TV: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ can even make a laser tag centered episode worthwhile

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS
Rating: 4/5

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I knew tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother, titled “The Rehearsal Dinner,” was going to be all about how Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) wanted the rehearsal dinner to be at the laser tag arena. I was worried. This seemed like a pretty weak idea that proved the writers were clinging on to favorite throwbacks to bide some time. Boy oh boy was I wrong. Evermore, the payoffs of the storylines this season are monumental. They start out rather weak and seem pointless but then they get to the point and prove that they were worth our time. I can’t give more praise to the writers for this season. It truly is a fantastic closing to a phenomenal series.

It’s Saturday at 8 p.m. — only 22 hours until the wedding. We’re almost there kids.

Barney is handcuffed in the laser tag security office after he assaulted someone, forcing Robin (Cobie Smulders) to leave the hotel as well. She is furious at the fact that he didn’t listen to anyone when they all told him that the rehearsal dinner was not going to be featured around laser tag  — although that has to be a major improvement. Who really wants to sit through those things? Am I right?

A few months ago, Barney discussed having the rehearsal dinner in a laser tag arena and Robin said she wanted the wedding in Canada. Cue the wonderful, brilliant montage of the gang spewing Canada jokes in the only way they know how. Man, I’ve missed those! I mean these are genius: “Canada? Are you registered at Tim Horton’s?” “

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The jokes were great, however that little montage, behind the gang, in each shot of a couple’s progression from meeting, to being pregnant, to their son’s graduation and to someone’s death was so weirdly fantastic. What a great Easter egg! I would love to know what prompted that idea, but it was hilarious. Only on HIMYM can a meaningless background story be worth mentioning.

dogIn that flashback — as well as in the present — Barney is convinced Robin is going to surprise him with a laser tag rehearsal dinner, so he plans a surprise of his own. He tells Robin that he made a huge mistake and wants to break up — I may have had an aneurysm at that time — but, in reality, he’s kidding and has brought a suitcase full of puppies. First off, the way Cobie Smulders teared up in that scene had my heart breaking within seconds. I absolutely love Robin. She’s definitely my favorite character overall, and it’s not just because she’s a journalist. Second, how freaking adorable is Neil Patrick Harris with that Golden Retriever?! My heart melted, again.

As a result of that heart attack-worthy moment, Robin makes Barney swear that there will be no more surprises in their relationship.

After a lot of debate over the laser tag rehearsal dinner, Barney reveals that he was the one planning a surprise. The whole laser tag arena was an act. It’s actually an ice-skating rink. He brought Canada to Robin for the rehearsal dinner like she wanted. In this moment, I actually shouted, “Stop it! This is too cute! I love them!”

The walls of the security office rose up and the look on Robin’s face was magical. The Canadian flag, the tallying of important Canadians and the Alan Thicke and James’s (Wayne Brady) split personality performance simply made the scene magnificent. I loved that they brought back Alan Thicke. Keep the throwbacks coming. I love them all.

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Now do you see what I mean? That payoff was spectacular. I was actually worried we were heading in a bad direction for the couple only to find that their love was reassured. Those monologues Barney continually has to confess his love for Robin are always so beautifully written and really make me believe that their love is true. There’s a lot of speculation that the wedding may not happen, but I am holding out that it will. Barney has done so much to prove that he loves Robin and those two just work so well together.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 4.06.13 AMMeanwhile, the other storylines are decent but not nearly as great as this one. Ted (Josh Radnor) wants to play piano at the dinner and makes a deal to dress as Liberace as he does so. Dressing as Liberace is easy but playing piano is actually difficult. Instead, he took time to learn how to figure skate. Unfortunately, that didn’t go well either and when he tries to do a move, he face plants on the ice. Ouch.

I actually enjoyed Ted’s minor storyline. Sure the Liberace thing was a clear pull for humor but it worked and was such a Ted move. That’s what I love most about Ted: he’s a complete nerd.

Lily (Alyson Hannigan) tells Ted and Robin about Marshall’s (Jason Segel) decision to take the judgeship. We do get a funny moment as Lily stumbles over her Italian, however I was surprised at how little this was dealt with. That is a monumental decision that is going to affect the whole gang. I know it’s going to be addressed soon but if you’re going to introduce it, give it the time it needs. There’s also a lot of humor surrounding the known fact that Lily cannot keep a secret. Did you know she shaves Marshall’s back? Hopefully, Lily can get a decent storyline once Marshall is at the inn.

I haven’t pointed this out in a while but I’m going to be doing so for, probably, the rest of the season. This cast has phenomenal chemistry. It is so easy to absolutely adore every small quip of dialogue and moment between castmates because they connect so well and make their off-screen friendship translate onto the small screen. I believe in these friendships so much and, like Friends, wish my friend groups were exactly like them. I can make eerie comparisons but I want exactly what they have. I also think it’s what everyone wants: Friendships that will last forever; friendships with people who become your family. In the end, that’s the real point of the story. Sure, it’s about finding true love, but if this nine-year trip had just been about Ted’s love life, it would have never lasted. It lasted because the gang works incredibly well together and have wonderful personalities that go along with zany stories. I’m really going to miss this series when it’s over.

Are you stocking up on tissues already? How much did you love the Canadian rehearsal dinner? Let me know @buzzlightmeryl

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