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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How I Met Your Mother 9x13: Bass Player Wanted


Well, at least the show went into its winter break on a strong note, finally bringing Marshall into the fold at the Farhampton Inn and revealing Ted's upcoming secret Chicago move to Barney while featuring a big helping of the Mother and perhaps the season's best use of a guest star. Best of all, it avoided most of the pitfalls of the season's worst episodes: no schlockly pre-wedding hijinks and the characters acted like real people: for the most part, the Lily/Robin and Ted/Barney interactions were grounded and realistic, with the broadest bit being Ted stealing the scotch, but that happened mostly off camera and, as broad whacky hijinks go this season, was relatively mild. This wasn't the funniest episode or an all-time HIMYM classic or anything, but it at least avoided sending what has thus far been a wildly uneven season into the holiday break on a down note.

Other Thoughts
I'm not nearly as excited at Marshall delivering one of the two (?) remaining slaps as I imagine some people are, but hey, glad the show isn't forgetting about that, and it's certainly the closest thing the show has to a cliffhanger to drop on the end of an episode before a break (for what it's worth, I believe the title of the first episode back next year is "Slapsgiving 3").

That sure was a long five mile drive Marshall and the Mother were on, but at least their interaction was enjoyable to watch. Having them bond over their respective bands was a nice way to establish a foundation for their friendship, and I like that the Mother is already taken by Marvin.

I was also all ready to call shenanigans on the Mother having a van when we saw her riding the train with Lily, but that was quickly addressed, so I'll be quiet and remind myself to hold my objections until the very end of the episode. 

For as shrill and unlikeable as Lily has been at times this season, the moment when she and Marshall finally reunite and call pause on their fight was a great reminder of just how well-drawn their relationship is, and that the writers are still capable of writing these characters well when the plot doesn't demand otherwise.

I can certainly buy that Ted and the Mother could spend most of this weekend at the Farhampton Inn circling and missing one another (heck, they've apparently been doing that in New York for the last nine years or so), and I liked the idea of Ted inadvertently helping her out even before he meets her, but I'm still wondering how Ted will be able to avoid at least seeing her in the band during the reception - which makes me worry that we're heading toward some kind of contrivance (probably involving his feelings for Robin) that will keep Ted away from the reception.

So the Mother has now met Lily, Barney and Marshall, leaving just Robin and Ted, though I would still like to see some reaction from Barney when he realizes the lead singer of his wedding band is the woman who helped him realize he wanted to be with Robin. 

A couple of nice little details in this episode: the Mother's band, Super Freakonomics, formed in business school (she was in the economics class Ted accidentally taught his first day as a college professor), and, like Ted is wont to do, she was wearing driving gloves. 

5 comments:

  1. This episode was relatively strong (especially in comparison to other late-series episodes). But that still doesn't mean I don't have some nits to pick!

    1. As I said before, 5 miles isn't THAT far. Marshall plays basketball and works out...he shouldn't have been that worn out.

    2. Where is Marshall's luggage?

    3. Frankly, I think telling Lily that Robin is feeling abandoned isn't a bad thing. I think it's something that needs to be discussed and would bring friends closer.

    4. Am I the only the person that pretty much agrees with Lily? Marshall should have at least discussed it with her first.

    5. Yeah, it was a nice touch that the mother was wearing driving gloves but at the same time she arrived by train and is leaving by train. I assume she didn't know she was going to steal the van on the way up. Does she pack driving gloves "just in case?"

    6. It's probably one of those things I should just not worry about but it's tough for me to just dismiss the (now twice) theft of $600 merchandise. It's a bit morally repugnant. Frankly, I would've rather they went with the "sitcom characters seem to always have infinite money" route and just had Lily and Ted buy the scotch.

    7. Isn't what Darren (the villain of this episode) was doing the exact kind of thing you could picture Barney doing? Especially if it was means to get laid?

    8. I know, not all of these were nit picks.

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  2. @Dr. Bitz: But that still doesn't mean I don't have some nits to pick!

    I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you! :)

    Marshall plays basketball and works out...he shouldn't have been that worn out.

    Agreed. Clearly they were eschewing logic for the sake of the Sasquatch joke (which was mildly funny).

    Where is Marshall's luggage?

    When he's walking, he has Marvin's carrier in one hand and is pulling his wheeled suitcase in the other. Whether that's all the luggage/baby accoutrements he would have needed for his trip is debatable, but he does at least have one suitcase.

