The 'How I Met Your Mother' reboot, 'How I Met Your Father' (henceforth referred to as HIMYF), has started production, and I've seen a lot of mixed opinions on the r/HIMYM subreddit.

Some people are cautiously optimistic, a lot of people think it's completely unnecessary and are adamant that it will be bad, and some people are genuinely excited to see what this show can do to live up to - or even surpass - the original series. I count myself among that last group. Now, I would personally consider HIMYM to be, overall, a great show; possibly one of the best sitcoms ever made, and certainly one of the best of the 2000s. But it still had its fair share of flaws and things that could be improved upon.


But before I get into that, let me mention some of the stuff HIMYF needs to keep from the original, to feel like a true successor:


Continuity:


Sure, there are a couple of plot holes and forgotten details here and there, but overall, HIMYM had REALLY strong continuity, and the viewer is really rewarded for watching the show all the way from start to finish. HIMYM came out in a time when people were actively looking for shows to follow, not just tune into every now and then for some comfort food. Sure, it served that purpose too, to an extent, but you truly get the most out of the show by watching it all the through. And in the age of streaming, where binging is so popular, this is the ideal approach to go with. This is one way that HIMYM was so ahead of its time compared to other sitcoms that surrounded it. Having such strong continuity and a constantly shifting status quo is what set HIMYM apart from other sitcoms of its time. Speaking of...


Constantly Shifting Status Quo:


It's very common for a sitcom to settle into a status quo that never changes for the sake of stability and accessibility. And in the age before streaming, that made a lot of sense. You wanted people to able to tune into any episode and get what's going on. If the show was running in syndication, and random episodes were aired back to back, viewers wouldn't be too confused, as both episodes would exist in the same status quo. HIMYM sort of broke this trope, by constantly changing things up. Shifting interpersonal dynamics, characters getting new jobs, new partners, their goals and aspirations changing over time. The main constant of the show was McClaren's pub, the symbol of the unity of the group. It was the place where they came together no matter what else was going on in their lives. Functionally and thematically, it served as the only thing in the characters' lives that offered some stability, and as long as they had that, they had each other. It gave the show a loose status quo to follow (the characters gather in a bar to talk about their lives), while everything else life changing happened outside the bar. Even the apartment right above it, served as a symbol of the group dynamics changing, as multiple characters would move in and out of it. Now that a lot of people will probably be watching it on streaming services, you don't even really need a McClaren's pub type setting to offer a status quo, because most likely, people aren't gonna be watching episodes out of order. Now, of course, they can still have something similar to achieve the same feel as the original series, and for thematic reasons (and as we've seen from the recent set photo, it seems they have their own bar setting where the characters gather), but it's not as functionally necessary as it is for a show airing in syndication. A great example of a comedy show that's constantly changing and keeps its characters moving is The Good Place. They rarely settle into any kind of status quo, and when they do, it only lasts 3 or four episodes. HIMYF doesn't have to be that drastic, and in fact, I would prefer it they took plenty of time to establish a status quo, only to break it, and change things up, as is likely to happen in real life; you get used to living one way for a long time, and then something happens that completely changes it.


Character Dynamics:


Character dynamics and interpersonal relationships really were the most important thing in HIMYM. It was the main source of comedy, the thing that kept viewers engaged, the thing that drove the story. They had such well-written, well-rounded characters portrayed by brilliant actors who played off each other superbly. You believed they were friends, you believed it when they got pissed at each other or had a falling out. And as mentioned earlier, the characters and their relationships would change over time. They felt like real people that grew and changed over the course of the show, and had nuanced interactions with each other. And so much of the comedy came purely from interactions between the specific characters in specific situations, or them telling jokes to one another, sometimes at the other's expense. They laughed at and with each other, and so did we. This is possibly the most important aspect HIMYF needs to get right, to live up to the original series.


