Monday, May 07, 2007

"Did he look like a guy who tried to be an umpire but failed?": How I Met Your Mother

While Everybody Hates Chris was doing plots from seasons past and barely enlivening them, How I Met Your Mother took one of the hoariest of sitcom cliches -- the wedding where everything goes wrong -- and made it all setup and no punchline, choosing instead to make the payoff for the episode a sweetly emotional scene where Marshall and Lily pledged their love to each other away from the milling crowd, surrounded only by their closest friends. The episode then wedged the long succession of punchlines (the flowers showing up late, the harpist's baby coming, the usher tackling the old boyfriend who showed up) into a 30-second montage that was funnier than it could have been at normal speed.

Maybe I'm not as sick of the wedding where everything goes wrong as I am some other plot devices, but I thought this was a fine and funny way to spice up the old chestnut, and I thought Mother's structural playfulness (compressing both the "everything's going wrong!" and the "everything's gone wrong!" into only a few minutes of show time) saved them from falling too squarely into all of the traps inherent in this plotline.

It didn't hurt that all of the actors were on their game tonight. Reportedly, this episode (a two-parter which concludes next week) was written as both a season and series finale in case the show was canceled in an untimely fashion by CBS (and, again, CBS, don't make David's wrath rain down upon you). So it makes sense that the show would be giving us lots of great little moments with all of the characters, just in case this is the last time we ever see them. Everything from Barney learning the power of saying "It's for the bride" to Marshall shaving off a strip of his hair to Lily confronting Scooter to Ted and Robin's sad little exchange at the wedding was spot on. If I have to leave these characters here (please, no), I guess I can live with that.

But the big question, of course, is in the title. And it certainly seems that Ted and Robin may be split up (the episode, of course, kept them apart for its length, but there were little clues). I don't know if this is the case, but the sad look the two shared when Barney (of all people) was talking about a couple belonging together (and how hilarious that he couldn't help but cry!) and then the little peck on the cheek Ted gave her afterward seemed to suggest that they had realized they just can't make it work (perhaps it will have something to do with the spaghetti sauce incident from last week -- I hope so!). This, of course, means that season three will be back to Ted trying to find the girl of his dreams but now without the distraction of Robin. Here's hoping that this leads to a more confident Ted. Because flirty Ted is fun (see: Okay, Awesome) while mopey Ted. . .not so much.

But the best part of the episode may have been Marshall and Lily's well-nigh moving wedding ceremony (the one before the disastrous one). At first, I thought the show was making a mistake when it got them together again relatively quickly, but their couplehood is one of the rocks of the show, and it makes more sense to have them together and married than anything else. And, as mentioned, Barney was great in the scene, as was the hat.

So what happens now? What would it take for you to see next week's episode and be satisfied with an end for the whole SERIES instead of just the season? Or aren't you ready to make that call yet?


Carrie said...

The best part of this episode was the Shawshank Redemption shoutout. "But those guys are criminals!" "Just Red - Andy was falsely accused!" Genius.

If this show gets canceled, I will cry. If ever a show suffered from poor network support, it's this one. On NBC, this would have been a big hit.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

I'm sort of hoping if this show is canceled that NBC picks it up. Throw it on at 8, lead in to Earl, then Office, then 30 Rock. . .that's just about perfect!

David Sims said...

Todd, I would LOVE IT if that happened.

Even ABC picking it up would be good. (FOX, no). Is there any chance of either?

Todd VanDerWerff said...

I haven't heard a thing.

No one expects CBS to cancel this, so I don't think anyone is really talking openly with the creators.