Spoilers for last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I floss...
There's a running theme of "HIMYM vs. Sitcom" in these reviews, which occasionally prompts people to ask, "But isn't HIMYM a sitcom? How can calling a plot sitcom-y be an insult?" Two answers to that. First, when I say "sitcom-y," I'm referring to bad, hackneyed sitcoms ("According to Jim" instead of "Cheers"). Second, though "HIMYM" has the form and style of a traditional sitcom, it's always at its best when it's telling stories in its own unique way, whether that's playing with the narrative structure (interlocking flashbacks, skewed perception) or just the kinds of topics that the characters get into.
"The Naked Man" was funny, but it was also very "HIMYM." A commenter on another post called it the show's best episode since "Slap Bet," and while I wouldn't go nearly that far, it still felt like the purest concentrated dose of "HIMYM" that we've gotten in quite some time.
The very concept of The Naked Man -- that simply stripping down in the middle of a date leads to sex two out of three times -- was wonderful, as was the gang's fascination with it. As we've established in the past, Barney's often more interested in proving or disproving new social theories than he is in being successful (see also his joy at getting dumped according to the Lemon Law), so his obsession with getting Ted to try out The Naked Man with him rang very true, and very funny. I also got a kick out of Barney and Ted getting caught up in finding the perfect pose with which to introduce The Naked Man to their dates. (Barney should've stuck with the Burt Reynolds -- link probably NSFW.)
While Marshall "calling slut" on Robin seemed a little harsh for such a sexually active (albeit monogamous and schmoopy) character, it did lead to the introduction of dozens of great new excuses -- Paratrooping (or, as Robin called it, Banging For Roof), Condom's About To Expire, Wingman Diving On The Friend Grenade and, of course, Nothing Good On Television -- plus Barney's long and passionate monologue about the 7' woman in the denim skirt.
Mitch's own level of self-awareness was a nice touch. I don't think the joke would have worked nearly as well if he didn't realize what a big loser he is. (Five fantasy football teams? Wow. I only have two and even that's at least one too many.) And Barney and Ted's awe of the guy led to one of my favorite Ted moments of all-time: his superhero-style narration as The Naked Man walked out into a dark and scary night.
Good stuff all around.
What did everybody else think?