Monday, February 25, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: "Weekend at Barney's:

Quick Review: We finally got the fiery end we were promised.

Episode Synopsis: Barney's legendary relationship playbook, which Robin thought was destroyed, rears its head when Ted and Jeanette break up and Barney decides to use his chick manual to help Ted find a new girlfriend.  -tvguide

Spoilers ahead, and you might want to watch the episode before you go any further. Now, the consequences of being spoiled won't be too dire. No one is coming to your house to do unspeakable things in your drawers, now will they blow up your possessions with fireworks. But you might want to watch this episode first. It's just common sense.

Best Episode Moment: Barney points out that the reason he and Robin are together is because of his lies.

Worst Episode Moment: Realizing that the show just can't let Barney's playbook go.

Best 80's Reference: The Master Splinter inspired painting

Worst 80's Reference: Weekend at Barney's 2

Worst Place to Sit: An $80,000 piece of artwork.

Best One Rule: Always have a fake pair of concert tickets in your pocket in case Lily invites you to something stupid.

Worst Retcon: Barney didn't burn the "real" playbook.

Best Sagat Narration: "That was the last bag of Skittles your uncle Marshall would ever buy."

Best Callback: The red cowboy boots go down in flames

Any hint about The Mother? She probably won't light Ted's place on fire.

Any hint about The Wedding? Ted's not bringing a crazy plus one.

Do we like Ted this episode? He finally hit rock bottom and is finally figuring things out, so maybe.

Overall Opinion of the Episode: I complained two episodes ago that we didn't get to see the flaming conclusion to Ted's crazy relationship, so at least that finally happened.  It still should have happened two weeks ago, but the show wanted to stretch Ted's days as a crazy single as long as it could. Naturally, this also let them revisit the Playbook well for one last round of plays, and in the end we got two plots that had already overstayed their welcome before the episode even started.

As is too often the case, the show ignored the much more interesting plot and barely gave it screen time. What I wanted to see more of was Robin dealing with the reality that she is marrying Barney, who is a shameless liar. I did love the conversation when Barney pointed out that he basically lied her into the engagement. I wanted them to explore the idea that while Barney tells small lies there are bigger truths behind them. We had to settle for one conversation in which Barney empties out all his tricks, which was a neat scene in itself.

I was hoping for more trouble with the Skittles than them just dropping to the floor at an inopportune time. Given that we were told Marshall never bought a bag again, I was expecting a more epic disaster. Instead, there's an awkward moment that winds up working out thanks to Marshall's love of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If anything, I would expect Marshall to buy Skittles every time Lily went to an art gallery. So much setup and very little payoff.

Which can also be said of Jeanette. Abby Elliott is still fantastic, but the trashing of Ted's apartment at the beginning of the episode lessened the effect at the end. Rather than surprise us as to why his relationship literally went down in flames, we already knew that it would be because Jeanette was angry and she gets smashy when that happens. Again, another wasted opportunity to be creative. The fact that it was because of Barney's playbook was mildly interesting but a little obvious in the setup.

On the plus side, we did get to see two milestones in the show. Ted finally decides to quit dating and settle down, and Barney gives up his plays once and for all. That's a little bit of progress. I'd like to see more of Ted in his career, either teaching or designing buildings. The show forgot those things when they spent too much time on Ted as a single, and I would love to see them make up for lost time. We shall see.


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