Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"You just got slapped!": How I Met Your Mother

Slapsgiving was a pretty good sequel to last year's Slap Bet, an episode that used the promise of further slapulation to slip in some pretty good drama between Ted and Robin. The show knew that we wanted that next slap, so it used that as the Trojan horse to get us to dealing with what's been driving the first episodes of this season without us really even having to think about it -- the Ted/Robin breakup and how it's kind of turning Ted into a jackass and Robin into someone who feels slightly isolated from everyone else.

It's been kind of a dangerous trick HIMYM has pulled for the first third of its season (well, what WOULD have been the first third of the season). The show has asked us to invest in a constant stream of new girls for Ted, letting him be kind of callous with their feelings. It's also asked us to invest in a few tentative stabs at the dating pool by Robin. Obviously, the two can't be together, but the show felt so balanced with them together that spinning them off separately rather makes the show feel like it might come unhinged at any moment.

But I like that the show pushed all of this as far back as it did. It really did feel as though Ted and Robin might choke all of this back for the good of the group. But that always gave the group scenes an undercurrent of sadness (look back and see how sometimes Ted and Robin would meet each other's gaze and then quickly look away). And it certainly didn't make the scenes where the two were dating other people all that great.

So that's why the show needed to have those dramatic scenes where Ted and Robin confronted each other, forced each other to admit that there were still feelings there, still pieces of themselves scattered all over the place. While I wasn't wild about the continuity craziness that went into having them "always" do the dumb salute joke (wouldn't it have come up before this?), I did like how raw the scenes between the two felt. Josh Radnor and Cobie Smulders have always had a nice chemistry, and that makes the moments when they're arguing always spark with something a little extra.

That said, I wasn't wild about having the two sleep together. I understand that it would probably happen. And I understand that they would tell their friends. But it just felt like the most Friends-ish thing the show could possibly do, and the storyline that played out from it felt like the sort of thing where I could call all of the individual beats before they even hit. It would be interesting, I think to have Ted and Robin fall into bed together every now and again, but it's going to be hard for the show to find a new and original way to do it, so the show may just be better off not bothering.

I loved most of the rest of the episode, especially the slap countdown and everything leading up to that final slap, followed by the song (Libby didn't like the song, but I had gotten wind it was coming and found it amusing -- it's the sort of thing I would think myself clever enough to do). Somehow, having Barney dread the slap even more since he knew it was coming proved to be the right decision, and Marshall's casual tossing of the word "slap" into conversation was also funny throughout.

I also really liked the Orson Bean cameo. That guy was hilarious in Being John Malkovich, and hearing old people talk like young people is never not funny. Bring back, Bob!

So, next week, the Klum drops by HIMYM. The 50 people who are fans of both HIMYM and Project Runway cry out in joy.


Carrie said...

The thing that made the song funny was Barney's high pitched "oh ohs" in the background. Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel singing together = awesome, always.

Anonymous said...

Loved loved loved the song. Barney's harmony(?) was Hularious!

Myles said...

I think my issue with the episode was that, unlike Slap Bet, the episode's A-Plot was in direct opposition to the slap part of the episode. I liked the A-Plot, with Ted and Robin and all, but it really kept the episode from being anywhere near the cohesive whole that was Slap Bet.

And, while Barney's "Oh Ohs" were bloody fantastic (And loved the case clearly breaking when he did it), "Let's Go to the Mall" > "You Just Got Slapped".

Anonymous said...

i appreciate the way you choosed to represent the review to watch how i met your mother.Keep sharing such kinda interesting and informative posts here.

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