Monday, March 24, 2008

HIMYM: How to lose a no in 10 times

Spoilers for "Ten Sessions," the Britney Spears-eriffic episode of "How I Met Your Mother," coming up just as soon as I introduce Ted and Stella to a little movie I like to call "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes"...

Not that I expect the ratings to be notably higher than usual -- stunt-casting stopped moving the ratings needle years ago -- but if new viewers tuned in to see Britney(*), I wonder what they made of this one. As an example of story construction and grand romantic gestures -- two of the things that make "HIMYM" great -- it was a triumph. As an example of laugh-out-loud comedy? Meh.

((*) Before we go any further, might as well get this out of the way: Britney was fine. Not great, not awful; fine. She has plenty of experience at doing sketch comedy with her version of the Mickey Mouse Club, and she's been a pretty good "SNL" host -- albeit not as good as fellow MMC'er Justin Timberlake. She was overplaying a little bit here and there with the wide eyes and big smile, and I imagine a more trained comic actress could have done more with what was really a minor character, but she was fine. She did nothing to detract from my enjoyment of the episode, and hopefully this will be one step of many on the road back to mental health.)

Anyway, I was so busy admiring all the clever things in "Ten Sessions" -- how the writers were able to cram in distinct feelings for all 10 (and bull sessions at McClaren's after most of them), how the script kept looping back around to reveal that Barney was the rude guy on the phone and Marshall was the guy who left the book in Stella's office (the latter felt very much like a time travel movie punchline, like Marty McFly teaching Chuck Berry how to play "Johnny B. Goode"), how awesome and sweet Ted's two-minute date was (complete with Ranjit the cabbie from the pilot) -- that it took me a while to realize that very little of it was ticklin' the ol' funny bone. I laughed a few times at throwaway jokes (Lily giving Barney a time out, Robin admitting that she suffers a little from the mustache thing), but more prominent gags like the game of Telephone at the movie theater or Marshall forgetting where he left the memory book felt very bad sitcom-y to me. When "HIMYM" is really clicking, it's both smart and funny. "Ten Sessions" was mostly just smart.

And, man, am I still annoyed by the Silverstone/Chalke/Spears kerfuffle. If I had any doubts before that the role of Stella (originally written for Alicia Silverstone, who bailed when Brit-Brit got cast) was originally planned as The Mother, they're gone now. Between Stella's reference to going out to a lame St. Patrick's Day party (no doubt where she lost her yellow umbrella) and the perfection of the two-minute date, everything about her smelled Mother. And unless Bill Lawrence's plans for the bonus final season of "Scrubs" (whether it airs on NBC or ABC) don't involve Sarah Chalke, it won't be logistically feasible to make her be the woman of Future Ted's talky dreams.

(I did briefly wonder how Stella's 8-year-old daughter fit into the world of Future Ted, but then realized that she'd be an adult by the period when Future Ted is boring his biological kids with this neverending story. Problem solved.)

What did everybody else think?

69 comments:

Zac said...

I thought it was a fun episode. Britney acquitted herself quite nicely.

Can I ride the quintcycle with Britney, Sarah, Alyson and Cobie? :)

Barney being sent to the corner for his fireball was hilarious.

I do agree that the movie theater phone tag and Marshall forgetting where he place the book was sitcomy, but I still laughed.

Freaky thing: the font of the word verification is the same font as HIMYM. If that is coincidental, that is really freaky! :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it but agree it was missing something in the, "ha!" department. Question: was Barney's bet about the moustache from a previous episode or a throw away gag? If it was a gag originally from a previous episode, this epsiode goes up a full point! A few short items:

1. Sarah Chalke was awesome

2. I loved that they actually showed a clip from Manos the Hands of Fate (Torgo!)

3. Marshell's memory book gag was so hacky sitcom-y that I fully expected a second line afterwards to provide a HIMYM twist to the joke.

4. Nice of CBS to blow the final joke in every commercial.

Anonymous said...

loved Big Star's "Thirteen" for the two minute date soundtrack

Is it possible that Stella is in fact Mother and there is no intention of having her appear again until fall 2009?

