Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How I Met Your Mother, "As Fast as She Can": I can't drive 55

Spoilers for last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I grow a handsome neck beard...
"I know you're tired of waiting. And you may have to wait a little while more, but she's on her way, Ted. And she's getting here as fast as she can." -Stella
I'm in no rush -- especially now that my suspicions from last week have been confirmed: Stella isn't the Mother.

"As Fast As She Can" was in many ways the flip side to "Right Place Right Time." Where last week's episode kept looking for every excuse it could find to spend time on comedy with the supporting cast while pushing Ted's story to the background, this one focused almost entirely on Ted, with a mix of comedy (Ted being asked to design a murder room) and angst (any scene with Ted and Stella). And while I don't hate Ted the way some fans have grown to, he's much less compelling, and funny, than any of Barney, Marshall, or Robin.(*) Add to that the way Stella quickly became the most unpleasant character in the show's history, and the way that they wrote Jason Jones as if they had cast Ed Helms instead (they're two different people, right?), and you have an episode that's not one of my favorites from this season. Like I said last week, I've really lost any interest in finding out who the Mother is and how Ted meets her, and I'd be fine if the show tabled it for the forseeable future, and/or if Ted met the Mother immediately (assuming the casting was good and the character was written to be more likable than Stella) and the show moved on to other pursuits. (Hey, if "Prison Break" could keep calling itself that for years after they broke out of Fox River, why can't "How I Met Your Mother" keep its name while changing its focus?)

(*) Once upon a time, I would have put Lily on that list, but it's been remarkable how little the show has missed her these last few weeks while Alyson Hannigan was on maternity leave. (In case you forgot, this week's final scene, and all of next week's finale, were all filmed out of sequence so the producers could do their finale before they lost Hannigan for the year.) I like Lily, but her absence has forced the writers to lean much more heavily on the Marshall/Barney team, and they've been (insert Barney Stinson superlative here) together.

Now, immediately after watching this one, I popped in a DVD screener of the season finale so I can interview Carter Bays for something that'll run next Monday night after it airs. Because of that, I don't want to say too much else about what this episode did or didn't reveal about Ted's quest for the actual Mother, but I'll tell you two things about the finale: 1)I really liked it, and 2)It features a certain oft-discussed barnyard animal, for real this time.

In the meantime, a few other thoughts on "As Fast as She Can":

• I want to ask Bays about Barney's confused driving history, but I don't remember all the details anymore, save that in one episode, he couldn't drive, and an episode or two later, he was hijacking Ted's moving van. Anybody want to fill in some gaps for me?

• I loved the way Neil Patrick Harris' voice got both high and Southern as Barney tried to tell the others that he could talk his way out of a ticket.

• Ted's ringtone is "Let's Go to the Mall." I like that the producers didn't put some canned laughter under that moment to highlight it, the way I imagine a number of other shows would have. Either you noticed it, or you didn't.

• Ordinarily, I try to play New Jersey expert whenever the show makes a geographic reference, but I have no idea how to even spell the name of the town where Barney got arrested.

• Late last year, the show promised that we'd find out about the goat by the end of this season. Here, we got a tease about Tony writing a movie called "The Wedding Bride," that will conveniently be released in May 2010.

What did everybody else think?

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

No goat spoilers!

(Such a comment would not have survived deletion in a Lost thread.)

Anonymous said...

I gave them a pass on Barney moving Ted's van, because he just moved it behind the bar, so it went all of thirty feet, but owning a car and having no trouble speeding? Bushleague.

The "That's a big fat check" round robin was a highlight, as was everyone's reaction the murderroom. Bonus points for "Challenge Accep- Wait for it- (points at Ted).

Bryan said...

Very, very lay - wait for it - mmmmmm.

I think your being overly polite Alan - which is not like you. Not just not my favorite of the year but the entire series I think. Stella and her husband? - who cares. Murder house? ridicuously stupid.

One funny joke in the whole show "I've got a sausage with your name on it."

Grunt said...

I can't say I liked this episode much. Seemed more a means to an ends (that "ends" being the finale) then an actual, you know, funny episode.

The A-story was dull and angsty and not particularly funny. The B-story (Barney and the speeding ticket) was just dumb. It might have been much funnier had Robin or Marshall gotten into the swing of it and tried to help him successfully get out of the ticket. There were a few good lines here and there (and I would like to point out that, many years ago, Lily clearly told Barney that Marshall didn't watch porn and tonight Marshall identified the dialog Barney was reciting as from a porn movie so...HA!) but not the finest episode.

As for the Goat for next week... Alan, shame on you for not listening to your own spoiler policy (although it's hardly surprising).

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I was hoping that Ted's voiceover at the end would tell us about how Stella's plane crashed on its way to LA, Poochie-style.

