How I Met Your Mother: Season 6, Episode 11
The Mermaid Theory
Much of tonight's episode was dedicated to a running gag that involved Ted being incapable of remembering part of the story he was telling his kids tonight, which ended up leading to a flash forward (one of the aspects of the show that most excites me when, rarely, it is employed), yet which also felt for most of its run time like lazy writing that serived to both pad the run time and to give the illusion of a Barney and Lily story without ever having to write it. The show has occasionally employed the "Ted can't remember everything" idea for laughs, yet this time it felt like basic laziness. Tonight, the writers had plotlines for Ted, Marshall, and Robin, but it had nothing for Barney and Lily, and giving us a vague idea about when Lily will be pregnant (next year) does not excuse the fact that most of the plotline was just a giant stall to disguise the fact that there was no plot there.

As much of a problem as I had with that subplot, "The Mermaid Theory" did something I've been waiting for since the introduction of Zoey: it gave me a reason to care about her, and effectively introduced her into the master plot of the series. It has always been clear that Ted and Zoey would have romantic tension, yet the way they played off of each other tonight, and the way the show used Kyle Maclachlan's over-the-top awesomeness finally made me accept the fact that this plotline is here to stay, and gave me a few things to be excited about as it continues (mostly the idea of more Kyle Maclachlan). Ted joined The Captain on his boat this week, feared for his life, and came to accept the man and his creepiness, even as both he and Zoey clearly denied the feelings they already have for each other.

Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily step up in this week's standard sitcom plot as they realize they never hang out alone and decide to do that for once. Not only is it a cliche, but Marshall and Lily have hung out alone many times before (their relationship was probably at its best during the show's last classic episode "Three Days of Snow") and each time has been funnier and more effective than they were tonight.

The theory at the center of tonight's episode, which basically proposed that given long enough, a man will find any woman attractive, was funny enough, and the show's latter day tendency to act out Barney's historical narratives is generally very effective. As a whole, "The Mermaid Theory" was a decent episode of the show that made me care about at least one aspect of this season's arc more than I have to this point. Yet a full two thirds of the episode was comprised of plots that were lazily constructed,which keeps this episode from achieving greatness. It was, however, still satisfying enough to continue the positive trend that How I Met Your Mother has been on of late, which is good enough for me, for the moment at least.

Grade: B


-"And I'll be home trying to get over the fact that no one invited me to the big hairwashing party."

-Lily's rules for married people hanging out with single friends of the opposite sex: Don't go anywhere with candles, no sharing food, and dont' lie about anything you do.

-I really disliked the moment where Lily and Barney stared at the camera, waiting for Future Ted to remember the story he's telling. This show is a flashback, narrated by Ted, not a reenactment, and acknowleding the story is just awkward.

-"Looks like its just you, me, and six hours in frigid international waters."

-"Do you know how the myth f mermaids came to be?" "I'm sorry, myth?"

-"Did we bet on this?" "Let's say yes."

-"How now? Oh bother..."

-"Oh, I'm just jesting for sport."
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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