Alap said...

do you mean you have no doubt that the stella character was going to be the mother or that this was going to be the plot that introduced stella as the mother?

what i mean is, at least in this episode, stella seemed kinda minor and girlfriend-of-the-week-y, not as "IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING HERE IS THE MOTHER" as i would expect the real mother's introduction to be. i guess i've always envisioned that storyline involving the series' mythology more, or coming at the tail-end of a melodramatic ted arc, rather than just having her pop up as seemingly incidentally as stella did.

Alap said...

don't get me wrong; i realize there's probably gonna be an entire stella arc as this episode was kinda open-ended (and i think sarah chalke is signed on for a few more episodes, at least).

but what i guess i'm trying to say is the "meet" part of "how i met your mother" didn't seem as monumental as i thought it would if stella really were supposed to be the mother.

(oh and super sorry about the double post)

Alan Sepinwall said...

what i mean is, at least in this episode, stella seemed kinda minor and girlfriend-of-the-week-y, not as "IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING HERE IS THE MOTHER" as i would expect the real mother's introduction to be. i guess i've always envisioned that storyline involving the series' mythology more, or coming at the tail-end of a melodramatic ted arc, rather than just having her pop up as seemingly incidentally as stella did.

Well, they've been building up to Stella for a while. Ted got the tramp stamp in the season premiere, and there was a previous episode where he was struggling to figure out how to ask out his dermatologist. (I wouldn't be surprised if that episode had a reference to the disastrous movie "date," given how far in advance these guys plan.) And, last week, there was all that talk about Ted going to the St. Patrick's Day party being the first part of how he finally, finally met The Mother.

I imagine that, had Silverstone not bagged on the part because of Britney, this episode would, at the very least, have featured a yellow umbrella reference, if not outright having Future Ted's final narration include "And, kids, that's... how I met your mother," with the rest of the series being about how Ted and Stella struggled to make it work, etc.

Again, we'll probably never be able to get confirmation on this until after the show's off the air (hopefully several seasons from now), but the pieces fit too well for me.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Couple of other things I forgot to mention:

-10 weeks later, Marshall is eating the exact same lunch he boasted about earlier

-Barney's mustache bet (already discussed in the second comment) was maybe the funniest thing in the episode -- particularly Barney's shift from boasting about how he would have done it for free to him demanding his 10 bucks.

jcpbmg said...

Barney's mustache bet doesn't hold up.

In the season premier we saw Ted with his break-up beard and for a very short time (in between shaving it) a mustache, so technically he did have a mustache at sometime in the last year

Tom said...

!) Stunt casting.

2) Character "bits" utterly overwhelm characterization. (5f you haven't been following this show, the characters tonight would be less than 2-d.)

3) Pure meta-humor. That is, the idea of the jokes trumps any actual laughter. And that two-minute date was more treacly than sweet, at least to my cynical palate.

Survey says: this show has jumped the shark.

(Oh, and by the way: a "Manos: Hands of Fate" vs."Plan 9" debate? How MST3K is that? Bleah.)

DonBoy said...

Even in the event they had cast Silverstone, the thing about the St. Patrick's day party was so ludicrously obvious that I think it must have been a misdirection.

Also -- Alyson Hannigan discussing the punishment for forbidden magic seemed like it could have been a little bit meta.

Andrew said...

If Stella is in fact the mother-- or recurring through next season-- Bays and Carter can just cast Lecy Goranson to play the good Doctor whenever Chalke is unavailable because of Scrubs.

John F said...

My favorite part was when Barney was in time-out saying Robin said "no" repeatedly and Robin goes "I eventually said yes to Ted." I like how it references the Barney/Robin pairing that may or may not happen but has been alluded to during the show's run.

I also really liked the two-minute date as a reminder of Ted's romantic nature. Plus, Sarah Chalke is just fantastic.

Alex said...

Britney was...there. She didn't take away from my enjoyment of the episode, but I do think she was a little too broad in places.

Speaking of anonymous: I don't think Stella is the mom. The St. Patty's line was way too obvious and even with the show on the bubble, I expect better from B/T. I was thinking more along the lines of Stella's friend being Yellow Umbrella. I don't like the idea of a Big Name being the mom, even Silverstone. Kudos to Chalke, though- I didn't think I was watching Elliot Reid at all.

chris w said...