Anonymous said...

Funny: Barney & Robin

Funny when with Barney or Robin: Marshall

Not Funny: Ted & Lilly

Matthew said...

My recollection of Barney's driving ability is something like this:

In the Fiero episode, Barney could not drive (although that was in flashback form). A couple of episodes later he drove the moving van behind the bar. Then in last year's "The Bracket", it was revealed he once stole a woman's truck and left her in the woods. Finally, now he apparently can drive and has no problem speeding upwards of 120 mph.

I think they might have just messed up or they are assuming that Barney learned how to drive after the Fiero incident.

Anyway, this episode felt like a lot of set up and was just average at best. I don't care for the Stella character (nor Tony) and it seems to drag the entire show down.

JasonR said...

I agree that the show has done very well without Lily, but I think it is because prior to her leaving Lily's was a bit one noted due to the pregnancy. The same thing has happened to Robin - with the exception of last weeks on camera hurling, all she does is sit around and provide one-liners.

I am not sure the producers could have done more, and i am sure they will be happy to have both of them back in proper form next year.

Rick said...

If you're willing to take requests for questions, I'd be really interested if you would ask Bays about this:

Early on, a lot was made about the Ted/Marshall relationship mirroring his & Thomas' friendship. Four years later, how much of that still remains? Do they ever look at the Ted/Marshall dynamic and think, "This is not something we would do."?

If you really want to press it, feel free to toss into the mix the audience's general feelings about Ted as of late.

Alan Sepinwall said...

They promised that the goat would come back this season. There is one episode left in this season. It's not so much a spoiler as doing the math. If I told you what the goat did, then that would be an unacceptable spoiler.

delow24 said...

Terrible show, they need to get a mother so that we can just make some headway on the show. I think it could actually help the show if they had some good casting. It could actually add a different POV on some of these stories.

srpad said...

I liked this episode on its own terms but in relation to last week, it seems a little disappointing since that episode seemed to promise somethng mommentous and what we got is just another link in the chain of events leading to the Mother.

I am also confused as to whether Barney can drive or not...

There were a lot of funny momments here though. I especially loved Marshall desprately screaming with his eyes clentched shut, "Ted don't build a murder house!!!"

mrsb said...

This episode seemed to exist for the sole purpose of reminding us that, yes, Ted is still searching for "the mother". Really nothing funny here.

I started watching HIMYM because I found out "Willow" was going to be on it. When Lilly popped in for this episode, I'd almost already forgotten about her. Made me a little sad that I hadn't missed her more.

I did enjoy Marshall's semi erotic sausage talk with the cop, though.

amy said...

Let me be among the many....Alan! I am shocked you would mention the goat. We haven't seen commercials for such....

Anonymous said...

Though not the funniest, last night's episode struck a chord with me. I am a single girl in NYC and, it just so happens, I was feeling a little low about that last night. I'm a romantic like Ted and, as annoying as he can be, I could relate to his impatience. I took some comfort in Stella's story. Like Ted, I hope the right person for me is getting here as fast as he can.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Let me be among the many....Alan! I am shocked you would mention the goat. We haven't seen commercials for such....

Again, were you expecting them to not bring back the goat this season? They promised they would in the goat episode last year. They promised they would in a million interviews. There is one episode left in the season. Now or never for the goat.

Dustin Sullivan said...

This episode was lame.

It wasn't funny, except for Marshall's story about getting out of a speeding ticket. Robin's ticket-dodging tactic wasn't clever or original at all. The fat jokes weren't very original either.

It featured Ted & Stella. A story that I was glad to be over with when she left him at the alter. But here they were again, two of my least favorite characters drumming up drama.

I'm not even sure if this episode was worth watching since there was no set-up for next week's episode, as far as I could tell.

Devin McCullen said...

Alan makes the rules, Alan gets to break the rules.

It's good to be the Alan.

Drew said...

Yeah, not much of an episode last night. Like "Happily Ever After," it was saved by a more dramatic finish. Ted and Stella's conversation was very good, and I think they had chemistry in the scene, which makes it all the worse that she was so misused and so poorly written.

I also agree that Tony and Andy Bernard might as well have been the same person last night.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the pieces fit together in the overall story, but this one on its own just didn't do much for me overall. I still think it's been a strong season, but I'm bummed this came after such a big one last week. Interestingly, I often find that Bays/Thomas scripts are weaker than others. I have no doubt that they're the visionaries, but I find that many of the best episodes come from the pens of other writers.

I did love the "Let's Go to the Mall" ring tone, as well as Lily's return at the end, although I agere that she's been an easily forgettable character the last few weeks.

Grunt said...

