There was a moment during last night’s How I Met Your Mother episode that made me remember why I’m a fan. A moment that reminded me why after seven seasons I’m still tuning in religiously: Barney’s adorable/accurate observation that because of their pouches, sea horses should be called sea kangaroos instead. [Just a warning, MAJOR SPOILERS ahead if you haven't watched last night's episode!]
Okay, so that wasn’t exactly the moment that had everyone talking this morning. But for a season that’s been heavy on the drama (hello Barney’s breakup and Robin’s big bombshell!), I was thrilled to let out a hearty laugh. It’s not that I haven’t been enthralled by the recent turn of events on the series, or the showcase of the cast’s serious acting chops. (Jason Segel dominated last season’s best sad moments, but this year it’s all Neil Patrick Harris.) But, this season, funny moments like Marshall’s getting-attacked-by-a-bear sequences have been completely overshadowed by shocker moments like Robin and Barney kissing in a cab. Yes, things are about to get crazy complicated now that Robin is pregnant (Is it Barney’s? Is it Kevin’s?), but part of me longs for the giggles I unleashed seeing the return of the Slap Bet.
I assure you, this isn’t for some sort of lack of compassion or care for these characters. When Marshall’s dad died last season, I openly wept. (“I’m not ready for this.” Yeah, neither was I, Marshall. Neither was I!) The thing is, while HIMYM has always had its dramatic elements (Marshall and Lily’s broken engagement was the first biggie), the show felt like greatest romantic comedy to never to hit the big screen. The series had a big heart (too big, if we’re talking about Ted here), but it was also tremendously funny. (Just see: The instantly classic Swarley episode, the first that made me truly guffaw.)
It’s not that the show hasn’t been entertaining as of late, because it most certainly has. Still, the vibe of the show has changed, thanks to near-weekly cliffhangers. Victoria is back! Robin chooses Kevin over Barney! Robin is pregnant, too! (By the way, how crazy is it that two years after Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders were actually pregnant within months of each other and had to do a lot of creative bump hiding, their characters are now knocked up?) Perhaps HIMYM is simply maturing, and I need to grow up alongside Ted & Co. But I also sort of miss the days when Robin’s biggest problem was the discovery of Robin Sparkles.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Has the show felt more dramatic to you this season than ever before? Do you miss the show aiming more for laughs, or have you, like the show itself, matured into something else? Share in the comments section below.