CBS's How I Met Your Mother has finally, finally allowed Ted to meet the mother of his children, as the final season of the show wraps up. That's just in time to announce that they might be doing a spin-off "that would follow a woman on a similar quest to find the father of her children," reports The Hollywood Reporter. Oh, here we go again.
According to THR, the spinoff wouldn't feature any of the current HIMYM cast (say goodbye to Barney) but it would be produced by the current executive producers and creators of the show, plus Emily Spivey, who brought us the sadly cancelled Up All Night:
The new take would include a similar set of friends, potentially glimpsed in the parent series' (no pun intended) finale, and major set piece MacLaren’s Pub may even be employed as a hangout.
What do we think about the prospect of a female-driven How I Met Your Mother? Well, it sounds a little bit like every show about a woman ever, in which the main character's impetus for existing is always to find a mate and live happily ever after. The real interesting/annoying thing about Ted, depending on your perspective, was that he was a man who acted like a woman. He was so dedicated to finding his one true love, despite all his "slutty" adventures, that he often came off as cloying and desperate. Those are two behaviors that wouldn't be allowed for whatever female character replaced Ted in the role of person seeking their perfect person. It was often hard to find Ted likable; it'd be even harder for an audience to learn to like a woman as frustratingly obsessive about finding her mate as he was.
If Ted has gotten reamed by fans for being whiney and irritating, just imagine the wrath that a woman of a similar situation will face. She'll be hated. In order to be likable, the hypothetical female lead of How I Met Your Father or whatever it will be called will need to be strong and confident and just casually seeking love in the big city – but not casually enough to be called a slut. HIMYM was weirdly progressive, in that it depicted a man who was only mildly made fun of for his lovesick behavior, but it wouldn't really be progressive to have a female character act the same way.
Nor would it be that different to have a show where the lead character had to constantly walk a tightrope of being interested enough in finding her husband but not too interested. A sitcom worth watching would be one that depicted a woman (perhaps not a white one!) who cared about something other than looking for love, the way the women on Spivey's Up All Night did before it was ruined. In its first season, Up All Night had an amazing spread of characters who didn't fit into cookie-cutter ideas about what men and women should and shouldn't do. Many of the episodes featured Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph getting into hilarious situations at work, usually because of something Rudolph's character would cook up, but there was plenty off stuff happening at home as well, like Will Arnett struggling with being a stay at home dad, but clearly loving it. And just having Rudolph in the picture as a woman of a certain age who wasn't married and wasn't planning on having kids but was still happy in her own way was refreshing, no matter how selfish she was. The tropes were there, but they were slightly different and it was nice to watch.
And yet, season two came along and the work-home balance plot line got thrown away, no one seemed to have a job anymore and things just got boring and predictable. Not to turn this into a post about how sad it is that Up All Night was cancelled, but does the world really need another show about a white thirty-something looking for love? Not if it's going to end up the way we can probably imagine it will, no.
Image via CBS