Desperation Day

Marshall and Ted are men. Leave the crusts on.

It’s the middle of February (Not right now, but on the show. It’s September.), and that means Valentine’s Day. That means something different to everyone in the group. For Marshall and Lily, it should be a day of the annual watching of Predator, but Marshall is in Minnesota. Lily spends the thirteenth trying to convince him to come home. He does, of course, because they’re Marshall and Lily and we all need that.

For Ted, Valentine’s Day is a terror because he’s in a brand new and infinitely complicated relationship with Zoey. He runs away to play video games with Marshall because what did you expect him to do. Robin and Barney spend the night before Valentine’s Day in the bar because they’re the single members of the group and they can do what they want dammit. And it’s there that Barney meets Nora, Robin’s friend from work with a delightful accent and an enthusiasm for laser tag.

Last Call:

  • "That’s actually true." "Wait. There’s more." "This won’t be."
  • Robin’s fear of commitment is so bad that she feels it vicariously for Ted.
  • Introducing Nora.

Oh Honey

Zoey is particularly likable in this episode. She goes back and forth.

Ted’s in love with Zoey. I mean, I think we’ve all known that for a while, but now Ted knows it, which is a huge problem. Because Zoey is married to Colonel Mustard. I mean the Captain. It’s also a huge problem because they’re complete opposites who can’t agree on anything, but we’re not quite there yet. Right now it’s just the married thing.

The structure of this episode allows Marshall to be just as involved in the story as everyone else is, despite being halfway across the country. He even gets to be the hero of the episode, piecing it all together and realizing that no one had to pretend to hate anyone at all. Go Marshall.

Last Call:

  • Things Robin and I have in common: Cooking skills.
  • Guest starring Katy Perry as Honey.
  • Robin and Marshall are clearly better friends since The Mermaid Theory. Witness their phone calls.
  • Lily could not be any less convincing with, “I hate you…….bitch.”
  • "We hate Ted now. Get onboard or the sexting stops." "Ted’s a son of a bitch!"

Last Words

This episode.

Heavy emotional drama like this episode can be tough for a half-hour comedy to nail. You want to be true and honest to your characters, but you also have to remember that it is, in fact, a comedy. I really think this episode hits the nail on the head. It’s not filled with laugh-out-loud moments (though there are a couple), but it does have the sort of true-to-life, quiet moments of honest humor that this show does so well in the back half of its run.

The Body (Buffy S5E16) is a stellar episode of television because it perfectly captures the strangeness of death. It focuses on the moments in which there is nothing to be done, no goal to accomplish. It’s about the strange boringness of it all. I mention it because I think this episode does the same thing, if in an entirely different way. We get very little of the actual funeral. For most of the episode, the gang is just standing around. Talking. Passing the time as if everything were normal because that’s all there is to do. And yet there’s great emotional truth to be found in those moments.

Last Call:

  • The entire cast is in great form in this episode, but Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan do such great dramatic work that it deserves special mention.
  • Danny Strong!!!!! Looking just as ridiculous standing next to Jason Segel as he does next to Marc Blucas.
  • "You’re like Mary Poppins if her magic purse was also filled with drugs." "If? Ted, the kids that movie jumped into a painting and spent fifteen minutes chasing a cartoon fox. Spoonful of sugar? Grow up."
  • "Guys, I have a role! I’m Judy’s bitch!"

Bad News

I feel like I should lead with something fitting the mood at the end of the episode, but instead I’ve got this: When did Robin start wearing glasses?

Okay. Back to the real point of the episode. Marshall and Lily are adorable. Not really the point, I know, but I’m getting there. Marshall and Lily are adorable. They’ve known each other since the first day of college when they were both eighteen. They’ve been together pretty much as long. They’re 32(ish) now. That’s a hell of a long time.

Marshall and Lily’s relationship is one of the best I’ve ever seen on television. It’s not all good times. There was that time they broke up. The fiasco of their wedding day. All of the little fights over the years, not to mention the ones still to come. But, unlike many married couples on comedy shows, they don’t act like they hate each other. Marshall and Lily are best friends. Life isn’t going to get any easier for the two of them. In the coming episodes and even years they’re going to be tested in ways that Past Lily and Marshall could never have imagined. But as long as they have each other, they’ll always be okay.

Last Call:

  • I guess I should have just titled this post “An Ode to Lily and Marshall.” Other things happened, but it seemed like the right things to write for this episode.
  • Welcome back Sandy Rivers!!!!!!!
  • Because it bears repeating: Robin got attacked by an owl.
  • The credits at the end of the episode list Neil Patrick Harris as a guest star, which I find hilarious.

False Positive

I get a weird amount of joy out of Ted and Punchy screaming at each other.

It’s a weird thing when your friends take big steps forward in their lives. Part of you is really really, genuinely happy for them. The other part of you goes into overdrive, considering where you are in your life, wondering if you should be doing something else, and hating them for making you think such things. And so, Lily thinking that she’s pregnant shakes up the group a bit.

