Courtesy of joyhog.com

“How I Met Your Mother” is a show that rewards its loyal viewers, that’s for sure. One of the most successful ways it does this is through the technique of continuous sub-plots. One such subplot began last season — the mystery of the wedding that viewers only got to see for a few minutes during each episode for an entire year.

For a while we all thought it was Ted (Josh Radnor) finally tying the knot, but toward the end of the season, we saw far enough into the scene that Lily (Alyson Hannigan) comes out of the chapel and tells Ted that the groom wants to talk with him; so unless the newest storyline is that Ted is a schizophrenic, we knew it wasn’t his wedding. And so, after waiting a year, season six ended with the big reveal that Barney — the eternally single womanizer — is surprisingly the groom of this mystery wedding, which is where the first of the two-episode season premiere picked up on Monday, Sept. 19 on CBS.

Last season added some much-needed depth to the five friends on this show, as the death of Marshall’s father actually allowed for the notoriously funny characters to cry. With the exception of Ted, it seems like the show is continuing on with this idea of morphing its characters and allowing them to grow up a bit, although so far it seems a bit contrived.

It makes sense to start seeing Barney settle down, since we now know his storyline will ultimately end up at his wedding, but the method for getting to that end is all jumbled up. After showing Barney at his future wedding, the narrative goes backward and proceeds to show Barney attending one of Ted’s friend’s weddings and using that as testing ground for his newest slew of creepy pick-up methods. Seems normal enough for Barney, right?

But at the same wedding, there also seems to be a renewed spark between him and Robin, as they join in an intimate dance in front of the entire wedding crowd. As if these two story lines weren’t misaligned enough, throw in the second episode of the premiere where Barney spends an entire day sleeping at a diner to prove to a girl that he cares about her.

Then we have Ted, who, in these first two episodes, goes through a short period of change, but ultimately is the one character who seems exactly the same this season. Honestly, his woe-is-me-I-just-want-true-love approach to life was endearing for about half of the first season, but it’s been overplayed ever since then. The show’s creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, have finally caught on to this, I think, as they tried to change Ted’s image entirely in the course of one episode.

Ted has recently become the youngest architect to add to the New York skyline and, as such, gets his picture on the cover of New York magazine. He uses the opportunity to pick up girls, and ultimately tries his hand at dating two girls at the same time. Hold up, is this Barney or Ted we’re talking about? At this point in the premiere, it became apparent that Bays and Thomas’ technique for advancing their characters is to switch their personalities around.

This doesn’t last long, though, as Ted soon realizes this isn’t him (…that’s because he’s acting like Barney), and he reverts right back to his chick-flick ways of trying to find a life partner.

Robin has always been a character that many movies and TV shows have — an attractive woman with the emotional range of a stereotypical man. Her character development in this season will likely be that she is actually still in love with Barney and suddenly wants to get married. It’s just hard to see this shift happen so suddenly in a character who has consistently been emotionally detached from relationships and settling down.

Lastly, there are Marshall and Lily, who sort of function as one character in the show. Even though viewers knew Lily was pregnant at the end of last season, the other characters didn’t know, so this serves as the big reveal for the start of season seven. I feel like an only child who just found out Mommy and Daddy are having another kid and isn’t happy about it. Sure, we all knew this was coming, and I was even overjoyed when I initially found out that Lily was finally pregnant. But I already don’t like what it’s done to Marshall and Lily as characters.

Over the summer, they went from being the token cool couple to bumbling, baby-obsessed soon-to-be-parents. Not only is that predictable, but I would have expected something less mushy from Marshall and Lily, whose humor and sarcasm throughout the show have always been my favorite.

This turned out to be an unexpectedly negative review of the premiere — I really did enjoy the episodes, and they did make me laugh as usual, but there’s still something not quite right about where the show is at right now.

As the characters get older, it’s only natural that they start to turn away from being silly recent college graduates and turn toward being serious parents, husbands and wives, but this can’t happen in a flash between seasons six and seven, and they shouldn’t lose their characteristic wit and humor in the process.

“How I Met Your Mother” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Sklar is a member of the class of 2014.



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