How I Met Your Carter

The new season of How I Met Your Mother started tonight, so you might want to check out Hitfix’s interview with co-creator Carter Bays. He talks mostly about the themes of last season — mostly, putting Ted through a lot of bad stuff, dropping obviously false hints about who The Mother might be, and hiding two pregnancies in very awkward ways — but does mention a few things planned for this season, particularly one thing that became apparent in the season premiere: Ted is going to be more well-adjusted and happy than last year. Whether this is considered pleasing, or just an excuse for him to be an even more annoying person than he usually is (he sometimes turns human in episodes where he is made to suffer, particularly the memorable “Shelter Island”), is for the viewer to decide.

Also, Myles has his take on The Big Bang Theory season premiere and what he sees as the cruel treatment of Sheldon by his supposed friends. While the show has its unaddressed weaknesses, I’m not sure I agree that that’s one of them. It’s true that with the possible exception of Penny, most of the characters aren’t nice to Sheldon. It’s also true that he’s such an obnoxious lunatic, by real-world standards, that anything they do or say to him is (again, by real-world standards) sort of justified. If the other characters treated his behaviour as cute or even tolerable, we would be in danger of a “Jerkass Homer” situation: the character who acts like a jerk and is never punished for it. We’re freed up to love a character like that only because other people acknowledge how horrible he would be to live with, so we don’t have to, and can instead focus on his good qualities (plus the charm of the very traits that would make us hate him in real life). Otherwise we find ourselves wondering why the characters don’t acknowledge the truth about this person’s behaviour, and before you know it, we’re Frank Grimes, screaming at the television set and asking why no one on the show seems to notice that this person is nuts. What I suppose I’m saying is that the audience would not like this character if the other characters didn’t — sometimes — fulfil the basic and important role of being annoyed by him. For every Dennis the Menace there must be a Mr. Wilson.

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