Let’s Not Immediately Hate on Greta Gerwig’s New TV Gig

Let's Not Immediately Hate on Greta Gerwig's New TV Gig

Last night CBS announced that it had found a lead for “How I Met Your Dad,” the planned spinoff of its longrunning sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” currently in its ninth and final season. That actress is none other than Greta Gerwig, indie darling and Mumblecore queen, who joins the project coming off of her highest profile role yet in the Noah Baumbach charmer “Frances Ha,” which she co-wrote with Baumbach. “How I Met Your Mother” creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have written a script for the pilot of “How I Met Your Dad” with Emily Spivey (“Up All Night”), and should it get ordered to series, which it’s very likely to, Gerwig will be helping to write the show and will receive a producer credit in addition to starring.

It’s without a doubt the biggest role Gerwig’s been given to date, and there was an immediate outcry on Twitter about the news, with the main gist being that this project is a waste of the actress’ talents and that it finds her “selling out.” The surprise is understandable — of all of the roles to serve as Gerwig’s mainstream breakout, a CBS sitcom that’s essentially a gender-flipped copy of a preexisting show doesn’t sound like the most promising of vehicles in terms of creative innovation. But the idea that taking on this project drains Gerwig of any interest as an actress seems particularly unfair, as does the idea that she should be obligated to only take parts that meet some mythical level of artistic integrity. 

Gerwig, at age 30, has spent eight years in the indie trenches, acting in projects that have gotten attention — like “The House of the Devil” and “Greenberg” — and others that haven’t. She’s already been in two “sell out” roles, as the love interest to Russell Brand in the terrible 2011 “Arthur” remake and as one of the far more interesting friends of lead Natalie Portman in the equally terrible “No String Attached,” both of which suggest that Hollywood, with its limited imagination, has little sense of what to do with her. And she can’t have a career working only with Noah Baumbach.

We have very little idea what kind of offers Gerwig has gotten since “Francis Ha” other than the ones she’s accepted, and such is the career of an actor that you’re largely dependent on other people’s projects until you write and direct your own or you reach such a high level that you’re able to help make things happen simply by agreeing to participate in them. And from Deadline‘s account, “How I Met Your Dad” is a project that’s been very focused on getting Gerwig on board — such that the studio, 20th Century Fox TV, agreed to move production of the series to New York should it get greenlit. And for what it’s worth, as much as “How I Met Your Mother” has overstayed its welcome, it’s also been hugely successful without being all-encompassing for its cast in terms of what they’re able to work on. During its run, Jason Segel has managed to act in “The Five-Year Engagement,” “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and plenty of others, some of which he also scripted. For that matter, series star Josh Radnor has written and directed two features.

There’s no way to know yet if “How I Met Your Dad” is going to be good or a stinker, but Gerwig’s involvement in the writing process suggests that she’ll be able to bring some of her own sensibility to bear on the project. And either way, why preemptively begrudge her a well-paid gig that will also raise her profile considerably? She’s already got two new films in the works — Barry Levinson’s “The Humbling,” with Al Pacino, which recently wrapped production, and Rebecca Miller’s latest “Maggie’s Plan,” with Julianne Moore.

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Indie Film Minute

Let us remember that there was a time that associating with any TV project was looked down upon. Then long form projects with expanded bounds started to emerge (Sopranos) and all of our worlds got better. There is some good big time broadcast TV (Modern Family with humor that respects that some in the audience has intelligence. . .) but certainly very little. Rather than criticize talents for moving to the genre, should we not celebrate the opportunity that is presented to make it better? Let's face it, making any living in the idie world is just shy of impossible, we celebrate that another indie artist will be able to support herself in the harsh world of entertainment, and hold our breath at the opportunity that something artistically worthwhile may come of it.


So happy for her! Hope she gets paid LOADS of money, and then puts out more exciting work, can't imagine all those indie project paying all her bills…and who knows, can we wait till the show comes out before passing judgement.


I expect this marriage will hit "creative differences" early and this will shut down about 4-5 episodes in.


I agree that she has fewer choices than a 30 year old male indie darling actor would have but spin-offs of famous TV series rarely work. I have nothing against her entering the world of TV sitcom but a spin-off of a sitcom that relied on dudebro audiences for its rating is not the best decision IMO.

Keep cashin dem checks baybee

Don't be hatin' on them hustlers.

Dylan Skolnick

I'm not sure what the big deal is. This is bound to be better than the awful "Frances Ha" or the unwatchable "Lola Versus."


I don't see the problem with this. She, Deshanel, Kat Jennings all play the same character: sweet, dumb, bumbling though life, but dorky (and secretly hot). People, especially man-boys, love it. The character is a total male fantasy, and it plays. She obviously knows her strengths. There's no chance she's like this character in real life or she wouldn't get anything done, but she uses it. And now she's making bank on it. Is that why so many guys and critics are mad? Joke's on them now that the whole arty indie charade is underscored by being framed in the appropriate sitcom light?


I think she's great and hey, sure, good for her for making money. But I'm not buying this idea that we can't say anything negative about people's career choices in the industry. That way of thinking is just bizarre. I wish she wasn't doing it because network sitcoms are the worst and I think she's better than that. Just my opinion, I don't get why it's "wrong" to have.


How about we just support Gerwig for getting a huge gig that will make her a household name. Just because she's taking a mainstream job doesn't essentially mean she will remove herself from the Indie world. In fact, I hope she becomes large enough to open at the box office as well. She's great and I'm all for more of her. So stop acting as if she's violating some artist or indie spirit code. It's work and it pays well. Congrats Greta!


Go Greta! :)


I really wish people would write the movie title correct, that is Frances Ha, not Francis.
And I wish Greta all the success.


I don't like this project but I love her.


I actually hate her less. This is exactly what she should be doing for her level of talent.

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