14
Jan
2013
HIMYM: Season 8, Episode 13
Band or DJ
Chris
Wow. After that mid season finale, I didn't think HIMYM could get any darker. But Band or DJ was really, really dark. Like Breaking Bad dark. Only with less Meth, and more baby shit.

Welcome back to the Purgatory from which there is no escape. Where pale husks resembling characters that used to make us laugh and smile shamble about in aimless circles, distracted every so often by tantalizing glimpses of Mother ankle and Mother wrist. Yes, How I Met Your Mother has been renewed for another season, causing many to wonder if Thomas and Bays genuinely need more time to write their way out of a Lost-esque plot hole, or if CBS Execs can only feed on the frustration and suffering of their fans.

Band or DJ delivers a revelation that will shock no one who has been watching the increasingly depressing Robin/Barney/Ted love triangle these past two seasons: the news of Barney and Robin's engagement has crushed Ted. Despite giving the couple his de facto blessing by encouraging Robin to go to Barney last episode, Ted believes that Robin should be with him instead of Barney, and confesses as much to Lily.

This would be depressing enough if Thomas and Bays hadn't decided to heap a "best case scenario crushed dreams/worst case scenario postpartum depression" sub-plot for Lily on top of the sorrow inferno. Top it off with Robin's continued unsuccessful quest for her father's love and approval and you might just need a good stiff drink by the time the half hour is up (a recipe for success for any sitcom!).

Even the addition of the always dependable Ray Wise, reprising his role as Robin's father could not save these proceedings. While my only laughs of the night were delivered by his hilariously menacing persona, the jokes and sight gags were not funny enough to offset the overly dark and depressing territory this episode ventured into. Worse still, the Marshall/Lily/Marvin sub-plot about Marvin's constipation delivered no laughs, and dipped to a disappointingly puerile well of jokes.

I'm all for sitcoms tackling more serious character beats and darker themes, but as I have said many times before, this plot line simply does not work. Robin has been so built up as Ted's one true love that at this point anyone else will feel like a shallow consolation prize, and the story of how he met the great love of his life will ultimately be a tragedy, because he didn't end up with her. The silver lining with the extension of a ninth season is that Thomas and Bays have a chance to make a case for the Mother now. However, having seen them squander similar opportunities time and time before, I'm less than optimistic.

Grade: D

Notes:

"Well in the early 80s I did some network for the C.I.A"¦" "Yes Daddy, I remember the bed time stories."

"Carol and I were in Key Largo at a performance of the recording artist James Buffet."

"Oh no, Fluffer Nutter peed all over my pants!"

"I'm sorry for getting married without consulting you. It was wrong of me. I know that no mere apology will fix this. That is why I've asked Carol for a divorce. She's heartbroken understandably. Possibly suicidal. But if that's the price for my daughter's love, then I will gladly let Carol pay it."


Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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