If you haven’t heard, the Television Critics Association (TCA) has been going on for the past few days, and so there has been a lot of news leaking out about current TV shows. Most of the news isn’t very exciting, but that’s all there is to report on, so many sites have been delivering nuggets of news all week. It wasn’t until the “How I Met Your Mother” panel with co-creator Carter Bays and co-star Jason Segel that my interest piqued. Any bit of news about the show comes with some caveat about there being no definite end date, and how that will ultimately affect the storytelling and when, exactly, Ted and the audience will finally meet his future wife.
Currently, the show’s contract with CBS runs through the end of the 2013 season, which will put HIMYM at eight years. But the show has been getting the best ratings of its life in this, its seventh, and so naturally CBS isn’t necessarily eager to get rid of a sure-fire money maker just as it starts to make money. So there’s talk of doing a season nine, assuming all parties involved are willing and able. Here’s Carter Bays framed the question:
“I imagine when we’re going into the final season, we’ll get people hip to that. But right now it’s hard for us to say it will be May 14, 2000-whatever. It will happen when we’re officially out of ideas.”
If that’s the case, the show maybe should have ended around season four or season five. Not that there aren’t ideas left, but they’re much fewer and further between than they once were. Bays went on to say:
“We totally might want to go beyond Season 8. Obviously, it won’t just be our call. It will also be about what our actors want and of course what CBS wants. But right now the network is delighted with the numbers we’re getting. If everyone’s game to go beyond Season 8, it will be a matter of how much story is left. We have that big ending planned, and we know how we need to get the characters in place to make it there.”
It’s nice that he tries to make it a creative decision, and maybe it really is as far as the non-executives are concerned. But when you have an endgame and no ending in sight, how much more can you keep piling onto the story before it becomes patently ridiculous that all these moments led directly to said endgame. Say what you want about the ending of “Lost,” but at least it didn’t go on for nine years before it got there.
Honestly, it just makes me feel like an asshole for being a fan and buying the DVDs. I know, I know — it’s a sitcom, it’s not “Lost” and what did I expect? Well, I expected to be told a story, one I could revisit and enjoy for years, and the first three seasons absolutely feel like a story is being told. Since then, the show has become less a narrative and more weekly series of events. I still like it, and I still like the creative decisions the writers make in different episodes, but it feels much less worthwhile when it goes on and on and on with no sense of the peaks and valleys good stories need. It’s more like life, and that’s the worst idea for a story ever.
Maybe the whole thing is a ploy to wait until Lyndsy Fonseca (Ted’s future daughter) is old enough to play the Mother herself? That can’t be too far away.
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He’s not kidding anyone, he’ll keep watching the show as long as its on; he’s what poker players call “pot committed.”