Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How I Met Your Mother Season 8 Premiere: I Wonder if I Could Drag My Meeting Emily Story Out For 8 Years [Spoilers]

There has been lots of talk about this possibly being the final season and maybe the season Ted finally meets his wife.  I love this series, and last year it finally seemed to recover and get its groove back, but I really hope this is the swan song.  The characters are all maturing and hitting the next phase of their lives, and it would be appropriate if we start wrapping everything up.  Plus 22 episodes seems long enough to grab my attention on the main storyline -- which is a storyline I stopped caring about a few seasons back but they were able to get me caring again last night.   I'm really ready for them to either reveal the wife/mother, or just shove that whole thing in the corner and allow the more appealing characters like Lily, Marshal, Robin and Barney to shine.

If this is the final season, they definitely started off in great fashion.  It was a really fun episode that delivered some great stories, and allowed all the main characters a chance to do their things.  It also dropped some tantalizing hints for the major stories of the season.

It might be due to the fact I'm a new parent and I can relate, but I loved the introduction to parenting for Lily and Marshall.  They're zombie parents trying to pretend to be part of the living, and the whole "being under water and not understanding anyone" but trying to act like they do was funny but also realistic.  You knew they loved their son more than anything, but he was also draining them and causing friction.  They handled it in a comedic way, but it was also pretty close to how life is for the first few weeks.  It is cool to see the show mature as it first was about them fresh out of college, and dealing with concerns like should they move in together or should they get married or dealing with in-laws or even superficial things like finding the best party.  Now, they've moved up to starting their own family and dealing with life as parents.  Maybe this is why the Ted storyline is growing tiresome for me, because he seems like the only guy who hasn't grown with the series and matured over time.  I do hope they continue to do some parenting storylines, and show the effects the new baby has on Lily and Marshall.

I like the new and more committed Barney.  A character they've slowly had emerge and develop for the last three or so seasons.  But after this episode, I'm not sure how stoked I am about him ending up with Robin.  At one part, this seemed like the no-brainer option.  This will now be the second committed relationship that Robin has destroyed for Barney, and this time it is even an engagement.  I realize both characters have amazing chemistry, and it was obvious several years ago that these two work together.  At some point, these characters need to stop screwing around with all their other partners, and sort of clue in that their little "will they or won't they" drama is getting a little tedious.  Especially since we know the end game is either they get married or they find out they shouldn't be together on their wedding day (which means we've gone on this long ride to just end up where we were several seasons ago).  I liked the Robin and Barney storyline this episode, don't get me wrong.  I thought the pictures and memorabilia in the storage was a sweet touch.  I just feel this is stuff we've already done for the past seasons, and the whole Barney really loves Robin was explored last year when he was with Nora.  Plus I'm sure at some point Ted the narrator essentially said Barney and Robin realized they were good friends but not meant to be together, and at one point the direction seemed to be to permanently keep them apart, but now that has all seemed forgotten.  But again, I did like this episode's story and I'm fine with them ending up together, but the whole arc has seemed to be an eternal Ferris wheel at this point.

We finally saw the mother.  Well, sort of.  She was under an umbrella.  At least we now know when and how they will meet.  It is just a matter of getting to that point.  I am intrigued to find out why Ted was at the train station, and not at what I'd assume be the wedding.  Did he help Barney or Robin escape their wedding?  There definitely seems to be a major plot point here.  I do think HIMYM is pretty effective at dropping little segments from the future and effectively and creatively tying it in on proceeding episodes.

The episode delivered some great moments.  Like I said before, I really could relate to the whole "feel like I am under water when people are talking to me because this baby is draining me" gag.  I got a kick out of the measures Barney went to erase his relationship with Robin, and the final reveal was also just as sweet.  Ted trying to sneak in the room to leave the break up letter was fun, especially when he needed Barney to call to seduce Andrea the German Giant.  The exchange with Claus was pretty funny, though his final monologue was a little too sentimental and gushy.  All in all, I thought it was a great kick off to a season that I have pretty high expectations for.

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Since I'm reviewing TV, why not throw in a few thoughts on the latest Revolution episode. This show is at great risk of losing me.  The acting is getting pretty silly, and the characters are becoming cartoonish.  Miles had a few lines that really landed like bricks, and seemed to be an attempt at B action movie dialogue.  I think I'm supposed to see him as all bad ass and cool, but his scenes are really dragging the whole show down.  I am hoping he ends up getting lost in the woods, and then we can just focus on Charlie and Nora. 

I have to admit I'm still sticking around because they have me intrigued by the mystery they're creating here.  I still want to find out why Grace has power (and is there reason why her computer can only handle DOS rather than Windows?), and the appearance of Randall the taser man has me got me wanting to know what happens next.  The reveal of the mother still being alive has me asking lots different question, such as wondering if she faked her death or if Charlie just made assumptions about her mother's fate.  She seems to still really care about her family, but why is she so far away from them?  I like the ambiguity of Nate, since he seems to want to help Charlie even if he is militia.  I'd actually rather the show stick with him than Miles the MacGyver look alike.

This show is riddled with plot holes.  It has enough flaws that if they don't start addressing them then the mystery won't be enough to keep me around.  It does need to find a way to get me to start caring about someone in this show.  Charlie was becoming a little too melodramatic and whiny this episode, and so, hopefully they knock her complaining down a few notches.  The writers need to realize the life of this show will be the characters, and we need to get attached to them.  I want them to work on that mystery and have some reveals set up, but they also need to spend time actually writing appealing characters and situations.  At one point, it looked like they were trying to make Captain Tom a bit more of a sympathetic character when he was dealing the passing of one of his soldiers, but then his next scene seemed to be screaming out "you must hate this man!"  Tom is much better as a character who is torn between loyalty to the militia, but also full of compassion and wanting what is right for this world rather than just being a generic dastardly villain.  There are real opportunities to offer up some complex characters and deal with some grey areas.  I really hope they start allowing the characters to develop, and not just have them be cogs that push along the bigger mystery.

I still believe this show has potential.  I'm going to let it work through its freshmen growing pains.  It can be a good show.  It can also make me look like a fool for believing in it too.

2 comments:

  1. I watched both today and my thoughts were similar. I'll definitely keep following HIMYM which I only got addicted to in the past year even if the Robin/Barney story is starting to bug me too. I got really excited over Revolution's previews but it has been meh so far.
    I will probably give it one more episode to pick up before I eliminate it from my watching schedule if it doesn't.

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  2. I understand where they're trying to go with Robin & Barney, and at one time, I was totally on page with them. I think both have great chemistry together, but it this constant "I pine but then don't hook up when I have the chance" cycle they've been pulling for the past few seasons. Hopefully, the writers are brave enough to go in a new direction and not just recycle old stories.

    I'll give Revolution at least one more episode, because those little buggers have me intrigued on what is going on with Grace having power and why the mother is alive.

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