04th Apr2014

West Week Ever – 4/4/14

by Will

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So, I finally got around to watching American Hustle, or as I like to call it, The movie where fat Batman’s married to Mystique, and he, Lois Lane, and Rocket Raccoon screw over Hawkeye. The real star of the film is Amy Adams’s deep cleav, as those puppies are showcased in every scene she’s in. In all, it was an entertaining movie, but I’m not sure I get what all the hype was about.

lettermanThe biggest news of the week is that David Letterman announced last night that he would be retiring next year after 22 years. I’ve, shamefully, always been Team Leno so I don’t really have a horse in this race. Part of me kinda wishes CBS would pull out of late night entirely, as the field has gotten too crowded with late night talk shows. That said, with Chelsea Handler ending Chelsea Lately, this would be the perfect time to get her on a network late night show. I’ve also read that CBS is interested in Colbert, whose Comedy Central deal ends soon. I, however, like the idea of Tina Fey, but I’m not sure she’d want to potentially jeopardize her development deal with NBC. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

himymThis week saw the long-awaited series finale of How I Met Your Mother. As a fan from the very beginning of the show, I have to say that I was disappointed. I’m going to be dropping spoilers, so you might wanna skip ahead if you don’t want to see them. When the show began, it was under the premise that Ted Mosby was telling his kids about how he met their mother. It always seemed a bit odd that he would linger on all of the other women he banged, especially Robin Scherbatsky (yup, I spelled that correctly without even looking it up!). Well, at the end of the series, we find out that Robin and Barney got a divorce three years into their marriage, and that Ted is actually telling his story 6 years after The Mother has died (which I called years ago). So, in essence, telling the story was Ted’s way of getting the kids’ blessing to ask “Aunt Robin” out on a date. So, despite the quest for The Mother, and the will they/won’t they between Ted and Robin, the story ends with Ted and Robin, seemingly, together.

I have several problems with this ending. First of all, I feel betrayed by the final season. Season 9 took place over the span of Robin & Barney’s wedding weekend, all leading up to the big day the week before the finale. Then, merely 20 minutes into said finale, we find out that their marriage only lasted 3 years. Why make us invest that much into the marriage when it was always doomed to fail? Why make us buy into the notion that Robin & Barney were meant to be, when it was all just a stalling tactic? That leads into my second problem with the ending: the timing.

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Ted and Robin had been given too many chances, and Ted had finally gotten to the point of letting go. Had this ending occurred, say, 4 seasons ago, I probably would’ve been fine with it. That said, 9 years was too long for them to simply say “Ted ends up with Robin after all.” Plus, it’s almost like a cop-out. In an exit interview, Josh Radnor points out “…and he wins in the end; he gets both girls.” NO! Ted Mosby has always been about finding The One. His eternal optimism of finding that one special person is the driving force of the show. While people like to say that this story was about the journey and not the destination, that’s not entirely true. It’s about Ted telling his kids about how he eventually found the woman who changed his life and, in turn, gave him said children. For Ted to end up with Robin, he’s essentially telling them that she was The One the whole time, and that The Mother was really just another in a long line of women that he had to meet in order to reach that realization. What a slap in the face to the kids! I’m not OK with that.

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In many ways, the ending was always telegraphed. After all, the show was called How I Met Your Mother and NOT How I Met My Wife, so it was clear that The Mother was out of the picture in some capacity, be it death or divorce. And there was always an added emphasis on Robin – enough so that even the kids picked up on it. Another telling aspect, though, is that the creators once said in an interview that had the show ended a lot earlier, they were going to say that pastry chef Victoria (played by Ashley Williams) was The Mother. If the role of The Mother was so interchangeable, and the ending had been known since the beginning, then she’s clearly not integral to the actual ending of the show. We all should have seen the Robin thing coming, and I feel a little foolish that I wasn’t honest enough with myself to acknowledge that earlier. It’s just that it was NINE SEASONS, and they tried so hard to sell us on Robin & Barney that the lengthy misdirection is almost unforgivable. So, I could accept Ted & Robin, happily ever after, in a 5 season show, but I just can’t accept that as the ending for a 9-year journey.

Speaking of the 9-year stint, the ending came at the cost of character growth. We had watched Barney Stinson mature and finally realize he could settle down with one woman, who happened to be Robin. He burned The Playbook and put a ring on it. Sure, even though the wedding didn’t last, it didn’t make sense for him to just automatically revert back to old womanizing Barney. What about the lessons he’d learned, or the personal growth he’d experienced? The Barney that we saw in the finale was the Barney we saw for the first 6 seasons of the show – another indicator that the show could’ve ended years ago.

