Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How he met a hooker

A "How I Met Your Mother"-only post this morning; I'll try to hit the Fox dramas later today.

Hands up, anyone who actually thought Mary was a hooker when she first appeared. Now, hands up, anyone who didn't believe it at first but started to at any point in the episode (for me, it was in the elevator with the "not for all the money" feint). Now, hands up, anyone who even for a second believed that Ted would get to have sex with Mary, ho or no ho?

Funny episode with lots of good running gags: "You've been lawyered" (I like that they didn't even bother to set that up, just put it in as something Marshall and Barney have started doing), the telepathic communications, the parody of the NY1 anchor who really does read the paper on TV, Alexis Denisof's hair, the vampire kung fu movie host.... everything was clicking. On the other hand, I think it would have been funny if Ted's revenge on Barney went beyond the credit card thing and involved him actually managing to have sex with Mary, after all.

And hands up, everybody who told me I was being naive (like Kay Adams) for thinking Ted/Robin was over with. You all owe yourselves a beer.

10 comments:

Heather K said...

I love the lawyered business.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of HIMYM - I'll repost a thought at my college (NYU) that could be good for your blog: What role new shows are filling in replacing old ones from the 90s. For instance:

LOST = New X-Files
VERONICA MARS = New Buffy
GREYS ANATOMY = Ally McBeal
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES = Sex and the City
The OC = Beverly Hills 90210
The OFFICE = Seinfeld
FAMILY GUY = the Simpsons
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER = Friends

What are some other match ups? What shows from the 90s have yet to find their Aughts Equivalent but deserve to (the West Wing?) What shows are better left dead?

Marsha said...

I think it added a bit to Ted's too-naive-to-live image that he didn't realize (when we all did) that she wasn't a prostitute. But I did love the exchange about the "real law firm" she works for - the respect Marshall had for her at having done her homework. Very cute.

Just like I never figured out why I liked Friends so much, I can't quite put my finger on what it is about HIMYM. I love the cast, love the writing, it's just fun. Yay for fun - I watch too much ponderous TV.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Hey anonymous, sorry I didn't get a chance to reply the other two times you posted this. This is a really good idea -- too good, frankly, for the blog, and the sort of thing I would do for my column (which I would then excerpt and link to here). Mind if I use the idea? I'm happy to credit you by name.

Oz said...

I think most of the analogies listed by anonymous are too facile. The only two I really agree with are: "GREYS ANATOMY = Ally McBeal" and "The OC = Beverly Hills 90210."

As for the others:

(1) Lost and the X-Files may share certain conspiracy-related similarities, but most X-Files episodes revolved around a Freak of the Week, a tradition more in keeping with Buffy or Smallville than Lost. Also, the X-Files basically only featured two main characters, in stark contrast to Lost's huge ensemble cast.

(2) VM is all about Veronica Mars all the time, whereas Buffy featured a much-larger contribution from the Scoobies. I think the predominance of Veronica Mars in VM is most similar to that of Sidney Bristow in Alias (and note that both characters are assisted by fathers in the same profession).

(3) Again, DH is a true ensemble, SATC featured a star and three supporting players. And Emmy categorizations nothwithstanding, DH is a drama, not a comedy. Of all the shows listed here, SATC is probably closest to Seinfeld (e.g., both of the main stars have three close friends use their personal lives as material for their act/column). DH seems more like Melrose Place in tone, though that's just a guess because I never really watched much of that show.

(4) The Office, to me, is nothing like Seinfeld. Whereas the latter dealt with the trivialities of everyday life, the former is a workplace comedy dealing with normal people reacting to two eccentric workplace characters, Michael and Dwight (maybe three if you count Angela). I guess the closest 90s match would be "The Drew Carey Show," but that doesn't really seem right because so much of the Office takes place at work. I think you have to actually go back to the 80s and Cheers to find a closer analog, complete with the Sam-and-Diane-like sexual tension of Jim and Pam. But really I think this analysis just shows that the Offices are truly unique.

