If you don’t already know the show, the format is simple: told from the point of view of a father relating to his son and daughter the story of how he and his wife started their lives together. Each episode is a snippet of the story that should ultimately lead to the kids being told how their parents met – the clue is in the title. So far the story has taken eight years. I bet the kids wish they’d asked their mother instead.
As is customary in the post-Friends sit-comverse, there is a wacky ‘comedy guy’, a Chandler Bing clone named Barney replete with witty one-liners from where most of the comedy comes. I use the word comedy very lightly, in truth I find it all a bit depressing, and that’s coming from somebody who has five rolling news networks in his favourite channels list.
The customary live studio audience feels the same way by the sounds of it. The show seems to play the same burst of previously recorded amusement noises at the end of every line, regardless of whether it was supposed to be funny or not. For example:
(business happens with one character)
That Barney Guy: “Oh dude that is so not cool.”
End of joke.
After twenty-five minutes of that, I decided that life wasn’t worth living anymore, so when I regained the strength in my legs I went to the deepest canyon I could find in the local area and lowered myself down from a rock ready to drop.
I was hanging there by my fingertips for a good while, the ’jokes’ replaying in my head while my knuckles turned white, and finally when the last ’You broke the bro code!’ faded into nothingness I let go and fell towards what I hoped was a quick and painless release.
I watched the rocks below get closer and closer until right at the last minute, a giant owl swooped from the sky and caught me on its back. Yes, I was as surprised as you are. As we flew it turned its head and spoke to me and told me that so deep was my despair at the state of popular comedy shows, a hole had been torn in the very fabric of existence, through which I had pulled a giant, talking owl. Apparently it’s more common than you’d think.
It dropped me off on my doorstep and we talked for a while and it said something interesting to me. It said, "Wooo Matheius. Don't ever be worried or afraid. Wooo woooooooooo. Or feel bad about the rubbish that is on TV… SQUAWK, because the secret of true entertainment is inside you-woo-woooooo..."
I asked if it could tell me what in the name of Gary Coleman it was babbling on about, but it just picked a mouse up with its foot and then flew away without answering me. Typical giant talking owl, all theory and no practical advice.
How I Met Your Mother was still on TV, and That Barney Guy was telling some kid off about ice-cream and then did more business with this 'bro code' thing or whatever it is and the fake audience was loving it. I had all but resigned myself to the fact that I had no other option than to destroy my television with a large hammer, when suddenly the wisdom of the owl’s words struck me. Far from being the flying mouse-eating moron I had assumed, the owl was actually giving me good advice.
‘I can make this better’ I thought. ‘Using only the power of what is left of my brain I can make this better.’
It’s not that the basic premise of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is bad, it’s just that it’s all been done before and the formula of buddy sitcoms looks worn out since ‘Friends’ happened, so why bother trying to recreate the glory days when they could go for something a little more original and unusual? If they really want to make the sitcom a classic, I’d suggest thinking outside the box a little. Maybe release a live panther into the studio during more poignant scenes. Imagine that: Barney, tears in his eyes while he delivers a heart-wrenching monologue, completely unaware that he’s being stalked by an angry panther. You’re shaking your head, but you’d watch that, wouldn’t you?
Or how about – and I’m going to hate myself for even suggesting this – how about bringing Mr Blobby back for the show? For those of you lucky enough to be unfamiliar with Mr Blobby, he was basically a man in an oversized pink and yellow monster costume who became famous for causing chaos by crashing through walls and knocking minor celebrities over while screaming his ‘BLOBBY BLOBBY BLOBBBBYYYYYY…’ catchphrase like a Teletubby having a bad acid trip. Youtube it, it’s the most psychotic thing you’ve ever seen. It was a distressing time in UK history, but it might be exactly what this show needs: a deranged pink monster rampaging around, destroying the set and barrelling into the cast while they try to deliver their lines. Brilliant. That’ll definitely work. He can take over Alyson Hannigan’s role, frankly she deserves better than this.
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