Saturday, November 20, 2010

‘HIMYM’: Proud daddy, mystery mommy

(Published Nov. 21, PDI-Entertainment)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit


The oft-sentimental sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” has yet to reveal the identity of the titular mom of romantic Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) future kids. But the recent season teased with a few revelations about the yet unseen character.

The elusive mystery woman is a college student where Ted teaches, and is the roommate of Cindy (guest Rachel Bilson), a girl he’s really attracted to. But the succeeding episodes don’t give any more clues, and partly focus instead on Ted’s ongoing quest to find “the one,” unaware that he almost met his future wife a few times already.

As with previous seasons, “How I Met Your Mother” is enlivened by scene-stealing Neil Patrick Harris, whose lothario role Barney Stinson unceasingly regales his friends with tales of his conquests and bizarre but effective seduction methods.

Over-the-top Barney gets toned down from time to time, which gives him some degree of realism; his on again-off again pairing with news anchor Robin (Cobie Smulders) is revisited, resulting in some of the show’s better-written arcs.

Married couple Marshall and Lily (Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan) are still amusing, but their recent marital exploits aren’t as funny or insightful as in older episodes. Still, some developments look promising, as the spouses enter the next stage of their marriage by the end of season five.

The series’ narrative structure has been properly utilized through the years; however, some recent flashbacks just feel unnecessary and disruptive of established continuity and smooth storytelling. The malleability of the characters’ histories aside, the five friends are still evolving and maturing, despite the periodic reversion to juvenile behavior.

The continuous and perceptive tackling of romantic complexities and the “rules” of the dating scene also keep the show relatable. It still works, even when potentially comedic situations are sometimes deliberately traded for more dramatic and more “realistic” moments.

Season Six episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” air Mondays, 9 p.m., on ETC.

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