I liked the episode, thought it was strong, but like everyone else pointed out, not a real laugh riot. Although, I've never really had any laugh till it hurts moments with this show. I've always just been into the mythology, the characters, and the random chuckles I get. Plus, it feels like it's written by people who actually lived life with references to things real people do (watch "Manos") instead of some Hollywood writers hermetically sealed up in a room who have no idea how most people live their lives.

I think Marshall's forgetting the memory book is a little deeper than you're giving it credit for. At first blush it does seem to be a hokey sitcom joke. But the fact that he left it in the doctor's office leads me to believe that he just didn't want to tell Ted he was in to see the good doctor. That way the joke at first looks hoary and then is quite clever as it's really just him covering his own ass.

David J. Loehr said...

I think Marshall's forgetting the memory book is a little deeper than you're giving it credit for. At first blush it does seem to be a hokey sitcom joke. But the fact that he left it in the doctor's office leads me to believe that he just didn't want to tell Ted he was in to see the good doctor. That way the joke at first looks hoary and then is quite clever as it's really just him covering his own ass.

I agree. It seems hokey because the joke comes first, and then there's the aha moment of leaving the book behind. That was the HIMYM twist on the hokey joke, and it was probably too abstruse, but I liked it.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone remembers a short lived cartoon series on MTV called "Clone High". It was created by Bill Lawrence and HIMYM Exec. Producer Phil Lord, and unfortunately cancelled a few episodes shy of a full season.

Anyway, Stella's line about a dolphin tattoo on an ankle was a reference to Joan of Arc, one of the show's lead characters, who once got a tattoo of a dolphin saying "wazzup!" on her ankle, as a result of a lack of sleep.

Pretty funny show actually. I was sad to see it go. Needless to say, I did laugh out loud at that line.

Additional useless info: Sarah Chalke actually did some voiceover work for Clone High, as the teenage clone of Marie Antoinette.

So it goes said...

Barney's mustache bet doesn't hold up.

In the season premier we saw Ted with his break-up beard and for a very short time (in between shaving it) a mustache, so technically he did have a mustache at sometime in the last year


Au contraire, mon amie. The bet was not that Ted would have a mustache but rather that Barney could convince him to grow one. The break up beard and subsequent stache were not Barney inspired and therefore technically would not qualify for said bet.

R.A. Porter said...

Joel Keller at TV Squad was even more negative, saying "it was among the worst episodes of HIMYM [he'd] ever seen". Yet for me, you remove Britney from this one and I think it's possibly the best episode of this year. True, there aren't any truly funny bits other than everything mustache related, but the structure is pretty near perfect. It shows my own prejudices, but the way this episode looped back on itself and played with time lines was masterful.

I agree with Chris W. about the book joke. It went from a sitcom-y line to a friend covering up his maneuvering within minutes.

I still stand by what I've been saying since season one. The Mother's name is Tracy. Until Carter and Bays either introduce a Tracy or Ted says "and kids, that's how I met your mother," I'm not biting. Besides that, Saget's line reading on the introduction of Stella is way off if this is the Mother. If she were the one, I'm convinced they'd have had Saget say it differently. It might even have been written differently.

Stella is going to be important, but the only way I buy her as the Mother is if CBS screws up and doesn't renew.

Alan, I assume you'll be posting the overnights once you have them?

chris w said...

anonymous:

I loved Clone High. So much so that I picked up a used copy of the Canadian DVD release (it was only released up there and not officially released stateside). It was a great funny show.

"Quiet, I'm banging Catherine The Great...or should I say 'Catherine The So-so'?"
-JFK

Michael said...

Alan: Ted actually GOES on the movie date in The Platinum Rule. most of the episode was about how he shouldn't do it, and at the end he comes back and says it wasn't a date, "because of AMA rules."

I went back and looked, and he's even wearing the same clothes.

things like that are why i love this show.

Heidi said...

Andrew-
Love the idea of Lecy Goranson taking over the Stella role. A lot of friends of mine enjoy Scrubs but were too young to remember the actress switch ups in Roseanne. It's always fun to tell them about Sarah Chalke being on there. Lecy was my cousin's next door neighbor and best friend growing up in Evanston. My cousin was actually one one episode- the only one I was ever allowed to watch actually.

