HIMYM: Season 8, Episode 7
The Stamp Tramp
The Stamp Tramp displays a lot of what frustrates me about this season of HIMYM: Ted wallowing in self-pity, Barney engaging is debauchery that isn't all that debaucherous, and a Marshall centric storyline that looks like it could turn into a Marshall centric story arc.

When Marshall runs into Brad, an old, down on his luck friend from law school, he vouches for him to help him get an interview at his firm. The gang thinks that Marshall is too quick to give out his personal seal of approval, hence the name "Tramp Stamp." They are quickly proven right when Brad turns out to be the interviewee from hell, and later a spy from a rival legal team working to undermine Marshall's big case.

The idea of how reliable the gangs' various stamps of approval are could have led to one of the shows most consistently rewarding framing devices: the gang sitting around and riffing about past events complete with quick cutaways. Instead this idea segues into Ted reliving just how lame he was in college, continuing the depressive shame spiral that will lead Ted to alcoholism that will lead to him getting in bar fights where repeated hits to the throat damage his vocal cords lowering it to a Saggetesque timbre, which will lead to more alcoholism, which will lead to him dressing up old scare crows in teenagers' clothing and regaling them with stories in his cold, empty house.

I love Marshall. I do. I love Lily also. I love Jason Segal and Alyson Hannigan. Their work in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Buffy the Vampire Slayer respectively was what convinced me to check out How I Met Your Mother to begin with. But as I have said in the majority of my previous reviews, their stories are over. They have a loving marriage, stable jobs, and a new baby. For a show about navigating your late twenties to early/mid thirties, you don't get a happier ending than that.

Any Marshall or Lily centric plotline this late in the game is taking time away from Ted (and the audience) meeting and getting to know the mother. And that is a development that deserves more than the handful of episodes it will receive if Bays and Thomas keep trying to deliver equal screen time to all characters.

Oh also Barney did stuff that had something to do with choosing a new strip club but I sort of tuned out after the puns and Lebron James's The Decision references started flying left and right. This storyline did culminate in a drunken kiss between Robin & Barney. I really hope we return to this development next episode, despite Robin's eagerness to avoid it as an intoxicated mistake. Honestly, if next week's episode ended with Barney proposing, and the following episode time jumped straight to their wedding, I'd be happier than Ted rocking out to Dishwalla.

Grade: D


-Again with the Cleveland sports references! Dated ones at that. This is getting weird.

-"Take a sip, follow my lead."

-"I mean maybe take a month off, bang a couple chicks, Lily isn't going anywhere"¦"

Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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