Someone once remarked that How I Met Your Mother works as a sitcom because it's one of the few instances where the actors all actually enjoy hanging out together on set, so it's more believable that they're friends on the show.
And even that one is starting to suffer these days.... :(
They are making a mistake by turning the whole setup into "we meet the mother in the last episode." The building of the relationship would be interesting and fun, but the dragging-out of the whole thing is getting unfortunate because they can't focus.
2010-10-16 06:26 pm (UTC)
I disagree. Keep in mind that my perspective is unusual, in that I just started watching the show this year (thanks to DVDs), but it was obvious to me from the end of the first episode (and confirmed by the end of the first season) that we would not meet The Mother until the show was canceled.
Anyone who joins the cast at this point would just be Cousin Oliver. Cousin Oliver is not funny.
The problem is that they have reached the point where it's feeling redundant and Ted is just a giant douche. I would rather see them wrap it up than keep dragging it out until they kill it. If they aren't going to pick an end date and write with one or two more seasons after this in mind, then they are dooming the show to anguished dragging. "How you mother managed to fit into this social group" is vastly more interesting to me than "Ted is whiny and pathetic for 5 more seasons." Which is where they are headed if they keep on the current trajectory.
2010-10-16 11:38 pm (UTC)
Well, you're certainly right on that count. I think if they're smart, and keep the focus off of Ted as much as possible (somewhat difficult, considering it's ostensibly his story), they can be decent for one, maybe two more seasons. Which is nothing to be ashamed of: the Mary Tyler Moore show only lasted 7 years, and the last year or two is best not spoken of.
I just don't think introducing the Mother will solve anything. Not because "how your mother fit into our social group" is necessarily a bad story, but because "how a sixth actor fit into the five-actor show" probably is.
If the creators sounded like they had any understanding of their "best used by" date, I'd agree. But they seem willing to drag it out for a LOOOOONG time.
2010-10-17 02:01 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I'll have to defer to you on that one, since my knowledge of the creators' statements is quite limited (again, largely because I came late to the party). I thought--based, admittedly, on one kinda throw-away line of commentary on the S1 DVD--that the creators realized that the show, while ostensibly about meeting The Mother, is actually about the stupid crap you do in your 20s (into 30s).
Which implies two things: 1) that the whole Mother thing is just a framing device, and should be treated with that degree of seriousness, and 2) that there's necessarily a sell-by date, because "stupid crap I did when I was 28" is funny, but "the same stupid crap I did when I was 38" is pathetic.
If the creators in fact miss those points, well, this would be far from the first sit-com that choked to death on its own waste products like so much yeast.
It is a framing device, but one that can't simply be ignored. The fact is the story has to come back around to it because why would he be telling his kids all this if it wasn't on point in SOME way. And that's the choke point.
2010-10-17 03:35 pm (UTC)
Which is why it has to be that they meet The Mother in the last episode, which is why the show has to end, and fairly soon.
And that, kids, is what they call "tying it up."
See, I still disagree. For me as a kid, the mother reveal would be one more step in the story of how we got together. Sure, that's a little mission creep, but it's better than the recursive dragging that we appear to be moving toward now.
(Based on a "we want to milk this cash cow as long as possible" mindset, not on a "what's best for the arc of the story" mindset. Best for the story is that they finish this season and aim next season for the reveal and retiring the show.)
2010-10-17 05:10 pm (UTC)
Now here, I think we agree 100%.
Yeah, I realized that I might be coming off as if I thought this was best for the series, not as this would be a way to keep the series from becoming a disaster.
Sadly, I think you're right. Shat's character is a combination of my dad & step-dad-in-law. I love it. Unfortunately, the lead son is incredibly stiff, & the daughter-in-law is almost unbearable to look at/listen to. I think the older son could offer more, but they've kept him in the stereotypical "big doofus" role.
It's so stereotyped that it's painful.
I agree that the writing is very uninspired. I do like the gay character though, I'd like to see him in his own show!
We have been enjoying "Raising Hope" one of the new comedy offerings. Worth a try.
