Monday, March 24, 2008

I Just Feel Sorry For You

I just got done watching the greatly appreciated Britney Spears episode of "How I Met Your Mother" and I couldn’t help but notice a few things along the way:

1. There is obviously a lot of things going on behind the scenes with the show right now. CBS has been looking for a justifiable reason to cancel the show and the show’s creators and executive producers (Carter Bays and Craig Thomas - two guys I worked for at Letterman) responded by pulling the ultimate stunt casting move of all time by bringing in Britney Spears and Sarah Chalke from "Scrubs" (PS - it has been awesome to see the show getting so much attention on websites and on magazine covers the past week. It’s just a shame it’s not because of how great the show is but whatever).

2. In the first three years of the show this was the first episode written by Carter, Craig, and Chris Harris (another Letterman writer that they brought over to "HIMYM") and this was only the fifth episode written by Carter and Craig in the last two years. To me this says that they were taking this ep very seriously and they knew there was a lot riding on it. They knew that with having Britney and Sarah there was potential for it to get out of control in the wrong hands and they even brought in Chris to help keep it grounded. I could be reading waaaay too much into this but that instantly struck me when I saw the writing credits at the beginning of the show.

3. Britney was actually kind of funny. The dialogue overall felt a little forced at times and first 20 minutes of the episode were kind of awkward because it featured so much of Ted, Sarah (playing Ted’s dermatologist), and Britney (playing the office receptionist) and relegated the rest of the (stellar) cast to a complete supporting role but that leads me to...

4. How it was all worth it for the "two minute date" at the very end. That was completely epic and one of the creative sitcom moments I have ever seen. Did you also notice that there were NO edits in that scene? Amazing.

5. And that leads me to my fifth and final point. For the last three years I have been killing myself telling people about this show and trying to get people to watch. For whatever reason people don’t and it will probably get cancelled. People will keep complaining that there’s nothing good on television and CBS will continue failing to connect with younger viewers because they couldn’t realize that they had something there to pave the way all this time. But after seeing that "two minute date", I just felt sorry for everyone that didn’t get to see it. Instead of feeling sorry for myself for liking yet another show that will be prematurely axed, I was proud that I have been there along and I got to witness something truly special.

The ratings will come out tomorrow around 12:00 p.m. EST and hopefully the Britney cameo and media pub will give it a little spike. A 7.2 rating/12 share would be awesome, however unlikely, but something like a 6.6/10 would have to get the attention of CBS (the show has consistently been in the 4.8/7 - 5.9/9 range for the last two seasons).

I actually think next week’s ratings - without Britney - will have more to do with the hope of future seasons.

But I honestly don’t care anymore. All the emphasis going into tonight was on Brit (and she delivered) but Carter and Craig knew that they needed something more to keep people coming back next week and that’s why we got the "two minute date" and that kind of thinking has been the driving force to the continual brilliance of the show.

Watch or don’t, it doesn’t matter anymore.

I did and you missed it.


Craig said...

HAHAHA. Okay, so, I came to your blog not having a clue what you had written about today, but ONLY to post you a comment on How I Met your Mother. Of course, we dont get it over here and I don't watch it, but, I saw all this press about Britney Spears and this show and kept thinking "i think thats the show Josh always talks about". So, I came to post a comment about you must be happy that its getting so much publicity and BAM. The Post is on the show. HA. Good stuff.

Eugene said...

I dunno if you heard her say that she had an awful St Pattys Day. Do you think because she lost her umbrella? But yea it was sad that no one else in the cast had a story this week.. well except for Robin looking the fool with the Zeppelin comments.

Tess Bush said...

Hey Josh!
I LOVE this show and for the record I have watched from the beginning...I currently do not have television at my house so I haven't been able to watch and I miss it greatly! It would be a travesty if they cut it...Great blog by the way!

Just Being Josh said...

Tess - Paul and I decided we are going to start getting a group of people together to watch on Monday nights so definitely start coming out for that!!

Gene - totally heard the St. Patty's comment and thought the same thing. I think the writers are trying to leave every possible door open just in case the show does get the ax, they can quickly tie it all together. Did you notice Ted run into the girl at the club last week??? That could be the mother too...


Eugene said...

I'm curious, how many Blue French Horns would it take to not cancel the show. It only took 20 tons of peanuts to bring back Jericho.

I did see the bump.. is this her?

I didn't even know Vanessa Minnillo was the chick on the couch with Ted in the No Tomorrow episode. I'm surprised they didn't say something about that! Too much Britney hype I guess.

Eugene said...

oh and if you haven't seen it - Barney has a blog:

Eugene said...

damnit - now I can't stop thinking about the show!

2-minute date scene

NoCureForSilverFever said...

I thought Britney's performance teetered on the edge the whole time. She made it work, but she was a hair's breadth away from being unacceptable. I dig the fact that they gave her more than a cameo and actually wrote her a "part" she could work with.

(Did her hair grow back that fast or was that just a stellar wig?)

And I agree 100% with your comment on the ending. That was definately the gosh-darn best effort I have ever seen anyone make to get a date. --And I didn't notice that it was all one shot, but that's a feat as well.

I didn't mind the fact that the whole cast wasn't really involved. I like the idea that the show can branch off and focus on the trials of one character. As soon as the writers say, "We gotta script in a bigger part for Barney", they're in trouble. If the story dictates a limited performance, then so be it.

I imagine it has to be a challenge to write an episode when you don't know how much time you have to tie up the loose ends of the series. Like you said, part of what they're doing is probably dictated by the fact that they might have to seriously compress five or six seasons into a few episodes.

Gene said...

From the Hollywood Reporter:

A guest appearance by Britney Spears on Monday gave the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” its highest rating ever.

“Mother” spiked to a series high 4.5 preliminary rating among adults 18-49, even as the rest of the CBS comedy lineup fell from last week’s record-setting return to original episodes.

The second week of strong “Mother” ratings (10.6 million, 4.5/12) assures the one-time bubble comedy will be renewed for the fall. “Mother” was the fourth-highest-rated show of the evening, and CBS won the night (averaging 12.5 million, 4.4/11).