How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, Episode 16
It wasn't much of a surprise tonight that we got no closer to meeting the mother, of to finding any sort of overarching story to take us through the rest of the season. It also wasn't surprising that tnight's "special guest star" Carrie Underwood wasn't particularly funny, nor that her shoehorned in plot lead to the development of some very, very thin subplots to fill out 22 minutes. What was surprising is that "Hooked" came off as an incredibly decent and entertaining episode of How I Met Your Mother in spite of all of these things working against it. Sure, it wasn't earth-shatteringly good, but there was some solid continuity, a decent amount of laughter, and a teacup pig (which is the best way to lure women to your apartment, as a slot machine is too fun and a trampoline is too dangerous).

Tonight we got to see a creature we haven't laid eyes on et this season emerge: douche Ted. This version of douche Ted was really more of a jerk than the pretentious douchebag we love to mock, but his jerkiness was offset by how common a situation he had fallen into. Tonight Ted found himself hooked by Carrie Underwood's Tiffany, a pharma girl wh always mentioned her boyfriend whenever old Teddy Westside got ready to make his move. This lead to the inevitable stories from all of the gang about times they had been hooked, or done some hooking, and set up subplots for the rest of the episode.

Barney revealed that pharma girls are the current profession that attracts exclusively hot women (following gatherers, nurses, and stewardesses) and proceeded to have sex with a lot of them. This was paper thin material to build a story on, but Neil Patrick Harris is always a class act, and he made what little he was given work, especially in a recurring gag where he upset a bowl of bar snacks in irritation.

The other two sub-plots are probably equally thin, but seem all the thicker for the sly bits of continuity they fit in (its well established at this point that I am a sucker for good continuity). On Robin's side, she has been hooking Mike, her long time camera-man along and using him to do her laundary, among other things (Mike, for those who are less obsessive than men, has in fact been Robin's camera-man since at least season two, when he got to read the news in Robin's absence because "I'm the best at readin'). It is slightly odd that Mike has stuck with Robin through her show changes, but I'm willing to overlook that for the simple fact that they fit a tiny recurring character into a pretty rote plotline as a way of spicing it up. The Marshall and Lily plotline (they are one entity at this point after all) focused on the return of Lily's erstwhile boyfriend Scooter, who is still holding onto the faint hope that he and Lily might someday be together (and has abandoned his dreams of umpiring to be the lunch lady at Lily's school). This is fun because Scooter is recurringly such a ridiculous character (and Neil Patrick Harris' real-life boyfriend) and watching his life spiral downward is good for some laughs. Bonus points for the fct that Lily spends a good portion of the episode rejecting the tea cup pig for practice.

When all is said and done, nothing really changed in this episode, no real insight into dating life was achieved and "Hooked" came nowhere near classic status, yet it had a lot of fun with a pretty boring premise and worked in something for the long term fans as well. It may not have been my favorite episode in recent memory, but it got the job done.

Grade: B


-"I've been a bit loose, but money never changed hands."

-"Hey Lily, nice dress. Tater tots? I love you."

-"Hang in there, scoots, I'm not going to live forever." I love Marshall.

-"Last night the pharma girl I hooked up with was so hot you should call a doctor if you don't get an erection lasting more than four hours. Am I right people?" "Yeah, there are no people here, just the girl you most recently dated..."
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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