Tuesday, November 06, 2007

HIMYM: Everything comes down to poo

Spoilers for "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I plan an expedition to the summit of Mt. Waddington...

After some major improvement the last few weeks, "Dowisetrepla" (and did anyone figure that one out before the scene in the cab?) felt more like the season's early episodes: some funny moments on the sidelines, but a plotline that felt like something you could find on a dozen late '90s sitcoms. They tried to spice up the apartment hunt with some "HIMYM"-y touches like Future Ted's constant "That's what he should have said"s, but watching it I kept thinking of Craig Thomas' line about how they like to do the kind of episodes that only they would do, and for the most part, this wasn't one of them. And I don't just say that because Maggie Wheeler (aka Janice from "Friends") played the realtor.

I got a kick out of Robin again being shamed about her Canadian heritage (even though, according to my own Canadian relations, Mt. Logan is the tallest mountain in their great country, not Waddington), and of the entire "Mosby boys" sequence in the final act (I like that Robin's much less indulgent of Ted now that they're not dating), and Marshall and Lily actually being able to see the Dowisetrepla word jumple, and anything to do with the comically-large bottle of champagne, but most of the episode -- even Barney being Barney with the commitment-obsessed bimbo -- felt slightly off.

What did everybody else think?

21 comments:

R.A. Porter said...

It lacked some of the better time/narration twists of the best episodes, but it had CSI: Mosby's Apartment.

Horatio wishes he could be as cool as Ted.

I'd give it a solid B, maybe even a B+. There were things that were run of the mill about it, but all in all it was really entertaining.

Did anyone else consider what might happen to Barney now that Marshall and Lily live in the apartment he used for his tryst? Consequences for Barney?

Brian said...

I've seen the mt. logan complaint elsewhere as well. Why can't people just chalk things like this up to the character being misinformed? Why do people expect characters in shows to factually correct all the time.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was reasonably funny, but at this point I'm almost more interested in where the show is headed thematically. The core premise -- that Ted is telling this story from some presumably idyllic future, where he has a wife and two kids -- has been taking a hit lately, as we learn that maybe not everything ends happily for these people we've come to like. It's added a real note of poignancy ... sort of a "Merrily We Roll Along" effect.

-Noel Murray

Alex R said...

Let me say this about HIMYM - even a "bad" or "down" episode of this show is still pretty darn good. I put this in the upper echelon of TV shows along with Lost, The Shield, Mad Men, 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights, as a show that even when it's off, is still very entertaining.

But this was not its best effort. It's surprising because I can count on my hand the number of HIMYM episodes I haven't thought were pitch perfect in 2 1/2 seasons.

Kyle Wasko said...

Liked: all of Marshall's reactions ("don't sell it to them...we'll give you so much more money!"); the Mosby Boys ("you mean, you and your sister?"); the mystery of the retainer ("Was it in the garbage?" "Yes."); Robin's Canadian references ("yeah, it's the tallest mountain in Canada. It's over 4,000 meters high." "Meters?"); and Ted being a bad roommate ("hey, don't you have to write the bar exam tomorrow?"), but the rest of it was pretty forgettable, with an A story (Marshall and Lily apartment hunting) that probably would have worked better as a B, a B story (Barney tricking a commitment-starved girl into sleeping with him) that they've literally done dozens of times before (also: I don't really think they paid off that storyline. I was expecting one more scene with the girl--maybe her being there when Marshall and Lily move in?), and, really--aside from the Mosby boys bit--nothing at all for Robin and Ted to do.

(Sorry for making that all one sentence)

Definitely better than the bad stuff (We're Not From Here; Third Wheel) but certainly worse than the season's standouts (How I Met Everyone Else; Wait For It...). Mixed season so far, but I'm confident it'll get stronger.

Also re: Alex R's comment: it's entirely possible that we're setting the bar too high this year. I've managed to convince a few people with my incessant prattling about HIMYM to start watching, and while I've been down on it thus far--S2 this is not--they're loving it.

Lindy said...

Is it just me or is Ted really different this season? My boyfriend and I have been watching Season 1 on DVD, and I just can't picture Season 1 Ted asking Barney to describe his date's boobs in more detail. It would make sense for Ted to be a bit jaded and less starry-eyed about marriage after breaking up with Robin, but aside from them both admitting that it's kind of weird to hang out now, the show seems to think they're both over the breakup. (I feel like a broken record now, I promise to stop complaining about the lack of breakup fallout on the show after this!)

But CSI: Mosby's Apartment was awesome.

Tosy And Cosh said...

Anonymous - the "sandwhich" ep, for some reason, got me thinking that the mother, in the timeframe of Future Ted telling the story, might be dead, and might have died very early in the kids lives, and that Aunt Robin raised them (platonically) with Ted. Such a scenario would:

Explain why Future Ted is going into so much detail about Robin and his relationship with her to his kids.

Explain why he's telling his kids such a massive story about their mother without her interfering or adding anything

Be a nicely ironic twist to the idea that Robin and Ted broke up because she didn't want kids.

It would also be pretty dark and melancholy and so I'm pretty sure it's wrong. But it kinda fits, no?

wonderbug said...

word of the night: Jackassery

BigTed said...

I think we're supposed to see Ted's somewhat boorish behavior this season to be the fallout from his breakup with Robin, and that he'll probably hit bottom soon (possibly at the exact same time that we meet the mother). How do we know this? His hair, which is now much too messy for a successful architect. On TV, bad hair is the universal sign of rebellion and possibly depression.

