Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wasted Wednesday: The Manipulative Side of Television & How I Met Your Mother

I'm back!  Finally!  I've missed writing Wasted Wednesday blogs...
So, I don't think it is a surprise to hear that most television is a bit manipulative.  Most story lines seem to be written to hook people rather than to write a good story.  How I Met Your Mother is the king of this writing style.  The name itself screams - MARKETING PLOY! MARKETING PLOY! MARKETING PLOY!
With the recent season finale of this show, I figured it was a good a time as ever to write about my true feelings toward the celebrated comedy that I just never quite got.
I want to start with the title of this show.  Right from the beginning the audience knows that eventually all things will lead to meeting the mother.  I'm sure the writer's were aware that with a
Pssht, a love story in reverse? Easy slogan
show like this, they could hold on to their audience with a fishhook.  They could take their audience on all kinds of twists and turns that excite and bring tears as long as in the end, the audience met the mother.  They could drag it on and on and know that people will watch because the audience really wants to know who the heck the mother is.  Nine seasons is a long time to hold on to a fishhook but boy did some people hang on tightly.  I bet some people feel like they were caught with the series finale and cooked for a nice family dinner rather than letting go with a triumphant bang and swimming away full of content and a feeling of closure.
Not many shows can hook an audience the way this one did...or at least not in the same way.  The classic 90's hit, Friends, one of my favorite shows, did a similar thing as How I Met Your Mother except they did it with an idea.  The idea - that Ross and Rachel were meant to be together.  I won't open that can of worms, but what I will do is state that this attribute is not the only thing Friends and How I Met Your Mother have in common.  In fact, there are so many similarities between the shows that I could not name all of them if I tried.  And to me, that is a problem for How I Met Your Mother.  I'm all for drawing from past material and re-spinning things, but this was so overly obvious and on top of it, the show claimed to be not doing it on purpose.  I'm going to guess some of the same writers for Friends were on this writing staff as well?  I'm not sure.  It seems too obvious to be an accident yet they play it off as an accident.  It's just lazy writing but I guess the writers had that opportunity giving the fact that, as I said, they knew they had people hooked for a good five seasons at least.
And finally, I want to discuss the God awful series finale.  One of my close friends is a fan of this show and was ultimately let down by this sorry excuse for a finale.  He felt betrayed.  He had grown to love these characters and felt very attached to them and suddenly everything that happened in nine seasons was reversed and ultimately didn't matter.  For example, the character Barney was a ladies man who never was in a relationship because of his sexual desires.  But when he married Robin, she changed him and he grew from that.  Then the finale sweeps in and says..."Oops, sorry just kidding.  You guys get divorced and Robin ends up with Ted, the end."  Why make a show at all if every single episode between the pilot and finale were utter garbage to the plot and essentially don't matter at all?  Well, I can't say I didn't see that one coming, right?  Yeah, the finale was a cheat.  The writers tried to make it this surprising twist of an ending but, as my friend says, it reversed everything that had happened...all of the character development and plot points during the course of nine seasons was tossed in the trash for the apparently well-thought-out series finale.  It was a cheat.
Those are my thoughts on the show, How I Met Your Mother and the series finale.  What do you guys think of the show?  Are you on my boat or did you enjoy the show and why?  If you did watch the show, what did you think of the series finale?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. - News flash!  The series is also starting a spin-off called How I Met Your Dad.  Can we say money spinner?!  I want a show called, How I Write Easy Comedies and Earn Millions!


  1. I have watched this show for about 2-3 years. I love it so much. And I am so angry after seeing the series finale. I feel cheated. It was such a let-down. After 9 years of anticipating the mother, they end up just killing her off and reverting back to the long-forgotten past. I always thought it was going to be Lily + Marshall, Robin + Barney and The Mother + Ted. And I'm only mentioning the major plot screw-up here, don't even get me started on the misogyny and the complete delegitimisation of people who don't want kids. The finale was littered with mistakes. I am so disappointed.

    1. I'm sorry to hear your disappointment with the finale. You're not the only one :( Even though I didn't watch the show, it does make me sad to know that it had no pay off whatsoever. I feel bad for you and all of the fans who love the show but were let down by the awful finale. It's a shame