TV: Say “please,” ‘How I Met Your Mother’ revisits old rules

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS
Rating: 3.5/5


Before I begin the review for tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother, I have to quickly discuss the controversy surrounding last week’s episode. The world just about blew up as the #HowIMetYourRacism tirade began due to the portrayal of Asians and Asian culture in “Slapsgiving 3.” Of course the actors portrayed these characters stereotypically because it was a parody of bad kung-fu movies. Marshall (Jason Segel) was telling a ridiculous story to his friends so the visual of the story has to be equally ridiculous. This brings me to the next point: It would have been utter nonsense had the show casted other actors to play the three experts. This was a story Marshall was making up so it makes sense that these three experts happen to look and behave just like three of his best friends. Those scenes wouldn’t have been funny if they had actual Asian actors or just any other actor in those spots. There are far worse things being broadcast on our screens, search MTV or TLC to find them. It was a parody. Chill out.

Luckily, this week’s episode, “Unpause” featured no material that could cause some erroneous riot.

If you know anything about the HIMYM universe, you know about the pause/unpause rule and the notion that “nothing good happens after 2 a.m.,” so as a major fan, I just about nerded myself out when these two staples in the HIMYM culture reappeared tonight.

As you could guess by the episode’s title, tonight was finally when Marshall and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) unpaused their fight, after the gang finished hanging out, which then turned into not until after they have sex. Of course this “after” clause makes Marshall challenge himself to stall the fight for as long as possible, which led to several pep talks and attempts to draw out the sex.

Unfortunately, he can’t stall forever, and our favorite couple get into it. After a lot of back and forth, the main argument boils down to selfishness. Lily claims Marshall is being selfish for going behind her back and not even consulting her on the new job but he counters by bringing up something from their past: San Francisco. If you’re like me, you repressed the memories of when Marshall and Lily were broken up, but alas, it did happen. Marshall brings up a point that I can’t believe he’s never confessed until now: What if Lily had succeeded in San Francisco? Is her life now just a consolation prize? Unable to deal with this anymore, Lily storms out and calls for someone to come pick her up. But everyone knows “nothing good happens after 2 a.m.” so I can’t even imagine what the result of that car ride will be. We don’t even know who’s driving!

We’ve seen the ups and downs of Marshall and Lily’s relationship, but I have to say this one is the one that has left me with the most questions. What is seriously going to happen with them? Are they going to stay in New York or go to Italy? A judgeship position is supposed to change Marshall’s career according to past narration on the show but does he become a judge now or later? I know they’ll eventually be fine since we’ve seen multiple flash-forwards but nothing is causing me more anxiety than to think that my favorite perfect couple is unhappy.

Meanwhile, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) has surpassed his usual drinking limit level, in which he starts talking like Jabba the Hut — a hilariously brilliant idea — and is now at truth serum level. In all honesty, this was quite the subpar side storyline. The “get the guy so drunk that he’ll tell you anything” ploy isn’t unique and wasn’t the best use for filler as we waited to see what happened with Marshall and Lily.

After a montage of Barney’s secrets — the truth about what he did with Ted’s mom, how many suits he owns, how much money Robin has and whether or not a bear will be at the wedding — we finally make it to the one that counts: What Barney does for a living. The question that has been passed around for years and that I thought would never be answered. It turns out that every time he answered “please” to the question, he was actually telling us about his job. Provide Legal Exculpation And Sign Everything; in other words, he’s the one who will go down for the company’s illegal actions.

But don’t think for a second that Barney doesn’t have everything under control. In actuality, he took the job for revenge against the business tycoon who stole his girlfriend back when he was a hippie who owned a coffee shop — remember that? His revenge will come to a conclusion two months after the wedding when he reveals that he’s been working with federal agents the whole time.

This may have been one of the more clever things the writers have ever done on the show. They turned a simple dismissal of a question into a job position that could be found in one way or another at a major company. It’s also definitely something I could see Barney doing for a career.

There’s one more truth to be revealed: a final declaration from Barney of his love for Robin (Cobie Smulders). He answers truthfully about how he is admittedly nervous for the wedding but is so happy to marry Robin since she makes him whole; she makes him 100 percent awesome. The amount of these declarations of Barney’s love for Robin may be done a bit too much, however they are always so beautifully written —this sweet, simple one is so perfect for Barney — and performed even better that I will never get enough of them.

babyGoing back to the 2 a.m. rule, we flash-forward to 2017 when the Mother (Cristin Milioti) is pregnant with her and Ted’s (Josh Radnor) second child. They’re staying at the Farhampton Inn for some reason — would you really take a vacation that late in your pregnancy? — and she goes into labor after 2 a.m. Thus, providing the exception to the rule. Also in this overwhelmingly adorable and beautiful moment, we learn the names of Ted’s children: Penny and Luke. Soon we’ll have all the pieces to his family’s puzzle, and I can’t wait to see the finished picture.

Overall, the episode was fairly average. There was really only two minutes of important conversation between Marshall and Lily; only one thing truly funny thing came of Barney’s ultimate drunkenness and the ending was just a gift from the writers to the fans. Of course, I still enjoyed the episode because it is wrapping up a story I have invested in for eight years and is revisiting things from its past in doing so. I loved the usage of clips from the show’s past; it reminded me of scenes that I loved but haven’t thought about in awhile.

However, I think my qualms about subpar episodes will be fixed next week when we learn how the Mother met Ted in the show’s 200th episode. Get ready for an anxiety attack now.


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