Monday, October 24, 2011

How I Met Your Mother: 'Noretta'

Quick Review: The most uncomfortably hilarious thing I've seen in a long while.

Episode Synopsis: The gang discovers that their significant others remind them of their parents; and Barney and Nora's romantic night is plagued by mishaps.

Spoilers ahead, so watch the episode before you proceed.

Best Episode Moment: Bill Faggerbakke and Chris Elliott in bed together.

Creepiest Episode Moment: Bill Faggerbakke and Chris Elliott in bed together. It was one of those moments.

Best Character Moment: Kevin the therapist pretends to be a huge Weird Al fan to help out Ted. What is it about the guest stars being the better characters than the main cast? As my wife pointed out, Kevin is too good for them

Worst Character Moment: Barney. Rather than try to make Nora feel better because he wants to see her feel better, he simply tries to turn around all the situations so he can sleep with her. Not cool, dude.

Best Character Progression: I'm also going to say Barney. When he realized that Nora being like his mother was a positive, because if his mother was awesome than so is Nora. It's a mature attitude.

Worst Character Regression: Ted. He's not just back where he was at the beginning of the series, he's not even fun, interesting, and romantic anymore. He's just sad.

Worst Character Interaction: Marshall's first attempts to make Lily feel sexy.You've known her how long and you can't get this right? Asking Ted if he'd like to "bang" Lily isn't exactly sweet talk.

Best Callback: Bringing back every family member they could find.

Best Cameo: Apparently Ted DID give Weird Al the idea for "Like a Surgeon." It was fun to see Al back in his "classic" guise, and I'm pretty sure we'll see footage of this episode during his next concert, which will be awesome. (Seriously, go see him in concert.)

Did the theme work? They pulled it off because they followed the rule of go big or go home. We had Ted's mom, Barney's mom, Lily's dad, Marshall's dad, and all in the worst possible moments. That Marshall married his dad was both brilliant and appropriate.

Any hint about The Mother? Not explicitly, but there's a good chance she's like his mother. Which Ted seems to be okay with.

Any hint about The Wedding? No, but if Barney is determined to get married, then no obstacle, up to and including a suicide, will stop him.

Do we like Ted this episode? Ted wasn't awful, but he wasn't exactly endearing, either. After seven years of the 'Ted is pathetic and single' shtick, it's wearing thin. The show is supposed to be about his quest for love, but we're really not seeing any movement in that direction.

Overall Opinion of the Episode: At first, this was a weird and creepy episode. Then we got Marshall and Lily's dads in bed together and the episode turned around. It was excruciating to watch, but at the same time I couldn't look away. Bill Faggerbakke is a brilliant, fearless performer, and it was nice to see him back. (Apparently being dead is getting him just as much work as when he was alive. Go figure.)

I liked the theme of the episode, people winding up with their parents, especially the twist with Marshall's dad being the one he married. It even got my wife and I discussing whether we wound up with our parents, and I suspect we won't be the only ones talking about it.

I'm not really liking how Barney is dating Nora, though. He's so focused on sleeping with her this week that he completely dismisses her pain and discomfort. He's still being a sociopath, and while he makes small character strides, such as recognizing the fact that the girl he's sleeping with has a personality that he enjoys, he's still being a sociopath. If I'm going to buy his upcoming wedding, I want to know that he is capable of empathy.

Then there's Ted. He used to be a down-on-his-luck romantic on the verge of meeting the woman of his dreams. Now he's a pathetic shell who doesn't seem worthy of this awesome woman he's going to meet. I still believe he can be redeemed as a character, and now's when it needs to happen. Otherwise, watching him mark time with no development these last two seasons is just going to get old.

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