Alan,

I think we're all (or at least I am) ribbing you a little bit. The spoiler policy here is very tough (as it should be) so the mention of the goat is surprising and we're (or at least I'm) just teasing you a little bit.

Pamela Jaye said...

I believe Ted or Marshall attempted to teach Barney to drive in a parking lot.
I don't think they had any more luck than with Sheldon.
(he was freaked he might hit a tree? maybe?)
and yet he's only taken the subway once?
did Hippie Barney take cabs?

I thought someone implied that this ep or the previous was going to tell us Something Major mother-related. Did I hear/read that wrong? Didn't happen...

Big Bang was funnier than this. (often is)

Loved ring tone (reminded me of Guy Love)

Recent Carter or Bay interview stated explicitly that meeting mother would be in the finale. :-(
Sadly, you're going to have to google as I can't remember who interviewed him/them. Just that I was sad!

This was dull. Sad for Sarah, who I loved as Elliot.
Big Bang was better.
Any adjective used to describe House would be a spoiler.
Took me till ~ 11/11:30 to get thru all three.

Digital CBS has vanished from my cable lineup, so I watched Big Bang on analog cable on the DVR.

Grey's does better with pregnancy (clipboard, stress eating,shoulder up closeups), and in the fall, they're going to have to be great at it. Lexie was not the lead character... and Ellen's showing already.

Billiam said...

Count me among the minority who both enjoyed this episode and has never had much of a problem with Stella (which may just generate from the general goodwill I have toward Sarah Chalke, I don't know). I definately enjoyed the nosy neighbor who kept interrupting Ted and Stella's conversation.

Unlike others, I didn't really think they'd reveal the mother this season, although I thought perhaps Tony would actually give Ted a job that would somehow lead to meeting the mother. But the only real remaining thread for future mother-meeting seems to be that movie "The Wedding Bride" (which is a great name for a parody of a romantic comedy). Unless of course, I'm missing something and Ted actually meets the mother next week.

Rebecca said...

DARN!!! I was sitting there thinking to myself "What is that song on Ted's ring tone" but then got distracted by something on my computer because the episode was SO boring I was multi tasking, and forgot about it. I LOVE that it was "Let's go to the mall"

Anonymous said...

Again, were you expecting them to not bring back the goat this season? They promised they would in the goat episode last year. They promised they would in a million interviews. There is one episode left in the season. Now or never for the goat.I'm am glad last week's Lost review didn't contain information about what I would see in this week's finale. Considering the harshness of the enforcement of the spoiler policy on other threads, this is like saying in a Lost thread, you were expecting them not to provoke The Incident? (And you yourself have often compared HIMYM to Lost because of flashbacks and continuity.).

JD said...

I dunno, I guess I'm one of the few that have missed Lily.

I agree with Alan on the goat spoiler, I mean we knew it was coming back sometime at the end of this season and there is only one episode left. It's not like he revealed the goat is the Mother. Oops, I just did...just kidding.

Overall, I thought the episode was lame but I liked Robin congratulating Ted on getting Stella to dump Tony by doing a raised fist bump, only to be left hanging. Kind of a Barney thing to do. They belong together after all.

Dave said...

I wasn't sure if I didn't like the episode as much because it was the first one I've watched live (my wife and I just got caught up) or if it was genuinely disappointing to me, but I think it just wasn't as funny to me.

There were some real funny parts, but when they started talking about the murder house, I thought it was setting up a "Here's how dinner actually went" moment. Then it turned out to actually be a psychopath wanting a murder house, and that just didn't seem funny.

I found myself getting annoyed at anything Stella related. I was fine with the whole Stella arc, ending with the wedding and then Ted being OK with things. Now it seems like they're just dragging it out.

It could just be me, but I never thought that introducing the Mother would be the end of the show. There's plenty of conflict, there's the standard Robin angst, and there's always Barney.

One final note, since I'm the new guy following the series: I've been assuming that either at the end of the series, or at least when Mom is revealed, there will be a scene shot with the kids; wouldn't that mean that Mom is probably a return from season 1 (or maybe 2... did they use new shots of the kids in season 2?)?

Alan Sepinwall said...

One final note, since I'm the new guy following the series: I've been assuming that either at the end of the series, or at least when Mom is revealed, there will be a scene shot with the kids; wouldn't that mean that Mom is probably a return from season 1 (or maybe 2... did they use new shots of the kids in season 2?)?

All the stuff with the kids was shot in season 1, I believe, which is why they never say anything anymore, and we just see them sitting silently on the couch. But Bays and Thomas have said they filmed a few things with those actors way back when where they explicitly and vocally respond to news of the Mother's identity. That doesn't have to mean the mom is someone from the first season (though I certainly wouldn't object to Victoria coming back from Germany to save the day), as the reaction could be something as non-specific as "Wow, what a great story, Dad!" or "We already knew this, Dad!" or "We've been listening to you for three months, Dad! When are you going to feed us?"

