Now that How I Met Your Mother seems to be tacking on one more year to its never-ending narrative — totaling nine seasons of Bob Saget narrating Josh Radnor’s exploits to meet, wed, and procreate with his soul mate — some fans are wondering just what the cast and creators have in store for this final chapter. And not all theories are exactly drenched in optimism.
See, How I Met Your Mother peaked a few years back, slipping more recently into a lazier, more farfetched farce that has strayed from Ted Mosby’s central storyline toward the on-again-off-again romance between Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris). Talks of “meeting the mother” are few and far between these days, excepting the odd yellow umbrella Easter egg. Now, if this pattern were to continue into the newly prophesized Season 9, we’d just be gearing up for more boredom on the parts of the audience and the actors (or so it seems, at least) alike. But a shift in formula, and some new rules of play, might very well make an additional year with this long-running story work quite well.
Rule 1: Let’s Meet the Mother
Back when Season 8 seemed to be the last stop on this New York coupling’s journey, we figured that the upcoming finale would at last introduce Ted to his future wife. Just because Season 9 is afoot, that doesn’t mean this plan should be abandoned — we’ve run the gambit of Ted making his way towards the eventual Mrs. Mosby. Now, we should see him making his way with her. After all, The Mother in question shouldn’t just be a target — someone who has earned this degree of mythos needs to be bulked up in character. Following an introduction at the end of the present eighth season, we can spend Season 9 watching the two T.M.s fall for one another, date, undertake their share of ups and downs, and eventually marry. And then with the kids, as people are wont to do.
Rule 2: Age These Characters Appropriately
When we met Ted, Robin, and Barney, they were in their mid-20s, not long out of college, exploring single life in the Big City through a series of sexual escapades that would call for ethical critique from some of your drunkest of frat brothers. But it was… forgivable. Now that these people are rounding 35, their bachelorial endeavors just seem creepy. The constant philandering and self-debasement on the parts of these characters is no longer “cute.” In fact, it’s no longer “watchable.” Luckily, Barney and Robin seem to be tying the knot… but if this just a classic How I Met Your Mother bait-and-switch, then hopefully they’ll both keep to a more mature path from now on.
Rule 3: Wacky Hijinks or Heavy Melodrama — Pick One!
This show was founded on high spirits, cartoonish characters, and fantastical situations throughout post-millennial New York City. But somewhere along the way, the mood shifted toward stories of infertility and chronic loneliness. There’s merit in both of these extremes, but they seem to have trouble coexisting successfully… it’s hard to take Barney and Robin seriously when they’re accompanied by Marshall and Lily madness. And it’s hard to suspend disbelief for some of the zanier antics when other parts of this universe strive to feel grounded. Make up your mind, How I Met Your Mother
Rule 4: More Ranjit
I like Ranjit.
Rule 5: Stop Toying with Us
This show has lied to us one too many times. It’s impossible to trust How I Met Your Mother anymore. Drop the magic act, show, and instead just present things as they are from here on out: be straightforward and earnest. Nothing is lost from a direct approach.
What do you think it will take to make a ninth season of How I Met Your Mother work?
[Photo Credit: CBS]