19
Sep
2011
HIMYM: Season 7, Episode 1 & 2
The Best Man/The Naked Truth
Sam Lindauer
Hey everybody, remember when we saw that Ted was going to meet the mother at a wedding? Remember when we all excitedly guessed whose wedding it was (I totally guessed Barney you guyzzz) It turned out that the writers of the show hate their audience. Maybe it should be called "How I Hate My Fans" amirite? Turns out it is Barney's wedding where Ted meets the mother. But there is another fake-out wedding to start the season.
In "The Best Man" we get the season started in a clever fashion. The episode is framed on a conversation Ted has with Barney as he's choosing a tie for the big wedding. The tie/woman Barney's about to marry thing didn't do much for me here. But it did set a precedent that the episodes this year will be tied to the end. I'm making the assumption that the show will return to this device at some point only because Ted is summoned to speak to "the bride" at the end of the episode. Of course the second episode of the night didn't need this so maybe it's all we're going to get.
We learn that Marshall ruined our old friend Punchy's wedding. How did he ruin it? After some fake outs we just get a drunken embarrassment reveals a pregnancy that isn't Lilly's. I like drunk Marshall and I hate sober Ted. This episode had a little from column A and a little from column B. Ted's maudlin bullshit about finding someone has made me tired of the show. So much that I suggested the supposed leading man be sent to Mandyville. I admit it was a bit tongue in cheek, but Ted's moping was highlighted by the fact that it was used as a gag that whenever he's the best man he makes depressing toasts which all fall conveniently close to romantic failures of which we're all very familiar.
Instead of celebrating the fact that he made the cover of NY Magazine (!!!) he wallows and ponders if he'll ever find that special someone. May I add that the last two covers on New York Magazine have had Barack Obama and Zooey Deschanel. I'm just saying an architect who has been relegated to being a professor isn't making the cover. This is what, Ted's second building designed?
Now let's look at the show's main characters. Marshall and Lilly are pregnant and are holding off on telling anyone as its bad luck before the third month. This is all well and good especially since the show decided to have them scrap that idea and tell everybody. Marshall fawning over cute babies at the wedding proved too much for him to contain his secret. Segel and babies is enough to make me happy for a moment. The other two leads, Robin and Barney continue to play the will-they-won't-they despite the fact that it's been proven completely unfunny thus far. Robin is back into Barney"¦but Barney likes NORAH! Save this shit for Glee. I'm sorry but I care so little about the Barney/Robin/Norah storyline it hurts. This show should have taken a note from a show that didn't air yet, Parks and Recreation, and have the people who are dating and perfect for each other just stick it out or finally resolve. I'm speaking of April and Andy of course, not Leslie and Ben who seem to be doing the Jim and Pam thing.
We get a nice musical number with Barney and Robin together as they dance to music that gets turned way up for some reason (something they should ask Kevin Bacon about since he did that movie in the 80s). It's awkward and out of place. The phone conversation that occurs right after did hit a nice note as Robin spilled Barney her guts as he obliviously relays that info to Norah. What a waste. Also, Lilly referring to Barney's bride as "The Bride" is complete and utter laziness. Let "The Event" have fun with mysterious pronouns that are just meant to keep viewers in the dark. Of course we all know its Robin because Ted would not seem so happy about Barney's decision on "tie". I feel like these aren't even reviews anymore, they're therapy. This episode had a few nice moments but ultimately reminded me of all the crap I don't like the show.
But wait! There's a second episode on this Monday night. Guess what world, I enjoyed an episode of HIMYM (mostly). The episode smartly continues with Marshall hungover expecting to hear from his potential new boss, Garrison Cootes (played with typical gusto by Martin Short) who runs an environmental protection group. The conversation on the phone between Short and Segel was a bit broad with all the swamp/crocodile jokes but it made me smile. The problem in this episode is that Marshall is worried that this employer will find out about some unsavory videos made in his college days. In order to do this he must get in contact with old college buddy and current alcoholic, Peter (It's Always Sunny's Jimmi Simpson). I want more Beercules and it looks like we're gonna get more. Naked and drunk Jason Segel is just funny. If you could bottle that funny you could make Forgetting Sarah Marshall and write the new Muppets movie. One can dream.
Barney disgustingly apologizes to Norah and then vows to share all of the times he's lied to get women in bed. His rundown of tricks he played was funnier than the contrived "Lebron-ing" he did in the first episode. I personally like "Me llamo David Beckham" and "Barnell!" Other than this, I could do without the whole Norah thing. Sure she's a great fit for Barney. She's a great fit for any human being on the planey. She has is super model beautiful, understanding and quite sweet. In a word"”Boring. Robin is an actual character with likes and dislikes. We also care about Robin. Please stop screwing around with us HIMYM.
OK, so now we've got Ted. Since Ted being sadly single is the bottom there was nowhere to go but up. And up it went as he got a pair of dates after suddenly realizing the power of being on the COVER OF NEW YORK MAGAZINE (an aside, IF Ted ever made the cover as the next big thing in architecture he would be inundated with work. Sorry he was on the fucking cover of a major magazine.) It felt good to laugh again at scenes that had Ted. Both instances of the gang cheering for Ted's methods of choosing a girl to be serious with were winners in my book. Gotta love the Pros and Cons list and the color graph. He would choose that one to go to the Architect's Ball (with Leonard Kravitz-Rock Star!). He ended up going with Robin after picking neither with Mosby-ish logic, ""I don't want to choose between two girls, I wanna be a complete head over heels idiot for one."


