Tuesday, April 28, 2009

HIMYM, "The Three Days Rule": OMG. FWIW, ROTFL.

Spoilers for last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I tell my sister Lisa that I am familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda...

After last night's mega-epic "Chuck" finale, I was reluctant to watch any other television, worrying that everything else would suffer badly in comparison. Eventually, I put on "HIMYM," and while it didn't feature anything to remotely compare to Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian performing "Mr. Roboto," it was still a very funny episode -- albeit one that, as my friend Rich points out, didn't quite know how to end.

As I've mentioned, the season finale was shot in advance so Alyson Hannigan could be in it before she and Cobie Smulders got too big, and so the show feels like it's in treading-water mode between now and when the finale airs. I'm not expecting anything particularly earth-shaking on any story arc fronts, just good jokes, which "The Three Days Rule" provided, early and often.

Barney's explanation of how Jesus invented the Three Days Rule (which CBS has kindly posted in its entirety to YouTube) was as hilarious as it was blasphemous, elevated, as always, by the boyish enthusiasm of Neil Patrick Harris, and then by the look of delight on Cobie Smulders' face as Barney kept going, and going, and going...

When we found out that Barney and Marshall were texting Ted as Holli-with-an-i, I started to worry that this would be a repeat of "Old King Clancy" where those two came up with some lamely convoluted scheme to trick Ted for his own good. But the combination of good intentions and malicious glee (Barney: "Or..."), coupled with the arrival of the always-delightful Kevin Michael Richardson(*) as poetry-quoting Barry White soundalike Stan, made it a vast improvement on the earlier take on this kind of story. Barney and Marshall's continuing subconscious desire to have text-sex with Ted was especially well-played by NPH and Jason Segel.

(*) Quoting Fienberg's Twitter feed: "I'd welcome Kevin Michael Richardson as a "How I Met Your Mother" cast regular. And not just for a little diversity."

Again, I don't think the ending was that great, and I also needed Robin to point out that Ted's "naked lady noise" sounds exactly like Butt-Head's laugh, but beyond that, good stuff.

What did everybody else think?

28 comments:

jcpdiesel21 said...

Barney and Marshall were sexting with Ted! How topical!

This episode wasn't groundbreaking, but it was very funny.

Also, I rather enjoyed these two hilarious lines from Marshall: "I'm cuddly, bitch! Deal with it." and "That's M.E., Marshall Eriksen, star of Ted's gay dreams!"

Dave Wiemer said...

I laughed a lot and loved seeing Kevin Michael Richardson. The thing that bugged me and my wife was this: if Barney replaced Holli's number with HIS work cell phone number, why did Marshall send Lily a text from that phone about bringing home dinner?

Otherwise, a fun way to kill time before we find out more on the mother front.

Adam said...

I'm a fan of any episode which acknowledges Ted's fundamental douchiness ... which doesn't make him any less of a douchebag, however.

spiderpig said...

Love, love, love Kevin Michael Richardson! I'm still hoping they'll bring back Knights of Prosperity. Sigh.

And I agree with jcpdiesel21, "I'm cuddly, bitch! Deal with it." was the Best. Line. Ever.

I wish Ted would realize how lame he is when Holli did the same things he had done in the texting sessions. He doesn't want someone like him (i.e. hopeless romantic that moves way too fast), why would he think a woman would want him when he's being that way?

erin said...

I thought it started a little rough and then picked up steam (and then ended the same way it began). But the middle part was great. I think my favorite section was NPH and Segel re-enacting Ted's images of what Holli was doing (in the bathtub, cuddled on the chair looking at the window, dressed in cheerleading costumes). That was fantastic. ALSO liked them arguing over who Ted would dream about. Perfection. Barney and Marshall are such a terrific team.

swampy said...

How Jesus invented the 3 Day Rule was pure genius. I rarely watch the show for more than a few minutes at a time but I was glued to that bit. I can't wait to use it at lunch today.