(5) I've only seen a couple of Family Guys, so I can't really comment on this analogy-- is there anything more to it than that both shows are cartoons about families?

(6) HIMYM is fundamentally about Ted's quest to find a wife, so I really don't see how it can ever evolve into a Friends-like ensemble where each show is equally like to be about any one of the five principals. If anything, the heavy emphasis on things like dating rules and catchphrases reminds me more of Seinfeld than of Friends.

marc b. said...

That the jokes like "you've been lawyered" can come out of nowhere with no setup is one of the things that has me coming back to this show week after week. I'm quite bummed that I didn't start watching it until six weeks ago.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Whether I do this as a column or not, some thoughts on both the initial list and Oz's comments:

1)Lost is the new X-Files, in that it's a show that has hooked people with an ambitious, convoluted mystery that the writers clearly don't know the solution to. I would say the real-world flashbacks equate to those Monster of the Week shows; the difference is that Lost mixes the mythology and the self-contained stuff into each hour, instead of keeping them separate the way X-Files did.

2)Veronica is the new Buffy: Tiny blonde with a gift for quips battles evil (of a non-paranormal kind) and routinely grapples with stories that parallel the travails of teenage life (and with no monsters or vamps, the writing doesn't have to lean on metaphor as much).

3)Grey's Anatomy is a mix of three different '90s shows: ER, Sex and the City and Friends. The ER thing should be obvious, and probably the Friends thing too (20-ish pals, many of whom live together, negotiate relationships and their first real taste of adulthood). As for Sex and the City, you have a female lead character who is annoyingly self-centered, obsessed with an unattainable man with a colorful nickname (Big=McDreamy), prone to sledgehammer narration and the least interesting person on the show (Carrie=Meredith); a blunt type-A personality who says what the others wish they could (Miranda=Cristina); a blonde bombshell (Samantha=Izzy in the biggest stretch); and a stammering prude whom the others view as a mascot (Charlotte=George).

4)Not sure The Office has a direct '90s parallel. There's a bit of NewsRadio (wacky workplace), a dash of Seinfeld (cynical worldview), and even, as Oz points out, Cheers (unrequited love among co-workers).

5)Family Guy is a very obvious Simpsons imitation, albeit with its own quirks (the random pop culture digressions that "South Park" mocked a few weeks ago). At this stage in The Simpsons' lifespan, I'm not sure there's much difference between the two, either in heart or laugh levels.

6)As HIMYM has gone along, it's evolved into much more of a Friends-ish ensemble, even with the title, the Future Ted narration and the frequent Ted/Robin episodes. I don't think they're dominating this show any more than Ross and Rachel did in the early seasons of Friends -- it's just that that show was named for all six, where this one has a title that hangs on Ted. But this is the closest we've ever gotten to "The next Friends!"

dez said...

Family Guy never has been and never will be the equal of The Simpsons in anything. Bah.

Also, HIMYM can never be "the next 'Friends'" because HIMYM is actually, you know, FUNNY :-)

Yes, I'm cranky today.

Anonymous said...

Alan - go for it. I remain anonymous to protect my family. But please use a couple of my examples - LOST, OC, and Veronica since those are my favorite shows.

they are also not meant as direct parallels - but as filling the role those shows left. So if the Office isnt exactly Seinfeld, then it's filling Seinfeld's role (maybe Newsradio is better.) Same with Grey's and Ally - although the more you list Grey's influences (Friends, Sex and City etc.) the more derivative and formulaic it reveals itself to be...

And you get what I mean... So go for it.

DonBoy said...

You just know the HIMYM writers were throwing around the words "Teddie Award" in the writers' room. I mean..."Local Area Media Awards", or "Lame-a"? Seems pretty meta to me. (As did Barney's "And this week's plot twist will be announced by...")