Monday, September 25, 2006

HIMYM & The Class: Apartments and houses

Skipped over "Prison Break" so I could toggle between the CBS comedies and the first game at the Superdome in 21 months. Feel free to spoil me; while I like it, it's become skippable to me.

Spoilers for "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Class" just as soon as I put up some drywall...

Interesting parallel theme here, as each show's best line revolved around real estate: Lily's "The apartment is a metaphor for Marshall!" and Duncan's "This place is not well-built!" And the latter is really to Jon Bernthal's credit. Lily's line is funny in and of itself, though Alyson Hannigan's delivery was perfect, but "This place is not well built!" is funny entirely because of the goofy pride Bernthal invests in it.

That line, and Duncan demonstrating all the things wrong with the house, were easily the highlight of the second "Class." The scenes with Holly and the three gay men were a complete waste; not only is Holly's husband a cheap gay joke, but they used him to make cheap accent jokes. (And Kyle's partner's accent isn't even that thick.) The scenes with the other quartet were up and down, though I liked Richie's look of resignation after realizing his bad timing with the pills.

Still, the fact that I laughed out loud three or four times marked this as a significant improvement over the pilot for me. But as I've said, others have told me I'm out of my gourd on this one. What say you?

Meanwhile, "HIMYM" continues to fire on all cylinders: Barney's magic, the fast-forwarded conversation about "candy," Ted mocking Robin's Canadian heritage, the real version of Lily's summer in "SF" (including the exact same dialogue, just with different emphasis), and, of course, Marshall's revenge on Barney. I like that they're willing to allow Barney to be a total sleaze; I was afraid that he had some kind of noble motive for swiping Marshall's women, but thankfully, he's just an ass.

I suppose it would be too easy for Marshall to just take Lily back, plus it would create two happy couples plus Barney, but I prefer the show with the soap quotient as low as possible.


Heather K said...

I loved Barney's magic! I just loved it, it was great. I know a comedy is good when my roommates make fun of me for laughing aloud too much, and that happened this episode.

Class wasn't funny for me. I sort of clicked back and forth between it and Wife Swap changing the channel anytime I got bored, so pretty often.

Anonymous said...

The major development in The Class, to me, is that this week not only is Holly a real person for a minute, but despite it all even her husband is almost a person. I was actually disappointed when he turned out to be paying close attention to Kyle's partner's lips, since by then I was hoping that he was "just" an unusually effeminate straight man, of a kind that does exist. As I think is conventional wisdom here, "gay man who thinks he's straight" has been pretty well comedy-strip-mined by now (see Tobias Funke, That Dating Semi-Improv Show on Lifetime, and others). PLUS the whole thing is even dumber than it sounds on paper, because Kyle, although sort of a gay "type", isn't a mincing queen, and certainly wouldn't have been one in high school, so the concept that Holly likes "that type" doesn't really make sense.

By the way, the way they've broken up the characters, I notice that the very premise is a little bit of a lie; half the characters are in a show about some people who haven't seen each other since 3rd grade, and the other half are in a show (or two show-lets) about people who are resolving issues from their high-school years. (And of the former group, two are sisters to boot!)

Oh, and I'm sorry to lose the little power-pop snippet they were using in the pilot, but I'm a sucker for that stuff.

On HIMYM: I felt it pushed it a little beyond funny, the amount that Barney was kicking Marshall's ass, candy-store-wise. Ted can handle it, but Marshall's walking wounded. It just rubbed me the wrong way. Enjoyed Lily's double payoff of the bit, thought. I'm waiting for a solid HIMYM bit of writing of the kind that I haven't seen yet this year, where the running gag becomes the kick-in-the-gut serious payoff -- canonical example from last year being "What do you do? -- Go."

Alan Sepinwall said...

Donboy, the major difference between Tobias Funke and Holly's husband -- other than the genius of David Cross and the Arrested writers -- is that everybody but Tobias knew he was gay. The fact that Holly is totally oblivious is such a stupid joke, and it makes me hate her and every scene she's in with him.

Good point about the split, but I sort of like that. Of the kids I went through third grade with, I still knew (at least to say "Hey") about half of them by the time we graduated high school, while others had moved away or drifted into very different crowds. To have eight former third-grade classmates where none of them (except the sisters) saw each other after that year would ring as false as, well, Holly not realizing she's married to a flaming queen.

Anonymous said...

I don't see HIMYM becoming a soap opera just yet -- it looks like Marshall and Lilly will be able to be friends and I'm looking forward to seeing how they rebuild their relationship. I suspect a new love interest for Lilly or Marshall will come along at some point to create tension (and maybe lead them to reconcile), but I trust the writers enough to hope that we won't be headed for Ross and Rachel territory. Despite being a pretty traditional sitcom, the relationships in HIMYM have always felt very true to life for me.

Loved Barney's magic and his evil stunts with Marshall's potential dates. I also loved the payoff of Lilly throwing two drinks in his face. Well played, HIMYM, well played.

Anonymous said...

I thought that HIMYM was really well-done as far as feeling organic to the characters and the entire structure of the plotlines. It would have rung false if it were "easy" for Lily to have gone away and for Marshall to take her back as if nothing happened.

Also, regarding what donboy said, I felt like Barney was a little mean-spirited in his actions towards Marshall (as you said "the walking wounded") compared to Ted, but again, I thought it was true to character.

BTW, Mr. Sepinwall, I'm surprised that "This house is NOT well-built." has superceded "Would that interest you?" in your house. :)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Much like Bill Simmons, I just kept reciting "Is that something you might be interested in?" until the phrase lost all meaning, let alone laughs. Sort of like how I've had Gaffigan's Hot Pockets routine in such heavy play on my iPod that I've grown tired of it, when a few weeks ago it was guaranteed to give me the hiccups.

Pamela Jaye said...

why is it that Marshall's car radio works and it's not playing that song?

(and that whole paragraph had no e's?)

Pamela Jaye said...

sorry, wrong ep. the season 2 tag missed pulling up th first ep, somehow.

2.01 featured the Fiero, but without the stuck casstte tape

(this has been another episode of "paste your e's)

Pamela Jaye said...

awsome feature of season 2 DVDs - the main menu doesn't have a music loop

Pamela Jaye said...

why does Marshall always dress like he's on Star Trek?