How I Met Your Mother: Season 6, Episode 7
Last week I spoke of my worries that How I Met Your Mother would never be really great again, and that it would limp through its remaining two or three seasons (because Carter and Craig, the creators, refuse to end it before at least Season 8) to a subpar finish that we would all appreciate if only because it signified the end to a show that had long outstayed its welcome. "Canning Randy" gives me some idea what those next three years might look like, in a nightmare scenario. The episode has three terrible plotlines, almost no jokes that land, and a cast that seems as bored and miserable as I was watching it.
Most pained looking is Jason Segel, who seems to eye-roll his way through a god awful plot in which Marshall refuses to fire his incompetent assistant Randy (Will Forte, a very funny actor reprising a shockingly unfunny role), even after Randy has made it clear that he would love to be fired to pursue his dream of brewing his own beer, which he would call the apparently supposedly funny name "Wharmpess." I have read Jason Segel discuss the fact that the show has gone on much longer than he ever thought that it would, and that he fears he will be roped into tepid plotlines about his marriage and working life for years to come, but this is the first time I have really seen that reflected in his performance. Segel seems to be actively grimacing throughout the over the top physical comedy set-piece in which Forte trashes his office in an attempt to get fired, and I can't really blame him--there is nothing worth laughing about in the scene.
Robin's subplot tonight is a hallmark for how far the show has fallen since the glory days of Robin SParkles and "Let's Go To The Mall." In an attempt to cash in on the "Robin in funny videos" jokes that have been fodder for much laughter over the course of the show's history, for some reason Robin decides to do a commercial for adult diapers. I have multiple problems with this idea. First off, and most importantly, the commercial isn't funny. A lot can be forgiven for the sake of a good laugh, but Robin pretending to wet herself is not my idea of a solid joke. Secondly, no real reason is given for Robin suddenly abandoning her journalistic integrity to do a commercial at all. We know that Becky is more popular because of her commercial, and that Robin hates Becky, but so far the entire relationship is built around Robin feeling superior to Becky and having her lower herself to Becky's level doesn't make any story sense. Finally, even if Robin did decide, for some unknown reason, after a crisis of conscience not shown on screen, to violate her moral code and appear in a commercial, there is no way that a rational person would agree to appear in an adult diaper commercial. Robin isn't a desperate struggling actress who will take anything. The writers put her in that commercial not because it made any character or story sense, but because they thought Robin in an adult diaper commercial would be funny. It wasn't.
Finally, Ted faces off again with Zoey, a character we're supposed to care about, I guess. She is still protesting the demolition of the Arcadian, and enrolls in Ted's classes to rally his students against him. The absolute best thing I can say about this plotline is I absolutely do not care about Zoey or about her stupid effort to keep a stupid building from being demolished. I didn't care about this conflict when it was introduced a few episodes back, and the fact that this week's episode didn't do anything but restate the conflict and play it out in almost exactly the same way did very little to make me care more. Again, Josh Radnor looked deflated wading through scene after scene of boring plotline and flat jokes. What was once one of the most solid ensembles on television now seems to be just bored, cycling through warmed over deliveries of poorly put together jokes. Even Neil Patrick Harris, often the show's ace in the hole during weak episodes, doesn't have much to do tonight, and largely phones in what little he is given. If there's nothing to work with, there's not much for even a cast as charismatic as this to sell.
If it sounds like I'm being too harsh on How I Met Your Mother this week, I may be. Yet this is possibly the worst run of three episodes in the show's history. After reading interviews with the show's creators promising a return to form in Season Six, I can't help but be even more disappointed at the swan dive in quality the show has taken since "Big Days," the season premiere. If "Canning Randy" is a vision of what's to come on the show, and not just an isolated piece of refuse that was just unfortunately tagged on after two very mediocre episodes, its going to be a long, miserable road to the show's finale, for its cast, sure, but even more so for us in the audience who are trying to maintain the dedication that got us into the show in the first place. How I Met Your Mother needs a good episode to remind me why I am still dedicating a half hour to it every week, and it needs it fast.
-I absolutely cannot believe that this show brought back Bob Odenkirk, only to waste him AGAIN. Sadly, I actually can believe that.
-Another thing that shocks me: The return of Lily's god awful catchphrase, "Where's the poop?" This leads me to believe that the show has literally no filter for bad ideas any more, and also a shrinking idea of what is actually funny and what just sounds like a joke. "Where's the poop?" was terrible weeks ago when it was introduced; bringing it back again is just insane.
-"I'll say this: There is no quit in that guy...We should fire him."
Tags: How I Met Your Mother