Monday, November 10, 2008

HIMYM, "Not a Father's Day": Socks to be him

Spoilers for tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I shoot some cans on the roof...

It's weird: we complain all the time about how we'd like to see more of Marshall and Lily (especially as compared to Ted), and yet the episodes that focus on one or both of them are rarely the most memorable. "Not a Father's Day" was a solid episode with some good laughs, but not much more than that. Even though it was stronger from start to finish than last week's "Happily Ever After," the five minutes or so of "Happily Ever After" that worked (Robin's flashback through the pumped-up cab ride) were significantly better than anything here. In fact, most of my favorite Marshall moments tend to be in other people's episodes, rather than his own.

Drunk Lily as baby substitute was a cute idea, and well-played by Alyson Hannigan, and the dueling flashbacks with Lily and Marshall's new neighbor -- Marshall sees only the cute stuff, Lily sees only the sleep-deprived horror show -- was one of the show's better uses of perspective in a while. And the hypnotic sway of the little sock was a good running joke.

And for the "HIMYM" continuity nerds among us (you know who you are), this episode firmly placed Lily and Marshall into the Dowisetrepla apartment, and explained how Robin wound up moving in with Ted (as we were told about in last season's "The Goat"). So it had that going for it.

But for some reason, the only part that I imagine is going to stay with me is Barney's cheerleader/sorority girl/Spice Girl theorem about how women look hotter in packs. Of course, just as clamoring for more Lily and Marshall doesn't always work out as well as we would hope, we probably shouldn't push for more Barney than we already get. NPH is superb, but that way lies Fonzification, or its sad latter-day equivalent, Urkelization.

What did everybody else think?

52 comments:

fantome14 said...

Blah. Why do so many woman on TV have to be portrayed as wanting kids? I was so happy that Robin seemed to be a true exception.

Anonymous said...

i don't think the sock episode was meant to question the legitimacy of robin's (or, for that matter, barney's) independence, so much as point out how absurdly cute little socks are.

my favorite gag was jason segel as the final ugly girl/boy.

Mads said...

Barney talking to God was hilarious.

I also loved the "Dinner is a baby." "Lily, that's horrible!" joke. Cobie Smulders nailed the delivery on that one.

Pamela Jaye said...

eJaeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

sigh
other keyboard

Jane, you ignorant slut!

(i'm only 12 minutes in. the debate is fun so far)

aimee said...

I was feeling Robin/Ted vibes in this episode. I don't want them to go that route again. Otherwise, I thought it was a pretty solid episode, much better than last week's.

mrsb said...

How funny is notafathersday.com?!

Burg said...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-11-10/the-best-show-nobodys-watching/1/

Pamela Jaye said...

I was weoeeeeeeeeeeeeee
e
oeh nvrmind

Antid Oto said...

NotAFathersDay.com works.

dave s said...

I don't know, I thought this was the most consistent, good from start-to-finish episode they've had this season. Most of the jokes worked, lots of HIMYM-y storytelling, all of the actors getting something fun to do. Wish we could've got some resolution on Marshall's presentation, but other than that I loved it.

Nicole said...

Alyson Hannigan was hilarious as Drunk Baby, but I couldn't help thinking throughout that we would find out she is pregnant since she apparently is in real life. They didn't end it like that, but it will probably be the case in a few episodes from now.

The baby debate didn't work for me mostly because no one mentioned about the nine months of pregnancy and crazy hormones, etc, and how the physical changes are a big deal for most women. Robin didn't really mention it, and it's kinda important. It's easy for Ted to say that babies are cute, but he would only deal with the end result.

The Barney group was funny at first, but when they tried to suggest that it's only ugly guys that don't want kids, it was hard to find that funny for long, since there are a load of guys, especially the unattached ones, who don't want kids. It's why there are many single moms out there.

It's a topic that Marshall and Lily have to address, I just didn't think it was that funny most of the time. The sock was cute though.

Anthony Foglia said...