Adam said...

I would have loved this episode had Ted not agreed, in the end, to talk to Stella's beloved on her behalf. He was 90% of the way there to not-being-a-total-douchebag, and then he snapped right back into place.

Murder House was stoopid. It was sitcom-dumb.

Karl Ruben said...

• Ordinarily, I try to play New Jersey expert whenever the show makes a geographic reference, but I have no idea how to even spell the name of the town where Barney got arrested.I think he called it Brazzaville (like the capital of the Republic of Congo).

Michael said...

Thanks alot Alan. Now not only do I know that the goat is in the next episode and that it is going to "do" something but you spoiled the fact that this is the finale (drenched in saracasm while while wearing a bathing suit of facetiousness).

I didnt hate the ep as much as everyone seems too. I think It is because I am constantly entertained by Robin. She hasnt been a major story point since lily left (or at least it feels that way)but I love the way Cobie Smulders has been playing her. She has been in on jokes and has had perfect reactions to everything. Loved when she told Ted that he had to bump that and her elation that he got Stella's boyfriend to break up with Stella.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Considering the harshness of the enforcement of the spoiler policy on other threads, this is like saying in a Lost thread, you were expecting them not to provoke The Incident?

This is the last I'm saying on this subject, but the equivalent would be me saying that the Lost finale would deal with The Incident, since the show has been building up to it for the past several episodes. If I somehow knew and revealed details about how The Incident happened, and/or whether Jack had anything to do with causing it, then that would be unacceptable. Saying that The Incident is coming up (or perhaps will be prevented) in the finale reveals nothing that the show hasn't already told us.

Anonymous said...

Alan,

Not sure if this is a question worth asking, but four years in, I'm still distracted by the laugh track.

First, it's not a very good laugh track at all -- as if there are any good ones -- and I think having one robs the show of some comedic punch.

I realize they do a lot of cuts from scene to scene, so having a studio audience might not work...but Seinfeld managed to balance it fairly well didn't they? There'd be a studio audience for Jerry's apartment, and then maybe a laugh track for the on location scenes.

Couldn't they use a studio audience for the scenes at McClaren's and Ted/Robin's apartment?

Natural laughter would sound better, and bring out a little more from the actors. To me at least.

This laugh track is just bad lol.

Dave said...

I've also been pulling for a Phoebe-and-David style return of Victoria, though it wouldn't surprise me to see them use the generic comments.

Linda said...

To defend the episode a little, I actually did respond to the Stella/Ted story. For the simple reason that to me, it demonstrated some growth for Ted. Ted used to really, seriously have no understanding of when to quit. He was so obsessed with the quest that he acted like he had to marry everybody he went out with, and I was impressed with the fact that he really DIDN'T seem particularly interested in pursuing Stella. He seriously seemed to have concluded, "Leaving me at the altar is enough already."

He was able, in a way that struck me as pretty mature, to interact with her respectfully but still...I mean, he was appropriately guarded. There's a tendency for people to be all "Hey, bygones!" in a story like this, like you're supposed to wind up on good terms with everyone unless they're evil, and it's usually not that way in real life. The way she broke his trust, he probably always WOULD genuinely not trust her, nor should he, and I liked it that they didn't shy away from that. You never really forgive somebody who broke your heart, not really, and I was happy that they found the right balance.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Couldn't they use a studio audience for the scenes at McClaren's and Ted/Robin's apartment?

The difference between Seinfeld and HIMYM is, as you mention, the sheer number of scenes and cuts per episode. While Seinfeld used many locations, the show proceeded more or less sequentially, one scene at a time. HIMYM is constantly whipping back and forth through time, sometimes in the same location, that it would be impossible for an audience to get into the flow simply by watching whatever present-day scenes were taking place on standing sets.

There's probably a way they could film parts of the show in front of a live audience, but what it gained in more natural laughter wouldn't be worth the logistical nightmare, I think.

pdf said...

I thought the murder house thing was great; it was obviously a nod to the old Monty Python architect sketch, but it was well done.

Bryan said...

Dammit Alan - Jack CAUSED THE INCIDENT???!!!




ha

I agree with Alan though - keep the title but change the focus for awhile -

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice the "murder room" guy's name was "Richard Greenleaf"?

Nice reference:
http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0005842/

floretbroccoli said...

My main problem with last night's episode is that I don't see how it is "another link in the chain."

Maybe it'll become clearer in next week's episode, but last week's episode flat out said that if Ted had gone left instead of right, who knows what would have happened. So when he ran into Stella, I assumed that that encounter would in some way lead to Ted's meeting his future wife.