    I think it's something that needs to be discussed and would bring friends closer.

    Yeah, for all of the Mother's painting of Darren as a villain, everyone came out of this episode in a better place as a result of his machinations.

    Am I the only the person that pretty much agrees with Lily? Marshall should have at least discussed it with her first.

    No. Do you have a sense that the show doesn't agree with her? I've always had the feeling that it pretty much feels her anger is justified (if for no other reason than it allows her to be broadly hostile about the situation).

    Does she pack driving gloves "just in case?"

    I had not considered that until you pointed out.

    Possible No-Prize explanation: seeing as how the van was Darren's the lead singer of the band, it's reasonable to assume that, even if she didn't this time, she has had occasions in the past when she's needed to drive the van for band-related purposes, and thus keeps a pair of driving gloves in the glove compartment for just such an occasion.

    Frankly, I would've rather they went with the "sitcom characters seem to always have infinite money" route and just had Lily and Ted buy the scotch.

    Agreed. Like I said, that was one of the more broad moments in the episode so, no surprise, it found someone acting wildly out of character in a morally questionable manner.

    Isn't what Darren (the villain of this episode) was doing the exact kind of thing you could picture Barney doing? Especially if it was means to get laid?

    Absolutely. But the ship sailed long ago on trying to use Barney's actions for any kind of moral equivalency. What could be morally reprehensible if someone else did it is awesome if Barney does it, because Barney is one of the main characters on the show.

    I know, not all of these were nit picks.

    Thus negating all your arguments. :)

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  3. The wisdom in keeping Marshall away for so long eludes me. Did they just want to ensure there was action outside Farhampton apart from flashbacks or flashforwards? Early on in the season I'd assumed that Jason Segel was off shooting a movie or something and that he filmed his HIMYM scenes in bunches and/or elsewhere, but then Marshall started popping up in flashback scenes with the other regulars.

    // I like that the Mother is already taken by Marvin. //

    Whether it's just Cristin Milioti or the writing or both, I'm just as taken by how perfectly the Mother is a match for Ted and indeed the whole gang. Bays & Thomas have to be kicking themselves just a little for having won the casting lottery and only having snippets of this season to do anything with their good fortune.

    I actually had a dream this morning in which I was berating the cast and producers of the show over how disappointing the final season has been so far. My argument is that they could've introduced Milioti quite a bit earlier in the show's run through flashforwards (or really later-than-the-present-day flashbacks from 2030) juxtaposed with the main action starring aimless Ted, ending the show when all the action converged on the moment he met the Mother. Right before I woke up, I had obnoxiously refused the deep-dish Chicago pizza served at a group dinner we were all attending with network executives, instead rhapsodizing over my favorite pizzeria, Mack's, at the Jersey shore, where the crust is extremely thin and crisp.

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  4. @DrBitz: // Am I the only the person that pretty much agrees with Lily? Marshall should have at least discussed it with her first. //

    No; I'm with you. Like Teebore suggests, I don't think that the show is painting her as unreasonable, but to the extent that it even presents their perspectives with equal weight when in fact plans had already been made to go to Italy for Lily's job before Marshal accepted the judgeship unilaterally, yeah, I feel like there's a bit of a false equivalency in terms of mutual (dis)respect.

    @DrBitz: // Does she pack driving gloves "just in case"? //

    Well, Ted would.

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  5. @Blam: Early on in the season I'd assumed that Jason Segel was off shooting a movie or something and that he filmed his HIMYM scenes in bunches and/or elsewhere, but then Marshall started popping up in flashback scenes with the other regulars.

    That was my line of thinking as well. As it stands, I have no idea why they kept Marshall apart for so long. It doesn't seem like something they had to do to accommodate Segel's schedule, yet at the same time, it didn't really add much to the narrative/humor to justify doing it by choice.

    Bays & Thomas have to be kicking themselves just a little for having won the casting lottery and only having snippets of this season to do anything with their good fortune.

    I sure as hell hope so.

    Right before I woke up, I had obnoxiously refused the deep-dish Chicago pizza served at a group dinner we were all attending with network executives, instead rhapsodizing over my favorite pizzeria, Mack's, at the Jersey shore, where the crust is extremely thin and crisp.

    I can't speak personally to your dream self's sentiments regarding the pizza, but I agree with all the HIMYM business. :)

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