Monday, October 17, 2011

The Mystery is better than the History

As I watched another fantastic episode of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER tonight (CBS, Mon., 8PM), I got to thinking about two things: 1) What are some of the greatest TV twists ever? And 2) why doesn’t this sitcom get more respect than it does?

If you remember, last year I wrote about an episode of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, calling it the best half hour of TV in ten years, and it was, save THE SOPRANOS, obviously. The writing, acting, everything, sitcoms don’t get better than that episode last season.

Tonight’s episode focused on the gang’s “psychotic” codependence on each other, and the debate between knowing someone’s history through Facebook, the Internet, etc vs. keeping certain and/or all parts of a person’s past a mystery. The two story lines revolved around whether or not Marshall and Lily would reveal the sex of their unborn child, and Ted’s first date with a girl, whether he should research her on Facebook or leave her past alone before going out. In the end it was revealed that Marshall and Lily would be having a boy, and Ted does finally break down and allow his date’s past to play a part. She’s a superhuman genius on the Web, and the date goes downhill after that, proving that the mystery is better than the history.

As I watched this episode I told the person watching with me to pay close attention to the last ten minutes of the show, because I sensed that the show’s writers were going to show their hand about who the mystery mother/Ted’s wife will actually end up being. In the last scene of the show, after his first date goes bust, Ted tells the gang, “The mystery is better than the history,” and from that I crazily believe that we are never going to find out who Ted ends up marrying. I just have that feeling.

I believe it will remain a mystery when the show ends, leaving it to the viewer’s imagination. Throughout the whole run of MOTHER they have dropped subtle hints about how it all ends, masterfully dropping these hints mind you. Tonight I think they did it again. Sorry, fans, we are never going to know who Ted’s wife ends up being. Why? Because it doesn’t matter, same way it didn’t matter if Tony was shot or wasn't shot at the end of THE SOPRANOS. See what I mean? It doesn't matter.

So I got to thinking about the greatest TV twists ever. Of course the NEWHART finale: It was just a dream. THE SOPRANOS “twist for the ages,” Tony shot by his own uncle Junior, and of course, the ending: fade to black. Who could forget, “I Ross take thee Rachel”? Nate Fischer dying at the end of SIX FEET UNDER. ROSEANNE was only Roseanne herself writing a book about her family, changing details where and how she wanted. ST ELSEWHERE was the workings of an autistic imagination. And the granddaddy of them all: Who shot J.R.?

If MOTHER leaves us hanging, and I believe it will, it could possibly be one of the greatest TV twists of all times. A disappointment, sure, for some, but honestly, is there really any one answer that could satisfy everyone? They already revealed that it was not Robin, he calls her aunt Robin several times to his future kids. The show is seven seasons old, and I see no evidence of a mother from former story lines that would satisfy me as the permanent, show-ending figure we've been waiting almost a decade to meet. I’m telling you: It’s going to be a great big nothing, the best way to end it if you ask me.

Which leads to my second question: Why doesn’t HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER get more respect than it does? In my opinion it is the best sitcom on TV, has been for five years. It is the smartest, funniest, most well written, and always finds a way to bring out an emotional side at some point. Every episode is a riddle wrapped in a riddle, and it holds your attention right till the end, and the culmination is always done just right, with so much heart every time.

I know it’s not a typical sitcom: dumb one liners, laugh track, hug and kiss, end of episode. But how many times, and for how many years, can you listen to 22 minutes of the same jokes on WHITNEY and MIKE & MOLLY and THE BIG BANG THEORY? I agree that MODERN FAMILY, THE OFFICE, and 30 ROCK are all brilliant, and clever, etc, but MOTHER has more heart than all three of those shows combined. And don’t even get me started on TWO & A HALF MEN. It was low brow with Charlie, and it’s lowbrow with Ashtin, which, of course means, it’s America’s #1 show. Meeennnnnn.

I say that MOTHER is the best sitcom on TV, and I simply don’t understand why this show isn’t regarded as the top-notch, TV-writing gem it actually is. I don't think the show has won a single Emmy, ever! Anyway you slice it though, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER is galloping towards one of TV’s all-time best endings, mark my words, because in the end, the mystery is better than the history.

But if future Ted Mosby, played by the Bob Saget voice over, MUST marry someone, why not Andrea Barber as mystery wife? You may know her better as Kimmy Gibbler. Now that my friends would be a twist for the ages.

Tonight's Episode:

My Blog from Last Season:

List of TV's Best Spoilers:

Brian Huba

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