12 May, 2006

How I Met Your Mother

Premieres Sunday 19.35 BBC TWO

"US sitcom about how a young Ted (he's now old) met his (now) wife (in the past) told in flashback (obviously) to his kids (they didn't exist then) in a way that's hard to describe in one sentence." (BBC Comedy Newsletter)

I was lucky to get a preview of this show. We may struggle to come up with a good enough gimmick for our new sitcoms and How I Met Your Mother is certainly an interesting one. It basically has a framing device of Ted talking to his kids and then flashing back to 2005. However, the gimmick so clearly hasn't got 'legs', I wondered why no-one else had noticed.

  • Each story has to be about how this guy met his wife - it's in the title. That's incredibly restrictive.
  • The introductory bit with the kids has to be in each week and there's little variance you can do with it, it's going to be samey.
  • At some point you have to show the 'mother' of the title. Pretty darn soon as well, I'd say, or it just gets annoying.
  • But when they do show the mother then the whole 'will they, won't they' suspense is completely gone

In the States they are aiming at 22 episodes a season for five years and I couldn't see the gimmick lasting a season. It might work better for a short run British show but even in the UK production companies and networks are looking for longer runs for comedies.

Don't get me wrong, it is one of the best of the current season sitcoms but you're sort of waiting for them to abandon the gimmick and just be a comedy about friends and dating. Which they eventually do later in the series.

I personally don't think you need a gimmick or some amazing twist no-one has ever seen before. Good characters involved in strong stories, saying and doing funny things may be all you need.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

the show does have legs though. the writting on the show is very strong and the 20-26 crowd really can relate to the show. i feel as though the focus is very indirect and this is a plus. it allows time to develop stories with other charachters, which in time you come to endear these charachters giving the show room to develop. take barney for instance - i could really care less what happens to ted and how he meets his wife. just give me some barney.

Robin Kelly said...

That's true, I feel like there's lots more stories to tell but Robin may have to go. And Barney is brilliant, I like the fact that he isn't just a clown saying stupid things but the things he says makes sense for his character.

I think Rules of Engagement is a copy for the 30 something generation.