Kids… meet your new mother. With the unexpected announcement that indie darling Greta Gerwig would be anchoring the upcoming How I Met Your Mother spin-off How I Met Your Dad, HIMYM/HIMYD creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have pulled off their biggest casting coup since the Britney Spears cameo a few seasons back. Even more interestingly, the Frances Ha co-writer and star will be a writer/producer on the new series as well, suggesting that she'll at least have some say in the way the series unfolds. With that in mind, here are the five things we'd like to see Gerwig incorporate into her first network television venture.
Working in the visual key of Woody Allen's Big Apple classic Manhattan, Gerwig and her collaborator Noah Baumbach made the decision to shoot Frances Ha's Brooklyn locations in sumptuous black-and-white, which made the borough look like an even more desirable zip code. While it's unlikely that CBS would allow her to drain the color out of HIMYD on a regular basis, why not set aside one or two Very Special Episodes each season that take advantage of the possibilities offered by B&W cinematography? It's certainly a more stylish gimmick than that Kill Bill nonsense on HIMYM this past season.
A Squid and the Whale Reunion
Since Gerwig and Baumbach enjoy a professional and personal collaboration, she could potentially lean on him to call in a few favors from actors who have populated his past movies. And while a Mr. Jealousy reunion would probably be easier to pull off (it's not like Eric Stoltz and Annabella Sciorra have a heck of a lot going on right now), we'd much rather see Gerwig's HIMYD character, Sally, turn up for an uncomfortable, awkwardly hilarious dinner party at the Park Slope home of the battling Berkman clan two decades removed from their '80s heyday. Just think: Joan could be chilly and distant, Walt would try and fail to sound erudite and Bernard would grimace through his bushy beard and insult everyone at the table before trying to sleep with Sally. Failing that, we'd also accept Ben Stiller dropping by as Roger Greenberg.
Damsels in Distress failed to make this new dance craze happen, so it's up to HIMYD to introduce America to the glories of the Sambola, the one legitimately enjoyable thing about Whit Stillman's crushingly disappointing return to feature filmmaking. It's easy! Spin clockwise for a count of eight, then walk "a la tango" for six… oh, you know what? Watch this handy instructional video. Just as HIMYM had Robin Sparkles for its musical entertainment, HIMYD will have the Sambola. Let's hope they don't run this gag into the ground as quickly.
A Dunham Drive-By
With their emphasis on chronicling the romantic and professional failings of a self-absorbed twenty-something New Yorker, Gerwig's big-screen vehicles Lola Versus and Frances Ha often tiptoed into Lena Dunham territory (successfully in the case of Frances and not so much with the nearly-unwatchable Lola). And while they haven't worked together previously, both women did come up through the ranks of the mid-'00s mumblecore movement to achieve their current mainstream status. A Dunham guest spot on HIMYD would give the series a major ratings spike in hipster hovels all across Williasmburg.
Female Characters Who Aren't Spineless Doormats
The current state of HIMYM is depressing for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the way that the writers have allowed Lily and Robin to devolve from smart, capable women into agency-less accessories in the lives of their male partners. Lily's defeated acceptance of Marshall's plan to keep the family in New York was almost as hard to watch as Robin's ongoing tolerance of Barney's manic pre-wedding antics. Heck, even the recently introduced Mother was given a backstory that conformed to a very traditional model of femininity. Where Ted has been allowed to sleep with dozens upon dozens of women over the nine seasons of the show, she lost her first love and only had one relationship after that, during which she was essentially saving herself for "the one." In her own self-generated work, Gerwig has sought to capture a more nuanced portrait of the needs and desires of contemporary young women. That's the kind of show network television -- and CBS in particular -- could use right now… especially if HIMYD ends up leading into 2 Broke Girls.
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