Judging by some of the reactions around Twitter last night, you’d think this news was like when Nirvana signed to Geffen Records or something. Yep, indie darling Greta Gerwig is headed to mainstream network TV (the horror!) to star in “How I Met Your Dad,” the spinoff series from “How I Met Your Mother.”
So, is Gerwig selling out? Is she giving a big middle finger to the roots of her career? Nah. It should be noted that Gerwig is also producing and likely writing the series (the trades seem fuzzy on the latter point), which are two pretty big hats to wear, and presumably will allow the series to have much more of her voice than if she was just going to star. Moreover, as past Hollywood stints have suggested (“Arthur,” “No Strings Attached,” even “To Rome With Love“), it seems that no one quite knows how to use her, and one would hope that in tackling ‘Dad,’ Gerwig will have a bit more control of the material and play to her strengths. And hell, if doing this series means it’ll help finance more indie efforts like “Frances Ha,” who are we to argue? (Also, where’s the uproar about Chris Messina or Mark Duplass taking roles on “The Mindy Project“? Just sayin’).
Of course, the flipside to this is that while there are good comedies on network TV these days (“New Girl,” “Brooklyn Nine Nine” for example), they aren’t on CBS, and we can’t remember the last time we laughed at something (intentionally) on the channel. A sitcom with a laugh track is still a sitcom with a laugh track, no matter who is making it, so Gerwig is really gonna have to bring something fresh for us to tune in each week. The premise has us troubled, with Gerwig’s character Sally described as “a female Peter Pan” who is relying on the advice of her friends and family to guide her as she tries to figure out what to do with her life, while also realizing she’s no longer in love with her husband.
We’d argue we already have “a female Peter Pan” with Jess on “New Girl” (who also gets advice from her friends), but again, we’re willing to give it a shot. The pilot will be directed by “How I Met Your Mother” veteran Pamela Fryman. No word yet on when this will air, but if all goes well, we presume this could be fast-tracked for the fall season. [The Wrap]