My friend Vedant and I are at Mix, this bar at the Westin that the High Spirits Cookout crowd (in Pune) usually flocks to, to continue their mid-day inebriation on a dying Sunday afternoon. He sparks up a conversation with a white girl our age while I, as his designated wingman, distract her other friend. The friend, surprisingly, is really beautiful and smart and has been able to uphold a witty, interesting conversation for a while. She starts to grow on me and I start to become more and more attracted to her until she says something that changes everything.
"Umm, I’ve seen Friends but I didn’t like it that much. I think HIMYM is, like, MUCH better".
Then I slowly lean into Vedant's ear and whisper "F*ck this shit, I’m outta here."
Don't get me wrong, How I Met Your Mother was a great show. But compared to the Holy Grail of television that is Friends, it falls short more than just marginally. I quickly bounced from Mix before this girl started quoting Hitler or something. I know she's entitled to her own opinion, but her opinion is wrong. Or at least its wrong in my opinion.
Friends is a celebration of a consistent quality of writing for 10 years with very few (if any) faults. The characters matured realistically and the humour never missed a beat. HIMYM was also a melange of great acting and writing but on the whole proved to be massively underwhelming. And 3 seasons too long. Such a result driven concept should not have taken 9 years to conclude. In the end, it just left everyone asking the obvious question, "How long were those kids actually sitting on that couch?"
Realistically speaking, it didn't do itself a lot of favours. That final season was not just terribly written, but also disappointing for me personally. It was a show that made me believe in hopeless romanticism from a male perspective, with very few shows actually exploring a masculine vulnerability like that. But instead the ending left me unsatisfied and rather upset.
Audiences waited 8 years to finally get a glimpse of the Mother, and the writers went ahead and stretched the Barney and Robin wedding over the entire season. This left us with only the last episode and a few moments in between with the Mother that managed to lift our hearts. One of those moments was definitely Cristin Millioti's hauntingly beautiful rendition of La Vie En Rose.
Second, there wasn't enough time left for Ted and the Mother, Tracy to really connect. There wasn't enough time to digest the integration of Barney and Robin's marriage. And there wasn't enough time left for everyone to really come to terms with the fact that Ted and Robin could be together again, now that the situation was perfect. How can a narrative that once captivated an entire audience end up leaving them so underwhelmed?
For the longest time, American television has operated on the basis of commercialism rather than the actual need of the narrative. Shows are renewed for more seasons even when it isn't necessary, just to pump out more money. Sometimes this works well, like with shows such as Breaking Bad or the Sopranos. Other times, not so much. Countless shows have had great initial seasons and died out because of inconsistent writing, such as Heroes and Lost. These two shows specifically serve as great examples of how inconsistent writing can destroy a beloved story and intriguing, relatable characters. If JJ Abrams was involved with the show past the pilot in Lost, I’m sure it wouldn't have turned out the same way.
A lot of British television shows have a pre-decided number of seasons and episodes they broadcast. I distinctly remember Jeremy Piven stating on late night television that Mr. Selfridge would only last 4 seasons before they even started shooting the first. The Netflix system does provide an alternative as it releases a lump sum of episodes in one day regardless of ratings or commercialism. At least this allows artists to communicate their entire vision of the narrative rather than being cancelled after the pilot.
After all is said and done, a television show can never die a graceful death as its either cut down in its prime or goes on to lose its character completely. I’m not trying to oppose the current system and neither am I offering the solution of a new one. Rather, I’m just trying to deal with some shows that mean so much to me, dying out they way they do because of inconsistent writing. I guess the only way to put it is to say ’You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain".
Honestly though, that Dark Knight Rises flick was like way too long man.
Scribe: Veer Shetty
Captain's Log: Veer Shetty is a 17-year-old kid out of school with too much free time on his hands. As he hastily applies to film school, he is currently writing and directing short films, jamming with his friends and nerding it up Padawan stylez with Geek Fruit.