"How I Met Your Mother" spoilers coming up just as soon as I put "Seabiscuit" in my Netflix queue...
Sigh... they can't all be winners, I guess, but if we're buying into my theory that Stella is The Mother, why did her second episode have to the first out and out dud of the post-strike run?
The Ted-Stella portion of the episode was actually okay. Nothing memorable, and certainly not as great a showcase for Sarah Chalke's comic chops as "Ten Sessions" -- plus, there's the matter of the show glossing over from Stella not having time to date to being in the middle of a semi-serious relationship with Ted -- but at least it wasn't actively annoying and sitcommy like virtually every second of the Barney storyline.
I like Will Forte. I think he's one of the more underrated "SNL" castmembers of recent vintage, but something about him just doesn't always(*) translate well to outside comedies. His "Flight of the Conchords" episode was the most traditional, least "Conchords"-y episode of that show's first season, and his performance as Barney's pathetic rebound bro felt far too broad for "HIMYM," which is usually much smarter in its silliness. Just look at Barney himself, and how well Neil Patrick Harris plays what could be a gross and obnoxious character.
((*) Forte was very funny as the Prince's aide in the black tie episode of "30 Rock" last season, but that show takes place on a much cartoonier plane of reality.)
There were a couple of jokes sprinkled throughout the show that at least made me smile -- the "27 Dresses" guy, Robin not being sure that she and Barney had an equal amount of sex with each other, Marshall's list of memorable things from 2003 -- but by "HIMYM" standards, this was a mess.
On one other note, as people keep asking me about the show's future, this Hollywood Reporter story about shows on the bubble says "a pickup is considered a given," and that matches well with the smoke signals I've been seeing. You never know with show business, but I feel confident that when CBS announces its schedule next Wednesday, I will again have no need to throw scrambled eggs at Les Moonves.
What did everybody else think?