Alan wrote, the dueling flashbacks with Lily and Marshall's new neighbor -- Marshall sees only the cute stuff, Lily sees only the sleep-deprived horror show -- was one of the show's better uses of perspective in a while.

Don't forget the wonderfully told, terrible joke "What do you get when you run over a canary with a lawn mower?" from the series of Ted-as-dad-already.

Rick said...

This is at most tangentially related...

Given this show'a history of brilliant websites, I immediately wet to NotAFathersDay.com- another great one. The little GNB bug made me wonder if they had put something at GoliathNationalBank.com, so I went loking. That redirected me to www.capitalpartnersfz.com and I swear to you I can't tell if it's real or fake. It is the absolute perfect amount of doublespeak where you really feel like they're saying something, but you can't quite put your finger on what it is. Just a horrible business model- or brilliant, brilliant satire. I intentionally choose to believe the latter.

dez said...

And the hypnotic sway of the little sock was a good running joke.

Everytime they said, "Sock!" it made me wonder when "Reaper" is coming back.

I enjoyed this ep a lot. Drunk Lily is cute and Barney singing karaoke tugged the ol' heartstrings.

Rich C said...

Watching Ted at the restaurant, was exactly going like going to dinner with my family. I'd never thought of Ted as already "dad-like", but he so is!
And after giving us the punchline (Shredded Tweet) earlier, I was glad to get the setup later. And it was as bad as I'd hoped (but I had to do a forehead slap for not guessing on my own...)
Lastly, Sock! (Awww...)

Dark Tyler said...

So, only losers don't want to have babies? Just frak off, HIMYM. I expected conservative from Friends, but not from this show. Mediocre episode combined with frustrating message = worst episode of the worst season so far. Blergh.

Jeff said...

And I loved how they continue booking classic TV dads as guest stars. It was good to see Kevin Arnolds dad again.

mrsb said...

Only ugly guys and losers don't want to have babies.

Dude! Barney doesn't want to have a baby! Could there be anyone less loser-like or attractive?!

He probably only picked the ugly guys for his group because he doesn't want the competition of good looking guys in "his" group.

Dark Tyler said...

That, or the show was trying to make a very conventional and poorly executed statement.

Drew said...

But it wasn't just that Barney didn't want a child, it's that he had a club for it, treated it like a religious experience, etc. I would say that his group would mostly be filled with oddballs. It's one thing to say you don't want kids, it's another to take it to Barney's level.

As for Robin, just because she likes socks doesn't mean she suddenly will want kids. She's in an odd place in her life, with no job or apartment. She probably felt like Japan was going to offer her something great, and when it didn't, she tried to re-evaluate her life. Everything she'd wanted from the beginning was suddenly not right. I don't think she'll ever suddenly become a fan of kids -- Ted's kids draw pictures of them and Aunt Robin, not them, Aunt Robin, and Cousins Dick and Jane -- but I think it's fair that she'd consider it at this point.

I thought it was a great episode, with some killer moments including Barney in the church, Robin's rant about Marshall's head, Robin's surprise at having a baby for dinner, and the flashbacks to Ted as a dad. Good stuff all around. Plus, the Lily as a baby deal was inspired, even if I admit it wasn't perfectly executed.

zodin2008 said...

Well, I am a new dad myself (my son turns one in less than a week!) and I am loving every minute of it (I said that in my mind in full Cosmo Kramer voice).

I respect that there are those on both sides, but please don't diss those of us who are happy parents. My son is the single greatest thing that's ever happened to my wife & I and we thank our blessing for him everyday.

Plus, he's actually hilarious and we derive a lot of personal, HIMYM comedy moments from our relationship with him and the way he's kind of referred to as 'The Mayor' at daycare.

But I digress.

I enjoyed this episode because I have always been of the belief that good writers can make happy couples or families equally as funny as break ups and no families.

There seems to be this aversion to couples being happy and it meaning they're not funny, but I look at Jim & Pam or Marshall & Lily, or even the fleeting moment that Michael was happy with Holly on "The Office" - and all tose "successful" couple were also very funny. Why? Because HIMYM and The Office have some of the best writers working for them on Television.