When Seinfeld ended, the finale bothered me so much that I didn’t watch the reruns for 10 years. I’m not sure that’s the case here. If anything, I’ll probably rewatch with a more careful eye, but I’m still not happy about how it went out. Maybe in time, I can find some more appreciation in it. After all, some folks out there liked it, but I never really liked the Ted & Robin pairing, so that ending just didn’t do it for me.

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This is Xfinity’s Watchathon Week, where they let you watch full seasons of a ton of shows on demand. Last year, I was introduced to Girls and House of Lies. For some reason, Showtime shows aren’t included this year, so I’m still a year behind on House of Lies and will be for the foreseeable future. So far, I’ve bingewatched season 3 of Girls and I still find them all deplorable. It felt like one of those shows that splits its seasons into 2 parts, as there’s almost no growth amongst any of the characters. It was just 12 episodes where stuff happened, but there was no real forward movement. I’m also trying to get into Veep, but it’s just not doing it for me. I should enjoy it, as I like the cast, but the show isn’t hitting the right notes. I think part of the problem is the dialogue is somewhat rapid-fire, and I really wanted something I could casually have on in the background. I’m tempted to try to get into Game of Thrones, but Watchathon Week ends Monday, and I’m not sure I can get through the first 3 seasons in that span of time.

FamilyFeud2007LogoI recently wondered if there’d ever been a Family Feud episode where one person had won the Fast Money segment on their own. It turns out it’s been done, but it was during the Ray Combs (RIP) era.

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It’s been announced that Pharrell will officially replace Cee Lo on The Voice. I was really hoping for someone as flamboyant as Cee Lo. To be honest, I was really hoping it would go to Gaga. The show needs another female on the panel, and she brings just the right amount of weird to counter Xtina. Plus, Gaga’s in a bit of a transitional period, and it would be interesting to see her cultivate the Little Monsters into future stars. Alas, it’s not to be, as Pharrell and his fountain of youth will be occupying that fourth chair.

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Has anyone seen this thing? It’s a NERF Nuke! It fires EIGHTY darts and there’s even a Nuke launcher that lets it explode from the air. I’d never pay $100 for it, but I MUST see one in action!

Links I Loved

Why We Deserved More From The “How I Met Your Mother” Series Finale – BuzzFeed

The How I Met Your Mother Finale Bailed on the Entire Show – Vulture

Watching Movies in the 80′s. Good Times. – Cool and Collected

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I know I made my case against the finale, but How I Met Your Mother, as a franchise, had the West Week Ever. As much as I disliked the ending, you can’t shake a stick at a successful 9-season run. For its endurance, I’m not quite sure it got the thanks it deserved from CBS. In the past, when long-running shows ended, there was usually some kind of fanfare from the network. When Married…With Children ended, Fox ran a screen card thanking them for all the laughs. USA Network aired the Psych After Pshow after Psych‘s finale last week. NBC has always dedicated the whole night to finales, be it Cheers or Seinfeld. Those shows got one-hour retrospectives, followed by the series finale. Hell, the city of Boston even declared it Cheers Day on the day of its finale, and the cast all appeared on The Tonight Show. I’m not saying that HIMYM was on a Cheers or Seinfeld level, but it had been a staple of CBS Monday nights for almost a decade. Instead of honoring that, CBS rushed it off the air (seriously, what Fall-launching show has a March finale?), and used it to prop up the premiere of Friends with Better Lives. Sure, Cobie Smulders did Letterman that night, but in terms of “look back” specials, the closest thing we got was the cast’s appearance on Inside The Actor’s Studio last week. That was not, however, a gesture by CBS. Maybe that’s just not in CBS’s DNA. After all, I don’t remember similar gestures for Murphy Brown (10 seasons), Everybody Loves Raymond (9 seasons) or Walker, Texas Ranger (8 seasons) – three other longrunning CBS staples. I guess “The Tiffany Network” is too good for a simple “Thanks for all you’ve done for us.” So, if HIMYM can’t get the respect it deserves from its own network, the least I can do is respect it here. It may not have ended to my liking, but it still gave me 9 years of laughter. For that reason, How I Met Your Mother had the West Week Ever.