A review of "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I take a swat at the Hamburglar...
"The Perfect Week" featured plenty of elements that should have made me an absolute sucker for it. It was loaded with baseball jokes, from Ted playing pitching coach to Barney (while accompanied by the score from the original "Major League"(*), to Jim Nantz kicking his chair over at the idea that Marshall would invoke the jinx again, to the cameo by Nick Swisher, who has already vaulted his way into becoming my second-favorite Yankee(**). It had sops to "HIMYM" continuity, like the first mention of Victoria I can recall since the first season and Marshall's ongoing Sasquatch fixation, and meta jokes like Future Ted acknowledging he's a bad dad for telling his kids stories like this one. And much of the episode leaned on the show's most reliable source of humor: Barney's success with the ladies.
(*) It gets overlooked in some circles because it came out the year after "Bull Durham" and ripped off a bunch of elements from that movie (washed-up but wily catcher, pitcher with million dollar arm and no control, voodoo-practicing player, etc.), but it's still one of my favorite Underdog Sports Movies. You can hear a sample of the score here, and keep watching at least until you get to the end of the American Express commercial, which is the moment when I knew the guy playing Willy Mays Hays was gonna be a big star. Shame he forgot how to be funny (and when to pay his taxes).
(**) What can I say? The guy's just an endearing goofball who can hit a little. Of course, the gap between him and first-favorite Yankee Mariano Rivera is insurmountable, but watching Swisher (with more than a little help from CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett) completely reinvent the clubhouse dynamics of what had been a stultifying roster for a long, long time was a joy to behold. Plus, his haircuts are all stupid, including the one he wore tonight.
Yet the baseball jokes got repetitive after a while (though some later ones like Nantz's tantrum were funny anyway), and a lot of the gags sprinkled around it didn't work. Robin's Dale fixation in particular was one of the most annoying things Cobie Smulders has ever been asked to play (and it also feels like the show's done a lot of "Robin gets indignant that people don't realize how hot she is" gags of late), and the initial scene where Ted made his unfortunately-named student cry was Ross Gellar bad, even if some of the follow-up jokes made by the gang made my inner 9-year-old chuckle. And like "The Playbook" from earlier in the season, the Barney jokes began to feel like a crutch after a while.
Lot of strong elements, but not one of the season's stronger episodes.
What did everybody else think?