It's 2013, which means we only have 17 years until Ted Mosby begins to unveil the long and arduous tale of his and his eventual wife's meeting to the poor unfortunate souls that were borne from this union. How I Met Your Mother returns on Monday night for the second half of its eighth season, picking up after an eventful (though not too eventful) midseason finale, to set the starring New York fivesome on the next chapter of their horribly misguided adulthood.
Where We Left Off: In a long-awaited nexus of the present chronology and the oft referenced "ways down the road," Barney Stinson had finally proposed marriage to Robin Scherbatsky. After unleashing a tirade of reasons why Barney is hardly the sort man she could ever trust or respect, citing his methodical deceit and manipulation as reasons why she should not only turn down his proposal but steer clear of him entirely for fear of ending up spending the hereafter in a basement freezer, Robin dismisses her instincts and gives in to whatever passes for love these days — these kooky cats are engaged.
What's Going on with Everybody Else? Oh yeah. I think Marshall is en route to become a judge. And his widowed mother has begun dating his wife Lily's divorced father. That's a show all its own.
And Ted? Oh yeah, Ted! ... No, not much really going on with Ted.
Okay... Anything Good Happen Back in the Fall? Barney split with his fiancée Quinn, leading him through a series of cataclysmic endeavors (including getting a dog, which the other characters seemed to think was a lot more self-destructive a choice than it actually was... dogs are great!) and an elaborate, and shameful, plan to win Robin over via the help of her detested coworker Patrice. Robin and Ted gained and lost their own flimsy romances (Nick and Victoria, respectively), opening up the eventuality for Ted to meet the mother at Barney and Robin's wedding... which, as the Season 8 premiere indicated, he would that very night, at a rainy Long Island Railroad station in the fictional Farhampton.
Any Standout Moments? The episode where Ted, Robin, and Lily hid in Barney's closet.
Anything We'd All Be Better Off Forgetting? How about Barney, Ted, and Marshall's upholstery of some of the most transgressive, chauvinistic ideals imaginable in the season's second ep, or the one that reduced a jury of adult women to mindless zombies hypnotized by Joe Manganiello's shirtless torso.
So What Are We Hoping for This Time Around? All in all, to meet the mother. The show has all but confirmed that this will be the season to officially unite Ted with the future Mrs. Mosby (or TBA-hyphen-Mosby), setting up whatever future seasons might be tentatively in the works as the first legs of the romantic adventures to encircle the destined pair. If we get our wish, and the show pulls it off with the impossible degree of hoopla built up by years of anticipation, then the spring portion of Season 8 could be the best effort made by the show in quite some time.
And What Else? Maybe some new adventures for Sanjit, a return of Swarley, and perhaps a fun revisit to the imaginative world of Marshgammon.
Check out the new episode of How I Met Your Mother Monday night at 8 PM on CBS.
[Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS]