How I Met Your Mother is an exceptional sitcom. Yes, it does engage in some of the stereotypical hijinks of laugh-tracked multi-cam comedies, yes it is essentially one of many ‘Friends’ and yes, it has progressively CBS-ified over the years, but it still remains in the upper percentiles of current American Television.
For the uninitiated, HIMYM’s structure is centered on the character Ted Mosby who, in the future, is retelling the story of how he prepared to be a father and subsequently met and married the mother of his two children. The episodes are all segments of one giant flashback, set in the present, showing Ted and his friends when they were in their early 30s.
An issue with detractors (of which there are more and more every year) is that we have now gone 7 years and we still haven’t met “the mother.” The general assumption is that we will not meet the mother until the end of the series (or very near to it), which means probably another two years of “Hey Kids, we’re almost there, but not really.”
The show is now in an awkward position where its success is allowing the series to extend itself, but its own gimmick has painted itself into a corner where fans and critics are demanding that the central question be addressed and any attempts to delay the inevitable are causing the storylines to stagnate. Here’s what I suggest.
Meet her, now.
Here’s what we know. Ted will meet his wife at Barney’s wedding. It is generally believed that in the finale of Season 7 we will finally resolve the mystery of who Barney’s wife is, with the reveal of Ted’s wife taking at least one more full season. I say, give us a one-two punch.
Season 7, in my mind, would end with the reveal that Robin is, in fact, Barney’s bride (I wish it wasn’t, but it’s obviously her.) Ted would give her a pep talk and would walk out of the room with Bob Saget’s voiceover ushering in the end of the episode. We might even see Barney and Robin walking down the aisle with Ted ruminating about his own romantic situation. He’d steal a glance over at Marshal and Lilly, who perhaps are holding their newborn child. The ceremony ends, the guests head outdoors where it has begun to rain. Ted opens his yellow umbrella, which is quickly blown out of his hands by a gust of wind, sailing across the lawn and coming to rest at the feet of an attractive brunette. Camera pans up, up, up and we wonder “will they show her?” and they do. Bam.
"And that, kids, is how I met your mother.” Fade to black.
Season 8 would then deal with their courtship/engagement with season 9, the final season, ending with their wedding. And THAT is, I think, key. For 7 years we’ve all assumed that the show has to end with the mother’s reveal but when you think about it, HIMYM fans won’t be satisfied with just seeing the face of some stranger before the credits roll. We’ll want to get to know her and the show has to, NEEDS to, end with Ted’s nuptials. It’s the only way.
In my head season 8 would begin like this: A familiar shot of the two kids sitting on the couch in the front room. They’re standing, as if making to leave.
“Hey, where are you going?” Bob Saggett says.
“The story is over, we’re going to the mall.” they reply
“Oh no, that’s how I MET your mother, but you guys need to know what happened after that.”
“Do we have to?” asked with trepidation.
“Yes.” Quick cut to 2012. “At your uncle Barney and aunt Robin’s wedding I met someone and kids that someone is your mother. The problem was…”
At which point the episode would take off from the party at Barney’s wedding, similar to the two-parter of Season 1 where Ted meets Victoria or the season 2-season 3 bridge at Marshal and Lilly’s wedding. It’s actually perfect if you think about it, HIMYM has a long history of turning one wedding into two AWESOME episodes so what better way to a) meet the mother and b) usher in the next chapter of the show. Plus the wham-bam of following an obvious reveal like “Robin is the bride” immediately with “This chick is the MOTHER!” would blow our freaking minds.
Some people would scoff but who cares. There is no rule that television can’t outlive its titles. Prison Break went on to air 3 seasons after the actual “Prison” “Break”. Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place (a personal favorite) sold the pizza place and changed its name to Two Guys and a Girl. Boy Meets World met the world, and went ahead with the college years anyway.
Point being, it’s a great show and after 7 years of dangling a carrot in front of our faces I can assure you that we will keep watching even after you hand us the carrot and let us bite.
So, if you’re out there Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, let us meet the mother, this season, in May. Then, let us get to know the mother and show us the happy, in love, Ted that we’ve been waiting to see.
Also, more Ranjit, please.