Yet, by the end of last night's episode, what had changed? What would have been different if he had gone left? The only person he met (and wouldn't have met without running into Stella) was murder-house guy. I'll be quite surprised if HE plays a role in meeting the mother.

I know Ted said that he was "finally saying aloud" that he desperately wanted that thing that the couple had. How, exactly, was he FINALLY saying that? Hasn't he been saying that since the first episode?

Steve said...

First, my question. Last week's amazing episode indicated that reuniting with Stella was the key to meeting the monther. It seemed as if they wrapped a bow on Sarah Chalke's arc, though, so this episode didn't seem consistent. I guess the only possibility is that he met the woman during the shooting of The Wedding Bride, but he didn't need to meet Stella for that. Had he not met Stella last week, Stella and her husband would have never fought in the first place. What am I missing here? I feel like I'm discussing LOST.

This episode fell flat with the murderhouse joke.

But here's what I loved
- Stella's joke/advice to Ted, which was written and delivered brilliantly and tied in Barney's storyline.

- The "What Up Quake" joke

- The Accep(Ted) joke

- The Robin Sparkles recall

Also, I wish the gross joke were told the way I first heard it, which asks the difference between jelly and jam, not peanut butter and jam.

erin said...

I'm just relieved this wasn't the season finale (which I thought it was because it was the BBT finale) because it seemed kind of lame to me as well. I liked the horrified reactions of the gang to the Murder House and Barney's frustrations with his excuses not working on the cops, but I really didn't care about Tony, Ted and Stella irritate me, Ted's schmoopiness about "when will she arrive?!?!?" bugs me (but that might be a personal gripe, as I've come to the place in my life where I know how he feels, and I wish he would just get over it already and live his life) and I really don't think the Mother can live up to the hype. I don't know whether i want them to reveal her or not until the very end, but the build up is becoming to much. And I thought the end tag with Alyson wasn't too funny either. So...harrumph. I'm grumpy.


In general, most of the show just didn't work for me. Alan, I'm glad to hear you thought the finale was funny. I'm glad this wasn't the finale!

tony libido said...

NJ place name: Sounded like Brazzaville to me too. Which is also the name of an extremely excellent band (LA guys living in Barcelona). Might be a writer's room inside joke.

Kensington said...

For what it's worth, I'd completely forgotten about the goat, so even though logic dictates it has to be in the finale, I still would have been surprised (and would probably have enjoyed being surprised) because I wasn't thinking about it.

That said, now that the season is coming to a close, I realize how much I've lost interest. Even a year ago HIMYM was one of my favorite sitcoms. But now? I'm actually indifferent to its continuing existence.

Nicole said...

It felt like a placeholder episode, with a few laughs from Marshall and Barney, but nothing that ground breaking. And it undoes the entire premise of last week's episode of Ted's actions having a direct consequence into meeting the mother. This would have worked better if the episode was aired concurrently with the actual finale, but for now it was a blah episode.

And considering more of the posts relate to Alan mentioning the reappearance of the goat than what actually happened, I think it's indicative of how unmemorable this episode was.

Justin said...

i can't believe theweddingbride.com wasn't a real website either. that's two weeks in a row! talk about dropping the ball...

Bix said...

Wasn't it stated by Bays at some point that they screen the otherwise finished episode in front of an audience to create the laugh track?

Anonymous said...

It's a goat people. I don't understand all the hoopla. The goat was promised (widely) to be shown this season and there's one episode left. I appreciate Alan's stance on spoilers but mentioning the goat for next week is not very spoilery. It's like saying Lily will be back next week.

Nicole Marie said...

As to Barney's driving, didn't they have an episode where he was taught to drive(I want to say Arrivederci Fiero)? Yes he was awful, and was scared, but maybe we have to assume they worked through that and he actually was taught to drive? But yeah, so much was made of his fear/not being able to drive that it's always jarring to me when they have plots that involve him driving.

Confused Sardar said...

Did I write something wrong? What I wrote earlier was purely based on past episode, and a reasonable good recollection of those episodes --- rather than any knowledge of future. But my comment never showed up, I guess it was deleted for being spoilery. Ouch!

Anyway, I have been waiting for the goat episode since it was promised. So the goat discussion was no surprise or spoiler to me...

hpfric said...

hey, alan - here's a question for bays:

is this remotely possible: "and that, kids, is the story of how i met your mother... but that's only half the story"?

i've posted this before but i don't see any reason the show can't continue past the big reveal. this show has grown beyond its sweet but limiting premise. we now have five characters we're invested in; add a 6th (the mother) and tell the story up through the wedding or the birth of the oldest child - i think that would work, don't you?

so has that ever been considered, or is "and that, kids, is the story of how i met your mother" destined to be the series' final line?