KVV said...

Here's how I read it:

If the show learns it's getting the axe, then Chalke is the mother. The 2-minute date scene was just sweet enough that it could represent something bigger. Chalke disappears for a few episodes, CBS decides the show's fate, and if Moonves says "I still don't get it; you're done" then Carter and Bays can script it so that Chalke reappears and she ends up being the mom. She's cool enough and smart enough to be Ted's equal, and she'd fit right in with the gang, if only in our imagination, since there would be no more episodes.

If CBS decides to pick up the show, then Chalke/Stella could either be the mom, or a big fake out. Because it might be two or three seasons before it has to come to a conclusion.

There's a reason that Carter and Bays wrote this episode, and I don't think it was just Britney's appearance. They wanted to build in a safety net incase the show gets crushed. Because as sad as it would be for HIMYM to get cancelled, I think we'd all be even more frustrated if it were just left opened ended forever.

dez said...

I loved that they actually showed a clip from Manos the Hands of Fate (Torgo!)

I kept waiting for the 'bots to appear.

I thought it was a really sweet episode; Britney was only a minor distraction thanks to the awesomeness of Sarah Chalke. And of Barney, too!

Michael said...

another thing i noticed:
Barney says it takes a woman 8.3 seconds to know if she's going to sleep with a guy.

In an earlier episode (i think Brunch), ted tells barney he ALWAYS uses 83% whenever he makes up statistics.

BigTed said...

All three of that CBS sitcom bloc ("The Big Bang Theory," "HIMYM" and "Two and a Half Men") were uncharacteristically unfunny tonight. (Not the the other two are great by any means, but they usually make me laugh.) I think it's just fallout from the strike -- the writers are struggling to churn out too many episodes in too little time.

It's funny how Britney's character was that of a woman who was kind of pretty, but not attractive enough that Ted would actually want to date her. It was just a couple of years ago that she was considered one of the world's biggest bombshells. So if she doesn't have that anymore, she'd BETTER be able to do comedy.

I would be disappointed if the dermatologist turned out to be the mother. She seems fine and all, and I like Sarah Chalke okay, but her character really doesn't live up to the hype. (Not that anyone could at this point -- in some ways, she's like the four-toed statue on "Lost." No conclusion could meet our expectations.)

Personally, I'm hoping the mother will turn out to be an exceptionally quirky person, and not just some nice, pretty person who any TV guy could fall for. She at least has to come in at Robin's level. And it would be nice if that part of the story isn't so traditional either -- instead of Ted liking her and wooing her (the way he did with Robin, or the doctor tonight), he's around her for awhile and then suddenly realizes he's fallen for her. Unfortunately, at this point it won't be possible to surprise us in the audience the same way.

Donlee said...

Sorry, but I gotta say that this was the best "Mother" in a loooong time.

Though the show might not have been laugh out loud funny, it more than made up for it with the 2-minute date which was about as awesome of a scene as any other you'll see on TV this year.

I said it earlier, but I really hope "Scrubs" doesn't get renewed so that Chalke can join the cast of "Mother" as the Mother. "Scrubs" gave up the heart of the show in later seasons in favor of more and more outlandish laughs, and at this point, no one cares about the characters.

Say what you will about "Mother," but I can forgive all the boring Ted episodes we've had this season when the creators remind us of how awesome he is as a hopeless romantic.

Best "Mother" of the season, and if you don't agree, you can blow me.

Rich C said...

R.A. Porter, what makes you think the mother's name is Tracy? I don't have the DVDs to rewatch at the moment (but you can bet I sure would...). Nothing about "Tracy" is jogging my mind though.

Thanks,

jcpbmg said...

Until Carter and Bays...

It's actually Bays and Thomas (their full names are Carter Bay and Craig Thomas).


so it goes-- thanks for pointing that out, I feel much better about the joke and flashback then

Alan Sepinwall said...

That way the joke at first looks hoary and then is quite clever as it's really just him covering his own ass.

Possibly, but if that's the case, there needed to be a line at the bar immediately after Marshall's where someone comments on how stupid what he just said was. The way the punchline just hung there was terrible, even with the later payoff.

Bobman said...


