HIMYM: Season 8, Episode 5
The Autumn of Break Ups
On this week's episode of HIMYM, Barney continued his losing battle with the neurosyphilis ravaging his brain, causing him to believe a dog spoke to him and told him how to pick up girls, Ted became unstuck from the space time continuum and was forced to relive the same sequence of events over and over again a al Groundhog Day, and Marshall's soul was utterly consumed when he released and was possessed by the spirit of a long dead, sassy southern woman. At least that's the more interesting (and sadly logical) explanation for what occurred in The Autumn of Break Ups.

With Ted happily (or so he thinks) monogamous with Victoria, Barney picks up a new wing man, a stray dog he names "Brover." Robin notices that Barney has quickly become extremely, almost uncomfortably close with his new furry tail chasing companion, and suspects that his behavior is the result of his break up with Quinn setting off his issues with abandonment. Her fears are confirmed when Barney nearly leaps off his balcony when Brover's owner calls to claim him (how she tracked them down is beyond me, but Brover's owner is a prime candidate for the Mosby Boys).

Unfortunately, Barney's obsession with the dog as a result of a mental breakdown never really hits its mark. The dog is so intelligent and humanlike that it's hard to fault Barney's obsession with him, and the writers never give Neil Patrick Harris any big moments of denial or manic histrionics to cut loose on as we know he so deftly can. The storyline was more bizarre than funny, not even delivering poignance when it tried to foreshadow the eventual recoupling of Barney and Robin.

Speaking of Robin, HIMYM continued its most frustrating trend (aside from not introducing the mother) of finding a perfectly valid excuse to break up one of its dead end couples only to reunite them by the episode's end. This week Nick (Michael Trucco) becomes frustrated that he can't cook a nice dinner for Robin without her running off to help or console one of her close male friends who also happen to be her exes. But lo and behold everything works out five minutes later when he decides it's not that big a deal (to be fair, he has more important issues on his mind, like thinking up catch phrases for his cable access cooking show).

Which brings us to the episode's A (and finally Ted centric) plot. Long story short: Ted proposes to Victoria, she says yes, but only if he and Robin stop being friends. While the end of this particular story is as touching as the show can achieve in these, the dark years, the entire storyline is undercut by the fact that we have seen this plot line so many times before that I'm starting to suspect that the writer's have a pre-scripted mad lib template for it.

Why reintroduce Victoria, Ted's first love, his first truly significant relationship if there wasn't a reason for why it mattered on his journey? Ending the relationship because of Ted's continued friendship with Robin isn't just lazy or repetitive (it is both though, this trope was dusted off and used with Quinn & Barney as recently as the season opener) it also makes completely no sense, as it was Victoria herself who last season told Ted that the reason he still hasn't found his happiness is because he is still close friends with his significant exe. Why then would she choose to get involved with him if this was still an insurmountable obstacle for her, and especially, wait ten months into the relationship to bring it up? And given that Ted and Robin haven't had any significant reactions all season, the ultimatum comes out of nowhere and makes Victoria look especially unreasonable.

Oh, also Marshall decided to start doling out advice in the guise of a sassy southern woman for some reason. This was mildly amusing. It was one of the only things that was mildly amusing about The Autumn of Break Ups. But that doesn't mean it made any sense.

Grade: D


"Robin's the deep dark pit where our relationship goes to die. But nicest girl in the world, salt of the earth."

"Oh my gosh! Who's ready to nosh?" "Who's poppin a chub for some grub?" "Who ready to eat my meat?" "They're gonna be bon appe-sweet!" -Nick's terrible catch phrases were the best thing this episode had going for it.

"Look if you really want to have a boyfriend, just stop taking the pill" -Again I don't know why this was happening but, I could stand to see a little more of rogue, terrible advice giving Marshall

Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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