Sorry about that break, I had to clean all of the vomit off of my couch. Anyway, Ted goes with Robin to the Ball and we get a nice lead-in to next week's show (kudos to the writers for not starting out with standalone stuff. We're past that point I hope) as we see Ted's first hardcore "This could be the one" girl, Victoria. According to HIMYM savant Jordan, she was pegged as the mother had the show been taken off the air after the first season. Anyway, we'll have some retreaded fun with her and hopefully it won't be unbearable. She's not the mother, nobody's the mother.
It's turned into an endlessly frustrating show. "The Naked Truth" showed me that HIMYM can still make me laugh out loud and even charm me. On the other hand it reminds me that the show has made what I think are terrible choices in storytelling. May I point to Parks and Recreation for a moment? April and Andy got married because it was in the characters DNA to do it. They loved each other and it made for a great episode. HIMYM still seems dead-set on wringing dry the once waterlogged rag of possibilities. This show is (or was) very forward thinking in changing the multi-cam sitcom norms. But now it's starting to feel like every other "before a live studio audience" comedy. Robin and Barney's relationship, Lilly and Marshall's baby and Ted and whoever the non-Mother of the week is. What made this show great was how I couldn't really see where Thomas and Bays planed on taking its audience. Now I can't help feeling like I've got 60 episodes before a foregone conclusion is sleepily realized. I think I can stand by sending Schmosby to Mandyville. At least I wouldn't see that coming.

The Best Man: C-
The Naked Truth: B+

Notes:
-I like that Punchy's wedding is Browns themed. Fun on TV, horrific in real life.
-The whole "big in Finland" thing is stolen from Conan. Stolen I say!
-Marshall licking the plane and the belly thing is cute and very much in his character.
-This is important: The dropped hint about the Duckie Tie is a typical HIMYM thing that will be underwhelming later in the season. What made me REALLY mad was future Ted saying "Man, we're really not close to the end." It was like the writers smearing it in my face.
-Edward 40 hands!
-Sad to see Dave Foley get the boot from last season, he was good and he actually needs the money.
-Marshall's policy on dating two women at once: Not serious till third base, "Honk away my friend, honk away"
-Wouldn't be surprised if Segel got naked for all his nude scenes
-Love Marshalls sweeping pronouncements followed by "I did it again"
-Looking forward to casino Beercules with Barney on the phone (is he talking to Robin or Norah I MUST KNOW!)
-Victoria's back, so guys IS SHE THE MOTHER?????


Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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