Episode 22 - The Bro Mitzvah
16 August 2013
Synopsis: Robin prepares for dinner with Barney and his mother when Ted and Marshall kidnap him for his surprise bachelor party. He blows off Robin but is underwhelmed by the party they throw. Things turn from bad to worse when Quinn appears as the stripper they hired, Ralph Macchio turns up and Robin calls repeatedly outraged at being left alone. Barney is then taunted into gambling and loses a ton of money and Marshall.
The Good: They really nailed the final moment as William Zabka took off the clown makeup. The clown had been a sort of fun presence throughout the story but I never suspected that Zabka was in there. After Barney accepted his tortures as a suitably awesome night this was a really fun moment as he finally got something genuinely positive from the night.
That Karate Kid detail wasn't invented for this episode either, which was important. I'm torn on the bachelor party idea. I think ultimately it failed in execution but was a good idea on paper. After all his stunts and plays it was certainly fitting that Barney should get a taste of his own medicine. It also just fit his whole persona that he would somehow appreciate a horrific disappointment for the sake of the amazing memory it would create. The plot was similar to The Game (the 1997 film) which followed through in similar fashion on the question of what to get the man who has everything.
The Bad: However I didn't particularly enjoy the bulk of the story. There were two main reasons for this. The first being that I was too sure that this was all a setup. I just couldn't believe that Marshall and Ted thought that their bachelor party was at all adequate. It was so deliberately disappointing that I quickly became cynical. When Quinn agreed to strip for everyone and they agreed to watch I knew this wasn't reality. I suppose none of that would have mattered if I was laughing but as usual the jokes were cartoonish (all of Lily's fawning or Ted bickering with Marshall) or gross (Barney's mum is not a pleasant character).
The second issue was that the plot relied on Barney being a pretty horrible person. We've swallowed a lot from him over the years but now that he's marrying Robin it becomes difficult to accept that he can be so mean. The way he blew her off when she asked desperately for him was awful. To then blow their wedding money just to prove something to Ralph Macchio was pretty irresponsible and to gamble Marshall away was beyond ridiculous. When the revelation of the setup came we had to accept that on top of Barney being a dick, Robin had predicted every step of it. That's a sound marriage right there.
I know what the writers were going for. They know that the majority of people watching don't take any of this seriously and will "Awww" when they get married and not remember any of this. But that doesn't mean I can sit through it and ignore the lack of plausibility in it.
Comic Highlight: I did smile at Barney crediting Marshall and Ted with the kidnap idea: "The students have become...the intermediate students."
How I rate your episode: The character dynamics weren't remotely believable and this wasn't as entertaining as it should have been. (Sigh) But this was a memorable idea that fit the character and ended on a real high note. That's probably enough for most viewers.
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