-10 weeks later, Marshall is eating the exact same lunch he boasted about earlier


My favorite throwaway gag of the night, even though as soon as he said it ten weeks earlier I KNEW they'd have the payoff at the end.

If Stella is in fact the mother-- or recurring through next season-- Bays and Carter can just cast Lecy Goranson to play the good Doctor whenever Chalke is unavailable because of Scrubs.

Damn would that be hilarious.

Sarah Chalke has said that on the Scrubs set they often refer to her as "second Becky".

Alan Sepinwall said...

Besides that, Saget's line reading on the introduction of Stella is way off if this is the Mother. If she were the one, I'm convinced they'd have had Saget say it differently. It might even have been written differently.

Well, if you go by my theory that Silverstone was definitely going to be the mother and Chalke was a last-minute replacement whose future availability is iffy at best (it sounds like "Scrubs" will be back next season in one for or another), then I can see Bays and Thomas going back and quickly hedging their bets with all of Future Ted's narration. Had Silverstone stayed in the part, her introduction might have been presented very differently, but now that Stella probably won't be around enough to be the mom, they had to introduce her as just another woman that Ted tries to woo.

Anthony Foglia said...

Great episode, and I'm almost ready to believe Stella is (or was supposed to be) the Mother. The build up in "The Platinum Rule" and hint she was at last week's St. Patrick Day party are major pieces of evidence. Except (a) last week, did Ted say he hadn't met the Mother yet, or just not at the party? Because pre-party Ted was a different person. And (b) we still don't know the story of the yellow umbrella. And (c) wouldn't the kids have said something when the mother is introduced? (Even if Future Ted responds that, yes, he now knew of her, but he still hadn't met the real her.)

Anyway, someone earlier said Chalke was going to be in future episodes. Is there any proof? GMA did report that the producers may have Britney come back. While it's possible she might come back without Chalke, I hope not.

Alan Sepinwall said...

wouldn't the kids have said something when the mother is introduced?

Don't expect the kids to ever say anything again. They're both older-looking now, and for most of the past two seasons, the producers have just been using stock footage of the two of them sitting there, silently listening to Future Ted.

Jake said...

I pretty much agree with your observations. I would ike to add, though, that Sarah Chalke should probably avoid comedic doctor roles at this point. I mean, I'm sure it made it easy to film this one--just use her Scrubs wardrobe--but it's difficult to see them as separate characters, and her Scrubs role comes with a lot of baggage at this point.

And I thought the St. Pat's party line felt shoehorned in. Whether that was because it was a diversion or because they were so worried about cancellation that they wanted to make sure viewers at least had a supportable argument for her as the mother, it's hard to tell. But--like the "I forget where I left the book" joke--it came off very awkwardly.

Matt said...

1. Silverstone was allegedly going to do a deal for 3 episodes with the possibility for more. Chalke is not signed for any more.
2. If the ratings are up, I fully expect Britney to be back as an increasingly stalkerish version of her character who Barney has to deal with.
3. Perhaps it was because she was playing a doctor, but while Chalke was good, I couldn't shake that I was watching Dr. Reed. (Admittedly, this is still better than David Schwimmer in "Band of Brothers" when it comes to baggage.)
4. Wasn't there a missed opportunity for an "I take care of the place while The Master is away" joke? (Seems like it would have worked for Marshall.)
5. Has there been a sitcom (or maybe even any show on TV) this obsessed with and careful about continuity and call-backs since the demise of Arrested Development?

Alan Sepinwall said...

5. Has there been a sitcom (or maybe even any show on TV) this obsessed with and careful about continuity and call-backs since the demise of Arrested Development?

Sitcom, no. Show, yes. An argument could be made for The Wire as the most continuity-focused show ever.

TL said...

The mustache bet had our house laughing harder than just about anything that's been on TV.

I think that Stella is an intentional head fake for the mother, with the reference to the St. Patrick's day party.

And, if nobody has mentioned it, Platinum Rule did make some oblique references to the awkwardness at the movie, which Ted thought was a date but the doctor now known as Stella didn't.

DonBoy said...

All three of that CBS sitcom bloc ("The Big Bang Theory," "HIMYM" and "Two and a Half Men")

And Julia Louis-Dreyfuss weeps a silent tear.

dez said...

