24
Sep
2012
HIMYM: Season 8, Episode 1
Farhampton
Chris
Over my years of watching How I Met Your Mother I feel like I've developed a special kinship with Ted's future children. Yes, I'm aware they are fictitious characters, this is a review, not a cry for help. Nonetheless, it's the kind of unbreakable bond that can only be formed through a shared trauma, like say an ongoing hostage situation and a pervasive case of Stockholm Syndrome. That said, it's a bit unnerving to begin this, what might possibly be the final season and long awaited conclusion of HIMYM without a cutaway to their obviously recycled but oddly comforting obligatory check-in stock footage. Where'd you go guys, I thought we were in this together?

How I Met Your Mother has a bit of a notorious reputation here at Review To Be Named. The show has so far claimed two regular reviewers who understandably threw up their arms in defeat after running out of new ways to cover the same old problems of recycled storylines and lack of meaningful plot progression. But it is a show that many of us at the site really, truly loved when it was in its prime. So when word leaked out that this might possibly be the last season of How I Met Your Mother, and that Ted could do the unthinkable and actually, crazy as it may sound, meet the mother, what else could I say, but Challenge Accepted! Hi. I'm Chris. I'll be your new HIMYM critic. Wish me luck.

Farhampton begins with a check-in at the longest wedding that ever might be, the impending nuptials of Barney and Robin, where in a stunning twist, both bride and groom are developing cold feet. Unsurprisingly, we gain very little ground on that front before flashing back to the present (past?) where Marshall & Lily are new parents, Barney & Quinn are engaged, and Ted & Victoria are fooling no one.

While HIMYM started off as the story of how Ted navigated his late twenties and early thirties and met the love of his life, the necessity to prolong the show until an end was in sight lead to it devolving into the "Barney & Robin will they/won't they/please let's just get it over with sideshow circus." The lion's share of Farhampton is devoted to a storyline we've seen not once, but many times before, as a significant other becomes aware of the bizarro unhealthy love tangle that is Robin & Barney and/or Ted (Isn't the "and" in that clause how we all secretly hope it will end?). In this case, Quinn discovers Robin used to date Barney.

We do get some funny gags out of this storyline, most notably Barney recounting his and Ted's history with Robin in under a minute (complete with lower third timer) and Marshal & Lily trying to help out, despite their sleep deprivation induced goldfish memory. However the case remains that fans of the show are very familiar with how this scenario plays out: while the significant other is at first weirded out that whomever is in the hot seat this time used to date someone that they're still very close friends with, significant other later comes around after the rest of the gang helps put things in perspective. What's worse is that the snap resolution isn't really all that funny or satisfying. After all the build up, Quinn's concerns are placated because Robin's new boyfriend (BSG's Michael Trucco) is really hot. That's it.

Ted's storyline was filled with more laughs, but it too was disappointing because it felt like a B-plot at a time when it really should be Ted's story that is driving the narrative. Ted's attempted runaway bride routine with Victoria hits a snag when he learns she didn't leave a note, a major button for Ted who himself was left at the alter. The repetition of Ted having to infiltrate the wedding was funny in and of itself and the addition of the always welcome Thomas Lennon was just gravy, but the whole affairs feels rather trivial given that we know Victoria isn't the mother, and that Ted has already learned that he needs to be patient if really wants to find the one.

The epilogue of Farhampton treats us to an ending that would have been tantalizing three seasons ago: Ted and the Mother in the same place, at the same time, mere feet apart from each other, her identity obscured by the infamous yellow umbrella. While this is the closest we've ever come to the reveal, it still feels so far off. Barney & Quinn still need to break up for Barney and Robin to get engaged. Had Quinn broken things off tonight, due to the Robin revelation, I'd have hope that things could move along at an acceptable pace.

As it stands I have serious doubts that the mother will be introduced with any sort of time to establish her as a real character and substantial love interest for Ted. If this truly is to be the last season, the HIMYM timeline needs to be accelerated, and soon, a development that I don't think any of the show's beyond patient fans would begrudge.

Grade: C

Notes:

-"It's cornflower blue. IT'S CORNFLOWER BLUE!!!"

-"I have work friends but I worked at a strip club and I know they'll just complain about any Bridesmaid dress that has a front, so-" Strippers choose to strip because they hate clothing! That's it!

-"Klaus, there is no easy way to tell you why I won't be marrying you today. Have a great summer. -Victoria" -My biggest laugh of the night.

-"Because you are loving, you are caring, and you are going to go deliver this note!"

-When did Ted get a car"¦?

-"Ok Barney, think this out, do you really want to spend the rest of your life with Quinn-" "Oh god, you're right!"

-I kind of wish Barney had replaced Robin with a Tiger in all of the pictures.

-German lessons with Thomas Lennon! Awesome!

Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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