It should really go without saying but there are spoilers for the “How I Met Your Mother” finale here.
So here’s the story of “How I Met Your Mother.” It was a good show, then it was a very good show, then it was a decent show that used to be good and still occasionally had its moments, then it was a fairly average show with moments, sure, but they were few and far between and then, finally, it was a pretty mediocre show building toward a finale that had to get a few very specific things right and otherwise avoid doing a few very specific things wrong.
It didn’t work in the end. The final twist foreshadowed a month earlier and the twist that followed that were massive, desultory failures, missteps preordained without care or consideration for what was to come between plan and execution and the kinds of things that are likely to forever skew how some audience members will remember the show.
Cobie Smulders, the least-famous of the five actors on “How I Met Your Mother,” is set to join Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers.” She will essentially be Samuel L. Jackson’s sidekick in this film and multiple other Marvel films, something Jackson let slip on Jimmy Fallon’s show last week.
Hey, I’m all for Smulders becoming more famous. For one thing, check out that name: Cobie Smulders. She’s also an incredibly game and charming performer on “HIMYM,” and no matter how grating the show became at times, her character never became unlikable. At least some of that is because of her zeal and likability as a performer. But she has lagged in fame behind her costars Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan and even Josh Radnor (who wrote and directed his own movie). I’m still bewildered the show has been on for six seasons and she hasn’t gotten more roles in mainstream films. Becoming a token female character in “The Avengers” isn’t a huge step forward, but it’s something, and it can only raise her profile for the future.
She joins Scarlett Johansson as one of two women in a cast that already includes Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg. Smulders beat out several other young actresses, including Morena Baccarin, who will star on “V” until it is canceled later this spring and before that starred on Whedon’s “Firefly.”
I would be remiss if I didn’t note that “How I Met Your Mother” aired a new episode last night. And it wasn’t bad! For the second episode in a row! In fact, it was actually pretty good! And, in perhaps the most shocking development of all, the show’s main character — generally an anchor that drags down the show’s comedic level when he’s given center stage — was the funniest person on the show. Really! He went up to a dude with a monocle and mocked him, but then later went up to him and asked if it costs half as much as glasses, and it was actually pretty funny in the moment. (He also had other jokes that were humorous.)
Anyway, so if you watched it but gave up on it as it became more and more of a….well, a CBS sitcom over the last couple of years, maybe give it another shot. It started the season weakly, but it looks to be gaining some traction.
As part of my occasional scattershot TV reviews, I thought I’d discuss the third episode of “How I Met Your Mother’s” sixth season. This year will be less sitcommy, the producers promised! This year will be different! We know we’ve hurt you, but we’ve changed. After a middling premiere and a solid second episode (sold largely because Neil Patrick Harris took center stage), the third episode was a decided disappointment. I get that they were trying to do something Big Picture, and tell us something about unfinished business and longing and closure, but they fell short. Some bits were funny (lawyer funk band!), some things grated so much they made me want to eat my remote (if I ever hear “Where’s the poop?” again, seriously, I am eating the first remote I find). A pretty weak outing.