Nobody has ever strung TV viewers along the way the executive producers of “How I Met Your Mother” have.
Monday (7 p.m., CBS/Channel 2) is Episode 184 and Carter Bays and Craig Thomas STILL haven’t told us who the mother is.
Hey, it only took 120 episodes to do in the one-armed man on “The Fugitive.” We found out who shot J.R. just four episodes after he was shot.
(Well, there was a summer hiatus and a writers’ strike, which dragged the mystery out for eight months.)
It took 121 episodes to get the ridiculous non-answers that wrapped up “Lost.”
(Michelle Obama could turn out to be the mother on “HIMYM” and it would make more sense than the end of “Lost.”)
But it’s been seven years and eight months since Ted (Josh Radnor) began his search and we STILL haven’t met his wife.
When the show began, Ted fell in love with Robin (Cobie Smulders). Obviously, that didn’t work out. Robin is getting married to Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) soon. Monday’s Season 8 final is headed in that direction.
At least we think it is. You never know with “HIMYM.”
CBS is teasing us that a big revelation is coming Monday. But we’ve been teased before.
Ted has dated, slept with and/or fallen in love with Amanda, Amy, Becky, Blah Blah, Carly, Cathy, Cindy, Holli, Honey, Janet, Jeannette, Jen, Karen, Lizbeth, Mary, Marybeth, Naomi, Natalia, Natalie, Robyn, Royce, Stacey, Stella, Strawberry, Vicky, Victoria and Zoey.
None of them really mattered. Despite the title, “HIMYM” has never been all about finding the mother. Entire episodes have nothing to do with that It’s about five pals — Ted, Barney, Robin, Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) — who form a pseudo-family. Like “Friends.”
Thomas described “HIMYM” as “the story of Ted and his friends and that second sort of adolescence of late 20s/early 30s and entering adulthood.”
The show hasn’t gotten the credit it deserves. Carter, Bays & Co. have mastered non-linear storytelling. Episodes jump forward, jump back, speak from different points of views — and yet hold together beautifully.
(Well, except for that one episode in December 2011.)
They’ve played with their own templates so well that they can still surprise viewers.
But, truthfully, “HIMYM” is showing its age. Season 8 hasn’t been great, and the news that Season 9 will be the last is welcome. It should focus Carter, Bays & Co. on taking this thing out in style — and on point.
Although, after dragging this out so long, what are the odds all the show’s fans will be happy when we meet the mother?
But be open-minded. Have fun. Be happy we’ll get one more season to wrap this up.
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.