How I Met Your Mother season three -- An early look
When we last left the group of five intrepid twenty-somethings from How I Met Your Mother, Ted and Barney were smoking cigars after Lily and Marshall's wedding. Ted had just finished telling the tale of how he and Robin broke up. And, after some uncharacteristic sympathy, Barney gets all charged up about being a wingman for Single Ted. The season ends with Barn launching into his signature line: "Ted, my boy, this is going to be legend... wait for it..."
Well, we waited all summer. And Carter Bays and Craig Thomas know how long we waited; they named the third season premiere, which airs on CBS at 8 PM ET on Monday, "Wait For It." Was it worth the wait? Some non-spoilery thoughts after the jump.
After what was largely a creative and hilarious second season, one that garnered a lot of critical buzz for the show, "Wait For It" comes out a bit flat. It's just not as funny as I expected it to be, given the promise that the second season finale held. Ted's on his own, and he doesn't want to find "The One" anymore. And Barney's going to help him find his inner pig. The comedy potential for that is extremely high, and we'll likely get more of that in later episodes. But in the premiere, there is still some fallout from the Ted-Robin breakup that tends to weigh down the episode a little bit -- much like the episodes that focused on Ted and Robin last year were less funny than the ones that didn't. The faster we get away from the relationship, the better.
Speaking of that fallout, the other problem with this episode is stunt casting. Mandy Moore plays a tough, tattooed rock chick that Ted decides to use as his rebound girl. And why is that? Because Robin comes back from Argentina with a masseuse, played by Enrique Iglesias.
Even during last season, I bemoaned episodes that relied too heavily on guest stars, because I thought it broke the chemistry among the main five characters, which is where the show's best moments usually take place. Iglesias isn't bad; there's a running joke around how Marshall and Lily deal with his presence at Robin's side that make for the best lines in the episode (which I'll talk about more in my episode review on Monday).
But Moore? All I have to say is: Oy. "Look, Mandy Moore's playing against type! She's not the sweet girl we know! She's playing a hard-ass!" is what I'm sure Bays and Thomas thought when they cast her in the role. Greaaaat. Problem is, she doesn't pull it off. At all. Even a running gag involving how she relates to Barney doesn't work as well as it should because I just don't believe sweet Mandy as this slutty bar trash that latches onto Ted.
As is the usual in all HIMYM episodes, the story is told via time shifting and flashbacks, and that method works well in this episode, even if there aren't any major revelations or end-of-episode shockers that take the story in a different direction. We do find out a little more about the elusive "mother" in the title of the show -- via Bob Saget's narration, of course -- which gives me hope that her and Ted's lives might intersect this season, even if only briefly.
Has the opener soured me on the upcoming season? Of course not. I just wish Carter and Craig had repressed their urge to make a splash in the opener and just made the episode about Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall and Lily. That's why we tune in, and that's why we're going to keep watching.
We'll talk more about this on Monday night....