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Featured TV on DVD Review: How I Met Your Mother: Season Eight

October 6th, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: Season Eight - Buy from Amazon

I reviewed How I Met Your Mother a couple times in the past and while I liked the show's early seasons, I grew tired of the show in the latter seasons. Can the show turn it around? Or is it stumbling towards its conclusion?

The Show

First a quick recap. The show is about a father, (voiced by Bob Saget), telling his two kids about the story of how he met their mother. For six or so years, we've only heard hints of a future wife for Ted Mosby. However, since this is the penultimate season, they can't dance around that subject anymore. Here's a really big problem, Ted Mosby is the least interesting character in the show. He is by far the least interesting character in the show. On the other hand, Lily and Marshall's storylines are generally much better. The pair's marriage is going strong and they have a new baby. Barney is still much more interesting than Ted, although I admit I'm not nearly as enamored with Barney as most fans of the show are. His charming womanizer character is too one-note for my taste and, well, creepy. There are some storylines involving him are quite interesting, which is enough to put him ahead of Ted in that regard. Then there's Robin, who used to be Ted's girlfriend, but the break-up was smooth and they remained friends. She also used to date Barney, which is more complicated as...

The season starts on Robin's wedding day, but she's itching to get out of her wedding. So Ted reminds her what happened on a previous wedding. Flashbacks ensue. Unfortunately, the series premiere is rather weak and outside of a couple jokes, it is just not funny. (There is a recurring joke with Lily and Marshall being so sleep-deprived that they can't remember what is being said to them minute-to-minute, but it gets run into the ground.) In fact, the first disc doesn't have a real winner, so let's skip to disc two.

Fortunately there is a really funny episode on disc two, P.S. I Love You. The episode starts with Ted on the subway reading "One Hundred Years of Solitude" when he notices a woman across from him reading the same book. She gets off the subway before he can talk to her, but he has a plan to meet her again. He calls it a plan. Lily and Marshall call it stalking. They are more right than they know. Fortunately, Ted bumps into this mystery woman again. Jeanette, the woman in question, found Ted using the same stalkerish methods Ted was going to use to find her. Ted thinks this is romantic and proof they are destined to be with each other. The rest of his friends think she is a stalker, but Robin becomes agitated when the rest of the group keep using that word. At first, Barney is worried that Robin has a stalker, but then Robin admits she was the stalker, but she refuses to say who she was stalking. Barney then flies to Canada to figure out who Robin's obsession was. I realize I spent more time talking about this one episode than I did on the entire first half of the season. That's because this episode has more laughs than the entire first half of the season combined. I especially love the Robin Sparkles / Robin Daggers joke, as well as the huge amount of Canadiana stuffed into this episode.

The season finally picks up at this point. The entire Jeanette storyarc is very good, as are a few other episodes from disc three that are strong. The Fortress deals with Robin and Barney having to sell their places so they can move in together. The Time Travelers begins with Barney inviting Ted to Robots vs. Wrestlers telling him if he doesn't go, he will regret it in 20 years. He explains whenever he makes a decision, he chooses based on what would make the best memory 20 years from now. To convince Ted, he summons 20-years-from-now Barney and 20-years-from-now Ted to convince him to go, but before the four of them can leave, 20-hours-from-now Ted shows up to stop them. It just gets more confusing from there. It has a lot of jokes, but a real emotional core as well. If all of the episodes were this good, I would love this season. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Romeward Bound and The Bro Mitzvah are better than the first half of the season, but weaker than most of the rest of disc three. Something Old and Something New end the season on mostly a high note.

The Extras

Extras on the first disc include an audio commentary track on the first episode and two-minutes of outtakes. On disc two there is another audio commentary track and three-and-a-half minutes of outtakes. There are also two extras about "P.S. I Love Your", the first is a 12-minute making of featurette on the music video and the second is the music video itself. Disc three has five minutes of deleted scenes, a nine-minute set tour, and five minutes of outtakes.

The Verdict

It takes a long, long time for Season Eight of How I Met Your Mother to pick up, so long that even though the second half is much better, I can't really recommend it. I would wait too see if season nine, the final season, is as good as the latter half, or if it is as bad as the first half. If season nine is as bad as the first half of season eight, then it is time to drop the series. If it is as good as the second half, then it is worth picking up to complete your collection.

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Filed under: Video Review, Lyndsy Fonseca, Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris, Bob Saget, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, David Henrie, Abby Elliott