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While some might argue that the draw of How I Met Your Mother has always been right there in the title, as we waited season after season for Ted to meet his kids' mother. But to be honest, my interest in the titular “Mother” and Ted’s quest for love has always been minimal by comparison to my appreciation for the format of the show, the humor, the characters and the excellent group dynamic among the fivesome of friends living in New York. So news that HIMYM creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, along with Up All Night’s Emily Spivey are developing a spinoff series to the CBS comedy has my interest.
Yes, it’s a potential spinoff of a popular friends-focused series that’s currently on its last season, but before people cry Joey, it sounds like this is going to feature a new set of characters. Variety’s report says that the concept is “not tied to any of the current HIMYM characters.” Instead, it’ll follow a new group of friends living in the city, and one woman’s quest to meet her future husband. As you might have guessed, the comedy is being referred to as How I Met Your Father. Variety says CBS is in discussions with 20th Century Fox for the project, so it sounds like this is in the early stages of development.
From the sound of it, it’s almost like a reboot with a girl at the center instead of a guy, though they’re calling it a spinoff, which could leave the door open for HIMYM cameos and other tie-ins to the original series. And this could allow the creators to resume the format of the show with a whole new stories. And by format, I’m not so much referring to the “how this person met their spouse” concept, but the flash-back/forward/sideways jumps that HIMYM is able to use by shaping the series around someone telling a story. Because HIMYM is structured around Ted telling his kids about how he met their mother, there are often tangents, time jumps and creative embellishments and even a bit of revisionism. After all, everyone has their own side of a story. HIMYM has thrived on that structure for more than eight seasons, and there’s no reason HIMYF couldn’t.
If we want to make the inevitable Friends comparison, I think one of the reasons Joey failed is because so much about what made Friends work was the way the characters gelled together. That chemistry just wasn’t there with the spinoff, and let’s face it, impossibly high expectations probably didn’t help. Spinning off HIMYM with any one (or two) of the lead characters would stand a good chance of struggling with the same issues as Joey. So even if one or more of the HIMYM cast members were interested and willing to star in their own spinoff, it seems like starting with a whole new set of friends might be the better approach here.
The above said, I hope there’s a place for Rangit in How I Met Your Father. That would be legen— wait for it.