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How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother is a comedy about Ted Mosby, a New York architect who wants to get married and start a family. Future Ted is telling the story of how he met their mother and we see his past story set in the present day and the adventures he has with friends Marshall, Lily, Barney and Robin. CBS 2005-???

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Episode 4 - Who Wants to be a Godparent

17 October 2012

Synopsis: Lily and Marshall finally get a night away from the baby but want to spend it with one another and not the gang. They end up fretting about who would raise Marvin if they died. Ted, Robin and Barney each vie to be chosen and eventually Marshall designs a game show to decide who should be the one.

The Good: This was horrible.

The Bad: Just horrible. Yes, couples with babies have less time for their friends. That’s where the truth in this story ended and the utter nonsense began.

I can understand Ted wanting to be named Godparent. I can even buy that Barney would compete for the honour even if he would clearly not want it. But why would Robin want that? Hasn’t she spent eight seasons arguing that she doesn’t want children? Yes she recently confronted the reality of that and doubted her own desires but that doesn’t mean she would fight for this right. I just didn’t believe for one second that any of the three would actually lobby to be named Godparent. You might argue your case but it was just the application of a sit com cliché to a subject that real friends wouldn’t compete over.

So naturally I hated the way that Marshall turned it into an actual competition. Are we supposed to believe that he and Lily were actually going to base their decision on this contest? What if Barney had won? You knew what was coming next as Barney, Robin and Ted’s answers were imagined in exaggerated and dull fashion.

It’s scenes like this that I’m thinking of when I argue that the writers of HIMYM don’t understand comedy. If you watch any old sit com where someone like Marshall takes on a hosting role (Kramer playing Merv Griffin on Seinfeld for example), the humour comes from how seriously they take their role. Here Marshall is just doing an impression of a Game Show host. No one is amused by his turns of phrase or tone of voice. They’ve skipped the exaggeration part of the joke and gone to a fairly straight parody that isn’t funny.

What on Earth was that joke about Marshall’s brother leaving his family to work at the beach? So family man Marshall just ignores his brother’s midlife crisis and goes back to his conversation? Then there’s Alyson Hannigan who I have seen many times give great dramatic performances. Yet here she seems to think that crying on a sit com needs to look horribly fake.

In the end though Lily and Marshall realise they have abandoned their friends and should pay attention to their problems. Well thank goodness for that. They wouldn’t want to miss all that excellent character development which Victoria and Nick are receiving.

Comic Highlight: Barney’s comedy songs about being a parent were amusing and his “How may I direct my penis” line worked well because he was answering a booty phone call.

How I rate your episode: The usual pointless exaggerated mess.

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