Put a Ring on It

Mood always affects how entertainment strikes us. Something that seems dumb and pointless when I'm feeling grumpy may come off as silly fun when I'm in a better mood. Looking back at Season 7 of How I Met Your Mother, I wondered if I would have been kinder to it if I hadn't been slogging through Serious Life Stuff. Probably not, as it turns out. I've been feeling just fine lately, and when Season 8 became available on Netflix instant streaming, I was happy to sit down and shotgun it.

Nope. It looks like my argument that this show hit its peak in Season 6 is gaining strength, because while Season 8 wasn't actively bad or anything, it never comes close to capturing the breezy tone it had back then. Part of the problem is the well-worn trope of writers attempting to shake up the group by adding a baby. Has that ever worked, by the way? I know that Alyson Hannigan's real-life pregnancy needed to be handled in some way, but including baby Marvin on the show quickly slowed the early episodes down to a crawl. No pun intended. There was nothing about Marshall and Lily's approach to parenthood that we haven't seen before, and I could feel myself glazing over when the episode conflict centered around finding a babysitter or whatever-the-fuck.

I've also never really bought Robin and Barney as a plausible couple, but to my surprise, Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders made it seem a lot more natural. Barney trying to reconcile his horndog ways with his impending nuptials was expertly mined for some snappy comedy, and throwing in Patrice as a possible spoiler to the relationship was genius. That just leaves Ted, and of course, he's still the weak link. I can't really hold that against Season 8, though, since he's been the worst for the past several seasons. I'm not sure how many idiotic grand romantic gestures we're supposed to find lovably misguided rather than asinine are yet to come, but he really needs to stop ruining weddings and job interviews in his quest for The One.

I'm being hard on this show, because it used to be one of the cleverest comedies I watched, and for two seasons in a row, it's tipped into overly-emotional melodrama. That doesn't mean I won't watch the final season when it becomes available to stream. I definitely want to see the closing chapter in these character's lives, and I'm sure there will be plenty of heartwarming moments. I just hope they remember to aim for the funny bone, as well.

How I Met Your Mother - Season 8: C+


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