Ted shines through in the clutch for all of them. He has a habit of seeing the best in people, and that’s exactly what his friends needed in this episode. They needed someone to remind them that they can go beyond the versions of themselves that they’ve gotten comfortable with. Way to go, Ted.

Last Call:

  • The waving.
  • "Can I ask you a question that’s plagued me for years? Can girls aim? "Um, can boys aim?"
  • "You are going to turn around, you’re going to go home, get naked, lay together as man and wife, until Lily is great with child!"
  • "I know what you’re thinking. ‘I wish I was a dude.’" "I do wish you were a dude."

The Mermaid Theory

My life needs more people in manatee costumes.

I love the way that the theme of the B-plot in this episode works its way back into the A-plot at the very end. They start in the same place, go in different directions, and then come back together at the end. That’s good comedy writing. Scratch that. It’s good writing.

I am not of the camp that believes that men and women can’t be platonic friends, but I do still see a bit of merit in some parts of the Mermaid Theory. It works on Barney because he will eventually find every woman on the planet attractive because he has a deep-seated need for validation. Marshall eventually found his assistant attractive because he got to know her better. He started to find Robin attractive because he was trying not to. As soon as he stopped being afraid of it, it went away. Conclusion: The Mermaid Theory only works on people who believe in it.

Last Call:

  • Reasons the gang can’t hang out with Ted and Zoey: Lily is washing her hair, Marshall is running the water, Robin is holding the towel, Barney is at home wondering why he wasn’t invited to the big hair-washing party
  • Oh, that’s the Captain. Yes, I call my husband The Captain, but that is the only concession I make to his seafaring ways. Hang on.” *answers phone* “Ahoy.”
  • Generally, the more time I spend with people, the less attractive I find them.
  • "He gets a little murdery when he’s nervous."

Blitzgiving

I left my wallet at home in a completely different city than I go to school in today. My mom (best mom ever) is driving an hour to bring it to me because I don’t have any money to put gas in my car to go get it. #momappreciation

Thanksgiving is a great holiday for this show because one of the themes of the show is friends-as-family. This episode is not the strongest of the Thanksgiving episodes, but it’s still a good one.

The writers use it as an opportunity to reveal things about a so-far unlikable character, and in the process, make her a lot more sympathetic. Of course many people still don’t like Zoey, but this episode does go a long way to helping that a bit.

Last Call:

  • I wouldn’t assume that the passing of the Blitz-dom is a direct reference to Buffy’s Hush, except the group spends the entire episode yelling, “The Gentleman!”
  • Lily doesn’t let Marshall do truths, so dare.
  • "I think the smaller turkey just tried to crawl further inside the bigger turkey."
  • "She hates my guts." "I get that."

Glitter

Space Teens is insanely dirty. But I think you’ll find that many kids’ shows are.

This is the sort of plot that works best a few seasons in to an established show. By now we know the characters well enough that the fight between Robin and Lily doesn’t seem petty or cruel on the side of either party. It’s just sad because we know how important they are to each other. We also understand exactly why it happened.

I love Robin Sparkles episodes because they offer a glimpse of Robin’s pre-New York life. The writers use that to contrast and illuminate things that are happening in the present. It’s the same with any character’s backstory, but Robin’s gets the advantage because it involves Let’s Go to the Mall flashbacks.

Last Call:

  • Union Jack t-shirt.
  • Robin’s impression of Punchy is great.
  • Barney’s reality show send-off list
  • Canadian best friend stuff: hockey, caribou hunting, math

Natural History

My roommate pulled me away in the middle of that episode, leading to the massive amount of time between posts.

I really love this episode. It’s got one of my absolute favorite Barney and Robin stories. It seems like a really goofy, solid C-plot, right up until it finds its emotional core right at the end. And how appropriate that Robin is the one with Barney when he finds out who his dad is. Also, it’s just a really fun plot, all of the touching things.

It’s also got a really really great Marshall and Lily plot, with Marshall revealing that he’s happy at GNB for the time being. He may not love the work, but he does love making money and being able to provide for his wife and hypothetical future children. And the conversation Lily has with College Marshall near the end is the exact perfect combination of funny and sad for this show.

Last Call:

  • Another reason I love this episode: My weird thing with formal wear.
  • You can’t kick a story in the nuts.
  • The Captain!
  • Do the opening credits seem really weirdly placed in this episode to anyone else?
  • "Good luck killing James Bond."

Canning Randy

It was almost jacket weather today.

Being a big-time lawyer at a massive corporation is not Marshall’s dream job. Marshall wanted to be an environmental lawyer. And yet, here he is, working for GNB and letting the Man get him down. Because he feels like he’s doing no good for the world.

And so we have the return of Randy. Poor incompetent Randy. Randy’s dream is also not working at GNB. It goes against everything Marshall stands for to fire Randy, up until he’s reminded how delicious chasing your dreams can be.

Last Call:

  • I’m not entirely certain this is a coherent post. My head’s been in the clouds all day.
  • Florence Nightinbedwithastranger
  • BoatsBoatsBoats
  • Will Forte is just fantastic as Randy.