Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"It was a lovely and responsible night.": How I Met Your Mother

Man, it's weird to have Mother gone for so long. It feels like the sort of thing that should be on every week without fail, and I'm not one of those people who tends to complain about reruns (I get them; they're necessary). It's just solid comfort food TV, even when it's not hitting on all cylinders, and I can't think of a show I just ENJOY more than this one right now. It's great for sitting back and putting your brain in neutral, even when the episode isn't quite as solid as it could have been, as was the case tonight.

Tonight was another essentially plotless episode of Mother -- the sort that the show whips out when it's stalling between big relationship moments (and considering Lily and Marshall's wedding two-parter kicks off next week, I'm guessing that episode will be full of them). The episode bounced between four plots -- Lily trying to gain five pounds to fit into her wedding dress, Ted trying to write his best man toast for the wedding reception, Lily and Marshall trying to stay apart for the two weeks leading up to their wedding and Barney taking part in The Price Is Right. One of these plots was head and shoulders above the other three, but none of them exactly fell down on the job.

The Lily plot was probably the weakest. It was a nice idea to flip the old TV convention of "I have to lose this much weight to fit into my dress!" on its head, especially on a show where you can't exactly accuse either of the female regulars of being even a bit overweight. But seeing women stuff their faces always bumps up against the Lucy problem (namely, Lucy and Ethel did it so well in that conveyor belt episode of I Love Lucy that it's hard to watch anyone else do it without feeling they suffer in comparison). It's a funny idea on paper, but it's almost never that funny in execution, and, alas, Alyson Hannigan couldn't make it work here, despite her best efforts.

Marginally better was Ted trying to write a good toast for Marshall. I liked the idea of Marshall censoring the real details of his life for his sensitive Midwestern family (and it hit a little close to home, to be honest), and the use of "holding hands" to stand in for bathroom sex was pretty clever, though not as well done as the innuendo in the last episode (which had that great runner with the vibrator mistaken for a miniature sewing machine). The storyline also nicely dovetailed with the Marshall/Lily one.

I actually quite liked Marshall and Lily's inability to go without each other. The fact that the two of them met the first day of college and have been together ever since has always rung true to me for. . .various reasons, and it was sweet to see another example of their bizarrely romantic co-dependence. The fact that Lily was able to pig out around Marshall also worked, and it finally gave Ted some material for his toast.

But the plot line that I liked more than any other was Barney on The Price Is Right, which, honestly, would have been hard to screw up. Some of it felt like sucking up to the network (by having Barney congratulate Bob Barker on 35 years of Price), and some of it felt like an episode that had to be padded to preserve most of the wedding for next week, but most of it was just Neil Patrick Harris goofing off on the Price Is Right set, and it's hard to go wrong with that, especially as the prizes he won got more and more ridiculous (and he presented them all to Marshall and Lily as wedding gifts in a nice capper). And did I mention that Barney believes Bob Barker is his father but decided not to mention it to Bob? Like I said, it would be hard to go wrong with this set-up, but it was still hysterical to watch.

So I'm ready for a wedding. And if you don't renew this show, CBS, David is going to FLY OVER from GREAT BRITAIN and. . .well, I don't know what he'll do, but you wouldn't like him when he's angry.


whatigotsofar said...

I would have really liked to see what Barney could have done with Plinko. But still, a very enjoyable episode.

Libby said...

What is the Price is Right if not Plinko?!