^FWIW, "Christine" wasn't up to par last night (yes, I watch that one, too).

Barney says it takes a woman 8.3 seconds to know if she's going to sleep with a guy.


It sounded so good that I thought Barney was telling the truth. What the hell am I doing, believing anything Barney says? :-D

mp said...

At the movie, the brunette who was sitting immediately next to Ted and started the 'telephone game' - was that the same actress who he bumped into at the St. Patrick's Day party? My (albeit often foggy) memory seemed to think so. She'd be an easy fall-back as the Mother. (And maybe they would re-shoot those two scenes if they got a 'named' actress on-board?)

mjryan said...

I just finished reading all of the comments. Full disclosure: this is only the second HIMYM I've watched, with last week's episode being the first.

The first time I read the word 'mythology' in relation to this show, I chuckled. It is a word I usually associate with a drama such as X-Files, Lost or Heroes. However, reading all of the posts I get it. And, it makes me like the show even more.

I have no opinion about whether Stella is the mother or not. I just don't know enough about the show to say. However, I do have one question (and I'm a little surprised no one has asked this): was one of the girlfriends in the Movie Night scene the girl that Ted bumped into last week? I just remember dark hair. I don't have either episode on Tivo so I can't go back and check. That would be a clever way to introduce the mother without actually doing it. Alicia Silverstone/Sarah Chalke would be a red herring. Just an idea from a newbie.

Allison said...

I thought this was a totally solid episode, and much better than last week.

-Robin's "Roger Daltrey" joke made me laugh because I make mistakes like that all the time.

-Barney's fireball was hilarious, if only because I was hoping he'd say, "Yes, but where did the lighter fluid come from?" like Gob.

I'd like it if Stella were the Mother, cause I think Sarah Chalke can really hold her own with the rest of the cast.

LA said...

Maybe someone already mentioned this, but Bill Lawrence recently was quoted as saying that a "regular is sent packing" when asked what to expect in post-strike Scrubs. He was probably referring to Kelso, but maybe it's going to turn out to be Eliot? Loved Stella and Ted's chemistry!

JD said...

I'm a first time commenter here but I have a HIMYM blog and I'm a huge fan of the show.

I really loved last night's episode. I thought Robin was hilarious (and gorgeous) and even though there was no B plot, the whole cast seemed to be integrated nicely.

We finally saw the return of romantic Ted, who I'd missed dearly while Bizzaro Ted skanked it up on St. Patrick's Day.

Sarah Chalke was excellent, and I really wished she could be on the show more often. I agree with Alan that the two minute date and their chemistry was a great lead toward Stella being the mother, time will tell I suppose.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Fast nationals are in, and Britney did, in fact, move the needle in the positive direction. Nearly 11 million viewers and a very close second to Dancing with the Stars in the 18-49 demo.

I don't know that I'm 100% confident in renewal yet, but I'm feeling pretty good right now.

Pete said...

@la:

I hope so. Less because I want her to be the Mother but because I would be furious if Scrubs ends with JD and Elliot together.

R.A. Porter said...

Rich C: owing to the continuity wanking on this show, I figure every hint ever dropped is worth remembering. When I rewatched the season one dvds when they first came out, I picked this one up. It could have been a red herring, or it could have been done without thinking about continuity, but in "Belly Full of Turkey", when Ted's chatting with the stripper at the end, she first introduces herself with her stage name (I forget it at the moment) and he introduces himself as Ted. Then, she gets this coy little look and says her name is really Tracy. Ted says he's still Ted. A moment later older Ted teases the kids with, "and that's how I met your mother."

Maybe it was just a throwaway joke, but I keep thinking it's going to be important. Plus, I get to give myself a gold star if I'm right!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Ratings update: this may, in fact, be the show's best performance ever (in the demo, if not in total viewers).

barefootjim said...

Something struck me from last night: if they haven't yet cast The Mother (or we haven't yet seen Her), I'm really hoping that they cast an unknown.

I got really distracted not just by the Britney stuntcasting (hey, she looks far better than I had anticipated! and acts about what I'd assumed), but also by Sarah Chalke. Whom I like.

If The Mother is an unknown, like Cobie Smulders was, I think that we can concentrate more on how the character fits in with the show as opposed to how the actress fits in within the cast.

