i don't watch very many half-hour comedies, in fact we can limit them to four: "how i met your mother," "the big bang theory," "the office," and "my boys." but i love these shows. they are all quite different, but have one quality that i think encapsulates why they are great: the ensembles have terrific chemistry.
how i met your mother
this season has been a strange mix of episodes that felt like filler, episodes that contained some pure comedic genius, episodes that felt like "how i hid your pregnancy" should be the show's new title (alyson hannigan and cobie smulders, the show's two female leads were both pregnant for most of the season), and episodes that really moved the show's story along. you know what, even with the filler episodes, i think that this season has been fantastic. i enjoyed sarah chalke's arc as stella. i think it makes perfect sense that he needed to meet her before he actually meets the mother. i think the reveal that she was in the first class he taught as a professor of architecture is pretty good. because it will let the show "try out" some of his students as prospective love interests (hopefully in a non-skeevy way), and let them hit upon the right person to be the mother. because we have to like the mother and i would like to know her a little bit before the show tells us who she is. and that is a risk.
another risk has been the barney and robin relationship. but i think that the season finale handled the reveal masterfully. all season long we've known that barney has a thing for robin, and slowly the rest of the group has been made aware of it. and when robin finds out, of course she is horrified, and she decides to "mosby" barney into pulling back. when lily lets barney into robin's tactics, what follows is a pitch perfect scene that captures both characters' wariness about relationships and commitment, while still allowing their amazing chemistry to shine through. i really think they are perfect for each other.
the big bang theory
this show has grown on me. the characters are so likeable, and the show is quite hilarious. penny and sheldon's relationship is one of my favorite things on television. ultimately what makes this show great is its good-heartedness. the guys may be socially awkward, but i never feel like the show is making fun of them, instead it is making fun of the rest of us.
season 5 had its ups and downs. there were quite a few changes at dunder mifflin scranton, and not all of them have worked out. but this season did have some great jim and pam moments: his proposal in the rain, their almost elopement, and the reveal of pam's pregnancy. i enjoy the office, even when it is uneven, and i know many people watch for michael and dwight or the supporting players, but i watch for jim and pam. and my interest in them has nothing to do with the longstanding bet i have with a co-worker that they will not break up. i've had two season's worth of free lunches. i'm looking forward to more.
i'll admit that i am not the biggest p.j. and bobby fan. but they have been inoffensive as a couple and ultimately, the reason i watch the show is because i feel like i'm just hanging out with friends. and it's comfortable and funny and just plain easy to watch.