High concept sitcoms can rarely last, their originality soon dies and if they are lucky they’ll get about a good six year run. This is How I Met Your Mother’s seventh season, and is it dead in the water? The gang returns in this season, and we are still no closer to finding out who that pesky mother is. The main plot thread here is Lily (Hannigan) and Marshall (Segel) having a baby, there are also plots about Barney (Harris) falling for a stripper and Robin (Smulders) having a relationship with her therapist.
The biggest problem with the modern day sitcom is that it’s just not enough to be funny anymore, it seems that these shows are preoccupied with making us feel for the characters that a lot of the jokes fall by the wayside. Take a look at the episode from this season ‘Symphony of Illumination’ (a title that should never be used for a sitcom) in which Robin discovers she can’t have children. The episode takes some very sombre tones. Imagine if Seinfeld had a serious episode where Elaine found out she could never be a mother, it wouldn’t work. Sadly it doesn’t work here either, it feels preachy and the jokes don’t really fit with the plot. This happens all too much in How I Met Your Mother (quite a bit this season), sure we like the characters, but not enough to honestly care for them during negative periods.
There is still fun to be had this season; we finally meet ‘the slutty pumpkin’, played with a lot of fun by Katie Holmes and the episode ‘Tick, Tick, Tick’ where Ted (Radnor) and Marshall get high at a concert contains a lot of laughs and really plays up to the shows strengths. But the continuing story of Ted’s growth and who his future wife will be is not advanced at all, if anything, Ted really is a supporting player in this season, having little to no story ark of his own.
How I Met Your Mother needs to come to an end soon, this entire season feels like padding and whilst there is still fun to be had with the characters, it seems to have been dragged out long enough and the show is going to places it should really stay away from. It hasn’t gotten bad yet, but it’s not too far off from it. Far from legen – wait for it – dary, indeed.
Audio commentary’s on 3 episodes and deleted scenes that are nothing to write home about. A nice little featurette with Neil Patrick Harris on the walk of fame and the gag reel are the highlights here.
How I Met Your Mother: Season 7 is out on DVD now.