Now that How I Met Your Mother has come to an end after an incredibly successful nine year run, Neil Patrick Harris’ ultra-charismatic personality has found another show to guide. He was not the lead in that show but was one of its most enigmatic characters, not unlike what ended up being the case with Kramer in Seinfeld . But before we talk about Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris it is important to look back on all the good times that our old buddy and friend Neil Patrick Harris has had to see if this will really be indeed, the best time ever.
First and foremost, let’s highlight Harris’ major roles in the Harold and Kumar series. I say major because without a doubt, there would never have been any sequels if Harris had not showed up just in time to save the day. You could even say that he is the most important character of the series, because like a guardian angel, he shows up whenever the two protagonists are in their most desperate time of need. The first film came out in 2004 with a plot to which almost everyone could relate, and it was blunt about this point. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle made it clear from the very first poster release that they wanted to create a piece of cinema for the common man, and building upon that principle, Neil Patrick Harris created a legendary character. Hardly even a character really, in the credits he is listed as playing himself.
The Harold and Kumar role was where the Harris we know came into being, before that he was known as America’s number one recommended child doctor, Doogie. When he decided to evolve, he hit the ground running. Audiences saw him snorting cocaine, taking ecstasy, and talking at all time about his own greatness and sexual exploits. However he was always a friend, he was the most positive image of a reckless person ever. Honestly, he was the perfect caricature of what everyone expects will become of any child star.
There is another role that I have to selfishly point out, for my own reasons. Inbetween Doogie Howser and the Harold and Kumar franchise Neil Patrick Harris did have a major film appearance. He was a top tier telepathic agent in the space military of 1997’s Starship Troopers . He was crucial beause, while he did not have a lot of screen time, the screen time he had was wildly important. He essentially announced the defeat of the alien menace and anyone who has seen the movie can certainly tell you all about the scene in which he calls out to thousands of space marines, “It’s afraid!”
Harris played the game well though, he made it clear he was all about being ridiculous and hedonistic. Yet he brought a maturity and finesse to even the most ridiculous role that firmly placed him in the line up of American television programming. Now you’re bound to see him hosting an awards show and in a crisp suit instead of doing drugs in the back of a car with two affable heroes or flying around outer space.
He was the first openly gay man to host the Academy Awards at the 87th ceremony in Febuary of this year. Before that he performed in the 82nd awards ceremony to deliver opening number. He has also been in a number of films outside the Harold and Kumar series.
Best Time Ever is hoping to make use of all the talents available to Harris. As he’s proven throughout his mostly comedic career he can do more than just play a roll. He can sing, dance, and converse well with almost anybody he begins talking to. NBC couldn’t help but notice that they had the chance to take one of the most recognizable TV characters and employ them as a jack of all trades talk show host.
The show relies on Harris’ spontaneity and it’s a good gamble, Harris clearly remains genial, clever, and funny in almost any situation that he finds himself in. He needs to be, as the show is something of a whirlwind tour through latenight American television. Best Time Ever really has a piece of almost everything on television rolled up into one show. There are set comedy bits and skits, small time game shows, gifts for the audience, and all sorts of hidden camera shenanigans. One of the most impressive bits so far being that Harris essentially followed a couple around for weeks and even managed to photobomb their wedding. Beyond that there is the standard rotating roster of celebrity guests that appear to just talk and be there or to highlight upcoming films. The usual. What makes the show unusual is its ambition to do all of these things and do them well.
The main selling point of the show, in all honesty, is Harris himself. He has a cult of personality formed around him, and rightfully so. Harris is always a striking figure and makes a splash in almost everything that he appears in, it’d be fair to say the he just has one of those faces, or something like that. I always enjoy his work, and at the risk of sounding like a fanboy I have to say that he has an mysteriously magnetic charisma about him. If you look at any of his tv appearances off the set of How I Met Your Mother its easy to see that anyone around him is just
in a good mood.
What’s left to see now is how far Harris’ personality can take the show. Most early reviews have rated it on the upper end of the middle shelf, but that amounts more to the writing and bits the show has put out so far as it finds its feet on air. Harris is clearly capable of delivering to high expectation, the question here is if Best Time Ever is actually all the fun it makes itself out to be. To catch NPH on many different programs, install a cable TV package in your home!