I’m starting to get really tired of the back-and-forth over whether season 8 of How I Met Your Mother is the show’s final year. Whereas a few months ago Craig Thomas and Carter Bays seemed like they were at the mercy of CBS and trying to write around both possibilities, with each interview they come across as more and more manipulative. For chrissakes, the central mystery of this show is supposed to be who The Mother is, not if there’s gonna be a season 9!
Talking to a group of reporters — because this kind of news apparently calls for a press conference — Thomas said that the season premiere on September 24th is “the first episode of the final season of How I Met Your Mother.” He explained that he and Bays have been writing as if season 8 will be the end, but that they’re concurrently developing “a Plan A and a Plan B” should CBS decide to renew. Here’s where I just got fed up: Bays said that as they’re mapping out this season, “it gets more and more difficult… It’s going to be more and more work that we have to throw out if this isn’t our last season. We’d like to know as soon as possible.”
Or, couldn’t they just decide to cap things this May? Lost did it, and Breaking Bad is doing it. They’re probably richer than they could have imagined; and there’s no doubt that they could just turn around and pitch a new show for next spring’s pilot season. I would think it would invigorate Bays and Thomas to start up a new project with the same smart, Millennial-centric humor that made HIMYM so addictive in its first few seasons.
The writers say they have enough stories in them for two more seasons, but honestly, the show is tired. The characters are starting to deteriorate a bit, becoming shrill or caricatures for arcs before returning to their former glory. In the past few seasons, I could count on two hands the standout episodes. Those episodes have been among some of the best television I see each year, but at the same time we’re so grateful for these moments because the rest of the season is so lackluster. I’m already not too excited about the path to Barney and Robin‘s wedding, though the reveal that Robin can’t have children made us rally behind her even more. Ted hasn’t done much except interfere in his ex-girlfriends’ lives, so we need to see him finally meet his soulmate. And while Marshall had a lot of growing up to do in the past year or two, it seems like the writers have to keep giving him and Lily really big events — his dad’s death and their son’s birth — to squeeze some sort of pathos out of them.
And the actors seem to be itching to do new projects. It’s a lot of people who have invested nearly a decade of their lives in this show. Why not wrap everything up, reveal The Mother — in a way that I know will still surprise and delight us — give us Marshall’s final slap, premiere another Robin Sparkles video, and leave on a high note?
I believe that everyone’s contract is for eight years, so it doesn’t seem like it’s CBS who’s trying to force the writers into pushing the show into season 9. Yet that’s the vibe they’re giving off, that they’re somehow trapped. Thomas even said, “There’s a part of us as writers that [is] drawn to that. It’s exciting. We get to answer everything. Every episode of the season is so much more important because of that. [That's] something sort of thrilling and very nostalgic and sad to think about, but it’d be exciting to write.” If it ain’t broke…
At least we know one thing: If even one of the cast members said no to season 9, continuing without the full ensemble would be a dealbreaker. OK, Jason Segel or Cobie Smulders, I’m relying on you to give these guys the kick in the pants they need!