How I Met Your Mother Season 8: A Discussion

***WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS OF ALL OF HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER SEASON 8***

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After the Season 8 finale of How I Met Your Mother Jake and Joe sat down to discuss the big reveal, the overall quality of Season 8  and ask where will the show go from here?

Jake

So, Joe, the season 8 finale of HIMYM just aired and everyone is talking about one thing: The Mother has finally been revealed.

Joe

There really does seem to be a bit of a backlash against her.

Obviously nobody’s going to be liked by everyone and we’ve been waiting to see this woman for 8 years and hundreds of episodes.

Jake

It reminded me of the reveal of Jacob from Lost. You hear about them so much for so long and you develop this incredibly idealistic impression of them and reality often fails to meet you expectations.

I watched this with my sisters and both of my sister’s spent a good hour debating whether The Mother was attractive enough.  

Joe

I personally think Cristin Milioti is beautiful at the worst of times and I just hope she was prepared to be scrutinized intensely by an

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audience that is so fiercely protective of Ted and his choices. After all this time and almost uniquely to HIMYM, the audience is part of the gang. It kind of makes you wonder – are your female friends doing this to any prospective mate of yours?

Maybe they’re not telling you (just as the fans aren’t exactly telling Ted, a fictional character), but your friends are scrutinizing your partners. And this is, culturally, like we are ALL finally meeting this mythical woman that our friend has been building up in conversation for almost a decade. Cristin Milioti is probably today’s most Googled name.

Jake

I personally thought that the various cliffhangers and unresolved storylines a little underwhelming. Did you find the finale satisfying as a season finale?

Joe

When you really look at what we were expecting from the finale, it under delivered. While we may have met The Mother, Ted didn’t. And only 56 hours from the wedding, he seems a little far from being in a good mental place.

Jake

I can’t help shake the feeling that the uncertainty over the production of season 9 affected how the storylines finished. Specifically, I think Jason Segel’s delay in signing a new deal meant that the show’s producers had to set up the season finale to either lead into next season or possibly end forever.

Joe

A surprisingly large amount was pushed to next year and the physical reveal of the actress playing The Mother distracted from an otherwise conclusion-free episode. They even backed away from the Ted-Robin issue they readdressed in episode 23.

Jake

I think that Lily and Marshall don’t really have anything to do anymore. The introduction of the trip to Rome conflicting with Marshall’s dream of being a judge has at least caused some point of friction.

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Joe

Rome vs. Judgeship feels a bit strained. I mean, it’s a huge oncoming conflict for Lily and Marshall. We know which one will win out and honestly, it’s a shame to see Lily about to get blindsided from her dream. Lily and Marshall really don’t have much going on right now.

And baby Marvin changed NOTHING. At all! So many shows have done babies that now it’s not even a factor. They could have had a few stories centered on Marvin, but nothing.

Given how much weight the show has to pull through with the Robin-Ted-Barney triangle and then introducing The Mother it’s a wonder they’re in the show at all.

Jake

I thought that many episodes in the second half of the season were quite weak, many of the characters have little space left to develop and seemed to be treading water.

They introduced Barney’s wedding three years ago, in Season 6, and since then there has been little relevant information. After 3 seasons of building up to this wedding, without any real payoff yet, they may have overplayed their hand.

Joe

This ‘which wedding’ thing started in Season 6 premiere, when they revealed Barney as the guy getting married in that finale. The following finale revealed Robin and now they revealed The Mother’s face.

I always fancied the idea of going through the previous episodes and finding everything Ted said about his courtship of The Mother. Every single one of them is either a good plant for something they’ve got coming up next year or another bit of paint they’ve used to put themselves into a Season 9-shaped corner.

Throughout the whole history of the show, they have stayed current. “In the spring of 2013…” But now they’re starting next season right where they left off. Will they skip past the first three months of Ted dating The Mother?

Jake

I believe that next season will open with them meeting before Ted goes to Chicago while The Mother is still dating her boyfriend. Next season the difficulty for them to overcome, before they properly become a couple, will resolve around these issues.  I just don’t think that a whole season of them falling in love will be particularly compelling television.

Season 8 has been one of the weakest ever of HIMYM for me. I feel as though they lost a bit of direction and instead became more concerned with churning out episodes. I don’t think there was as much of the foreshadowing of events that makes the show so clever. HIMYM has just been passing time for 3 Seasons. From a narrative perspective it would have been better to finish up a while ago. I still love it and  enjoy watching it, but I feel as though it’s all a little forced now.

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Joe

I think Season 8 suffered from grand ambitions compressed by harsh business realities. Starting the season with ‘these three couples are about to break up’ wasn’t nearly as satisfying as they thought it might be and Victoria was HUGELY undervalued.

I think “The Bro Mitzvah” was the best episode of the past few years. A uniquely HIMYM structure, some good jokes, excellent use of guest stars and that final reveal with the clown made me so enormously happy. The whole thing did justice to the enormous burden of ‘Barney has a bachelor party’, but carefully avoiding the depravity implied by that idea.

Jake

‘Bro Mitzvah’ was a fantastic episode but I remember thinking afterwards that this was a throwback to former glories rather than breaking new ground. I found that Season 8 was conspicuously short of any of the long running jokes that made the show so rewarding for dedicated viewers.

Joe

Some television shows benefit hugely from a compressed viewing schedule. While it’s a “sitcom”, I think the fact that it’s so lore-heavy and can be weighed down for stretches by dealing with all this makes it perfect for compressed viewing. I watched the first two seasons of HIMYM in a blitz and I think it only increased my enjoyment of the show.

Jake

I agree, I’d watched HIMYM before and found it quite average. But then I watched about three and a half seasons in a week and was hooked.

Joe

I look forward to seeing a world where HIMYM exists in full and can be assessed on creating some 200+ episodes over 9 years that have seen us develop this incredible intimacy with the characters.

Now here’s an interesting question:

You’re the creators of HIMYM. You’ve shown us The Mother and there’s’ 56 hours until Barney and Robin’s wedding. What happens in the premiere episode and what happens in the SERIES finale?

Jake

Season premiere will be a two-part affair showing the wedding, We’ll revisit scenes we’ve already been shown and will focus on Ted’s decision to not go after Robin. Then the reception will have Ted seeing mother and  ending with them meeting at the station before all the characters are split apart.

I hope that part of Teds character development is that he isn’t waiting for ‘The One’, but rather a realization that relationships are built on time and effort and not a result of fate. I don’t know if this will play out because there is an idealistic romantic streak running through this show. The show will then finish forever with Ted proposing in some daring gesture. 

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Joe

I like the idea of The Mother getting knocked up and Ted proposing, realizing he wants to spend the rest of his life with this woman. Wouldn’t it be fun to have him reveal that one of the kids (at least) was born out of wedlock? It would keep us from having to see ANOTHER damned wedding too.

Jake

So a Four Weddings and a Funeral ending, “Let’s stay together but not get married?”

Joe

I think my favorite moment with HIMYM’s finale was probably how lovely it was to see drunken Robin depressed about Ted marrying Stella. Something we never saw, but felt pretty acutely. Harkens back to that satisfying resolution of the Stella storyline and Robin’s personal denial. People critique the show for running counter to these characters so often; “Robin says she never wants to settle down and get married or have kids and now she’s crying about it all the time? Character assassination! But this show has never shied away from showing these characters are conflicted and contradictory. Robin is about to settle down and that should be alright.

I agree with your premiere idea and hope that the ending is Ted proposing to The Mother after having got her pregnant.

Joe is a TV connoisseur currently based in NYC

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