NOW, on to the things that HIMYF should improve upon:


Make it shorter:


I really don't think HIMYM needed to be as long as it was. To be fair, I think they do a decent job of making each episode feel like an important part of the journey (for the most part, there are some episodes that feel very unnecessary), but I really feel like it could have been shortened and condensed a little bit. For example, I feel that not much important stuff happens in Season 3, most of it is just setting up the important stuff that happens in Season 4, and much of Season 5, similarly, feels mostly like setup for Season 6. I think 3+4 and 5+6 could have been condensed into single seasons. Seasons 8 and 9 also feel like they have the most filler episodes (I mean come on, S9 is 23 episodes that take place over the course of a weekend, and then an epilogue), and I feel most confident in saying that those two should have been one season. Keep it at an appropriate length: 5 or 6, maybe 7 seasons. Hell, if the writing is tight and solid enough, maybe 3 or 4 seasons. I'd prefer 5 or 6 though. That's plenty of time to develop the characters and get invested in them.


Have a better plan for the future (but also, don't follow the plan too much):


That may seem a bit paradoxical, let me explain: One of the main reasons HIMYMs ending was so loathed by so many (and I'm speaking as someone who doesn't feel too strongly either way about the ending), was that they planned this specific ending 7 years prior, but didn't plan for how the characters would change over time. While they did a great job of having the characters change and grow believably over the course of the show, much of their character growth seemed to just get nullified by the final two episodes, especially for Barney. Of course, it's important to have an idea of where you want the story to go, but you also need to be open to how the characters will change over time, and consider if the ending you have in mind should be changed, either subtly or drastically. I don't know if they plan on having the kids in the show, as Hillary Duff's character tells them the story of how she met their father, and in that case they might run into the same problem as the original, where they decided to shoot the ending years in advance so that the kids would look the same age (keeping the show short could solve that problem, though). I think the plan they should set for the characters isn't how their stories should end, but what experiences they want them to go through. Have the characters develop and grow naturally through those experiences, and then discover the ending along with the characters, rather than predetermining it years in advance. Use the first season or two for the writers and actors to get familiar with the characters, then start making solid future plans, and also be open to the changes that might happen.


Be more progressive:


To be fair to HIMYM, I think it's great that in the mid-2000s, they decided to have a positive gay character, whose defining character trait isn't simply the fact that he's gay, as part of the recurring cast, as well as showing numerous gay characters that simply exist, and that there's nothing wrong with it. It's just a shame that the main cast couldn't be as diverse (yes, Lily is bi-curious, but it's only ever brought up as a joke, so it doesn't really count, if you ask me). James is a great character. Sure, his introduction is that he's simply Barney but gay and black, but he's utilized and developed really well. They show that you can be smooth and confident and get laid a lot, whether you're straight or gay, and since he's Barney's older brother, he's used to show how Barney could mature over time, even kind of foreshadowing that Barney and Robin would eventually have marital issues. But, again, he's not part of the main cast. The main cast are all straight, and in a show all about dating, and interpersonal relationships, you really should have characters with different sexual orientations and gender identities. And then there's just the blatant transphobia throughout the show. The only times transsexuality/transgender is ever mentioned, it's used as a joke about some "horrible secret" that a character is hiding, like when Ted suspects Robin is hiding an aspect of her life from him, and he imagines them on their wedding day and she simply says "I'm a dude", and this terrifies him. If HIMYF was just the exact same as the original, just gender flipped and set in the 2020s, but WITHOUT transphobic jokes, that would already be a huge improvement. But simply not being transphobic is the least they could do. I really think they should have a trans, non-binary or genderfluid character as part of the main cast, to show that these people exist, and it's OK, like they did with James in the original series. While ahead of its time in many ways, not having any queer characters in the main cast, and being so blatantly transphobic is one aspect where HIMYM was very much a product of its time, and that stuff should be left behind in that time.


So, that's my (somewhat rambly) thoughts on the whole thing. Let me know if there's anything else you feel is vital that they keep from the original, or change/improve upon.


Posted byu/hard_ass69