Good comedy writers can derive the funny from anything and any situation.

Anonymous said...

Marshall's Melon Head

Stef said...

I really enjoyed bitter Robin, and i thought it was very smart that they took some of the more annoying Ted traits and made a joke out of it. "Ted as dad already" was great!

I love Jason Segel when he starts to show just a little bit of the crazy, and this long shaggy haircut he has is making him look even crazier this season. Good stuff.

JLF said...

I think my favorite bits of the evening were of "Marshall" dressed up as the members of both the girls and the not-a-father club. Jason Segal is at his best with gags like that. I know I had to pause the tivo because I was laughing so hard.

Bobman said...

And I loved how they continue booking classic TV dads as guest stars. It was good to see Kevin Arnolds dad again.

It was odd to see him again, especially because I thought he had died. Apparently I mixed up the epilogue of the Wonder Years (spoiler alert!) where they mention his dying, and the real-life fate of the actor who played him. Whoops.

erin said...

Not a bad episode. LOVED the end tag where Barney is singing/crying "Cat's in the Cradle". No one can resist the hypnotizing power of the Sock! Also loved creepy alterna-Marshall in drag and bitter Robin. And Barney in Church! And Barney dancing down the street! Man, NPH is so great.

Overall--I quite liked it.

bettyd said...

Only ugly guys and losers don't want to have babies.
It wasn't that, it was that those guys can't get dates, which you, know is the traditional first step to becoming a father. At least that's the way I read it.

Grunt said...

Best thing in the whole episode, Robin, in her PJs, flopping down on the sofa with a gallon of ice cream and a beer and then pouring the beer into the ice cream bucket.

That had me on the floor...and it gave my husband ideas (his two favorite things in the world, ice cream and beer).

fantome14 said...

zodin2008,

It's not that I have anything against parents at all. Kids are great. But I know plenty of people (including women) who don't want them, so why can't that viewpoint be represented on TV too?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yes, can we please stick to discussing the show and not our own respective opinions about the merits of parenthood? Otherwise, we risk entering territory just as potentially dicey as McCain v. Obama.

Rachel said...

I liked this episode a lot, but...Alyson Hannigan is pregnant. It's been announced. She's so absurdly tiny that she's already starting to show, and they're dressing her in much looser outfits and layers. She's going to be noticeably pregnant in all of the spring episodes. So they're not writing it in -- and it would be a natural thing for them to have kids. I was kind of wondering whether or not there would be an ominous Saget!Ted narration at the end..."but kids: they didn't use protection." But there wasn't.

So instead, Lily's going to be hidden by trays and tables and the like? Fun.

Also, for the first time in a long time, Lily reminded me of Willow. It was the sock-cooing that did it...and yes, that sock was realistic.

Chris Littmann said...

Meh. Not enough funny for me this week. I thought a Marshall/Lily ep would be better, but it was pretty ho hum.

Darren said...

God,
It's me, Barney. What up?

jana said...

I vote for every episode of HIMYM to feature NPH singing something.

LA said...

For me, this was a good solid episode until Lily was a stupid drunk baby. Those few minutes were so painful.

Marshall, Barney, and Robin were all really strong. When their material is this good, they really shine.

I love how fearless Jason Segel is. That guy doesn't get nearly enough credit (outside of this blog) for his comic genius.

SoCal said...

Alan-

Nice picture choice for this ep...Alyson looked damn good in that nightie

MCB said...

Rachel, I was thinking the same thing. I hate it when TV shows try to hide pregnancies, I find it so distracting! My hope is that Lily and Marshall will find themselves with a surprise pregnancy. I think it would be interesting (and very funny!) to watch them grapple with having a baby when they'd just decided to wait.

When I saw Robin with the sock, I didn't think "Robin's going to have kids!" I thought, "Awww, Aunt Robin!" I don't see the show turning Robin into a marriage-and-motherhood gal but I could see her becoming an occasional babysitter for Ted and The Mother after getting over her complete terror of babies. (Robin holding her hand out for the baby to sniff was an episode highlight for me.) I agree with fantome14 -- my fiance and I want kids, but we know lots of couples and singles who don't, and it's nice (and more realistic) to see both choices represented on TV.

