"Did you at least Tivo it?" -Robin ScherbatzkyThat's two extremely strong episodes in a row, and if "The Front Porch" wasn't quite as legendary as last week's "Sorry, Bro," it still gives me hope that we're headed for a season-ending run as good as what we got last year after the strike.
Once you get past the plausibility issue of why the gang didn't simply DVR an episode to watch it at a more reasonable hour -- my wife thought it was because the networks don't want to mention ad-skipping technology, but Robin's line near the end makes it clear that they could have -- the background gag of Robin having the most eventful day in morning show host history took an already funny episode and kicked it up a level. My favorite bit was probably the first one, with Robin weeping as she delivered a testimonial to the friends at home who were too distracted to even notice, but all of it was funny (and funny only because it was happening in the background, on mute, and no one was paying attention). Well-done.
Barney slowly converting to Marshall's sleepwear philosophy was even better. The moment where Barney first spotted Marshall in the nightshirt and was so excited he had to check his pulse, then had to go on a long solo run of nightshirt jokes ("Something about Scrooge!") would have been enough to carry a lesser episode. Here, it was just one very hilarious thing among many, including Barney's porn fantasy of how the pajama suit might come in handy (which paid off in the tag), Marshall (and then Marshall and Barney) re-enacting the flying dream sequence from "The Big Lebowski," and the sweet scene of Barney asking Marshall to tell him all the wonderful things about marriage. It's a testament to Neil Patrick Harris that he could seem so innocent and pure in that scene, and so sleazy in the porn scene, and have it all work as one character, because Barney is at heart an overgrown kid. (He's just much better at operating in the real world than fellow arrested development case Michael Scott.)
The writers continued to find amusing ways to make Karen be awful in her second and final appearance (the "2000 chiantis" pillow fight made my skin crawl, as it should have), but they also used her presence to comment on how a group of close-knit friends like this would respond to one member dating someone they can't stand. Lily's behind-the-scenes manipulations also let the show toy with time and perspective again, as we see how Lily played an important role in scenes we know from the season two finale.
All that, plus Lily turning into Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, another glimpse of Marshall's Chewbacca impression, and the gag with Marshall's Creed CD add up to a terrific episode.
What did everybody else think?