October 18th, 2013 How I Met Your Mother 1
I previously wrote about how It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a show in its ninth season that has somehow managed to not get stale. I mentioned that this was a rarity, which can definitely be seen by contrasting Sunny‘s track-record with How I Met Your Mother‘s. HIMYM began its decline around season 4 or 5, a decline which, arguably, has continued until last season. Not that there weren’t high points in those last few seasons — some of the show’s best gags and most poignant moments happened then — but the overall quality of the show was so low, which added to the power of those moments. Where HIMYM was once a bright point of my week, it evolved into a chore, something I had to keep up with because of all the time I had invested into it. It got to the point where I was just waiting for it to end so that I could move on.
Last year, the showrunners announced that, despite speculation that season 8 would be HIMYM‘s last, the show would be renewed for one more season. Groans could be heard around the world of viewers waiting for the show to truly kick the bucket. The showrunners then stated that the final season would have a different format from the rest of the show. Instead of the typical season structure, where each episode could span numerous days, the entire final season would take place in 48 hours. Predictably, the internet was not happy with this news. Not only was the show dragged on for yet another season, well past its expiry date, but the format would be so unpredictable that it would drag the once-great show into Final Season Purgatory where shows wait to die (most recent addition to this list — Dexter). I, personally, was unsure what to think of the news. Though I had been hoping the show would go out on a reasonably high note, the thrill of a cool format change seriously enticed me. I knew I would be tuning in, mainly to see if the switch-up would work.
I have now officially caught up with the first few episodes of season 9, and am happy to report that they have exceeded my expectations. Though they still have flaws, the new format has added a much-needed freshness to the episodes, keeping the show afloat. Since the end is so near, there isn’t any more unnecessary tangents the show needs to go on to fill up time, everything is (for the most part) directly related to the end of the show. The classic HIMYM humour also remains, with flashbacks and fast cuts adding to the fun. I may not laugh as much as I did in its peak seasons, but its still a far cry from being boring.
Though this final season of How I Met Your Mother is far from perfect, I do feel a sense of awe at what the cast and crew have been able to do. A turnaround like this is so rare for most shows, especially this far in their runs, which really shows how much everyone making this show really cares about how it ends. Though the season is not over yet, I remain cautiously optimistic that the show will conclude in a way that is satisfying to all fans that have invested their time in it for so long. HIMYM always had a good sense of how to mix some feelings into the funny, which I think means that we can at least expect some warmhearted closure for these characters that we’ve grown to love.