Monday, February 19, 2007

"That's two.": How I Met Your Mother

C'mon. Did you expect me to go with something else as the title?

I actually new slap number two was coming, so it wasn't as monumental as it could have been, but I loved how they snuck it into the end of the episode, crowding it in there with Barney's robot play (entitled "Suck It, Lily," for those of you who didn't see the Playbills) so that even those who didn't see "Slap Bet" would have something to laugh at.

But, what's more, this was one of the best episodes in a while, at least since "First Time in New York." It got back to the group dynamic that really makes the show work, and it highlighted an important issue that all relationships go through -- what to do with the old significant other's stuff. In Ted's case, it was a bunch of tchotchkes that were easily disposed of, but Robin's dogs all came from old boyfriends, and when she decided to get rid of them, it felt like an appropriately big moment for the character, the girl who was so insistent that commitment wasn't for her (I also liked that they went to a lesbian aunt in upstate New York, which was the sort of just right detail that this show specializes in). And Ted and Robin learning the wrong lesson from their argument (and deciding to move in together) felt like the right story choice too.

But there was much, much more here to work with, starting with Barney's play. Lily's play was pretty much the standard "this is a crappy, arty play that no one goes to see" plotline that every show set in New York has to do at some point (I think Friends did 50 of them), but Barney's play, conceived entirely to anger Lily and set her off, was a perfect bit of conceptualizing, right down to paying off a joke from the very beginning of the episode that you had completely forgotten about. And, hey, apparently Danby's is fictional, but I love the writing staff for trying to come up with a Canadian equivalent to Bennigan's (which is hands-down the funniest restaurant chain, though between this and Butters' Bennigan's song on South Park, it's rapidly losing its ability to surprise).

All in all, a solid episode. The only thing that didn't work for me was the sight gag where all of the dogs were Robin's ex-boyfriends (in Ted's mind). Some of it was pretty good (I did like the dog-boy bringing her the ball and running after it friskily), but much of it was just overthought and, frankly, a little creepy.

And, honestly, I hope they continue to payoff slap bet through the course of the show. Now that I know that they plan on doing so, I don't want to see another for a few years.

1 comment:

David Sims said...

Yeah, they better not have number three until next year. Well, unless it's really good.

This was, IMO, the best ep since 'Slap Bet', although 'First Time in New York' runs it a close second. I was in hysterics throughout Barney's play. And cutting out any boring Ross/Rachel style drama between Ted and Robin when they fight was perfect. Ugh. I heart HIMYM.