Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Now your 80 day balloon race around the world, THAT was a competition!": How I Met Your Mother

So I wouldn't let David do this show for two reasons -- he was doing Heroes recaps for HND on Monday nights and he would gush about the show too much. So now that the show's back and I'm still doing it (seriously, you wouldn't believe how hard it can get to find things to say about these half-hour sitcoms that aren't The Office), I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that I open this review with some good, old-fashioned gushing.

Sweet lord in heaven have I missed this show. It may not be television's best comedy (it's close, but 30 Rock still holds that crown), but it's TV's most WELCOMING comedy. You just feel like sitting down and watching this show and enjoying it. I realize that makes little to no sense, but it instills that sense of television as a false community builder like no other show on the air. These fictional people are our friends, and they let us come over every week to sit just off to the side and listen to the witty things they have to say.

The season premiere, while probably not on the top ten Mothers of all time or anything, is a fine episode, better than both the pilot and last season's premiere (which ended up being a little plot-heavy). And I laughed a lot at it, probably because I missed these people (gosh-darn it, I'm not afraid to admit it) and because I missed hanging out with them.

That's the way it is with a good TV comedy, really. You just want to spend a little time with these people from week to week. It gets you through the rough patches, when the episodes aren't as good, and it'll keep you watching, long after the show has completely fallen apart. That's why those who check in with the show once or twice and are sort of baffled as to its cult's strong adherence to it are always so flummoxed -- they don't know these kids like we do. They don't love these kids like we do.

Where was I?

The episode had the best stuff at the top (particularly when Barney, Lily and Marshall were making fun of Ted with sideburns and then Ted with mustache), and the attempts to shoehorn in guest stars Mandy Moore and Enrique Iglesias sapped the momentum a little (though I loved Moore, and if they boosted ratings, more power to them). The rest of the episode was best when it showed off how Barney's role as wingman ended up conflicting with his bedding his own girl. The "tramp stamp" thing wasn't ever quite as funny as the show wanted it to be, but it did provoke that nice scene where Ted yelled irrationally at Robin. I like that the show has finally pointed out that they aren't Ross and Rachel and that their story is essentially over now (and this sort of makes Robin a tragic character, I think).

That last shot of the episode, of a lone yellow umbrella dancing through a crowd of black ones, was a beautiful one (unusual in a sitcom), and it spoke to a lot of the show's pet themes -- destiny, how we become the people we become, how we change, the cost of living, etc. The mother is out there, and she's closer than ever, but she's also farther away. We've got a long way to go before that yellow umbrella skitters out of her hands and into the lap of fate.

Also, "21st president Chester A. Arthur"? "Cirque du So-Laid"? Awesome.


Joey Sims said...

Nice opener, if not the funniest of episodes. I loved the whole scene about Ted's tattoo, and the scene between Ted and Robin near the end.

This episode had me wondering about Robin's position in the show now. She doesn't live with them, and she's not with Ted anymore, so doesn't that leave her out in the cold a bit? I assume this is something they're going to address soon.

Todd said...

I think the pilot set up that she becomes a close enough friend to be the kids' "aunt," so I imagine that's her role now -- sort of the show's Elaine, I guess.

Carrie said...

I am so with you on the "welcoming" thing, Todd. These people feel like they could be your friends. They feel like people you might actually want to hang out with, and that counts for a lot in a show you devote time to each week.

This episode was very funny. I wanted more beard jokes, but the ones we got were so great. "Old-timey inventor." Hee!

Bianca Reagan said...

Maybe Robin could get a cute new boyfriend, and then I'd watch again. But what boy is cute enough and funny enough for this show . . . ?

Matthew Perpetua said...

The thing I hope for is that they basically just let Robin be the "Elaine," as Todd says, but that further down the line, they have Robin and Barney stumble into a relationship.