Tuesday, November 19, 2013
How I Met Your Mother: "Mom and Dad"
Episode Synopsis: Robin is concerned about what's on Barney's mind after his father arrives at the hotel, while Ted is up in arms when one of his wedding chores doesn't go as planned and he believes he was sabotaged.-tvguide
Spoilers ahead. Look, you might not appreciate this warning. I understand. But do you know that there are people out there without spoiler warnings? They have to endure a life in which anything can be spoiled at any time. They have to either live in total sensory deprivation, or learn to cope with the fact that everything they ever love will be spoiled. So please, appreciate what you have.
Full Review: This episode featured the return of a fantastic guest star: John Lithgow as Barney's father. I was so hoping he would be there for Barney's wedding, because his two episodes were some of the best moments from season six. Having him here at a very important milestone for Barney could have brought that story full circle. Instead, we get this nonsense.
Why were the two season six Lithgow episodes so good? Because they confronted Barney's father issues head on. It allowed Barney to see the man he could become one day. It allowed two very imperfect people a chance to bond in a way they'd been previously denied. Jerry was a great influence on Barney this second time around, and it led Barney to think about settling down.
Now, that doesn't mean their reunion this episode couldn't have been funny. Lithgow is an amazing comedic actor, and he and Neil Patrick Harris have great chemistry. Unfortunately, we are saddled with Barney's sad attempts to get his parents back together, including kidnapping Jerry's wife and possibly trying to get her killed. Add to that James trying to get HIS father, Ben Vereen, back together with his mother, and it's less wacky antics, more asking when it's over.
What would be better? Cut out the antics immediately. Reveal earlier in the episode that James' father is back with Loretta, and instead have Barney deal with his fears about getting married and settling down. Yes, he can still be crazy, and Jerry can once again talk him down. These parent trap capers are just amateur hour, and the show can be so much better.
To be fair, the giant song and dance routine was brilliant. It took the show long enough to have Barney and James sing a duet, and throw in Lithgow, Vereen, and it's a fantastically insane performance by talented people. I'm a sucker for a good musical number, and this show still delivers on that count.
The other two plots were far better. Detective Ted's case of the missing Gretzky was easily the best story. (And the Pineapple Incident's board is the episode's best freeze frame.) This is the Ted I remember, and I can see The Mother either reigning him in, or joining his capers. (I hope the latter.) William Zabka's addition to the cast has been nothing but awesome, and his evil plot, and explanation of why he did it, made me like him even more. (How can you not love a guy in two popped collars? You can't.)
I loved Ted letting Zabka take credit for getting the picture. (Especially after he got booed by his own mother.) It shows that Ted really can be a stand-up guy, who can let the guy who everyone hated in the 80's be a hero to the one person who always saw him as a hero.
Finally, it looks like Marshall and Daphne's road trip has reached its conclusion. Daphne's newfound love of The Proclaimers was particularly fun, and a great payoff from two episodes ago. I loved that Marshall got her to her daughter's model U.N., especially to hear her give the 'Drill Baby Drill' speech. It was just the right amount of heartwarming and hilarious. While we're done with Daphne, I'm certain we still have many adventures left for Marshall.
Sadly no Mother this week. Given the general weakness of the episode, I don't blame her.
Overall, this might be the weakest episode of the season. It had some pretty good moments, but it could, and should, have been so much more. Fortunately there's still time for some good Barney and Jerry moments, so let's see if the show manages to deliver on that one. If nothing else, we have to see Barney and Robin's dads meet. That will be epic. Let's hope the show doesn't screw that up as well.
Best Song Cue: Sabotage (or "Zabke-tage" if you will)
Worst Weekend Activity: Parasailing
Best Callback: The Pineapple Incident
Worst Realization: "I'm marrying into this family."
Best Sagat Narration: "Lily's second tackle of the weekend."