Also: where in their timeline do they have 10 weeks to spare on a single plot? That felt a bit, er, normal sitcommy to me.

The whole episode felt a bit cobbled together to me, yet redeemed by the "Manos" references and the two-minute date scored by Big Star's always-awesome "Thirteen."

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also: where in their timeline do they have 10 weeks to spare on a single plot?

Keep in mind that the first session took place during the events of "The Platinum Rule," the last pre-strike episode, which presumably took place in December. With St. Patrick's Day having already passed, you've got more than 10 weeks to play with. We just missed a lot of time in everybody's lives during the strike.

barefootjim said...

Keep in mind that the first session took place during the events of "The Platinum Rule," the last pre-strike episode, which presumably took place in December.

Fair enough. It'll probably make more sense to me when I watch the 3rd Season DVDs.

Though I'm beginning to think that this show needs one of those timelines, a la Star Trek.

Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if someone a whole lot smarter and with much more time than I have has already done one.

Nicole said...

Although I recognized Sarah Chalke from Scrubs and as Becky part deux, it didn't throw me off that she was a doctor in this one. She is far more confident in this show, but still has a sense of humour.

I also think that Silverstone wouldn't have pulled this role off quite as well as Chalke did. Chalke could fit in with the group right now, Silverstone probably not so much. I haven't seen her play comedic beyond Clueless and Miss Match and she seemed self-absorbed in both and not exactly Ted's type.

Britney was OK and didn't distract too much from the actual character. The one thing I did pick up on was that she wore nicer clothes than your average receptionist would wear based on her probable income, and I wondered if that was a "star" request.

As for the continuity with the Platinum Rule, I totally missed it, and will have to go back and watch that one.

R.A. Porter said...

Nicole: Brit-Brit's wardrobe was much nicer than the average receptionists, and if you want to own it, you can bid on it for charity.

I imagine the pieces will all still smell of bubblegum, marlboros, and broken dreams.

Jennifer said...

I still think the mother will be the "perfect" girl found via the matchmaking service that Ted passed up to chase Robin. Though Sarah Chalke or Alicia Silverstone being The Mother wouldn't bother me a lick either.

Yeah, Britney was neither totally good nor totally suck. Okay then.

The two-minute date, well...I'll bet most chicks were swooning. I know I was.

Todd said...

Terrific news on the ratings.

I don't think that stunt-casting necessarily moves the ratings, but it sure gets networks interested in PROMOTING the show which CAN boost the ratings (I'm reminded of Newsradio's Seinfeld stunt back in the day). So long as stunt-casting doesn't become the rule of the day, it can be something a network like CBS -- usually loathe to promote this show -- can use to promote it.

Rich C said...

R.A. Porter: Thank you! I can totally picture that moment from "Belly Full of Turkey" now. And, yes, that was a very coy moment where the stripper let her guard down a little to Ted...

Thad said...

Actually, given the yellow umbrella at the bar from "No Tomorrow", wouldn't a likely candidate for Mother be Hope Riley ("Attractive Brunette"), the girl that Ted bumped into on the way to talk to Barney at the bar? Shows love dropping little bits like that in, and it seemed deliberately incidental. Or do you think it's a red herring?

electricia said...

I agree with those who pointed out the chick Ted bumped into at the bar as being "The Mother". When I saw that episode last week, as soon as it happened I turend to my husband and said "That's the mother." I have both on DVR, perhaps I'll take a look to see if she is one of the friends at the movie theater in this episode.

I don't watch Scrubs so I was having a hard time figuring out where I knew the actress from, which was a little distracting. I guess I knew her from seeing promos for Scrubs, as well as "Second Becky".

For me, the funniest art of the episode was everyone's reaction to Barney's fireball - that it was something they'd had to address with him multiple times. the fact that even the waitress came over to chastise him sent me into fits of giggles. My least favorite part was when Ted was awkwardly agreeing with Stella that the book was stupid, then the receptionist brought in Ted's book, which even had his name written in it. I thought it was predictable and below this show. Why would he have written his name in a book he only got to impress a girl, then threw away, anyway?

Now if you'll excuse me, there's a sloppy joe, shrimp cocktail, and a milkshake with my name on it.

