How I Met Your Mother: Season 6, Episode 6
Baby Talk
If How I Met Your Mother remains on its recent trend of turning out 24 episode seasons, then "Baby Talk" will mark the 1/4 point of the show's Sixth Season. Which I feel is a fair time to begin expressing concern. Season Five started out as a slump, then slowly became the sort of season that even the creators apologize for and promise to improve. Yet Season Six has been pretty much all down hill since its premiere, turning in episode after episode of mediocre sitcom plotlines and not even delivering the laughs this show used to bring in with ease. Its time to start wondering if How I Met Your Mother has lost its edge for good. This isn't to say that I've given up hope, of course, nor that I would stop watching even if I had. This season of 30 Rock has reminded me that a show can bounce out of even a very long slump, and regardless of quality, HIMYM has me until its end. Once a show hooks me, I tend to stay loyal regardless of a drop in quality (I watched Scrubs all the way until JD eft Sacred Heart at the end of Season Eight, despite loathing most of what the show did after about the half way mark of Season Five).

Tonight had us dealing with Marshall and Lily's season long arc, the potentially show-killing quest to bring a baby into a show primarily set in a bar. I have talked at length about the possibility that the introduction of a baby would equal a shark jump for this show, but I have often added that if any show was going to be able to do the pregnancy and childbirth arcs with any sense of originality or humor, How I Met Your Mother at the top of its game was the prime candidate. Unfortunately, this show is many lengths away from the top of its game, and so instead we get a pretty rote plotline in which Marshall and Lily argue over baby names and go to ridiculous lengths to ensure they will have a baby of their gender. Both of these are plotlines that pretty much every sitcom does once a baby is on the horizon, and the show didn't really add anything new to the idea. I liked the scene in which Marshall video chats with his parents, mostly because their ineptitude with the technology was good for laughs, but the plotline didn't really pay off as anything more than just an excuse for the show to check "fight over the baby's name/gender" off their sitcom cliche board.

The subplots tonight fare slightly better idea wise, but are unfortunately pretty short on laughs as well. I think the entire "who's you daddy?" concept is pretty creepy myself, but understand Ted's point about how its nice to feel needed in a relationship. The idea that Ted would ever be attracted to Becky is patently silly and incredibly against type, but I would have been willing to forgive this mistake if the storyline had actually been funny. Meanwhile, Barney tackles one of his self-imposed challenges by trying to pick up a girl while talking like a little boy. NPH does his best with the material, and he is excellent as usual, but even a comedic master like himself is going to have trouble selling lines like "I wet myself! Will you change me?" The reveal at the episode's end that Barney's selfish, childish side emerged once he thoguht he had failed the challenge worked mostly because we've seen Barney act that way before and it fit within his character. And the moment in which Barney explains that Robin's self-sufficiency is what makes her wonderful was a solid one, reminding me how much I love the idea of Barney and Robin together when the show isn't telling me I shouldn't. All in all, "Baby Talk" was an extremely mediocre episode of How I Met Your Mother in the midst of what is quickly becoming another extremely mediocre season. Here's hoping the show finds its old rhythm sooner rather than later.

Grade: C


-"Let's call her vodka. Then at least we know you'll hold her tight and never let her go." "Don't knock vodka. Wouldn't have a baby without it!"

-Nice callback to the pilot with a flashback of Rob grabbing Lily's boob and smearing finger paint all over her.

-"Our DVR won't recognize it as a television program."

-"Sweet mother nature!" "That WAS my card!"

-"You want anything Marshall?" "Mom, I'm in the computer."

-"No one's going to say 'who's your daddy?' to Robin Sherbatsky. You're your own daddy...and mommy...And weird survivalist uncle living in a cabin with a shotgun blaming stuff on the government."
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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