Steve said...

GREAT epsiode. I laughed the whole way through and it reminded me of something out of season one.

Marshall and Barney's competition for the object of Ted's homo-erotic dreams fit the characters and were played to perfection by NPH and Segel.

Barney's three-day-rule theory was classic Barney.

I, too, was surprised that there wasn't a Butthead joke about Ted's laugh... it was identical.

Drew said...

I really liked the way the show managed to spin Ted's revenge. It would have been easy to have Ted write "I've been having dreams about Marshall and Barney," but the show stayed true to character by having Ted say best friend. He knew what that would do to Marshall and Barney and that was great. And in true Marshall and Barney fashion, they were more concerned with who the best friend was than the awkwardness of having sex dreams about your friends.

I thought the episode was really, really funny, although I agree the episode wrapped up oddly. It's like they had an ending, they couldn't fit it in the allotted time, so they sped it up and hoped it'd still make sense. I didn't hate it, but I think they could have done the same ending better.

The cold open will go down as one of the all-time great scenes in show history. Everything from Barney's excitement about the rule to Marshall's pleading not to involve Jesus to Robin's growing amusement was perfect. And as someone who had the same kind of conversation lately (minus the Jesus reference), I feel like the show struck a real chord.

LoopyChew said...

Mildly annoyed, since the Bro Code states that a guy waits Four Days, specifically because a chick expects a bro to wait three.

Okay, not really. I love the callbacks to Pablo Neruda and...well, everything. The mirrored, "or..." when Ted decides to reciprocate, and the playing on the the fact that both Barney and Marshall consider themselves Ted's best friend, was classic. Probably fodder for the HoYay types out there in Internetland, too.

On any other night, this would've been an great episode. But my mind is still so full of Chuck that I can't begin to think of anything else.

Bryan said...

One of the funniest eps thise year I think and by far Ted's best showing.

The one thing about this show that really, really bothers me is how they "borrow" significantly from other shows and movies but never, EVER acknowledge it (ala Beavis and Butthead). Not that they always have to acknowledge - for example the Big Lebowski dream sequence was just a wonderful pop culture reference that didn't need explaining but the laugh did need explaining, otherwise it was ripped off. (and no I don't know where that line is that makes one exceptable and one not - but there is one)

LA said...

Totally hilarious episode, I enjoyed it top to bottom. NPH and Jason Segel working together is a winning formula. And Stan needs to come back every week!

Lily who?

Rachel said...

This episode seemed designed to make slash fans very, very happy. Which I am totally okay with.

Possibly too okay.

I agree that the ending was a little rushed, but I squealed at the mention of The Mother. I'm a little sick of the tags, but whatever.

Zack Smith said...

Glad you noted Cobie Smulders' reaction to Barney's rant. Yet another sign Barney and Robin are meant to be, darn it...

I was doubtful Kevin Michael Richardson could find a live-action job to match his masterful voice work on THE BOONDOCKS, but dayuuum. We have not seen the last of Stan.

This episode sort of represented a mash-up of Romantic Ted and Douche-Ted. What's awesome is that even in the future, he thinks his "revenge" on Barney and Marshall was genius.

Still, the ep might have worked better if they'd dragged out Ted's date with Holli-with-an-I a bit longer (I really shouldn't know that used to be Greenlee on ALL MY CHILDREN), to better illustrate how she mirrored Ted's sociopathically impulsive nature, and help him realize he wants to take his time now. It would have been a good character moment that illustrated how far he's some since the show started.

The latest batch of episodes has revolved heavily around the Letterman-writing roots of the creatiors; they're able to get scene after scene out of the characters just sitting around spouting off lists and extended riffs. It works because the actors have such chemistry; even with the often-bizarre circumstances, it feels like these people really are hanging out.

