Monday, February 11, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: "Bad Crazy"

Quick Review: This show is getting exhausting.

Episode Synopsis: Ted is gun-shy about breaking up with his wacky new girlfriend. Meanwhile, Robin finally breaks down and holds baby Marvin, and finds herself becoming incredibly attached to the little guy. -tvguide

Spoiler alert, but really, why bother? Last week, sure, you wanted to be kept spoiler free. This week, I don't know. Yeah, there's a couple of surprises. One that's kind of good, so yeah, you might regret knowing it. Even seventeen years later, you might not exactly be happy with being spoiled on it. Oh, sure, you think that in seventeen years you'll probably get over it, especially with all that wine. You might be right. You might also be an alcoholic, which after seventeen years will do a number on your liver. Hopefully by then we'll be really good at growing new ones. Otherwise, you're going to regret drinking wine for seventeen years to forget. So even this week, you might not want to be spoiled. Your future liver thanks you.

Best Episode Moment: The parade of awesome things Barney and Marshall can't keep in their own apartments.

Worst Episode Moment: Robin taking seventeen years to tell Lily that a certain future Senator once held her baby.

Best Senator: Mike Tyson.

Worst Crazy: Jeanette

Worst Way to Die: Killed by a bazooka

Best Armor: Stormtrooper (they may be evil, but they're very stylish)

Best Sagat Narration: "and there were" -in answer to Lily's expectation of there being actual flames with Ted's relationship with Jeanette.

Best Callback: The red cowboy boots. (It takes a crazy woman to pull them off.)

Any hint about The Mother? Is she crazy? Because that would make a lot of sense.

Any hint about The Wedding? Ted probably wanted to wear those red cowboy boots.

Do we like Ted this episode? I'll probably start liking him again when he hits rock bottom and really figures it out. Until then, I'm done with him.

Overall Opinion of the Episode: After a pretty strong outing last week, this week disappointed me. We had two pretty weak stories that could have supported each other and paid off well. Instead, we got a meandering episode with very little payoff, not to mention one pretty glaring continuity error.

Let's start with the continuity error. This show prides itself on callbacks and references, as evidenced by the "10" patch on Robin Sparkles' jacket in last week's episode. That was a small detail in the episode Bad News, serving as part of an epic countdown, one of the show's best moments. Which is why I am very disappointed in this show this week.

In this episode we see Lily and Robin chatting seventeen years into the future, as Robin finally confesses to all the parts of her story with Marvin all those years ago. The big problem is that we've seen Lily in the future, in 2029, and we know what kind of hairstyle Lily has. This episode, allegedly extending all the way into 2029, does not show Lily's established hairstyle. For a show of this caliber, this is a huge problem and it speaks to the problems with this episode.

I like the idea of Robin's first experience with Marvin not going so well, and even the idea that it takes her some time to tell what actually happened. I even like the idea that she gave the baby to Mike Tyson. However, the execution of telling the story over seventeen years didn't work, not only for the previously mentioned problem of continuity. It was that the payoff wasn't worth the stringing along. (More on that in a moment.) The story wasn't nearly as interesting as the writers would have us believe, even with Mike Tyson.

Robin's first time holding Marvin shouldn't have been Lily's no-look pass to her at the end of the episode. It should have been at the end of her story, when Lily returns from fetching the pacifier. We start with Robin afraid to hold Marvin, then we see Robin holding Marvin, and later we find out what happened between those two points. And you use that experience to connect to Ted's story.

Let's talk about Ted's story. First, we've already done the crazy girlfriend twice. Marshall dated a girl with "crazy eyes." Ted then dated "blah, blah," and we learned about the hot-crazy scale. This is rehashing old territory without adding anything new. Once we got past the stalking, it stopped being interesting and was just sad. The worst part about it was that we were promised a big ball of flaming resolution and never got it. Instead, it was just Ted walking up and down the stairs, and even dressed in a Star Wars costume, that's not exactly interesting.

They were zero for two when it came to payoff, and if a show can't deliver on a breakup that supposedly involves fire, then it has serious problems. It is possible that the flaming end to Ted's relationship is coming up, but I've already lost interest. This story needed to be over in two episodes, not dragged out further. I want to see Ted finally move on and be a character I can care about again. I want to root for him to meet The Mother, like I used to back in the early seasons, but the writers are making that difficult.

This episode was all setup and no payoff, and this is my biggest fear for the series. That after eight years of being strung along (and one more to go) the end result will be a colossal letdown. We've had eight years of buildup, eight years of stories and continuity, and there is still such great potential for fantastic stories. However, if the writers forget about their own universe (like they did with Lily's hair) then what we're going to get is a slap-dash conclusion that betrays the painstaking setup.

Now, I am still and always will be an optimist until proven wrong. That being said, episodes like this make it very, very difficult. Let's hope next week restores my faith.


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