Anonymous said...

@ Billiam
General Goodwill! *Saluting

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it stated by Bays at some point that they screen the otherwise finished episode in front of an audience to create the laugh track?I recall reading that, too...but those laughs sound too phony to me.

It's very distracting. I just think this cast, well especially NPH, would own a studio audience with his delivery.

Anonymous said...

PamelaJaye, with all due respect, is it possible for you to comment on a show that isn't Grey's Anatomy without mentioning Grey's Anatomy? Enough is enough. Seriously.

jenmoon said...

To answer the "mother" question: they revealed when and where it's gonna be in this one! Yes, they did. The dominoes have been set up.

The Wedding Bride, May 2010. Ted got Stella and Tony back together, which means they move to LA, which means Tony miraculously gets a screenwriter job. Which means that in a year, a grateful Tony will invite Ted, and presumably Stella's friends, to the premiere of the movie. It will be a rainy night. It will be legen-wait for it... I have to give props to the showrunners for finally giving us directions on this topic, rather than just more stalling.

The funny thing was, I got home halfway through the airing of the show (when Stella showed up at Ted's door) and I actually was quite affected by that half of the episode. Like the anonymous poster, I feel the same way Ted does, and while I'm sick of Ted's romantic drama like everyone else, yeah, it really sucks to be around people who found The One while you didn't. Especially when one of them is your ex-fiancee.

Comparatively speaking, when I watched the front end of the episode this morning online, I was all "meh, and what is with the creepy murder room bit?"

I have to concur that the reason why some people don't miss Lily is that pregnancy has pretty well sidelined both ladies this season and they just can't be given much to do. I find that frustrating too, but what can you do? You can't ask them to time getting knocked up so that they start showing after filming's done.

Alan Sepinwall said...

All laugh tracks, live, canned or sweetened (live laughter made louder and/or mixed with some canned laughter) sound in some way phony. Fox's "Titus" was a show I loved in spite of what sounded like an obnoxious, totally sweetened laughtrack -- and then I attended a taping and the studio audience really was cackling like it was 1952 and they were watching Lucy and Ethel work the conveyor belt at the chocolate factory.

To be honest, I don't remember if the "HIMYM" track is entirely canned or if they screen the episodes in front of an audience who's there for the taping of another show, but it doesn't really matter.

Michael said...

As soon as I saw the ad for The Wedding Bride, which mentioned www.weddingbridemovie.com, I went to the web site only to be surprised that it isn't up yet, even now. Wonder if they bought the domain name and are just holding it until next season?

Anonymous said...

I actually forgot about the goat. That was a long time ago. It would have been nice to be pleasantly surprised by it.

J.J. said...

If you're an architect/contractor, and some potential client comes to you with specifications for what appears to be a murder room, what's the etiquette on that? Do you report it to the authorities?

LA said...

At this point, I'm way more invested in this show's progress toward Barney and Robin's relationship than I am in Ted's and the mythical mother.

The show felt a little flat, but I'm assuming it was a setup and the payoff is coming later.

I don't miss Lily. At. All.

Mark S. said...

www.weddingbridemovie.com is owned by Intellectual Property Department of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. See details

Tito Landrum said...

I loved that Tony had "suction" with City Hall.

I'm sure that The Wire didn't invent the term "suction" but I'm still, for now, going to count that line as the second Wire reference of the season. Which is ALWAYS a good thing!

DonBoy said...

I thought everybody already knew that Alan Tudyk had been cast as the goat.

Yeechang Lee said...

"To answer the "mother" question: they revealed when and where it's gonna be in this one! Yes, they did. The dominoes have been set up."
Yes; I thought it was quite obvious how The Wedding Bride would play into the next stage of Ted's journey. May 2010 (i.e., next season's finale)? Come on; how clearer could it be? The movie, and how it points Ted toward the Mother, will surely play into at least one episode, possibly a whole story arc, and perhaps even form the backdrop for much of season five.

"www.weddingbridemovie.com is owned by Intellectual Property Department of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation."
Again, obvious (although I also pulled up the URL as soon as it appeared): How can there be a Website already for a movie whose script isn't finished? For those who need even more coaching, imagine Tony in LA madly working on a screenplay incorporating his and Stella's last-minute breakup and reunion. 20th Century Fox buys it, films it, and schedules it for summer 2010.

Anonymous said...

Game over! DonBoy wins. Best comment of the thread. The rest of us might as well just go home...

Anonymous said...

I agree that I haven't missed Lily at all. In fact, I was just discussing that with someone yesterday before the show aired. Then again, I've never been particularly impressed with Alyson Hannigan as an actress (and I was a huge Buffy fan) so I'm not surprised to discover the show doesn't lose much without her.