Last notes: Ted really does a good Butt-Head, and I've the feeling the writers might have gotten the idea for this after seeing Jason Segal in I LOVE YOU, MAN...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it's been there for a while, but last night was the first time I noticed that the motivational poster behind Barney's desk was for 'Awesomeness' 9or something similar), and featured a quote from Barney himself.

J.J. said...

Funny episode.

My only complaint was the ending where Ted was creeped out by the girl coming on strong the way he does.

Ted finally being faced with that behavior and seeing how unappealing it is (even to him), that should be a pivotal thing for his character. And yet they threw that moment away on a jokey moment, which I'm sure won't impact his behavior at all going forward (though it really should, which is why that kind of moment should be much bigger instead of a throwaway joke, if they really had to go there).

Tyroc said...

The episode showed how little Lilly is needed. And how mocking Ted for his douchiness/sappiness is the way to go.

Really funny episode. I wish the promos hadn't given away it was the boys doing the texting, but still funny.

This and the Naked Guy one are my favorites of the season.

Anonymous said...

How is it THREE days? Waiting from the crucification on Friday to Saturday is one day. Waiting from Saturday to the resurrection on Sunday is 2 days. No? Or is Fri/Sat/Sun the three days?

Travis said...

both this episode and Big Bang Theory both used Swingers references (HIMYM: 3 day rule/BBT: Vegas, Baby! Vegas!) which I found hilarious because I just rewatched Swingers on the weekend. Great movie...

I love the sublte humor in this show. That it turned out to be Marshall texting Lilly to 'do me on the couch' wasn't laugh out loud funny, but cute nonetheless. And my girlfriend was making fun of Ted's naked lady laugh, because I have a similar laugh. LOVED Barney and Marshal re-enacting the Holli scenes!

I liked that there was a reference to the mother in the closing monologue. I sometimes forget that there is a major story there still to be told...

Grace said...

Hey, Alan,

Do you know whether or not we're getting a goat episode this season? It was established last year that Lily brings the goat to Ted's apartment, so I'm wondering how that's going to work since Lily is gone until the finale. Unless the finale is the goat episode...

KC said...

To Grace: I hope I'm not being too spoilery, but Carter/Craig have mentioned the Goat coming up before the season is out.

Anonymous said...

But if Jesus died on Friday and came back to high-five everybody on Sunday, that's only two days. Or ... maybe I'm overanalyzing this.

Isaac Lin said...

For some reason, Barney's solemn reading of "LOL" in the serious text message cracks me up...

Heather said...

I thought it was a hillarious episode, even if it wasn't really all that inventive. Highlights are the morose 'LOL', the "I'm have gay dreams with my best friend', and Stan.

I love Stan. Can we keep him like Ranjit (where the hell is he?)

Matter-Eater Lad said...

You get to three days by counting inclusively, with the Friday of the crucifixion as the first day, Saturday as the second, and then Easter Sunday as the third. This was a common convention at the time -- it also turns up in earlier Greek writings.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Matter-Eater Lad. Wikipedia also hints at Jewish tradition playing a role: "The Mass of the Lord's Supper initiates the Easter Triduum, the three days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday that commemorate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is normally celebrated in the evening, when according to Jewish tradition Friday begins."

Stringer Sawyer Carmichael said...

Alan,

I'd be interested to hear your take on the inevitable relationship between Barney and Robin. I've been thinking about it and I'm not so sure it would work well for the show. Some of Barney's funniest stuff is when he's being a womanizer.

Mark B said...

Barney's out for himself, and Robin wants to see the world, unencumbered.


I don't see a Barney/Robin pairing as "inevitable." What I see is the writers forcing it anyway. Maybe they don't know how to bring in an outside character for him to have a relationship with.

And why should they "be together"? Just because they are in the same circle of friends? Gotta have better reasons than that!

Jeremy K. said...

Mark, the show has repeatedly shown why Barney and Robin belong together. They both have trouble with commitment. They both have daddy issues. There is an obvious chemistry. Especially when the two are hanging out alone.