“How I Met Your Mother” is a show faced with too many contradictions. People think of the show by recognizing its good moments and the poor moments simultaneously. One of the reasons it is so popular is because the structure of the episodes are often complicated and creative while having a cast that is genuinely funny with each other. Then, not entirely as a negative, everyone recognizes how the title is the worst part of the show.
It’s not the phrasing, it’s the content. By having a father (voiced by Bob Saget) telling the stories of his youth so his kids can have a context of how he met their mother is a cute concept. Yet after six years and we are nowhere close to starting the steps to build the path to maybe one day meeting the mother. There have been clues but they have often proved to be bogus and never affecting the story. Nobody is asking for a complex mythology, but a sense of where it’s going would be kind.
Since half of the show is Ted (Josh Radnor) dating various guest stars with ensuing hilarity, they want there to be some suspense of the identity of the titular mother. This point was attempted with the character of Zoey (Jennifer Morrison). She is a married woman who is protesting the destruction of a building on the site where Ted will design the new GNB headquarters. It turns out their anger lead to flirtation, which was a shocker to all who have never seen a romantic comedy.
The character of Zoey wasn’t working for many reasons, but mostly because nobody believed her. She’s there throughout the season, acting as filler to the “big story”. She never really connected to any of the characters and her motivation to save the building always seemed frivolous. By the end of the season, the only thing that changed was the relationships of the supporting characters.
The best episodes of the season are the ones dealing with Marshall (Jason Segal) and the death of someone dear to him. It allowed for Segal to finally show more range. His heartache and inability to cope right away was devastating while not sliding the humor aside. The occasional attempt to have Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) settle down is another example of them trying to evolve the characters without ever deciding to commit to it.
Despite the problems with the overall storytelling, this is still a funny show. Episodes like “Subway Wars”, “Natural History”, “The Mermaid Effect” and “Hopeless” were great to watch because they had jokes that hit with the perfect cast to deliver them. Guest stars like John Lithgow, Jorge Garcia, and Katy Perry provide plenty of smiles, but are all ultimately wasted.
This remains a show that’s on my rotation because when the show is good it’s delightful. When it’s bad, it’s forgettable. There are stronger laughs on other shows. Ones with a better sense of story. This always has a strong sense of fun and I’ll stick with it until that fades away.
The Season Six DVD has a few episode commentaries and featurettes about key episodes. There are also deleted scenes and a gag reel, which are watchable thanks to its cast. Fans of the show will really like these.
Season: 3 Yaps
Extras: 3.5 Yaps