Monday, October 29, 2007

HIMYM: Walk of shame

Brief spoilers for "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I disinfect my couch...

Confidence in season... rising. I don't know that this one was as funny as last week's flashback-packed episode, but that's two in a row that reminded me of a conversation I once had with Craig Thomas. I was asking him about the way he and Bays and the other writers like to play with time and unreliable narration, and he said something like, "We like to do episodes that only we would do," if that makes any sense. Several of the episodes from the start of the season felt like they could have been slightly-altered scripts from a half-dozen '90s NBC sitcoms, where these last two have felt uniquely "HIMYM."

Last week obviously played up the chronological comedy, where here what worked were the focus on Marshall and the use of one social ritual (job recruitment) appearing indistinguishable from another (seduction) -- all of it conveniently explained to us by Barney.

The Porno Ted plot probably could have been done on other shows, but the presence of Barney -- and the echoes of "Slap Bet" -- still made it feel specific to this show.

My only complaint -- assuming it's not being done intentionally to mess with viewers like me -- is that, just as Busy Philipps showed up without getting a single scene with Jason Segel, John Cho comes and goes without getting to bounce off Neil Patrick Harris for the "Harold & Kumar" reunion. What's next: Nicholas Brendon plays Robin's new boyfriend in another one of those completely self-contained B-plots that doesn't feature any of the other actors?

What did everybody else think?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny -

After watching the episode, the latest stories on my RSS reader are 1) your recap of Marshall's seduction by BigLaw, and 2) that the biggest of the big NY law firms gave it's first year associates $35K bonuses.

That's a lot of shoes for Lilly.

floretbroccoli said...

I see John Cho's appearance as a tease.

I figure, with Cho playing Marshall's colleague, the door is open for his return and inevitable meeting with Barney.

With any luck, somebody will be tripping balls.

Rand said...

I was wondering, structurally How I Met Your Mother (that's a very long name and yet I still can't bear to abbreviate it as HIMYM) always reminded me of Grounded for Life, especially the heavy use of flashbacks, I was wondering if there was any common staff.

R.A. Porter said...

Good stuff, now two weeks running. Lily's orgasmic fall into a mound of shoes when she saw Marshall's salary put this one over the top for me.

On another note, it was good to see Ted and Robin (apparently) back to normal again.

Alan, I think your off-hand remark about Nick Brendon showing up but not interacting with Lily would be a great way for Carter and Bays to go. Have a stream of significant guest stars in either major or cameo appearances, but with each they go farther and farther out of their way to keep the guest from interacting with the related cast member.

The level could rise all the way to farce by February sweeps with multiple special guest stars all just slipping by.

BigTed said...

The "Porno Ted" plot actually was done on another show -- the episode of "Friends" in which Phoebe's twin sister becomes a porn star using Phoebe's name. But I guess an occasional "Friends" re-do is inevitable, given the similarity of this show's structure.

While I thought this episode was funny, it was a little more zany-jokey and a little less real than most of them. Ted should have tried harder to get his name back, and Marshall could easily have found a legal job that paid more than the NRDC but was less evil than the one he took. And while it seemed strange to stick Lily with a major secret character flaw after all this time, at least we know she's still the perfect match for Marshall.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And while it seemed strange to stick Lily with a major secret character flaw after all this time, at least we know she's still the perfect match for Marshall.

Also, I think it worked in terms of explaining exactly how Lily affords all those fancy clothes on a kindergarten teacher's salary, which I've wondered about for a long time. (At least they finally had her give up the apartment she kept paying rent for even though she didn't live there, otherwise she'd be so deep in debt that even John Cho couldn't pull her out.)

RandomRanter said...

For me the issue with major secret was less that we've discovered this after so long, and more that it so closely mimicked the reason Marshall had to take the internship with Barney's firm. Although to be fair, that does create a pattern of behavior for Lilly.

Tom said...

I was surprised that they didn't make a big deal out of Kevin Heffernan being on the show. He's a member of Broken Lizard and they have a very strong, very loyal following.

Anonymous said...

"While I thought this episode was funny, it was a little more zany-jokey and a little less real than most of them."

Actually, as someone who works at a big firm, my wife and I commented on how surprisingly real it was. . . . Especially the Ted story line!

Really, the Marshall story was fairly realistic -- though obviously a bit ridiculous (the Tuckahoe Funland part). I assume it was also realistic for people in other professions.

JD said...

I loved John Cho. It never occured to me that guest stars are kept separate from their related co-stars from other series. Last season Alexis Denisof had a scene with Lily "really, I couldn't imagine you cranky". Not only did they work together on Buffy but they're married in real life.

I'd love to see Cho return, I have to imagine he will. I'd also love to see Brendon show up. He's related to Cho on his own as they both starred in the short-lived but wonderful Kitchen Confidential.

Check out my full recap on my How I Met Your Mother blog.

PamelaJaye said...

>the episode of "Friends" in which Phoebe's twin sister becomes a porn star using Phoebe's name.

Ursula???
Say it isn't so.
I only watched a couple eps of friends but I was a big fan of Mad About You - till all the good supporting cast left and all we had was Ira.

I LOVED Ursula. (especially when she was erasing the specials off the chalk board with her belly!)

DonBoy said...

"My father said I should just plant a tree in Israel."