Having grown up in a really dysfunctional family, the ads for that are all kinds of triggery for me. Which Malcom in the Middle wasn't, but I think it's because she's a baby and so vulnerable and I end up extrapolating in horror.
I'm enjoying the show too. It's soooo over the top compared to anything I've experienced in real life, so it's hilarious to me. Also, the Halloween episode was filmed on my street.
I just wanted to see Shatner do karaoke, and I liked the son's date's aunt a lot, and how she played off Shatner.
Other than that? Pass.
Which is a shame, because I like the actors who play the older son and his wife.
A good moment here and there does not make the dreck wade-able for me.
I feel the same way about sit-coms, and TV in general for that matter.
I went through a period of basically watching no TV, and now I'm watching more, but there is so much of it that I can't bear that it's hard to believe finds an audience at all.
2010-10-16 06:23 pm (UTC)
Starting about, oh, mid-90s I came to the conclusion that I was fed up with sit-coms, with the possible exception of animated (Simpsons) or puppet (Sifl & Olly) shows.
In more recent years, probably starting about the time I finally bowed to the pressure to watch Arrested Development (i.e., about a year after it was canceled), I have started to have some hope for the form. Since then, there have been a few select shows, such as HIMYM, that I've watched and enjoyed.
And, largely thanks to TiVo, that's all I've known for a while. Then, just a couple of days ago, as I was sitting in an auto repair waiting room waiting for a new battery, I saw some random sit-com that was on the TV.
Apparently, I have been blissfully ignorant of just how painfully awful TV has become. Bless you, TiVo.
Agreed. There are a few gems out there, but most TV is still painful.
2010-10-16 06:31 pm (UTC)
Shatner is funny when you let him play "William Shatner." The self-aware, ego-inflated star who in on the joke. The guy on the Priceline commercials, who did Saturday Night Live and skewered himself, the vlogger...
Shatner has his limits; go beyond them and he fails.
Oh, he's great! He's pretty much Shatner plus. It's that the material is not supporting him.
What bothers me the most about that show, is that the twitterfeed and the book are both BRILLIANT. The father is full of amusing bon-mots, has consistency of character, and is generally just fucking hilarious.
I LOVE the Twitterfeed. It's brilliant. (I haven't read the book.) The writers are simply not as good as the real dad, not by a long shot.
I've only seen the first episode, and it was notably weak. Like a pilot they need to rework. No, it was like a play practice. The son was a poor straight man. The son and daughter-in-law were useless, and side characters are very important to a sitcom. (Made Dharma/Greg/Will/Grace tolerable). The only good thing was the scene in the DMV, when all the other characters were absent.
The main cast does not get any better, and you can't build a show on one guy and the random people he encounters for a few funny minutes, leaving the rest of the show a bore.
(My mind is trying to meld your visage into the Hemingway picture. It's a strange confluence....)
Would it be something like this?
Or does the sweater help?
If I remember correctly, what we saw was the reworked pilot.
I watched the first episode, couldn't stand the laugh track and never tuned back in.
I tried to watch it twice. The first time made me wonder how much it would cost to pick up dvd sets of Titus. The second time I thought what a criminal waste of Will Sasso...
We watched the first episode and that was it for us. Still deciding whether or not we like The Event. Most of the new shows didn't even appeal for one episode.
I'm happy with not picking up extra TV in my life, seeing what's actually out there. Mythbusters, Hell's Kitchen and Top Gear make me happy,
Huh. I have low taste. I REALLY enjoy Gary Unmarried, for instance. I like simple stuff that I can pick right up on or leave. I don't ask much from my background noise.
I've enjoyed enough of the show to watch it. I realllly enjoyed the internet dude with the gun pointed at him. The main son needs to be a bit looser--or a bit less self-involved... or maybe he just should've been cast a bit younger. I don't like the sister-in-law, but I've NEVER liked her as an actress.
It probably does help a lot that William Shatner could probably read the phone book and I'd watch, and it definately helps that I find the older brother to be major eye candy*.
yeahyeah, maybe I'm weird, but I think the dude is CUTE!
Yeah, I'm pretty picky about stuff.