HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: The Stinsons - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


March 3, 2009 by  

After a long hiatus and a tease of a new episode two weeks ago, only to have it pre-empted by President Obama, we finally got a new episode last night. I read the small episode description from my guide weeks ago, so I was totally hyped up for this episode. The thought that Barney Stinson having a wife and kid that his best friends had no idea about was intriguing and all the images running through my mind knew that this was going to be a good episode. But maybe I let my enthusiasm for the show build-up expectations that could not be met. Maybe it was due to having to wait so long or I was still basking in a glow from not going to work today due to the snowstorm, but I was slightly underwhelmed with this episode.

I hate to be a downer. I really don’t want to berate one of my favorite shows and I don’t find any joy in being malicious. So I’m going to write my piece and hopefully prove my sad gut feeling wrong by the end of it.

We find our friends at their booth at MacLaren’s with Lily giving Barney the heads up about “three blonde babies drinking bad decision juice at 3 o’clock”. But Barney wasn’t interested. Barney has been acting uncharacteristic and the gang is starting to notice. Lily deduces that Barney must have a girlfriend and they follow him when he leaves the bar. During this entire part where normally I would comment that it was cute and it was setting the stage for the entire episode, I was instead more interested in Lily’s purple polka-dot blouse, confused by Robin’s top and necklace and thinking about how I have definitely seen that black and gray sweater on Ted before. That’s not a good sign for me, my friends.

They follow Barney out of Manhattan to a house where they think they have found his secret girlfriend but instead are introduced to his mother played by Frances Conroy. I know people have been praising Conroy due to her role on “Six Feet Under” which I still haven’t seen yet (the SFU series set is tops on my x-mas list, so feel free to pick one up for me if you ever are in the mood). I just would have really enjoyed seeing Megan Mullally in the role instead. She voiced the character years ago and that’s the only voice and image I can associate with Barney’s mom. Plus we have seen Mullally play trampy boozehound with panache, so it wouldn’t have been a hard role for her. Yes, Barney’s mom supposedly changed her ways after becoming sick, but I still don’t buy that woman raising Barney.

At the house we are also introduced to Betty and Tyler – Barney’s fake wife and son – a family he created as a result to appease his mother’s dying wishes. His mother didn’t die, and neither did the idea of Barney’s faux fam. All these years later and he still wrestles together the actors to play his wife and son every time his mothers comes to town. Tell one lie, it leads to another. Barney’s in deep.

Again, while the initial idea is good, I was still sort of bored with how it was playing out. They could have done more with it.

Even though Barney’s quibble that child actors were better in the 80s (complete with musical cues from “Doogie Howser”) was brilliant, but I still wasn’t laughing. I think I was only able to muster a smile.

I didn’t fall for Lily and Marshall’s fight regarding Lily’s dislike for Marshall’s mother. It felt forced like they need another conflict for this episode. Robin’s interaction with Grant/Tyler while I know it was meant to be cute, I can only say “eh”. Skipping ahead to them on the porch, I was reminded that Robin has primarily not been a fan of kids. Yes, I remember seeing her outgrow that fear but I guess I still found it weird for her to be chatting it up with a kid on the porch, especially when the kid tried to make a move on her.

Then the episode turned around for me. Exactly 20 minutes in and I finally was laughing out loud. My cold heart warmed over when Ted, while telling his fake story of betrayal after being caught kissing Barney’s “wife,” slapped Barney. And then slapped him again. Do I get a sick joy at seeing NPH getting slapped? I think I am learning that I do. But I just loved having Barney receive a slap that wasn’t correlated to the slap bet or having him say something inappropriate to a girl. Plus everyone’s reactions, especially Barney’s facial expressions were priceless.

I found it clever that during Ted’s story that they would cut back to Margaret teaching Ted acting tricks. They were sweet together and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of her. Plus it would be funny to learn more about her “marriage” with Barney outside of this episode.

We also got just a small reminder of Barney’s love for Robin, just a trickle, which was pleasant. I don’t need to be hit over the head that Barney is in love with Robin and I’m not in a rush for them to get together immediately. I like how it has been playing out and I’m OK with waiting. I also loved the fake phone call between Lily and Marshall’s mother, which was really Ted and Margaret/Betty in another cab.

While overall I was disappointed, there were some small bright spots. The running gag of Barney rooting for the villains in every movie was sharp. I think Josh and Neil both brought their A-games. Neil was definitely on top of every beat, from his interaction with his mother upon first introduction to having to hear about her leaving him for three weeks while she was passed around like a bong. Altogether, there was just not enough in the storyline for me to love this episode.

What is your opinion of last night’s episode? Do you think I’m crazy for not applauding this latest installment?


14 Responses to “HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: The Stinsons”

  1. angiep213 on March 3rd, 2009 4:36 pm

    i liked last night’s episode. while it felt like it didn’t really getting rolling till too late in the episode, if it’s going to be a little off at least it was focused around NPH. I didn’t love ActingTed’s backstory, but the slaps/reactions totally made up for it. I love love love the idea of Barney talking to his mom everyday. I adore the little pieces of ‘Real Barney’ that we get every now and then. And of course, any Doogie reference is fine by me.

  2. Shannon on March 3rd, 2009 4:57 pm

    I 100% agree with your recap!! I love this show, but last night’s episode was only meh for me (besides the awesome slap portion).

  3. Give Me My Remote on March 3rd, 2009 5:06 pm

    Despite a few shining moments, last night’s ep didnt work for me. I thought they could have done so much more before the big reveal that Barney had hired these actors to play his family. There could have been a lot of great comedy in the reaction of Lily, Marshall, Ted and Robin.

    There was something about the dialogue that didn’t feel organic either. It was like the writers were so happy to have landed Frances Conroy that they built too much of the show around her.

    An ‘ok’ ep of HIMYM is still better than half the drivel I watch anyway, so I didn’t mind all that much.

  4. Mary on March 3rd, 2009 7:56 pm

    I was happy to have my HIMYM boys back but I agree the ep fell a little flat. The concept while seemingly humorous didn’t have much substance and it felt a little false that after all this time Barney has been able to keep up this charade but I decided to go with it anyway. Unfortunately it didn’t pay off, even NPH, who I worship, seemed off his a game. I didn’t think the thing with the kid and the catch phrase was funny at all and that little kid annoyed me almost as much as Robin trying to be nice to him did. The only redeeming quality about this ep. was Margret and Ted I hope we get to see more of them because I loved it. They have great chemistry and I could really see her and Ted connecting over time. She would be a great addition, if only temporarily, to the cast.

  5. Lynzee on March 4th, 2009 11:25 am

    Is it wrong that I’m having the most fun watching them try to hide Allison’s pregnancy? Hurray for flowy tops and big purses haha.

  6. c on March 4th, 2009 12:48 pm

    I was kind of sad for Barney that Robin was bad-mouthing her morning show job within earshot of him. He worked so hard and pulled so many strings to get that job for her, and i wonder if it would have crushed him if he had heard her complaining about it to a kid she’d just met that day. i know the show didn’t do anything with that angle, but I was just wondering about it.

  7. Forts on March 4th, 2009 5:06 pm

    I just love Barney acting not Barney. ^-^

    I got that a few times last night… Barney/Robin fluff. Adorable. Barney’s enamored face is just so danged cute.

    And Barney’s “LOVE ME MOMMY!” face.

    Also any time that Barney mentions his “dad” matter-of-factly. Or his gay black brother. It bums me out though that my family never remembers these details… I was laughing so hard when he talked about his father and brother. My parents did not.

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