Also, I've seen every episode of Scrubs and never noticed Sarah Chalke's accent. But last night I noticed her saying "aboot" on more than one occasion

Steve said...

someone else mentioned it, but I want to second the notion that while I agree that the show was handcuffed by the dual pregnancies, there was a serendipitous result. The makeshift combination of Marshall and Barney might have the best dynamic of any pairing the show has done... better than Barney/Ted, Ted/Robin, Robin/Lilly, or even Marshall/Lilly.

I hope they keep it up next season.

Alan, ask Carter if the series finale could include his band, The Solids, playing "Hey Beautiful" (theme song) live in McLarens or if they could be Ted and the Mother's wedding band if HIMYM shows us the wedding. I think it would rock.

Eldritch said...

Watching this show is a lot like watching Lucy holding a football for Charlie Brown.

If she ever lets him kick the ball, everything would change. If Ted meets the mother, could the show remain about the crazy singles life?

Wouldn't it just devolve into two sad, married couples drinking like alcoholics in their favorite bar with their crazy-neighbor?

If he meets the mother, it would be entertaining for him to pursue her for a while, but then the show would have to end.

jana said...

Oh no...Another spoiler...Lily's going to be back next week (12:35pm Anonymous)? That, coupled with the goat spoiler, has ruined it all! Guess I'll have to record and watch Grey's Anatomy instead (1:18pm Anonymous). Ha!

Matthew said...

FYI - The website www.weddingbridemovie.com is now up with the poster we saw from the movie last night.

Michael said...

Alas, there's nothing hidden in the website HTML source, just a link to an images directory. Inside there, there's just a hi-res picture to go with the low-res one that's on the site.

But monitor http://www.weddingbridemovie.com/images/, we might find something in the next year.

Theresa said...

My big gripe with the implied momentousness of Ted running into Stella last week not paying off yet is that he had the yellow umbrella with him, the one thing that we know ties him to the Mother. Even if running into Stella leads to him meeting the Mother, it still doesn't have anything to do with him having the yellow umbrella with him last week, and that seems like an unnecessary tease to me.

There were some funny jokes, but overall, blah.

Re: Barney driving, he was taught to drive in a flashback in Arrivederci, Fiero and I don't remember if there was or was not a date on that flashback, but I justified it as a flashback that would have given him time to learn how to drive by the Moving Day and certainly by now. Come on, Barney spends money on everything, I'm sure he would have bought himself a car by now.

Jacob said...

Did anyone else notice that after Ted finally got the accep(Ted) joke, Barney pointed at Ted and then his nose? As in, Ted knows. Made the joke even better for me.

Travis said...

I had a hard time believing that Barney coulnd't even begin talking himself out of a ticket. The guy is a natural salesmen capable of talking gorgeous women into various sexual acts, yet can't lay out a convincing story to get out of a speeding ticket? Although it was fun to see him try...

LOVED that Ted's ringtone is Robin Sparkles!

The Lily appearance at the end just reminded me how lame the excuse was for her leaving (meaning the rude joke, not the real-life pregnancy) I wish they could have written something better for that. Oh well...

Funny you mention Prison Break, Alan. I asked when that show started, what's going to happen when they break out? Is there some history of tv shows in a similar meme that carried on after the title had been acheived?

Heather said...

It wasn't as good and exciting as last week's episode and yes this does make Stella a little more unlikeable (though I do like Tony). There were good moments and some errors.

Good:
-Accep (Points to Ted). Amazzzing!
-Murder House. I found it oddly hillarious.
-"Lets go to the Mall!" ringtone. Seriously, where can I get that ringtone?
-Speeding Ticket
-Lily appearing!

Errors:
-Barney can't drive can he? When did he learn? But that would explain why he got so many speeding tickets. (Then again, he could barely go crawling miles an hour in a parking lot)
-So, Stella was preggers at 19 and Lucy is 7, so that would make her about 27 to 28. Isn't that young to be a derma?

Steve Wirzba said...

this show is falling off, and it's a damn shame. like you, alan, i no longer care about the mother. this show should let itself transform into the quirky, revamped, better than Friends it is! i really think they should get the massive, restricting over-arching concept out of the way so they can get better longevity - and laughs - out of this show.

best part of the ep- Barney rannnndomly changing voices (probs improved?), followed by a camera switch to Josh Radnor, who I'm pretty sure was almost cracking up for real.

Anonymous said...

Alan, even though you're not addressing the issue anymore, I do want to point out that I like to approach episodes completely unspoiled. That includes never reading interviews. I had no idea the goat was scheduled to make an appearance this season, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I would've liked to have been surprised by its appearance. Your spoiler policy should have been in play here, regardless of what's been said in interviews, especially since not every fan of the show reads them.