Dan said...

I was rather disappointed that the internet did not love this episode.

I was laughing out loud at Barney tricking Ted into growing a mustache.

Also, this was by far one of the best directed episodes. It was eye candy for me to see Barney and Robin both in focus when he was sitting a booth behind her. And the two minute date was all in one take.

I loved the episode.

Nicole said...

I did know about the auction on Britney's clothes on the show and that seems to be pushing the boundaries of promotion a little far. It's not like she's a memorable character on the show nor is it a pivotal moment. Also, she hasn't always been hygienic, so the idea of purchasing anything she has worn skeeves me out.

Dan said...

Alan Sepinwall said...

Fast nationals are in, and Britney did, in fact, move the needle in the positive direction. Nearly 11 million viewers and a very close second to Dancing with the Stars in the 18-49 demo.


I'd rather assume it was "Scrubs" viewers checking in on Elliot than a Spears boost.

Zach Haldeman said...

I adored this episode, and it confirmed for me just how undervalued Sarah Chalke is by the fans of Scrubs (though I think the folks behind Scrubs recognize her awesomeness). Also notable about the ratings, if Wikipedia is to be believed, then this episode basically tied with season two's highest rated episode (the Superbowl Monday one), making it a pretty big win. Of course, the next episode in season two dropped a mil and by the season finale it was down nearly four million from the Superbowl high, and the Superbowl episode and this one were in virtually the same part of the season (that was ep. 14 and this is 13), so, uh...suddenly I'm not as happy. Also, the two minute date was fabulous.

Anthony Foglia said...

@electricia:
"My least favorite part was when Ted was awkwardly agreeing with Stella that the book was stupid, then the receptionist brought in Ted's book, which even had his name written in it. I thought it was predictable and below this show. Why would he have written his name in a book he only got to impress a girl, then threw away, anyway?"

You and everyone's been glossing over the worse error. Why would Ted throw away a book he bought to impress a girl before impressing the girl with it? I could understand if he just left on a chair in the waiting room, but the receptionist said it was in the trash.

mj said...

Several commentators have suggested that future Ted's delivery of "How I met Stella" should have been different. It actually was - he paused before saying Stella. Still, I just don't see how Stella is the mother. If she was, why would Ted call her "Stella" and not "mother" to his own kids.

I think the pause meant that Stella knows the mother but not well enough to be referred to as "Aunt Stella" like Robin is referred to as "Aunt Robin" by Future Ted in talking to his kids.

Bottom line. Stella knows the mother but is not the mother.

Maybe Britney is the mother.

Stef said...

I'm only an occasional viewer of HIMYM, usually catching it in summer reruns, so I've missed a lot of the continuity callbacks. Sounds like I should go the DVD route to recapture it all.

I *loved* Sarah Chalke in this episode. I've always found her to be a little annoying and one-note in Scrubs, but in just this one guest appearance she's totally earned new respect. Her Stella was layered, confident, warm, and relatable, and I would be totally happy to have her be the Mother. And so would Ted. :-)

Anonymous said...

This wasn't the worst episode of mother(We are not from here) or the best(Pineapple incident), but it was ok. Britney did a good job and I glad she's trying to get on track. I dont want Stella to be mom. You can hate Brit all you want, but she might be the reason we get Season 4

Freckles said...

OK, after DVR review I am fairly sure that the girl Ted bumped into in the club on St. Patrick's day was the 2nd girl to the left of Ted in the movie theater. There is Ted, the girl in glasses, then the girl from the club, another girl and finally Stella.

So the Mother was there. Stella's friend was there and probably Stella too. Seems like Stella will be mom.

The CineManiac said...

MY problem with the 8 year old daughter is, wouldn't the kids realize we have an older half-sister, this must be our mother.

Lindy said...

My thoughts exactly, cinemaniac! Ted's told his kids that Stella is a dermatologist with a daughter. That's more than enough information for the kids to recognize whether or not this is their mom.

If Stella does turn out to be the mom, I'll feel a bit cheated that they didn't make it explicit in this episode, since the kids would obviously know that this is their mom based on the story Ted told them. But, on the other hand, I love Sarah Chalke and would be thrilled to see her on HIMYM regularly!