An open letter to CBS from one concerned TV lover
From: Vinnie Penn
Sent: Thursday, 11/01/2012, 6 a.m.
Dear network executives,
At the risk of appearing ungrateful or, worse, overstepping my boundaries as not only a lifelong TV lover, but a fan of both the network and the series "How I Met Your Mother," I write you today to urge you to quietly, with as much class and dignity as is deserved and possible, remove "How I Met Your Mother" from the Monday night lineup, promptly ending its prime-time run. You can double down with "The Big Bang Theory."
I am well aware that discussions to end the series have already begun with even Neil Patrick Harris asking for it to go, and that this is most likely its final season anyway, but might I suggest an abrupt "special hour" wherein you wrap things up nice and tight, toss narrator Bob Saget the cameo he has earned lo these many years and finally reveal who the "mother" in question is. This is like one of those stories my drunken Uncle Dave tells on Christmas Eve that goes on way too long, the kids begin nudging one another, and all interest is gone before the ho-hum ending is served up, typically simultaneously with dessert seconds.
Obviously, there is no shame here. You've got six Emmys under your belt, have already begun syndication, and the show has gone on even longer than "The New Adventures of Old Christine," which nobody expected. Curve balls have been plentiful: Robin's post-Ted hookup with Gael, played by Enrique Iglesias; Barney's quasi-serious relationship with Quinn; guest star Britney Spears totally not embarrassing herself.
Do we thank you for Barney? For all things "bro"? Of course we do! And even more so for eradicating "Doogie Howser" from our memory banks. Neil Patrick Harris' tour de force has been a blast, even if it did cram one too many awards show hosting gigs down our throats as a result.
Ditto for Alyson Hannigan. She seemed doomed to a fate of forever being remembered as Buffy's sidekick or, worse, "the girl from band camp." How delightful to see her in this adult, and comical, role.
I furthermore firmly believe that without this series we might not have ever seen the gorgeous Cobie Smulders grace the silver screen in last summer's blockbuster "The Avengers." So, again, thank you.
Josh Radnor has anchored the show admirably, yet I fear a "the other guy, not Ryan Reynolds" future for him (a nod to Reynolds' hit ABC series "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place"). Yet another reason to be kind and merciful.
But the main reason: Jason Segel. What photos do you have of him that get him to return season after season, in the throes of such big-screen accolades? They can't simply be some full-frontal shots. God knows he has no problem with that and is actually a bit creepy about it. From "Knocked Up" to his brilliant "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" to his triumphant reinvention of "The Muppets," he keeps on coming back to a TV sitcom that more often than not gives him far too little to do, especially in terms of what Segel does so well.
And so I plead, especially because this series began with such an underdog quality, yet an extraordinarily clever premise, to give us the big-bang finale that we have all been waiting for. Look, "Friends" finally got Ross and Rachel together, but by the time they got there was no possible way it could be something we cheered about -- and wasn't. Damn, we were cheering more about the "Joey" spin-off, and look how that turned out!
Speaking of which, I'm sure you've talked spin-off. Like, probably "Barney's Place" or something. Don't. Let Saget finish his rambling, reveal the titular "mother" and move on already. Maybe have her be someone who dated Charlie Harper briefly? Just a thought.
Vinnie Penn is the host of the weekday morning radio show "The Vinnie Penn Project" (www.vinniepenn.net).
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.