Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How I Met Your Mother welcomes Jennifer Morrison

     CBS's How I Met Your Mother did not have a banner year last season.  In fact, often times, it was kind of crummy.  And for awhile, this was one of my favorite shows on television.  The producers seemed to acknowledge mistakes were made, promising that this year a third act would begin, and they would try to take the quality back to what it once was.  We are five episodes into season six, and so far, they have delivered two awesome episodes ("Big Days" and "Subway Wars").  Sadly, that leave three not-so-good episodes, and keeps the doubt lingering in my mind that HIMYM has jumped the shark.

     I was pretty optimistic about last night's episode, as it marked the arrival of Jennifer Morrison (House) as Zoey, who will play a sizeable arc this year.  Her casting sparked much online debate as to whether she is or is not the mother referenced in the title, and as Morrison is a great, proven actress, it was pretty exciting stuff.  Unfortunately, last night's episode was less than overwhelming.  Morrison did ok, but it's not like she and Ted (Josh Radnor) had instant chemistry.  I didn't really feel much to report between the two.  I was actually a bit surprised to see her pop back up at the end of the episode, as her story played like so many other women on the show, feeling like it was over at the end of the half hour.  I'm not saying that she can't be great; perhaps Morrison will grow on me.  I'm not even blaming the actress, as the series stars several actors I still admire greatly.  The overall quality, however, still suffers.

     How I Met Your Mother is at it's best when it allows the cast to fully and freely interact amongst themselves.  Sure, sometimes a fun catchphrase or interlacing story between the five primary characters delivers an awesome episode.  But lately, the conceits the story evolve around sometime go well into the cheese, and it makes the whole thing not funny.  Develop Barney's (Neil Patrick Harris) pining for Robin (Cobie Smulders) a bit more, as they did in "Subway Wars".  Let Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) be a great couple, without too many issues between them, as that is what works best for them.  And whatever you do, don't let Ted come across as a selfish jerk, because that almost never leads to an enjoyable entry, but it has happened more than a few times.

     One more note.  The shots of the kids at the beginning of the episodes lately seem very much like stock footage.  Sure, I know that the daughter (Lyndsy Fonseca) is now starring in the CW's Nikita, and so it would prove very complicated to bring her back too often.  Plus, the kids rarely speak anyway, so it's easy to loop new narration (provided by Bob Saget) over an already filmed moment.  Just make sure it's not too obvious that you use the same shot over and over.  And when the kids eventually do return in a series finale, as they must for the closure to be truly satisfying, they shouldn't look much older than we last saw them.  Dangerous ground being tread upon here.  Just please be cautious.

     How I Met Your Mother airs Monday nights at 8pm on CBS, and I'll keep watching, rooting for them to get the train back on track as they begin to wrap up their very long story.

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