Spoilers for "No Tomorrow," the first post-strike episode of "How I Met Your Mother," coming up just as soon as I do some drunk pocket-dialing...
Ahhhh, "HIMYM." Sweet, delicious, chocolate-y "HIMYM." No, wait -- that's the chocolate chip cookie I just ate. (Who knew that the local liquor store would have the best cookies in the state?) But "HIMYM" was pretty sweet, too. Not the best episode of the season (that's still "How I Met Everyone Else"), but after three months-plus with no show, I would have taken a "We're Not From Here" right now. And "No Tomorrow" was a lot funnier than "We're Not From Here."
A few friends of mine who are fans of the show complained that Ted's transformation this season into a willing wingman for Barney made them like him a lot less. I didn't have that problem -- if anything, the schmoopie, self-righteous Ted of season one could be a lot more annoying -- and I thought it was a viable character arc to go in after the split from Robin. But that arc's over now, with Ted having hit rock bottom as a player after hearing all the pocket-dialed(*) messages. Between Future Ted's narration at the beginning and end of the episode and the return of the mother's yellow umbrella, the show seems to be moving quickly towards introducing the woman of Ted's dreams.
((*) I've never had the pocket-dialing problem, but rather deal with pocket-photographing. Every couple of days, I need to go in and delete a dozen or so completely black photos that were taken when the cameraphone button got accidentally pushed as I was walking. Anybody else have that problem?)
I do wonder, though, how this Britney Spears/Alicia Silverstone/Sarah Chalke kerfuffle will complicate matters. For those of you not keeping up with the latest, Silverstone was going to be in next week's episode as a woman Ted was chasing. Then the producers -- no doubt worrying about cancellation and desperate for anything to goose the numbers -- cast Britney to play a small role, and allegedly Silverstone and her people didn't appreciate being upstaged. So Silverstone bowed out, and the producers brought in Chalke at the last minute.
Now, I haven't seen next week's episode, but as soon as I heard they were casting Silverstone to play a potential Ted love interest, my reaction was, "Okay, that's the mom." Just seemed to click for some reason. But with "Scrubs" apparently returning for next season (either on NBC or ABC), Chalke's not going to be available for more than next week's show, even though tonight's episode implies Ted's going to meet the mom very soon, and... Okay, now my brain hurts a little, so let's get back to discussing "No Tomorrow" and deal with next week when it comes.
So Ted hits rock bottom, but I enjoyed spending most of the episode seeing Ted's beer goggle version of events, and of seeing Ted and, especially, Barney marvel at the laws of karma turning upside down. ("Shockingly deep bellybuttons" is just a funny turn of phrase.) The only thing the story missed, I think, was for the sober flashback version of events to be in even starker contrast to what we originally saw.
People have been asking ever since "Dowisetrepla" when Marshall and Lily would be moving out, and now we have our answer: not until the crooked floors get fixed, or until the producers contrive another systemic problem with that money pit to keep the living arrangements status quo. I was surprised that Marshall didn't start ranting about the smell on top of the floor problem ("First it reeks of sewage and now it's crooked!"), but the increasing tilt of the camera was a nice touch, as were Marshall's conflicting lies about the friendly but racist ghost.
One last point: Barney's area code monologue was maybe my favorite thing Neil Patrick Harris has said all season, and not just because I was once a possessor of a 973 number (and now have an area code so far removed from the city that it wasn't even worth mentioning).
What did everybody else think?