TV: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ achieves all-time glory with its rhyming in “Bedtime Stories”

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS
Rating: 5/5

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Two weeks ago I heard How I Met Your Mother was doing an episode entirely in rhyme. I knew it was going to be phenomenal, and I was right. There was even a special lullaby-esque opening theme. It may just be my unwavering love for puns or the joy I’ve continually found in this final season, but I absolutely LOVED tonight’s episode titled “Bedtime Stories.”

Marshall (Jason Segel) realized that the guaranteed way to get Marvin to fall asleep is by saying rhymes to him. Unfortunately, he left the copy of Mother Goose in the car — for they’re now on the bus — so he has to make up the nursery rhymes himself. Absolute brilliance ensues.

Whipping up poetry in seconds flat, the first story Marshall tells is of “Mosby at the Bat.”

Yes, please expect me to try to rhyme as much as possible and/or just pull quotes from the genius dialogue in the show.

A new pretty professor named Lisa (Camille Guaty) asks Ted (Josh Radnor) to go out in order to learn how to make her lectures more interesting. The entire time Ted wonders whether it is a date or not, aided by Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) new theory about the “Date Line.” After much debacle of what team she plays for, we find out that she had a fling with a Yankee who turned out to not be Derek Jeter but instead our dear friend Barney Stinson.

Just when we think little Marvin is asleep, the bus driver yells at a passing driver and gives him one big beep. And so Marshall recounts the tale of when “Robin Takes the Cake.”

cakeAfter having just broken up with one of her exes, Robin (Cobie Smulders) heads to a bakery to eat her feelings only to find that another ex was there; twas Simon (James Van Der Beek) dressed to the nines and quite debonair. (Guys, rhyming is awesome). He was no longer that bum Robin Sparkles used to chase after but he was still following Louise Marsh and her stupid “jacuzz.” In fact, the two were engaged. Furious and sad, Robin stole their wedding cake. Ted pleaded for her to return it, but Lily (Alyson Hannigan) encouraged her to eat in order to be remembered not for freaking out and stealing an exes’ cake but for eating the entire three-tier cake. Not only did she eat the whole thing, she then did a keg stand. This was when I knew immediately that Robin was in fact my spirit animal.

Our next tale is of one that ends not so pretty, it is of “Barney Stinson: The Player King of New York City.”

At MacLaren’s, Barney spots a potential conquest, but Lily says that girl is too far out of his league. To prove that could never be so, he tells the story of how he truly is the player king of NYC. Barney leaves Lisa’s place, only to realize that he’s on the East Side, which is outside of his territory. He is taken to the High Council of Players, who in reality, is just Neil Patrick Harris in many outfits and different accents. He sets up a compromise so that there is no war, but in the end just poisons them all so he is the only player left. Alas, Barney still doesn’t get the girl for Ted grabs her for revenge for Lisa.

Marshall is done telling stories but he still isn’t at the hotel. The bus gets a flat tire and he has a few more rhymes to tell. He hopes that Marvin will forget their terrible weekend and the scandalous stories he’s told him, as they all glance toward the sky and look at the fireworks — the first thing Marvin does in fact remember.

The bus broke down only five miles from the Farhampton Inn, Marshall gets all crazy-eyed and gives one big grin: “I can walk that far,” he said. Oh dear. There’s going to be a terrible hitchhiking story soon, I know it.

OK, all rhymes aside. This episode was FANTASTIC. The stories were hilarious and brilliantly told. I can’t stop thinking in nursery rhyme intonation so I apologize if my writing reflects that. It was a great way to keep Marshall relevant, keep playing on time by flashing back and keep the audience thoroughly entertained.

Here are a few of my favorite rhymes:

Marshall: “Now the age old softball stereotype is just that and nothing more. But as the Yankees got a run, Ted feared he wouldn’t score. For the date side of the line is the one we all might guess he’s in, they’ll be no joy in Tedville if our Lisa is a…”   Lisa: ‘Yes, we win!’”

Ted: “Robin, I’m beside myself to see what you’ve become. You must return this cake at once!”   Robin: “I can’t.”  Ted: “Why not?”   Robin: “’Cause (she sticks her face in the cake) yum.”

Barney: “And thus my friends, through methods somewhat gory, I became the Player King of New York City. Boom. The end. True story.”

Quite possibly the best part of it all was the guest appearance by Lin-Manuel Miranda. For those of you who don’t know, Lin-Manuel is a writing/lyrical/poetic genius. He penned and originated a role in In the Heights and also wrote Bring It On: The Musical. On top of that, he’s responsible for the amazing raps and opening numbers done by Neil Patrick Harris at the Tony Awards. He’s literally the greatest thing since sliced bread. Not only did Lin-Manuel simply show up, he helped Marshall rhyme his way out of the whole he dug when Marshall tried to rhyme “Canada.” In the end, Lin-Manuel, of course, was brilliant and did it with one of his oh so creative raps. He also managed to make a jab at the show itself:


There were so many brilliant things in tonight’s episode. I loved that we got a new Barney theory, that Cobie Smulders can do just about anything — even something quite grotesque — and still look beautiful, and that this episode was really just quite fun. I can’t say anything more than I thoroughly enjoyed it and have already watched it three times.

Send me your best rhymes and puns @buzzlightmeryl


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