TV: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ brings back its “bass player”

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

Bass Player Wanted

“Bass Player Wanted” was the last How I Met Your Mother episode of the 2013-year. With the year ending, it reminds me that we only have a short time left with HIMYM. CBS announced Thursday the one-hour series finale would air March 31, a questionably early date. Start stocking up on tissues now.

The episode’s title, “Bass Player Wanted,” should give away a few ideas of what happened in the episode. From our tally of information we’ve collected through the years, we know The Mother (Cristin Milioti) plays bass in a band, so I was incredibly excited to know we’d have another episode featuring the beloved Milioti.

savedThis time, we have the story of how the Mother met Marshall (Jason Segel). I’m not quite sure how long this installment of “Marshall versus the Machines” lasted because the Mother offered a ride in her van fairly soon after he tried to walk that five miles to the hotel.

Of course, I really want more Milioti in this season. We’ve waited nine years to meet the mother and we haven’t actually seen that much of her. However, stepping back as an uber-fan, I’ve realized that there really isn’t a way to incorporate her any more than she already is being used. It is absolutely thrilling and amazing to see how the Mother meets everyone before she meets Ted (Josh Radnor). It’s a bit of a silly concept that this scenario would happen but the interactions are always so rewarding and splendidly written. When the Mother met Lily (Alyson Hannigan), I could easily see how those two would be instant friends and how Lily would definitely allow the Mother in the “front porch scenario.” The Mother whipped Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) into shape and now we have an adorable interaction between her and Marshall. She and Marshall are similar in personalities with their need to be good, avoid confrontation and overall charm, and I love their car ride.

The Mother offers to drop Marshall off at the hotel but is going back to the city after that. The band she started with her business school classmates, adorably named Super Freakonomics, is playing at the wedding but she won’t be performing anymore. Darren (Andrew Rannells) has taken over the band and kicked her out and even advertised, “bass player wanted” for the band. So she’s getting some “Aldrin justice” and stole his van.

I love that the Mother has been hanging out with Lily after their train ride. They’re definitely going to be best friends and I love it.

At the hotel, Ted and Barney argue over “the dream.” Is it really all about going to jail for your best friend? To Barney, yes, that’s the dream; however, Ted isn’t quite convinced.

A wedding guest approaches Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Lily. At first, they think it’s a stranger who is interested in a three-way with them — peaking Lily’s interest of course (I always love this gag) — but then it seems as if he’s an old friend whom Robin simply cannot remember.

But in all actuality, that unknown wedding guest is Darren and he’s being his devilish self by ruining people’s lives and friendships. First, he makes you feel “hilarious and adorable,” then he finds some sort of a flimsy connection with the person he’s talking to. He then tells some sob story about his tragic life, which resembles the plot of a Disney film, and then attacks once your guard is down. Cue the flames in his eyes.

Darren caused a major riff between Robin and Lily by revealing that Robin sided with Marshall and his decision to take the judgeship while also causing conflict between Ted and Barney when he tells Barney that Ted is moving to Chicago.

Because they are the best of friends, everything is settled soon. Robin confesses that it wasn’t that she sided with Marshall but that she didn’t want her best friend to leave her and offers to hold Marshpillow so that Lily can take out her frustration on it. Ted steals a bottle of Glen McKenna scotch from the Inn’s storage room for Barney — “the dream” comes alive — and the two embrace as they tear up and say they’ll miss one another.

Excuse me as I continue to cry from this scene days after I’ve seen it.

Marshall and Marvin finally make it to the hotel and he and Lily decide to “pause” their argument so the clan can reunite. I may have cried during this scene as well, but more tears came when I realized that a January episode is titled “Unpause” and that so many feelings will be felt.

mother drinkThe Mother talks with Linus at the bar about how karma sometimes just doesn’t work and that Darren may never get what he deserves. At the same time, the gang gathers to drink the Glen McKenna but Darren bumps into Ted, making him drop yet another bottle of the drink. Almost in response to the Mother’s monologue, Ted punches Darren — explaining his bandaged hand at the train station. The Mother hears that Darren has been punched by the best man and tells Linus to give the best man a glass of his finest scotch, making it the first drink the Mother ever buys Ted. Darren has also decided to leave the band, so the Mother is back in.

As I sat through this episode, I finally thought we’d stumbled upon one of the not-so-good episodes of the season, but after further contemplation, I’ve realized that though the episode is far-fetched, the overall idea makes sense. I absolutely adore Rannells so I may have enjoyed his segments more than the average viewer, but this was a really interesting way to get these conflicts to come to a head while also tying in the Mother. How much longer can Ted keep the Chicago-move a secret? Robin would never willingly admit that she felt betrayed that Lily was leaving; her feelings would have to be revealed. How else is the Mother supposed to be tied into the storylines this season? It’s a stretch that  she happens to meet everyone else before she meets Ted but then we get a glimpse at how they will interact for years to come after the show is off the air. Milioti as the Mother fits so perfectly into the gang that there is no confusion as to why Ted — and the viewers — have waited this long to meet her. I don’t think I’ve ever been more pleased with a casting choice than with the decision to have Milioti as the Mother.

There are a ton of things going on this wedding weekend: the Marshall-Lily conflict, Ted’s ever-feelings for Robin, Barney and Robin’s wedding, the ever impending meeting of Ted and the Mother, and all the other familial and zany conflicts that will ensue. It’s hard to remember that all of these conflicts have to be resolved before the season ends and that the writers only have 56-hours to do it. So far, I haven’t had any issues with the small time frame of the season, but I can see now how it can cause problems. While weeks are progressing in real time, only hours have passed in the HIMYM world. It can seem as if no progress has been made when in reality so much has happened. We have seen so many absolutely fantastic moments between the Mother and Ted — the proposal!!!! — we’ve fallen in love with Milioti as the Mother and we’ve seen Barney and Robin’s relationship grow so much stronger. Each week, I’m laughing at the sharp comedy, loving the characters more and finding out stories that are important to getting us to the finale. Despite what some may say, I think this final season of HIMYM is one of its best.

On a side note, I have to say that I heavily expected Rannells to sing a little something in the episode since he was introduced as the lead singer of the band and is a Broadway vet. In fact, he, NPH and Milioti should have done something. Those three voices in one song? Nothing could be better.

And of course, tonight’s episode was made even better with it ending on the introduction of the fourth slap. Yes, the time has come for the slow motion slap that we’ve heard about. I cannot wait for that episode. If the writers can make an entire season take place within 56 hours, then they can make an episode fall within five seconds.

slap 1   slap 2


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