I hope we won't be seeing Barney's one-night stand again.... That actress overstayed her welcome as the bimbo girlfriend on "Two and a Half Men," so I'd hate to see the same thing happen here.

I thought the apartment-buying scene was okay, but it made Marshall look kind of like an idiot, rather than just being overexcited. Even if he weren't a lawyer in New York, he would know that this is an extremely precarious time to buy real estate (even if the place were perfect, which it isn't). And as a corporate employee, he should have at least some understanding of negotiating tactics.

And if this is the moment that eventually leads Lily and Marshall to turn into conservative middle-class drones, that's just sad. The future scenes we've already seen, in which they everyone's worst fantasy of wealthy middle-aged torpor, have the same creepy inevitability as that flash-forward scene in the most recent season of "Lost."

Altogether, this was a decent episode that I hope will lead to funnier ones ahead.

Alex R said...

Kyle,

We maybe setting the bar too high, but I am pleased that certain shows like HIMYM or Lost or The Shield deserve that high bar because they deliver far more often than not.

I agree, Lindy - they have definitely made Ted cooler and less 'Ross Gellar'. I thought in Season 1 he was way too Ross from "Friends" and most people were blogging that he was the 'weak link' of the cast which you don't really here much more.

I think it was an improvement to make him less dorky and more normal, though he still does have that desire to find a wife. You can balance the 2.

Also, with Ted being more wild and silly, it's also allowed him to fit in even more naturally with the crazy hijinks of characters like Marshall and Barney.

anon said...

The "What [X] should have said" gag felt close to something out of _Coupling_, but I think that's a reasonable model for _HIMYM_ to emulate -- it is a better fit than _Friends_, I think.

I'd also note that at this point Lily's dreams of being an artist have been demolished, Marshall has taken a sell out job rather than follow his NRDC dream, Lily's saddled with crushing debt, and they have both just purchased an unsellable apartment way out of their price range at an exorbitant mortgage rate. Let's just say that, like the Coach/Mrs. Coach relationship on FNL, there are aspects of this running storyline I think ring eerily true and bitterly -but-not-laugh-out-loud funny. At the very least, I'm glad some characters continue to move forward in some way while Ted is in Mom-meeting limbo.

Anon

Todd said...

Maybe not as good as the last two weeks, but still a very good episode I thought. I love how the show is having Marshall and Lily make a lot of bad, but realistic, choices. It may limit its "hit" potential, but it strikes me as just tweaking the 20something sitcom format enough to pull it off.

Steve said...

Tosy and Cosh:

Interesting theory, but I don't think it's correct. They had a flash-forward to their college reunion, where Ted, Marshall, and Lily are sharing a "sandwich." Ted says something along the lines of, "Hey, where's my wife?"

I suppose he could have been asking that in the existential sense, but I don't think that's too likely.

Tosy And Cosh said...

steve - that comment is actually what got me thinking. Given how fond the show is of things having different meanings once the context is known, I could kind of see the "where is my wife" as being the kind of thing a stoned widow (widower? I can never remember which is which) would say. Especially if the next beat (which I don't think we saw) was Ted breaking down.

But again - given how dark and down such a plot would be, I doon't think I'm right either.

Lyle said...

This episode was a miss for me because so many of the jokes lacked a kind of character nuance that I've come to expect out of HIMYM. Marshal just came off as cartoonishly foolish in his real estate dealings, Lily's attempts to hide her debt came off to me as less cute and more scheming and manipulative and the way Barney handled that one night stand came off as pretty cruel. For me they just didn't feel like the detailed characters I expect out of HIMYM but just your average sitcom buffoon.

Anthony Foglia said...

I agree with Tosy-and-Cosh that the breakup of Ted and the Mother's marriage and Ted reuniting with Robin is a plausible, and likely, ending. Whether the breakup is because of death or divorce, I don't know. Probably the former. It's a theory I've had as well since the first season. The only thing is I would have old Ted announce his getting back together with Robin to the kids, so it's still the happy ending.

I don't know if that's the plan (assuming there is one), but if we don't meet the mother till the very end of the series, her death won't be that emotionally painful.

I'm not sure this is a good idea, but it's perfectly plausible.

But I'm not one of those people who needs progress on the Mother-front. I realize it's just a hook to differentiate from all the other young-people-in-the-city series.

PS: The "What ____ should have said?" gag was a good idea, but not delivered fast enough to be funny.

Drew said...

I'm pretty sure Craig and Carter (via Alan and many others) have said that there's no twist. Ted's happily married to someone who isn't Robin.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked and saddened by the lack of reference to Nick Andopolis back on the skins. For shame.

PamelaJaye said...

I haven't read all the comments, not the desription of the next ep, but did anyone notice the title of the next ep is Spoiler Alert?

meantime, list of What's in the Can is posted at

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-striketvgrid-html,0,7606966.htmlstory?coll=la-home-center

if that broke, it's
http://www.latimes.com/business/
la-striketvgrid-html,0,7606966.html
story?coll=la-home-center

Tom said...

Eh.

I don't like it when Barney simpers.

Plus, I thought CSI:Ted was a blown opportunity. I was expecting a reveal that he had totally misinterpreted the clues. Instead -- what they showed was what you got.

Maybe they've already dipped into the slush pile of scab scripts.

flem snopes said...

Maybe this is too much insider knowledge but a Sewage Treatment Plant doesn't stop smelling and they don't shut down over the weekends.

Phew!