MCB said...

Actually, I should have said "it's nice to see both choices represented on this show," since one of the things I love about HIMYM is how spot-on it usually is about the late twenties/early thirties experience. Some of us are breaking up, others are getting married, we're constantly packing up and moving, and someone is always having a career crisis. One of the things I really liked about this episode was how Ted and Robin both actually said helpful, reasonable things to Lily -- it sounded like a real conversation between friends with different viewpoints.

Pamela Jaye said...

Alan - did you actually go back and *r-tag* all th sasons?? (thank you!)

Targt has sasons 1-3 of HIMYM for $15 - and a $5 coupon if you buy S2 and S3.
(brothr says h rcntly almost spnt mor than that on S2, so yay Targt!)

Found thm whn looking for Scrubs, which is apparntly slling for th 3/4 of a sason pric of $20

ys, my kyboard is still brokn

Pamela Jaye said...

for Rick

capitalpartnersfz.com

Status: clientTransferProhibited, clientUpdateProhibited

Registrar: TUCOWS INC.
Whois Server: whois.tucows.com
Referral URL: http://domainhelp.opensrs.net

Expiration Date: 2010-04-17
Creation Date: 2003-04-17

2003 was prior to HIMYM, right?

Evie Garland said...

I was sure Marshall and Lily were going to end up deciding to have a baby, since Alyson Hanigan is pregnant in real life. Perhaps an accident will happen?

Also, has anyone else noticed that in this season they have started doing that horrible sitcom thing where they'll repeat what just happened after the commercial break? "I just can't decide if I should have a baby!" after the characters have been talking about it for the last 5 min, etc. So irritating.

jenmoon said...

I am sure they will have to write in the pregnancy. (Definitely an "oops," I think.) Let's face it, realistically Lily and Marshall WOULD have a kid at this age, if they are married. There is enormous pressure to do so. Much as I dread a baby on television and no more bar scenes any more, unless L&M had been made a childfree couple (and they ain't), someday they are gonna have to go there, and it might as well be now.

I generally appreciate the balance between those who want kids and those who don't on this show (I can't come up with any reasons why Barney or Robin would ever want any, and that's just fine), and to some degree that still worked in this episode. But I started getting irritated after awhile at the baby bingoing on Robin. (I don't need to repeat the stuff about Barney's club, well said.) A lot of CF women have to make a point of NOT thinking anything baby is cute or else they will get the treatment Ted was giving Robin. And suddenly making her make "maybe" comments, ugh. I wanted to shred that sock.

That said, I did have to laugh at Robin's well-reasoned arguments being thrown out the window for "soooooooooock!" Yup, that's what it's like to talk to those people IRL, all right.

MCB said...

And suddenly making her make "maybe" comments, ugh. I wanted to shred that sock.

jenmoon, I read this moment of indecision as part of Robin's larger story this season. She gave up a job she hated for what she thought was her dream job in Japan. The dream job turned out to be a nightmare, and now she's unemployed and sleeping on friends' couches. She's doubting herself and what she thought she wanted because she's at a low place right now. But we know from a previous Ted narration that Robin does go on to live a globe-trotting journalist's life, so I think when she lands back on her feet she'll be happy to babysit for her pals but not interested in having kids of her own.

I'll be right there with everyone else yelling at HIMYM if Robin suddenly decides she wants to get married and have babies, since her desire for independence is such an integral part of her character, but I think it's a bit early to sound the alarm.

Anonymous said...

I also thought this episode was the writers' way of writing Alyson Hannigan's real-life pregnancy into the show. And they still can. An enthusiastic Marshall and Lily got it on early in the show ("Oh, we're starting right now? O.K.!") and it would add more meaning to Ted's soliquoy about how 'no one is ever REALLY ready for kids.'

