"A hot guy telling you when you can and can't pee? That's the dream." -Robin ScherbatzkyThis was just a funny episode, from beginning (Lily disappears for four weeks, giving the show an easy out to deal with the final stages of Alyson Hannigan's pregnancy before the finale, which they shot earlier in the season) to end (Marshall and Barney running from ninjas), and lots of things in between.
I like that the show has embraced Ted's douchiness (I had written in my notes "Ted's being a douche" about a half-second before Robin told him the same thing). And while Cobie Smulder's belly is finally getting distracting (especially since she was drinking so much during the episode), she's so charming and amusing at playing Robin in a bad relationship that I was able to overlook it. The office vs. apartment, assistant vs. boyfriend storyline could have been stupid, but the writing embraced the silliness of it (Ted and PJ communicating on speaker phone from 10 feet away, the fired PJ immediately moving to the couch to watch TV) enough that it worked.
The real highlight, though, was the Barney/Marshall stuff. Making those two co-workers has created a lot of fertile storytelling ground, here with Barney helping Marshall decide what Guy he wanted to be. The scene where Barney shot down potential ideas like Monty Python Guy -- "We are the Knights who say... you're fired!" -- was maybe my favorite thing in the episode, and the interaction of the different Guys built beautifully until we got to Creepy Backrub Guy massaging Marshall's shoulders while demanding that a fantasy trade(*) go through.
(*) This episode, by the way, strengthened my resolve to make last fall's fantasy football season my one and only foray into that world. Too much time and mental energy consumed for too little reward.
And with Lily out of action, Marshall got to step in as Barney's confidante about his Robin-love, and to find a clever solution(**) to everyone's problem by hiring PJ as a paralegal/Assistant Sports Guy. The brilliance of Neil Patrick Harris at this point goes without saying, but moments like Barney declaring Robin "the greatest woman on the planet!" and then desperately trying to change the subject without changing his tone of voice are nice reminders.
(**) I can't help it: when Barney called the plan "pure evil," I had to immediately go to Hulu to watch the opening scene from the "NewsRadio" episode of the same name. Go. Enjoy. I'll be here when you get back.
The show's now going to be in reruns for a few weeks until we get to the season-ending May sweeps episodes, and I have to assume that we're finally going to stop waiting for it with Robin and Barney and getting around to the potentially legendary coupling.
What did everybody else think?