12
Oct
2009
How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, Episode 4
The Sexless Inkeeper
Jordan
It's official: Kourtney Kang is the Robert Rodriguez of How I Met Your Mother writers. Which is to say she is wildly inconsistent, ranging from classic episodes ( "Slap Bet" and "The Wedding") to some of the lower end entries ("Little Boys" and "Benefits"). Unfortunately, this weeks' "The Sexless Innkeeper" is of the latter's mold.

The issue mostly arises from an A-plot that flies in the face of all logic created by the last five seasons. The episode fits into your standard sitcom cliché of "the one where the couple tries to date another couple" and all of the obvious dating tropes are included. This is a foolish enough idea for a sitcom that traditionally defies the cliché, or at least subverts it, but adding to this episode's sins is the fact that we already saw this plotline (back in Season 3's "The Platinum Rule" when Marshall and Lily were off-put by an overbearing couple trying to date them). There is little an episode of How I Met Your Mother can do to anger me more than to defy its own continuity, as this is a show that prides itself on meticulous attention to detail. Further than this though, the idea that Barney and Robin would have any trouble hanging out with Marshall and Lily, who have been their friends for five seasons now, is patently absurd. If Marshall and Lily were acting weird, Barney and Robin would call them out on it, and there would be no need to woo them from the outset"”they are already friends.

One of the benefits of having two friends get together when you're in a couple is the inherent possibility of the double date, but no awkwardness ensues, because you're already friends. The story does lead to some clever moments, including a montage of Barney and Robin acting like a dumped person and watching couples double date to a duet of "All by Ourselves," but even those fall flat because the plotline does not make sense within the characters. A scene in the rain is the perfect opportunity for an overblown parody of couple-dom and romantic comedies, but again, the situation is so aggressively implausible that all comedy is drained out.

The B-plot is slightly more interesting, but so discarded that it doesn't have time to grow into anything other than a side joke. Ted is trying to use his new tweed and elbow patches look to get ladies, and he ends up becoming what Barney calls "the sexless innkeeper." In other words, a girl goes back to his apartment to sleep because she finds him sexually unthreatening. What could have been a nice recurring gag set against Ted's mounting frustration became a throw away as Ted beds his very next conquest. Perhaps the show spoiled me with its incredibly strong opening episodes, but "The Sexless Innkeeper" just feels worn, unoriginal, and not all that funny to boot.

Grade: C+

Notes:

-Most of the comedy tonight came from the energy and chemistry of the cast, who are always excellent.

-"If you leave now, Colonel Mustard just gets away with it!"

-Ranjit! Excellent cameo.

-Itwasthebestnightever.com is a good joke, and the montage of Marshall's other slideshow/songs was pretty funny. Clearly, Jason Segel just wanted to write some funny songs.

-"She was just exhausted from being turned on."

-I like that Barney thinks all poem's must have Victorian settings. Nice excuse to put NPH and Josh Radnor in wigs.

-"You stupid cheese-bearing cracker!"
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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