A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I get on a stool so I can fall off it...
"Of Course" was frustrating me for a good chunk of its running time, then saved itself in the final minutes with a reminder that "HIMYM" can lean on its romantic side even when the comedy isn't quite working.
Jennifer Lopez was fine (far more lifelike and definitely more adept with comedy than Carrie Underwood) and worked well as a woman Barney would go to great lengths to bed.(*) But the comedy surrounding Barney's quest, and around Ted and Marshall recognizing how badly they'd treated Robin, was incredibly broad and/or weird. Even though the show's established that the gang for some reason cheers on Barney's slutty ways, I don't buy the guys actually singing a song about it, and going on and on with it in front of Robin.
(*) I'm not sure if everybody's commercial pattern was the same as in NY/NJ, but immediate after Barney threw up into the Stormtrooper helmet, we got an ad for J-Lo's awful-looking new movie, which began with her vomiting as well. They're puke kindred spirits!
And speaking of songs, Ted's ode to the Super-Date was just bizarre. "Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit" worked in the context of the show because Barney's a larger-than-life character, and also because the number took place entirely in Barney's head. But Ted's supposed to be more down to earth, and he was doing it in the middle of the bar, even though the rapidly shifting settings suggested we were supposed to view it as another kind of fantasy. I was amused briefly, but tonally, it didn't work.(**)
(**) And I know you can wave off either song as being a product of Future Ted the unreliable narrator, but I think there comes a point where that becomes a crutch for the writers and/or the fans to excuse anything that shouldn't fit - particularly when we don't hear Saget talking about how this isn't really what happened, but how he'd like to remember it.
There were still some funny moments here and there - the casual return of Robin's "But, um" catchphrase, Anita putting poor Mike the cameraman on her hook (only an episode after Robin allegedly let him off hers), Barney discussing the tininess and softness of his fiber - but "Of Course" really didn't start to work until we got the scenes from previous episodes intercut with new scenes of Robin being upset about Barney.
Robin's seeming ease with seeing her ex-boyfriend turn into the biggest himbo in Manhattan has stuck out like a sore thumb since the break-up episode, and it needed to be dealt with. Beyond that, the closing scenes of "Of Course" gave Barney back some necessary depth and humanity for the first time since he and Robin split. I'd like to think this is all greasing the wheels for a Barney/Robin reunion - that the break-up, and then all the talk by the producers that they missed telling stories about Barney seducing random women, were actually a fake-out before a Barn-man & Robin 2.0 turns out to be a much more successful and fun relationship - but even if it doesn't, Barney as two-dimensional character gets old after a while, even when played by NPH.
What did everybody else think?