Monday, April 09, 2007

HIMYM: H-double-D-TV

Spoilers for "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I come up with the appropriate cliche to describe the situation...

Stupid raised expectations. After "Slap Bet" aired, I talked myself into the idea that "HIMYM" had made The Leap, ala "Seinfeld" after the Keith Hernandez episode, where it would be consistently brilliant every week. And then week after week after week, I had to feel disappointed that an episode wasn't as magnificent as that one, until I finally I made peace with the idea that "Slap Bet" wasn't this show's "The Boyfriend," but rather this show's "The One With the Embryos," a high water mark that couldn't be equaled on a regular basis.

So having accepted that, what happens? The New York Times goes and runs a story about tonight's episode, comparing it to "Slap Bet" -- or, at least, discussing how this episode, like "Slap Bet," would feature immediate bonus footage on MySpace. And, rightly or wrongly, I got myself worked up for another masterpiece, and instead I got... a pretty decent episode. Funny, but not remotely legendary.

Obviously, the Barney one-liner factor was high, though the best line ("You know when you should give that to her? 1850!") was reminiscent of recent jokes from "The Office" ("Not right now, but ask me again 10 years ago") and "30 Rock" ("I'm expecting a call from 1983"). But for once, the non-Barney story outshone the Barney one, as the contrast of Lily's virginal bridal shower with all the grannies and the nuns and the little girls with the ticking time bomb that was Robin's inappropriate gift ("What color is it?" "... Black.") made the episode for me. Lots of great bits there, from Lily failing to read Robin's mind to the way Cobie Smulders was able to show you Robin's desperation even when she was in the background and out of focus. And the payoff, with the old ladies' fondness for "Sex and the City" (the watered-down TBS version, of course) erasing Robin's shame while sending Lily's skyrocketing, was very unexpected but perfect.

The stripper storyline was okay but not overflowing with awesomeness. Felt a little predictable in a way this show usually isn't, even when they're doing a standard sitcom plot (see the B-story). It has, however, ruined my desire to ever put my daughter back on her Hippity-Hop, so thanks a lot, Bays & Thomas.

What did everybody else think?

9 comments:

porter said...

The bachelor party story was a bit of a disappointment for me too, though I dug the observation of the bachelor-party archetypes. Lily's grandma's speech, though, pretty well saved the episode for me. That was some good double entendre.

Matty said...

When the guys are eating steak in the restaurant with all the caricatures of famous people on the wall, note that right behind Barney is the caricature and signature of Carter Bays. The stripper plot was pretty lame other than a few good one-liners. Everything else worked, but like Alan said, not legen...wait for it...dary.

dez said...

I kept waiting for Marshall to slap Barney. If any story called out for a return to "Slap Bet," this one did.

Lindy said...

"Slap Bet" was definitely a high point, but I think other episodes have come much closer to it than this one did -- for example, the episode with Wayne Brady as Barney's brother, or the episode with Barney's one-man show. This episode was pretty weak compared with the rest of the season, not just with "Slap Bet." I did enjoy the bridal shower subplot, though. Trust "Sex and the City" to corrupt the older generation!

Tom G said...

I was amused by the bachelor party stereotypes as well, while I rarely laughed outloud, I repeatedly said, "that is dead-right"

Speaking of that Friends episode, I rarely look at magazine address labels without uttering, "Chnadler Bong".

RandomRanter said...

And while I adore "Slap Bet" - I think "Mary the Paralegal" might be the high bar for me, and this episode used some of the same devices, and did a nice job with it.

Anonymous said...

The stuff at the shower with the ladies had me rolling. The guy stuff was OK, but the stuff with the ladies was fantastic.

By the way, there was a scene in this episode that totally reminded me of 2003's "American Wedding" with, of course, Allyson Hannigan. Except instead of Jim and Stiffler, Barney was in the stiffler role and Marshall in the Jim Levenstein role.

When Marshall almost didn't want to invite noted pig Barney to the wedding for almost ruining things with the bachelor party, this was identical to Jim uninviting Stiffler to his wedding with Michelle (Hannigan).

Anonymous said...

Did anybody else check out the scene that never made it to air over on MySpace? Can't see how it was considered too "racy" for TV. I think it was just a matter of making more room for commercials and to also guage how much traffic the site could get.

Also weird to have watched it without the laugh track. Sometimes that really does add to the mix!

Blankity-Blank said...

The "payoff" of everyone liking Robin's gift was unexpected? I thought you watched TV for a living.