she looks too much like Lily. Well, too damn bad. I'm sure we've all had it in our heads what we thought the mother should look like. I envisioned someone that was charming and cute, but not so attractive to the point where she'd be out of Ted's league. After all, Ted is the everyman. He's an average looking guy, has a cheesy sense of humor, has a normal job and has what might be considered a nerd's interests (Star Wars, crossword puzzles, poetry, etc.). This woman is a wonderful, natural fit for Professor Mosby.
One of the worst criticisms I've heard goes as follows: "I watched eight seasons for this?!" I'm sorry, but if you watched eight seasons of this show for the sole purpose of finding out who the mother was, I pity you. It's a sitcom. It's entertainment. It's supposed to be a half hour out of your life every week to shut your brain off and enjoy yourself. Don't act like you had to will yourself through 184 episodes just to be there for the big, dramatic reveal. People don't watch shows they don't like; it doesn't work like that. Sure, it may have taken awhile, but real fans have always had a way of enjoying the ride. So please, stop acting like you just wasted eight years of your life. You could have ended your suffering long ago by simply changing the channel.
Cristin Milioti was a brilliant choice, in my opinion. Obviously only time will tell as we gauge the level of likability and charisma she brings to the character, but going into the summer I could not be any happier with the casting.
In its entirety, the good outweighs the bad in Season 8. The continuous laugh-out-loud humor has all but come to a screeching halt; however the show still has more than enough clever writing and good execution to be considered a solid primetime comedy. Where the show has really thrived the last couple seasons is in its ascending emotional investment. There's more substance to the show than ever before. It gives fans a chance to really root for the characters as their paths take them to unfamiliar places. To put it simply, we care. And there's a lot to be said for a show that can evoke an emotional response from its viewers (let alone a comedy). How I Met Your Mother is not as good a show as it once was, not by a long shot. But after 8 seasons, it's still well worth watching.