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'How I Met Your Mother': Contrarian Corner takes on Kal Penn

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HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
Sonja Flemming/CBS

How I Met Your Mother has always been a little bit like the Lost of sitcoms: It’s a great show with a rabid fan base that picks up on every little clue along the way, hoping everything will piece together when we finally see the big picture at the end. But perhaps, in this seventh season, the show is a becoming a little too much like the dearly departed ABC series. Because I’m finding myself echoing a frustration many felt during Lost‘s run: It seems HIMYM isn’t sure which direction to head in. This season, the series seems, for the lack of a better word, a bit lost. (And Ted’s kids are really just in heaven and the yellow umbrella will matter about as much as the goat, in that it won’t matter at all.)

That being said, let’s be clear: I am still hopelessly devoted to HIMYM and will continue to love it until the very end. I just wanted to sit it down in Contrarian Corner, have a chat, and let them think about what they’ve done for a while. This is purely out of love! It’s for your own good, HIMYM.

First things first, the season got off to a great start with the Victoria curve ball… until fans quickly realized that while she may be part of the big picture, she’s definitely not the mother. (She would have been in Ted’s architecture class and lived with Ted’s short-term girlfriend Cindy, something they both would have figured out pretty quickly.) Since then, aside from “The Duck Tie” episode (serious kudos to HIMYM for keeping that gag going), things have felt a little, well, off. Maybe it’s my indifference about Nora (there’s no way Barney marries her, right?!) or my indifference about who Ted winds up with at this point. (The other characters have all but dominated the show over the past few years, anyway.) But the show, while it still has its heart in the right place, seems to have its head elsewhere.

I especially felt this way watching last night’s episode “Mystery vs. History.” Not only was the episode’s big reveal that Marshall and Lily are having a boy actually a non-reveal (I, like many other EW.com readers, remembered right away that that piece of information was already given to us in “Last Cigarette Ever”), but it was the first time I ever felt like I was an outsider looking in on the group, rather than the way I’ve always felt: Like the unofficial sixth member of the gang.

And I won’t necessarily blame Kal Penn. In fact, I happen to like Penn’s Kevin. But, last night, when he pointed out all of the gang’s flaws, he pointed them out to us viewers as well. Are they too much of a co-dependent, incestuous, self-absorbed group? Can we even attached or even relate to them anymore? Granted, other outsiders have pointed out the weirdness of the gang’s dynamic before (Don, and more recently, Victoria), but none so succinctly as Robin’s new boyfriend.

I wasn’t bothered as much as some EW.com readers were by this episode, which appeared to take a page from the book of Friends. (In a season 1 episode, Phoebe’s therapist boyfriend, played by Fisher Stevens, called out her pals on all their idiosyncrasies), so much as the all-around vibe of the episode. It didn’t feel like the same HIMYM I’ve loved for all these years. (It probably didn’t help that classic references kept popping up — slap bet, “Murder Train” — to remind me of the magic and humor of the show’s glory days.) For the second time this season (the first being Robin’s first sit-down with Kevin), fans were discouraged from identifying with the unhealthily tight-knit gang. That’s not to say that the show won’t find its footing again or make me fall back in love with these characters, but, right now, I’m feeling like I’m sitting on the sidelines, painting a yellow wall.

Do you feel the same way about the past few episodes of How I Met Your Mother, Contrarian Corner visitors? Or am I plan crazy for thinking about wanting to hang out with anyone other than Ted, Robin, Marshall, Lily, and Barney? Does the show feel a little lost to you or does it feel as fresh and funny as it did a few years ago? Share your feelings in the comments section below. And don’t forget to visit Contrarian Corner again. (We like you here, we swear!)

Read more:

‘How I Met Your Mother’ react: Lily and Marshall are having a…

‘How I Met Your Mother’: Do Ted and the Slutty Pumpkin (Katie Holmes!) look oddly good together?

‘How I Met Your Mother’ scoop: Victoria isn’t the only face returning this season…

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