I spent most of last night either watching Yanks-Indians or curled up in a ball on the floor of my basement thinking about Yanks-Indians. I'll be watching and blogging other Monday shows like "Heroes" and "Journeyman" later today, but I did watch "How I Met Your Mother" last night in hopes it would cheer me up from the carnage. (It didn't.) Spoilers coming up just as soon as I butter up my legs...
At what point should I be worried here? That's two duds in a row, and even the season premiere was just a pretty good episode of "HIMYM." If this were a three episode run in the middle of the year, I would shrug it off, but a slump at the beginning of a season -- especially one where the show's trying to forge a new direction, post-Ted/Robin -- is a little troubling. Not Chicken Little troubling, but still.
The Robin subplot was particularly lame, just an excuse for that one bit of physical comedy in the bathroom. I like Cobie Smulders, but she's not Lucille Ball enough (or even Amanda Bynes enough) to make that worthwhile. (Maybe the most interesting thing about that whole portion of the episode was wondering whether Doctor Awesome was in some way the show returning fire at "Chuck" for the creation of Captain Awesome -- who's also a doctor, btw. When informed of the Captain's existence back at press tour, the "HIMYM" creators and Neil Patrick Harris seemed both amused and defiant; "A war is brewing," NPH said.)
As for the A-story, while I appreciate Future Ted establishing that there are some stories on the show that he's not telling his kids -- and which in turn explains why he suggested back in "The Pineapple Incident" that he never saw Trudy again -- the story itself felt lacking and, like Robin's story, kind of sitcommy. (When "HIMYM" is working, it has the appearance but not the style of a traditional sitcom.)
I've never liked the device of a character disappearing from a date for long stretches to consult with his or her pals, and given that Ted had essentially blown them off and then vanished for a very long time, I'm surprised the girls didn't either storm into the bedroom, demand their coats and go. Trudy also seemed to behave differently from what I remember of "The Pineapple Incident," though you could ascribe some of that to the presence of her sorority sister. Either way, the "HIMYM" continuity nerd in me is annoyed Ted never asked her where the pineapple came from.
I'm glad the writers apparently let Ted go through with the tricycle -- too many shows decide the funniest outcome to any story where the main character might get laid is to deny him the pleasure -- but most of the good stuff took place on the fringes of the story, like Barney and pantsless Marshall playing WII and discussing British slang, or Marshall saying, "Oh, so it's a metaphorical belt?" a split second before the flashback to Barney pulling out the actual thing.
if these three episodes have a common thread, it's that they've largely focused on Ted and Robin's love lives, and I think it's obvious to everyone by now that they're the two weakest parts of the ensemble. They can certainly have their moments, like the Robin Sparkles video, but Barney, Marshall and Lily are all better-equipped to handle the real heavy lifting, comedy-wise. Last season worked so well because they were together for almost all of it, and their happy couplehood allowed them to hang back a bit and work in support of the other characters. Now that they're split up, forever, the writers clearly feel like they have to give them both something to do, and so far it hasn't been that interesting.
What did everybody else think?