CBS recently gave a pilot order for a HIMYM spinoff titled How I Met Your Dad. Being a huge fan of HIMYM and being generally against the idea of spinoffs, I was surprised how much I like the idea of this spinoff. Watch me defend myself below. Follow me around the Internet.
When faced with the end of a long running, beloved series, television fans have always turned their discussions toward the always-hopeful spinoff or movie. It seems that the people behind the scenes of our favorite shows are just the same. You can blame it on “graduation goggles” (to borrow a HIMYM-coined term) or a desire to keep a steady job, but there’s one thing that seems to always fall by the wayside when spinoffs are brought up; that’s the creative side of things.
Remember when The Office was ending last year and there was a ton of talk about a Dwight spinoff called The Farm? You should, they shot an entire episode of The Office that would have doubled as the show’s pilot. In the lead up to that episode, the final season of The Office forced a bunch of situations where Dwight’s family found themselves in the office. It wasn’t awful, per se, but it was distracting to know that the writing staff wasn’t focusing all of their attention on the show’s final episodes.
Thankfully, The Farm never happened. A Dwight spinoff simply would not have been able to sustain itself. You can’t take the main foil for a series and implant him in a scenario where every character is a foil. NBC was smart to pass on it. And I’m glad it didn’t hamper The Office’s actual series finale in any substantial way.
With HIMYD, though, this issue is nonexistent. The show will focus on a different group of friends with no story ties to Ted Mosby and his gang. That’s not to say a cameo or two in the new show is outside the realm of possibility, but it does promise that the lead-up to Ted’s faithful train station meeting will be unimpeded.
That’s not such a common thing in television, though.
Any time you have a series setting up a spinoff (or movie) in its end-run, you run a high risk of fumbling the show’s final moments. Let’s take a look at the end of Friends, for example. The show’s finale had all the characters moving forward instead of Joey. The character had no resolution because Joey Tribbiani packed his bags and headed to California for a spinoff called Joey. NBC actually kept it afloat for 2 seasons before cancelling it. I only watched a couple of episodes and didn’t find it that funny (and I was a diehard Friends fan). It stands to reason that those two seasons were not worth the fan disservice in the Friends finale.
So I commend the HIMYM team for taking their spinoff proposal in a different, safe direction. They are handling “graduation goggles” smartly. Of course, I don’t have the slightest idea if the show will be any good. That all comes down to a matter of casting and the hope that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas aren’t burnt out from nearly a decade of working on HIMYM. They’re bringing on fresh blood for HIMYD though, in the form of Emily Spivey (Up All Night), though. Which leads me to the other point I want to make in defense of this spinoff.
What I think could really work for HIMYD is the fact that it’s not only an unconnected story relative to HIMYM, but it’s from the perspective of a woman. There are a ton of really talented women working in comedy right now and they are in high demand. If the part is cast right, the show could really work well. Since Bridesmaids proved to be a hit, there has been a huge surge in women-centric comedies. I don’t see a reason why HIMYD wouldn’t thrive.
Of course, all of this remains to be seen. The show could prove to be an awful imitation of HIMYM that doesn’t make it past the pilot episode. But, much like the always hopeful (and slightly annoying) Ted Mosby, I’m optimistic that it can and will do well.
UPDATE – 4/4/2014
Listen to my friends and I breakdown the How I Met Your Mother series finale. Click the image below.