I second the motion that Barney should sing karaoke in every episode! I still laugh when I hear "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!"

CM said...

They can easily reverse Marshall and Lily's decision (possibly combined with a career change for Marshall). I predict they will do that instead of hiding Alyson Hannigan's pregnancy.

My single favorite moment of the episode was NPH's delivery of "Sock!" He packed so much into that syllable.

Zeke said...

I like that they seem to have finally embraced how lame Ted is. Better than fighting it.

Otherwise, I thought it was pretty rough going if you were looking for laughs.

That "women look hotter in packs" rule would be funny if it were a real thing. But it's not. All guys can pick out the hot girls from a pack and the ones they don't think are. The whole concept of it felt really forced.

As did the "not a father's day" -- not sure why all these other guys would sign on. And it all happens in one day? And Barney, who we've seen is amazingly picky about who he hangs out with, doesn't notice they're kinda lame? This whole thing felt forced as well.

Alyson Hannigan can be really funny, but the baby/drunk girl back and forth sequence didn't have one laugh in it (while not a terrible comedic concept.)

And the least believable moment had to be that Ted is just now asking Robin to move into his place. They're a super tightly knit group of friends and one of them has nowhere to live while the other has an open bedroom in their apartment-- and yet we're to buy Robin would even spend one night on Marshall and Lilly's couch rather than move into the open room? Huh?

First episode ever where Ted is the funniest part of it. Hopefully the last.

Kensington said...

Hey, am I the only one who thinks that the Barney-dances-down-the-street sequences was an homage to Hannah and Her Sisters? Woody Allen did the same thing to the same type of music after learning that he didn't have a terminal disease.

Pamela Jaye said...

just a note to those who put up with my e-less postings lately:

My brother has replaced my keyboard (yay) with his old keyboard (note: this is harder, on a laptop - his old laptop was a higher end model of mine, and mine used to be his before he got the higher end)

on the downside, his keys are about 10 times as stiff as mine. Ouch.

For an on-topic thought - I am watching the DVDs, starting with season 1. Thanks to Alan's shiny new tags - I can found out that he started the blog not long before the show itself started.
Also, Barney's old blogs were taken down by CBS, but someone had archived them (thank you somebody), apparently, so they are still out there.
Having never read them (I was busy watching TV)... tell me they get better? The relative lickability of national monuments was *not* a high point (and after 3 eps, Alan is not into the show enough yet, and no one was commenting back then). I'm sure things here will change for the better soon enough - Barney, i'm not so sure about.
(My favorite Barney blog was on the air, with the Doogie Howser theme playing under it)

mrsb said...

I bought the idea of Robin on Lilly's couch instead of Ted's extra room. It was only a couple of episodes ago that we heard Robin telling Ted that she still sort of had feelings for him at his wedding, right before he got stood up at the altar.

She was probably feeling a little uncomfortable about the admission, Ted probably needed the space for a bit.

As for the poster above who stated that Robin and Marshall got it on, Robin actually interrupted them. They were going to get it on after the dinner that got postponed for work.

So unless there's a malfunction in birth control later, Lilly isn't knocked up quite yet.

I personally hope they put it off for a while. Babies seem to be the kiss of death for so many shows.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I think the specific conflicts of HIMYM -- the transition from young, single and carefree 20something to attached, responsible 30something -- lends itself very well to the idea of Marshall and Lily having a baby. It would change the group dynamics somewhat -- it would be harder to justify them all hanging out at McLaren's -- but I think this is the kind of show that can handle the material properly without it being a kiss-of-death development.

Pamela Jaye said...

I'm back here in season 1, where Ted goes to the matchmaker and secretly visits his already-taken perfect match - and she appears to be a blonde dermatologist...

Andrew Belinfante said...

How can the best line of the episode be forgotten?

Marshall Eriksen: So, how's the job hunt going?

Robin Scherbatsky: Didn't you hear? I got a job at CNN this morning. And I moved to a penthouse made of gold overlooking Central Park. Get your head out of your ass, Marshall.