Anonymous said...

Decent episode this week, but once again I wish they could be funny without the fat jokes. It's just such a cliche- too sitcommy. They're better than that.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea the goat was scheduled to make an appearance this season, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I appreciate the desire to remain unspoiled, but in this case, it was the "worst kept secret."


In the season 3 episode "The Goat," which shows his 30th birthday, Future Ted finally realizes that the story with the goat takes place during his 31st birthday, not his 30th.


It's not a stretch to figure out that the goat would reappear this season. And since there's only 1 episode left, it's not really a spoiler to confirm that suspicion.

Dan said...

I'm pretty sure the laugh track comes (mostly) from audiences watching a screening.

Anonymous said...

I really did NOT appreaciate the goat spoiler.

Master Mammer said...

Arrivederci Fierro was released in 2007, and they made a flashback to what i asume was 2005 transport strike in NYC (2 years before the fiero death) so ted decide to make barney learn to drive.

So now we are in 2009 i think 4 years is enough tiem to leran =P

Androooooo said...

I'm just going to put my hand up and say that my favourite character is Ted. I understand that he's not as funny as the others but the show would never have survived without him at its core.

He's the straight man, the romantic centre and the character thats most relatable for guys like me.

Sure, you can't measure his worth in the amount of laughs he delivered. But the show wasnt funny enough early on to survive on its own. The romantic part of romantic comedy is what made it special.

Stella was, however, only allowed to be fun for two episodes. So I do't particularly enjoy it when she shows up anymore.

Mel said...

Who else thinks the Wedding Bride will be the story of Stella and Tony, with poor Ted playing the role of the hapless chump?

Anonymous said...

If we're not allowed to talk about the previews that air, how is it that what we can deduce from interviews about what will happen is fair game?

Bryan said...

Dear Anonymous - I don't think Alan is going direct this anymore (and he shouldn't) I really think you are getting yourself all worked up over nothing.

Maybe - like torture- it just depends on your definition of "spoiler". I personally don't consider knowing the goat was returning any more of a spoiler than hearing that Ted's sister or Bryan Cranston was going to be on. Why are you so infatuated with the goat? IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING. Truly, if you percieve Alan breaking his own rules (which I don't think he did but even if he did he's entitled to) as such a terrible breach then stop reading and start your own blog please.

Anonymous said...

Bryan, I appreciate your point of view, but the policy does exist for a reason and on other threads, comments have been deleted on multiple occasions for referencing the previews or interviews of what will happen. Alan saw the episode and shared at least one part of what would happen on the episode. Maybe you had already predicted it, maybe you foresaw it, maybe interviews prompted you to guess that it would come. But that doesn't mean everyone did or even cared to. You can say this was something easily predictable or not a big deal, but you can't say it wasn't a spoiler. Usually, Alan is hypervigilant about such things but wasn't this week. That's all I can say.

skittledog said...

But I'm sure the goat has been mentioned in other episodes this season, hasn't it? Okay, it might be a nice surprise to see it but if I watched the show like that I also wouldn't know why Lily had disappeared for four weeks. *shrugs* But then, I'm not a regular poster so will leave you to your own arguments.

I came to comment because the question about Barney driving made me go rewatch Arrivederci, Fiero. Which a) yay, love that episode and b) right then. The facts are: Ted says Barney was driving the Fiero 'last year, during the transit strike.' (Which is possibly another slip given Barney allegedly not taking the subway before Lucky Penny... oh except wait, those events themselves were in flashback... this is too confusing, I'm getting out of these brackets.) Marshall later says 'Barney's never driven above 10mph' so, unless he hasn't told them he's taken lessons, let's assume he still can't drive in real time. But as it's the very next episode when he moves Ted's truck behind the bar, I'm going to guess maybe he actually took lessons as a result of the Fiero story being retold. Perhaps.

Actually, I'm not that bothered. I do love it when continuity on this show is awesome, but I can forgive them the occasional slip - especially when 'future Ted has a lousy memory at times' is available as an excuse. Handy, that.

Mike F said...

awful, just awful...for HIMYM especially...which has gotten too cute for its own good this season in a lot of ways

oh well...still like the show, but its got warts

if I could go back and change things, I'd have had Ted stick with the wedding/cupcake girl

meg said...

i too had forgotten about the goat. not everyone is reviewing these things-- we're keeping such detailed track of things. It would have been nice to be pleasantly surprised by it, or at least mention at the top that something from the next episode is mentioned. Especially for a blog that is so strict about spoilers. I read this posting with the understanding that the material would restricted to the episode mentioned.

meg said...

* typo above: we're NOT all keeping such detailed track of things :)