When CBS announced that Greta Gerwig would play the lead role in "How I Met Your Dad," a spinoff of "How I Met Your Mother," the prevailing reaction on Twitter was outrage.
No, not outrage that she got the part — rather, outrage that the indie darling would stoop to doing a sitcom.
As Hitfix writer Daniel Fienberg put it:
— Andrew Wallenstein (@awallenstein) February 12, 2014
Now, unless you're a movie buff or an entertainment journalist, you might be scratching your head and wondering who Gerwig is and why her casting in "HIMYD" is fueling so much Twitter debate.
The 30-year-old Sacramento native intended to become a playwright as she studied at Barnard College, but got into acting after a minor role in the 2006 indie film "LOL." After that, she began working with directors in the mumblecore movement (films that have a naturalistic style).
Gerwig starred opposite Ben Stiller in Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg," and worked with the director (and boyfriend) again in last year's highly acclaimed "Frances Ha." In between, she did more mainstream movies, like "No Strings Attached" (as Natalie Portman's friend) and "Arthur" with Russell Brand. And she fulfilled a lifelong dream by acting in Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love."
Gerwig on how she got into fencing as a teen:
Her engaging, humorous acting style has won over critics, who've likened her to Lucille Ball and Diane Keaton. But is an indie queen starring in a broad CBS comedy a good idea? The debate is heating up on Twitter and in the media.
Pro: As Entertainment Weekly points out, Gerwig isn't just acting on "HIMYD," she's producing and writing for the show, too. "This is even more exciting as a viewer: Behind the scenes is where decisions are made, and for a show following in the footsteps of a comedy with a very distinct point of view, getting one-of-a-kind voices in the mix lay the foundation for potential great things."
Con: But Vanity Fair writer Joanna Robinson doesn't trust original series creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas anymore. "I'm not confident in the spinoff's ability to capture the magic of the first seasons of 'HIMYM,'" she writes, noting that the series was based on the creators' experiences. "You only have to look at some of their less personal projects [the swiftly cancelled 'The Goodwin Games' and 'Oliver Beene'] to see that 'HIMYM' is the exception here, not the rule."
Pro: The main character seems right up Gerwig's alley, according to Slate. "The script definitely reads like a network sitcom, but a fairly clever one — and the lead, Sally, is very Gerwig. With shades of Frances from 'Frances Ha' and Lola from 'Lola Versus,' Sally is exuberant, sloppy, and not very sure of herself."
Con: Shooting a network series will eat up a lot of Gerwig's time — which means she won't be as available to make films. As Grantland concedes, "The issue isn't that it's TV: If this were a Netflix or Showtime series — both of which would presumably have shorter episode orders — no one would care. Basically, the Gerwigamaniacs are concerned she'll be [sort of like 'HIMYM's' Jason Segel before her] stuck for years on unworthy material."
Pro: But she won't be totally out of commission, either. "Jason Segel had time to write and star in a Muppet movie," Vulture points out. "Josh Radnor wrote and directed two indies during 'HIMYM's' run. Hell, Melissa McCarthy's on a CBS sitcom, and she does plenty of other things."
What do you think: Is Gerwig a great or terrible choice for "How I Met Your Dad"?