Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"You can't imagine the rush you get from killing an unwanted puppy.": How I Met Your Mother

This episode of How I Met Your Mother is going to be a tough one to get 500 words out of, I'll warn you. It's not that the episode was bad, by any means, but that it was just so typical of the show, to the point where there's not a whole lot to say about it beyond basic plot summary. There was a lot of really funny stuff in this episode, but what am I going to say about it? HIMYM was playing with the nature of the fact that it's a story being told and did some jumping around in time and stuff? Because, I mean, it does that all the time? And, once again, there was something of a storytelling gimmick (the glass smashing), which was utilized fairly well, then slightly overutilized.

But, y'know what? I'd rather watch a typical episode of HIMYM than a typical episode of almost any other show on the air. Watching even a bad episode of HIMYM (which, I'll hasten to add, this was not) doesn't feel like work, so watching a pretty good episode like this one is always a blast. "Spoiler Alert" was well-constructed, finding an ingenious way to dovetail its A plot (where the gang found out just what each of its members did that was annoying) with its B plot (where Marshall waited for his bar exam results). It's just finding something to say about it beyond that that won't feel like something I've said about a million episodes of HIMYM before is tough.

So I guess I'll just talk about some of the things I found funny about this episode in particular and hope to make some cogent points in there somewhere.

I don't quite buy that everyone had these shattering revelations about the others just now. It made sense that Ted wouldn't have realized Cathy was a chatter, and it made sense that Marshall didn't realize how loudly Lily chewed (love blinds all), but beyond that, who wouldn't have realized that Marshall sang nonsensically all the time (even if I loved the montage of him doing so)? And why would Ted's habit of correcting others be something everyone had to realize? Both of these character revelations were very much in character, but it seemed out of character that no one else had ever seen them before.

That said, I really liked Lindsey Price's work as Cathy, who's probably the best "girlfriend of the week" this season so far. She had a real zest to her and had a great deal of fun with her various lines and jokes. I really loved the coda where Ted ran into her three years later (which also had a throwback to the revelation that Ted speaks sign language). If her character hadn't been so obnoxious, I'd demand Price get tossed into the "could be the mother" pool with Ashley Williams, Danica McKellar and Jayma Mays stat!

But the best thing in the episode was how it tied together those two stories. Having everyone else remember Marshall's password and not know it was great, and even better was the subsequent celebration of his professional success. The show's greatest moments come from when it sets us in a room with this group of characters and just lets us be with them, and this was no exception. It's what keeps this series humming.

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