Search This Blog

Monday, November 4, 2013

HIMYM: The Lighthouse S9Ep8

As evidenced by the number of times it's discussed on this blog, 'How I Met Your Mother' is one of my favorite sitcoms.

Of course, when I say that I'm talking about the early years; the magic of Robin Sparkles, the joy of the slap bet, the novelty of watching entire relationships unfold and then fail (hey Robin and Ted!) or shockingly succeed (hello again Robin and Barney!).

I can't remember exactly when HIMYM began to lose its spark, though I am completely willing to rewatch the entire series to find the answer. I love it enough to watch it all over again, even as I'm frustrated by what it is today.

I do remember, and I think this is evidenced by my blog posts, that I found season eight very uneven. For me that season was plucked out of obscurity by the last couple of episodes. In particular "The Final Page", the season finale that finally felt like HIMYM again. Barney manipulating people by being simultaneously cruel and hilarious, with just the right amount of heart? That felt like HIMYM. Robin being typically indecisive, torn between her desire and her head and her past traumas? Yeah, that's HIMYM. Ted Mosby whiny and dissatisfied? HIMYM. Lily and Marshall inseparable and ridiculous? Ditto.

But then there was season nine.

This entire season is set in the week leading up to Robin and Barney's wedding. That in and of itself is not a problem. In fact, if that was the concept and the gang was all prepping for the wedding back in NY,  gathered together in their booth at MacLaren's and reminiscing through flashback it could be just fine. Instead, they've spent almost the entire season in the Farhampton Inn. Sure it's where the wedding's taking place, but it's also a brand new locale that's doing nothing to help the show or the characters. It appears that outside of their natural habitat everyone is less funny and more annoying.

Lily is perhaps the worst. It's as though they're painting her with broad comedic strokes that just aren't funny: she's stressed! She's drunk all the time! Some guy named Linus keeps giving her drinks and she consequently gives bad advice! Hilarious?

It's as though the writers don't know what to do with Lily when Marshall isn't there. And that is another problem with this season. Jason Segel was hesitant to commit to this season, and that's the only reason I can think of why he's been relegated to a car trip for the entire season thus far. It's my hope he'll just get to Farhampton already so the necessary group formula will be saved, but my guess is he'll appear at the wedding in the nick of time, right in time to see Barney and Robin tie the knot and the season finale.

This week's episode was the best of this season, while still being on of the weakest episodes of the show. 

Lily was drunk again which at this point gives me nothing more than frustration. 

Ted was stuck the whole time with yet another girl that we knew he wasn't going to end up with. That at least provided some minor humor as he struggled to settle for her even when faced with setback after setback (she doesn't like any music, her ankle is sprained, she doesn't appreciate lighthouses). 

Marshall was in the car again with Daphne, and I'm still struggling to understand the writers decision to add a brand new character in the final season who does nothing but serve as a (attempted) comedic foil for Marshall. I dislike this formula enough that I'd prefer it if they'd found a way for Segel to be in Farhampton but only appear every fourth or fifth episode. I'm assuming his time constraints are what made them come up with this car scenario? Maybe it's not even filmed in LA (where the main studio is)?

Robin and Barney have been, and remain, the strongest characters this season. Robin rubbing it in Barney's mother's face that she beat her at strip poker made me laugh. So did certain aspects of the egg off (i.e. scramble egg competition). And we were once again able to see why the gang puts up with Barney. When someone's really hurting he cares. When Robin flees the room after his mother (Loretta) harshly mentions motherhood, he softly tells Loretta that Robin can't have kids. We flashback to when Barney first found out and see him offer a hug that Robin was shocked by and also really needed. 

It's a running joke on the show that Robin's dad was most involved in her childhood and that her mother is hardly mentioned. In this episode we see a return to classic HIMYM; the use of subtitles to list the facts. In this case it's a list of what we know about Robin's mother. 

And then Robin finds out her mother can't come to the wedding. And in another touching moment we see stoic Robin being offered a hug by Loretta, who has finally decided to accept her son's almost-wife ("You call me mom"). 

It's those touching moments, and not comedy at all, that save this episode from failure. And while it's nice to know HIMYM still has an emotional core I'm hoping that we'll get our comedy back. 

No comments:

Post a Comment