This week, I’ll be writing about songs featured in some of my favorite musical moments from some of my favorite TV shows. Be warned that I don’t shy away from spoilers. (Especially relevant today.)
After a near-decade of red herrings and false starts, How I Met Your Mother introduced us to “The Mother” in the Season 8 finale. Cristin Miloti would be the actress to do the honors.
Despite the general crappiness of the show in its later years, it did get the character of the mother right. Somehow she was worth the wait: funny, charming, engaging, and remarkably human for a show that was often vapid.
HIMYM‘s ninth season is a tour de force of the clash between ambition and creative fatigue. You can sense the writers’ desire to do something big: The structure (framed entirely around a single weekend) is clever and fun. The slavish devotion to paying off on running gags and throwback references demonstrates an effort for closure and fan service. It’s a fascinating creative endeavor for an established TV show.
But so often the execution was unfunny, aimless, pointless, with sharp and jarring creative choices that sometimes worked, usually didn’t. The most bewildering example is the very final twist, when Miloti’s character abruptly dies so that Ted can hook up one last time with Robin.
Yet it did get a few episodes and moments right. The season’s best episode, by far, is “How Your Mother Met Me,” when we learn The Mother’s complicated past. It ends with Cristin Miloti singing Édith Piaf’s signature song. Her gorgeous voice and look of longing, intercut with scenes of her past and future, result in a moment of truly resonant television.