Monday, February 05, 2007

"Dance, my friend": How I Met Your Mother

Honestly, when I first heard about this episode (Monday Night Football), the show's bid for the post-Super Bowl slot, I thought it sounded kind of ridiculous, and I wasn't sure how the show would pull it off and make it believable. Well, not everything about the storyline made sense (I didn't buy that Robin would put her job in danger just to avoid hearing the results of the game), but the show was rather game about playing the silliness of the scenario up and admitting that it didn't make a whole lot of logical sense. Ted's sensory deprivation outfit was a great sight gag, and his inappropriate shouting was funny too. And the Marshall/Lily subplot was even better, as it pitted Marshall against a kindergartener, letting Jason Segal play up the youthful elasticity of his performance.

It's essentially impossible to talk about this episode without sighing about how much better it would have been as a Super Bowl companion when compared to the grim and dour Criminal Minds that actually showed after the game. This wasn't HIMYM at its best, but it was a solid second-tier episode, filled with some good gags for all of the characters and great moments for Barney, the show's breakout character. His encounter with Emmitt Smith (which, even though I knew Smith was to be in the episode, came out of nowhere) was the highlight of a delirious section when he ran down the streets of New York, unable to find anyone who could tell him anything about the game.

Did it seem weird to anyone else that they didn't work one or two superfluous references to the teams playing in the game? I realize this was filmed long ago (and I'm sure if it had gotten the primo slot, this would have happened) and that television production schedules are insane, but surely it wouldn't have killed them to film two versions of a scene (one for if the Bears won, the other for if the Colts won)? Then again, maybe I'm insane and there was no way they could ever pull off a 30-second scene in the two weeks' time they had. Again, I'm sure they would have done this if the show was on after the Super Bowl. Maybe when they didn't get the slot, they didn't feel it was necessary.

All in all, this was a nice midpoint for the season, and a good introduction to who these characters are for any people curious about the show after last night's Super promos. The closing narration, while a little more cloying than the show usually is, was a good introduction to the idea that the show has a heart, that these characters care about each other.

So did any of you watch this for the first time based on the promos? If so, what did you think?

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