How I Met Your Mother Season 8 Premiere Recap and Review: Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris Trade Laughs for Love


Ever since Barney Stinson showed up to TV in 2005, he's been promising that the adventures of How I Met Your Mother will be Legend —wait for it —Dary! Legendary! We've officially been waiting for Ted Mosby to meet his children's mother for over seven years. For those of you that have loved this seven-year ride, there is good news: the season 8 premiere delivers absolutely nothing new.

It's kind of weird to get excited for something you've enjoyed for eight years (married people know what I'm talking, right?). But if there's one thing that How I Met Your Mother has done brilliantly, it's made us care about the perseverant romantic in each of its characters. Whether it's Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshal's (Jason Segel) dedication to true love, Ted's (Josh Radnor) exhausting search for true love, or Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin's (Cobie Smulders) accidental discovery of true love, the kind of person that likes HIMYM is the kind of person that appreciates persistent appreciation. They have to be the kind of person that keeps showing up for eight seasons. And so, we're all still here, enjoying the same jokes and sappiness. Here's the breakdown from Monday night's season premiere:

Lily and Marshal contribute to the show by being unable to contribute to their friends. They both seem unaware that they can take shifts in staring obsessively at their caged baby. This created a tolerable repetitive joke where Lily and Marshal simply repeat a lot of phrases. Decent strategy for eating up a third of the show.

Ted tries to hijack Victoria from her wedding, but not without insisting that Victoria give her fiance the common courtesy of a breakup note. Ted's an analytical thinker, and considering that this show has had episodes named "The Rebound Bro" and "The Rebound Girl," you'd think that the writers would have at least given Ted a thought that this was a bad idea. The girl was wearing her wedding dress the entire episode! Plus, at some point, Victoria will probably remember that Ted cheated on her. Women tend to take those things pretty hard I hear. Oh yeah, we did see the mother's umbrella and guitar again, which felt like a rom-com reveal's equivalent to sexiness in an Ann Taylor catalogue.

Usually we lean heavily on Barney Stinson for laughs; we've done it for years. Here's the rub.  Somewhere along the line, all those laughs he gave us made him such a likable character that he took over the show's lead from Ted. The writers leaned heavily on Neil Patrick Harris' womanizing ways in season 7, making it the highest rated season the show's ever seen. It appears that Barney is in fact going to end up with Robin, that he's on his way to dumping Quinn (moral of the story: strippers aren't on the receiving end of happy endings), and we'll finally get a season 8 finale where Barney looks into Ted's eyes and says, "Ted, it turns out it was you who were teaching me how to live." Other than that, Barney's only standout moment of the night was a 52-second recap of the past seven years.

Summary thought: The show really has become a reliable marriage of actors and viewers. Fans will watch it with happiness and comfort, but very few belly laughs. The place to go for those kind of laughs is the fresher, sexier New Girl premiering on Tuesday, September 25. Fortunately, in TV Land, you can have them both.