I've been a big fan of How I Met Your Mother from very early on; I've watched and re-watched the first few seasons so many times my DVDs are starting to wear out. There are a lot of reasons to love this show: Barney's one-liners and crazy schemes, Lily's meddling, secret spilling ways, Ted's hopeless romanticism, and Marshall's affinity for all things supernatural (including the Loch Ness Monster). But here in season seven, after a confirmed eighth season, it should be time to stop. I'm losing interest in characters that I actually really care about and am invested in.
There has been much debate surrounding season eight: Will it be its last? Will the show carry on? I seriously hope not. I've recently read that season seven is garnering the show's highest ratings ever, which as everyone knows is often a reason for studios to continue renewing a successful series. I understand that, I do, but let's be honest for a minute.
In the last few seasons, I've felt like the quality of the series is slipping away, only resurfacing for particularly touching episodes: Marshall losing his health insurance, his father's death, Robin finding out she couldn't have kids, Barney breaking up with Nora while Robin chooses Kevin, Victoria's quick return into Ted's life, etc. All of these were episodes I really enjoyed, but there were many more lagging episodes in between with strange and somewhat boring storylines: Kate Holmes as the Slutty Pumpkin, Robin in court-mandated therapy, Lily's dad living with her and Marshall (where did he end up going by the way?). These episode felt like filler in a show where the first few seasons were all hitting them out of the park: Swarley, the Playbook, Marshall and Lily's breakup and eventual reunion, Barney on The Price is Right, visiting the Liberty Bell -- these are episodes just off the top of my head from early on in the series that I really loved.
Now when I say the show should end, let me clarify, of course I want to know who the mother is -- seriously, who doesn't at this point? But I just feel the stories could be that much stronger and play out in a more timely manner rather than add a few more seasons of filler where we STILL don't find out anything, or we see the mother's arm instead of her ankle, etc. I particularly feel this way after Monday night's episode. Warning: some spoilers below.
While I, and I'm sure many other viewers, groaned two episodes ago when Ted confessed his love to Robin again, I was mad. I felt like we were being duped back into re-doing the first two seasons all over again and I couldn't possibly imagine where things would go from there. But much to my surprise and delight, the subsequent episodes have been quite strong, mainly because we are finally seeing some plot advancement. Things are shaking up and changing in everyone's lives and it was LONG overdue. The Robin/Ted storyline was interesting because the reason they broke up in the first place didn't seem to exist anymore. Its five years later and Robin is still living in New York in the same apartment as Ted. Despite her friendship with him, he still had romantic feelings, prompting Robin to move out after some gentle nudging from the greatest best friend ever, Marshall.
Monday night's episode showed Ted dealing with being Robin-less in every sense, but also with being alone in the apartment. Despite the random hobbies he tried to occupy where Robin used to live, it couldn't fill the void he was feeling.
Also in a comedic twist, Robin felt like she was being held captive out in Long Island with Marshall and Lily, and eventually discovered the truth: Marshall and Lily hate the suburbs. While I understand why it was necessary for them to try suburban life, I was overjoyed at the end when Ted packed up what appeared to be every item he owned and gave the apartment to his best friends. He left a note explaining the newly-painted nursery (Robin's old room) and the apartment was for them, and he hoped that they will bring new joy into the apartment he felt haunted in.
Of course, it left us with the obvious question -- where will he live? Where will Robin? We don't know the answer to either of those questions yet and it excites me, because it will incite change and that's what both Robin and Ted need (separately). I've seen a few fan predictions online that Ted will move into the run-down house he purchased a few seasons back that we've seen only a handful of times, and I hope this is true. It's progress, it's moving forward towards change and the elusive wedding of Barney to his mystery bride (it better be Robin!), where Ted meets the mother.
Season eight should bring us the remaining slaps in the slap bet, the story of the goat in the apartment, where the pineapple came from, and what happened to the yellow umbrella. These are the things we need to know! The characters in How I Met Your Mother seem to be moving in such a strong that I'd hate to see it all derailed and undone into more random, boring, filler episodes just to squeeze in a few more seasons. It would be doing the fans and the show a supreme disservice.
However, I'd also like to see the development of Ted's relationship with the mother, how they fall in love and end up getting married, so maybe a season nine wouldn't be so terrible if we finally got the answer to the question we've been waiting eight years for. What do you think? End in season eight or carry on? Will Robin be Barney's bride? Where will Ted live?