The hellishness of hiatus is finally ending, and there’s new episodes frolicking around in front of my eyes, like newborn lambs.
One of the shows I was most eagerly anticipating being back on my screen was How I Met Your Mother; not necessarily because it’s the greatest thing ever these days, but because if I don’t get a steady supply of succinct comedy (20-something minutes being the ideal size) I wilt like an unwatered flower.
How I Met Your Mother is ostensibly a love story in reverse, except it isn’t really. The premise is that the main character, Ted (Josh Radnor) is explaining to his kids, in the year 2030, the story of how he met their mama. But really he spends his time talking about his friends, and the stupid stuff they did in New York. (Which is essentially what the show’s creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, get to do every episode.)
The mystery of the mother- and who would play her- seemed integral to the show, initially at least. In fact both Miss Penn and I made lists of potential candidates way back in 2009 which are here and here respectively. However as the show’s gone on, the mother mystery seems to have become less important.
Perhaps it’s because when the show started out, and they had no idea how many seasons they’d get to have, the framing device needed to be more omnipresent. Now, towards the end of the sixth season and with two more yet to come, it’s freer to just be a sitcom about a group of friends living in New York City.
The show has dropped a few clues about the mother’s identity- the most important being that she’s the roommate of Cindy (Rachel Bilson) whom Ted briefly dated. We know the basic outline of this character, and what her foot looks like, and the sense of suspense has somewhat abated. I just want Ted to hurry up and meet the mother of his children already.
I feel like it would be incredibly unsatisfying and anti-climactic if he didn’t meet her until the very end. I want to know who this character is, and I want to have reasons to care about her (beyond the fact that Ted likes her). But unless the writers allow this to play out perfectly, it could all go horribly wrong- as with the audience’s reaction to Ted’s horribly irritating girlfriend Zoey (Jennifer Morrison).
What might save the story is an interesting- and unexpected- twist. What if his children’s mother was simply an egg donor? To start with it would explain why he’d never told them this story before (although time constraints could also be a factor).
Ted totally makes a believable gay character. It could explain his ridiculous cowboy boots (and his attendant absolute belief in the fashion advice of gay men).
It might also go a long way to explaining his generally pretty awful taste in women. (Some strange strand of over-compensation, or something.) And why he, along with most of the audience, seemed to much prefer Zoey’s husband (Kyle MacLachlan) to her. Ted was totally crushing on the Captain.
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that Ted is supposed to be a closeted (if campy) character. Even the use of the word “mother” when talking to his teenage children seems unnecessarily formal and biological, and clashes with the easy use of “mom” by Marshall, Barney and the others. Plus How I Met Your Mother is a fairly gay parent-friendly, with characters like Cindy and her girlfriend (who we know end up having a daughter together) and Barney’s brother James who has a husband and adopted son.
So what do you think? Is it plausible that the show’s going to throw the audience a curveball and show us both how Ted meets his husband and their egg donor, or is it never going to happen? Tell us in the comments, and bonus points for more evidence of Ted’s latent homosexuality naturally.