Episode 18 - Weekend at Barney's
26 March 2013
Synopsis: Lily has to go schmooze an upcoming artist Strickland Stevens and Marshall tries to support her by being social. Ted and Jeanette break up and Barney offers to help him find a new date to his wedding using the Playbook. Robin is shocked to discover that he still has a copy.
The Good: I think if you just tune in to HIMYM to ride the gentle wave of emotion it aims for as it moves Ted inch by inch toward meeting the mother then this was probably pleasant viewing. There was a lot of noise and silliness, Barney and Robin confirmed their love, Ted confirmed his desire to settle down and Lily's new career got off to a good start.
The Bad: However if you want anything even remotely based in reality you will have been sorely disappointed. HIMYM is the most childish sit com to ever have achieved a high level of success. Both Marshall and Barney's plots were based around lame puns while Ted sat in the street shrugging as all his property was set on fire. I don't understand the fixation with the Playbook. I would if Barney's cons were clever or funny but these had no substance to them. The gag where Robin and Barney cracked open champagne while Lily assured Ted that they wouldn't be cheering at news of his breakup was as cheap as they come.
The storytelling also undermined the characters. Robin forgives Barney because he says that he loves her despite betraying her trust and admitting that manipulation is at his core. While Marshall can't even make polite conversation with strangers and Ted allows Jeanette to destroy his life and his friends' wedding just because the sex is good. His claim that he is finally ready to settle down is utter nonsense. The whole core of his being has been about finding a family and a home. He began the series looking for a wife, was left at the altar, bought a house to do up and only recently let Robin go because he wanted to be with someone so much. The suggestion in recent episodes that dating in New York has been so fun that he couldn't let it go runs contrary to the seven years of storytelling where most of Ted's dates were disastrous or heartbreaking.
Oh and why didn't Marshall try to stop the Skittles falling on the floor? The dialogue he shared with Strickland about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might have been the worst thing in the episode. Since when do comic book fans begin an interaction by talking about when the comic debuted?
Comic Highlight: I'll admit I couldn't help but enjoy the long delay as Ted argued with his ear piece (Barney was talking in his ear) about whether or not to offer a stranger at the bar his penis. You knew what was coming but the build-up delayed the punch line neatly.
How I rate your episode: The structure of this was fine, the content was pathetic.
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