How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, Episode 17
Of Course
The early part of Season Five of How I Met Your Mother was consumed by the Barney and Robin storyline, which, in spite of my strong support for the two as a couple, flat out did not work the way it was written. A lesser show would just try its best to forget that the relationship ever occurred, and for much of the time since their break up, I have worried that the show would never mention what was a momentous event in the characters lives ever again. But then "Of Course" arrived and proved that How I Met Your Mother can handle a story with depth, realism, and a lot of laughs.

It turns out tonight that Robin has not been as blase about her break up with Barney as she seemed, and is in fact pretty torn up by all of his conquests, and all of the gang's celebrations of them (shown mostly through a hilarious recurring gag in which increasing numbers of the gang sing Marshall's "bang bang bangity bang" song). So Robin hires tonight's obligatory guest star, J. Lo, who plays the author of a self help book Of Course You're Still Single, Take a Look at Yourself, You Dumb Slut to teach Barney a lesson by...not sleeping with him. Its sort of a stupid plotline that the show pulls off nearly perfectly, as Barney tries to woo Lopez who refuses to have sex with him in less than 17 dates. Ted comes up with the solution, which leads to a musical number that puts the earlier ode to suits to shame as Ted (and some really cool uses of moving set components) explains to barney his idea--a superdate. Barney prepares to take his conquest out, only to discover how upset Robin is at his repeated conquests, and how unimportant to him she feels. This allows Barney to show, as he intermittently does, that he has a heart as he refuses to sleep with Lopez, and sends Robin on his superdate with Don.

This episode marks the second recent use of the "Barney narrates an episode" construction, which I think is fundamentally problematic for a show that is already being narrated from the future by Ted, yet the conceit has worked so well both times (the other in the recent home run "The Perfect Week") that I honestly can't complain too much about it. The whole cast was firing on all cylinders tonight, the show tried some new things, and it was very, very funny. How I Met Your Mother took some big risks in tonight's episode, and they really pulled them all off, providing an incredibly entertaining, if ultimately inconsequential episode.

Grade: A-


-To be fair, the episode dealt with Barney and Robin, and put Robin on her first date with Don. Maybe it wasn't inconsequential, just of tengential importance...

-"How about we just call it a tie?" ..."You see a cravat is a kind of tie..."

-"Well you're in luck, 'cause mine's the tiniest, and the more you touch it, the softer it gets."

-I loved when Barney took the time to ask about to stool, pull it over, and sit down, just to pratfall off of it in shock.

-"Huh. Her name must be Anita."

-I like the "but um" callback on Robin's show.

-Anita's next book: Of Course You Don't Have a Retirement Plan Yet, Take a Look at Yourself, You Dumb Slut.

-"There was a lot of scotch and a lot of long nights at the shooting range." "I hope those weren't the same nights..." "Jeez Lily, its not like I remember all of them..."

-I love it when Marshall yells.

-"Oh, well count me in for a verse..." The song was a great building joke, especially when Barney came in playing the spoon.

-Nice touch wit hBarney whistling "Superdate."

-"I'm angry at you, I'm angry at me, I'm angry at Ted, and frankly I'm still angry at the Empire!"
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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