How I Met Your Mother Season Nine Episode 1 & 2 Premiere Review- ‘The Locket’ and ‘Coming Back’
How I Met Your Mother has always been great televised comfort food. From its first four seasons where it was reliably stellar and inventive television on the barren CBS wasteland, to the back half of its lifespan where it has been less reliable but continues to turn out one or two episodes a season that really surprise in the still barren CBS wasteland, HIMYM has always been there to feel like the entertainment equivalent of eating chocolate ice cream straight out of the bucket. Featuring some great romances, clever time manipulation, and an endlessly enjoyable comedic team, the drunk thirtysomethings of MacLaren’s have been nothing if not a consistent way to spend a Monday night for the last eight years.
To put that into the proper frame of mind: I was twelve when this show first aired. Lord. Almost half of my life has been spent with Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney. It’s the first show I ever truly fell in love with, and probably the one I’ve done full rewatches of more than any other. It really is the perfect show to put on after you get off a ten hour Christmas shift at McDonald’s.
I suppose that’s why this drastic shift in narrative form for the final season gives me a bit of pause. On the one hand, I admire the writers for this audacious turn. This is either going to be one of the best experiments in television we’ve seen on network TV, or a crappy way to send out a classic show. I don’t see much of a middle ground there. This is a daring move only ever made by shows late in their run looking to shake things up, like when Desperate Housewives jumped five years in the future and then was just the same show still. The writers are going to have to rely heavily on cutaways and time shifts and flashbacks, which is something that they are certainly no stranger to after all of these years, but could potentially get obnoxious after twenty some-odd episodes.
But I’ll still be there every step of the way. Partly because my review of the Season 8 finale was my most popular ever by far, but mostly because there is hardly a damn thing in the world that could keep me from the end of this show.
If I have a problem with the true premiere episode “The Locket” I have two problems with it. The most minor of which being that incest doesn’t really equal good comedy. The Barney-and-Robin-might-be-cousins storyline was a trifle embarrassing because of course they aren’t cousins. That story held no drama because we do not exist in a world where a popular sitcom in its ninth year would reveal the two main characters who are about to get married were cousins. We occupy a world of many things, but that will simply never happen. Feel free to cite this article as to how I’m wrong when Alan and Ashton Kutcher find out they’re brothers on their honeymoon in Two and a Half Men Season 17. I don’t know how I would have reacted if HIMYM had just gone for it and went full retard with an incest storyline, but I know it would have elicited a lot more from me than the mild sigh it got tonight.
I’ve also never bought into the Robin’s locket subplot from late last season. It just seems like something that totally goes against Robin’s character. I know we all have secrets, and it revealed a weird soft side to our Scherbatsky, but it seemed in direct contradiction to everything we’d learned about Robin up until that point and didn’t hold up in the end. I think there could be some nice payoff for it this season, but as of right now I am ardently anti-locket.
The locket itself is also has the natural thing working against it where it is something pulled firmly from a writer’s ass late into a show’s run that we were supposed to understand that “Of COURSE it was there the whole time! We just didn’t see it!” The Stinson Curse is another prime example of this, as are the “We are all smokers” revelation from Season 5, and the wishing fountain from the Season 4 premiere of Community.
While “The Locket” didn’t really take my breath away, I was actually very interested in “Coming Back.” Neil Patrick Harris is the show’s constant MVP, stealing the season so far by yelling at Marshall on the telephone.
Marshall’s storyline is a prime example of how this season could go very wrong. If you don’t think Sherri Shephard’s Daphne character is funny or a healthy addition to the show, too bad, because she’s going to be around for the next foreseeable few episodes. It’s a huge gamble on behalf of the writing staff, really trusting in the idea that you find characters like the bartender or Roger Bart’s concierge Curtis to be incredibly funny, or you’re going to hate your time in Farhampton this season.
I don’t know how How I Met Your Mother keeps doing it, but I was legitimately affected by Future Ted speaking to The Mother. I think a lot of it is my residual affection for Schmosby and his romantic plight, but I don’t care. It worked. It was touching, and Cristin Milioti has been doing a bang-up job so far with what little she’s been given.
It’s also a huge treat to have Wayne Brady’s James back in the game as the perfect partner in crime for Barney.
How I Met Your Mother might not be as funny as it used to be, but the emotional moments are still winning and your lingering love for the characters should be more than enough to carry you through to the end. Let’s ride this weird experiment together, shall we?
This Week In Your Mother
Some Sumbitches and a tender moment with Ted. She’s a winner, fellas.
Final Verdict: B – A decent start to a most crucial season of television that says that things might not be the trainwreck we sort of prophesied.
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and current writer of songs for The Four Skins. Be sure to follow or subscribe above, and comment below with your thoughts.
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Legen-wait for it–