It’s rare that I jump in on a show during its fifth season. For me that’s just too much to try and catch up on; but as time wore on and I continued to hear more and more about how great How I Met Your Mother was, I decided to just dive in and check it out. After all, they may have been on their fifth season by the time I started, but they were only half hour episodes so it wasn’t like I was trying to catch up on some other behemoth show. Needless to say I plowed through the four seasons and then caught up as it was airing during its fifth…which turned out to be quite a mistake, as the fifth season of this show was clearly one of its worst.
Hopeless romantic Ted Mosby gets one step closer to his soul mate when “How I Met Your Mother” Season Five arrives on DVD September 21 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Neil Patrick Harris (“Doogie Howser, M.D.”) leads a stellar ensemble cast including Alyson Hannigan (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”), Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Josh Radnor (“Freaks & Geeks”) and Cobie Smulders (“The L Word”) in the hit comedy that dissects the trials and tribulations of dating life in New York City. The show is narrated by an older version of Ted (Bob Saget; “Full House”) as he fondly recalls adventures from his single days with his friends to his children. Season five of the hilarious love story told in reverse finds the gang encountering their doppelgangers, contemplating dual citizenship, struggling to achieve the ‘perfect week’ of sexual conquest, buying a house, getting mugged by a monkey and even starting a family.
You know it’s a show of mediocrity when even the writers and producers admit that the fifth season was a weak one. Twenty four episodes of the show added up to a very sitcom-y and non-productive season, as there were maybe a handful of those episodes that actually progressed the “How I Met” theme along. We’re promised more expansion in the sixth season (now airing, obviously) but thus far it’s been the same filler as this fifth season. It’s not an entire loss—there are definitely some funny moments throughout the season, but overall it’s a very by-the-numbers and predictable outing for the sixth season.
I think what hurt it the most was its complete lack of progression. It just never moved anywhere for any of the characters except maybe Lily and Marshall, but even then that’s towards the end of the season. If you stuck with it the entire way through, you got a ton of filler episodes that you really don’t remember. Then there are the annoying episodes like “Last Cigarette Ever” which shoehorns in a history of smoking for all of the characters; I hate those types of things because they try to make it a part of these characters we’ve grown to know over four or five seasons. I guess there’s an interesting element to that when you twist the characters like that, but for such a simple show about trying to tell a story about how you met the mother of your children it’s needlessly extravagant to keep pushing it with these filler episodes, let alone filler seasons. Included on this set are obviously all twenty-four episodes:
•The Sexless Innkeeper
•Duel Citizenship (with commentary by Cobie Smulders and Chuck Tatham)
•The Rough Patch
•Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap
•Last Cigarette Ever
•Girls vs. Suits (with commentary by Craig Thomas, Pam Fryman and Neil Patrick Harris)
•The Perfect Week (with commentary by Craig Gerard, Matt Zinman and Joe Kelly)
•Rabbit or Duck
•The Wedding Bride
•Zoo or False
•Robots Vs. Wrestlers
Again, there were moments in the season that were plenty humorous, but the truly witty stuff was few and far between it seemed. I’m not sure if they were trying for a different, more relaxed style this season but considering the series is trying to tell a story we sure go off on a lot of tangents that have absolutely nothing to do with the title of the show. I don’t mind a little deviation here and there but this season just seemed unfocused and entirely superfluous. Of course there were still plenty of hilarious moments with Barney, which in the end is all that matters really. Worth a Rental as there’s some decent entertainment to be had throughout these twenty four episodes (notably the “Slapsgiving” episode).
Fox has pushed out How I Met Your Mother’s fifth season in a standard three-disc amaray single width pack. A glossy/embossed o-ring slips over the clear casing to aid in shelf blending, but aside from that the cardboard slip serves no purpose. A double sided jacket serves as the episode guide and disc information. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and despite watching this season originally in high-definition broadcast only, I was still impressed by the level of detail that this transfer brought to the table. Solid colors, nice detail and a hint of grain here and there help maintain the original look of this series as best as it can on a standard definition format. Audio is a DD5.1 mix and a bit superfluous on a comedy show, but surrounds and LFE do occasionally pop up when the occasion calls for it (which admittedly isn’t very often).
• Bloopers/Gag Reel
• Music Videos (Super Date, Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit, Best Night Ever)
• Making of Super Date
• Wedding Bride Trailer
• 100th Episode Behind the Scenes
• Series Recap
Extras are fairly entertaining, although a bit brief. The gag reel could’ve been longer (although I say that even about ones that run twenty minutes), but the additional featurettes were nice (especially the behind-the-scenes bit on the 100th Episode and Super Date episodes). Commentaries would’ve been very nice as well—I can only imagine how crazy they’d get if the entire principal cast was involved in one. Oh well, one can hope we’ll get some on a season down the line. Overall a Recommended release for fans, but newcomers will find it better as a rental.
How I Met Your Mother – Season 5 is now available on DVD.