How I Met Your Mother: The Third Wheel
(S03E03) To all the members of the fairer sex who are reading this review, I will let you in on a little secret: every breathing straight male on this planet wants to ride the tricycle.
There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it: the dream of being with two women is one of the things that keeps us breathing and makes us feel alive. Few of us ever get to ride the trike, and those that come close often buckle under the pressure ("I'm not an orgy guy," Jerry said in the face of "the ménage" on Seinfeld). But to even get a chance? That's what Wild Ted Mosby faces in this episode. And, while it wasn't as funny as it could have been, one thing saved it: The Belt.
The thought of The Belt flashing though Ted's head (and earlier, Barney's) generated some big laughs. Just the idea that Ted and Barney not only created a mythical championship for the first person to achieve a threesome, but that Barn actually went out and bought a boxing-style championship belt, is what elevates this story just slightly above all the other threesome stories we've seen in Sitcomville over the years (and there have been quite a number of them, haven't there?). As I said before, the pressure that a guy can put on himself in this situation can be overwhelming; it even consumed the great Barney Stinson, who choked like the Mets and used wine spillage as an excuse to go. But Ted? How would he do? We'll get back to that in a second.
(Oh, and why wasn't this episode called "The Belt"? They only mentioned "The Third Wheel" fleetingly, before Ted realized that they were into the threesome. Maybe naming it "The Belt" would have given something away.)
Remember how I bitched and moaned about stunt casting and how it distracts from the show? Well... let's just say that the stunt casting works well when the guests are Danica McKellar (reprising her role as Trudy, first seen in "The Pineapple Incident" two years ago. I guess they figured out how to work around the fact that Ted said he never heard from her again) and Busy Philipps. Boy, I forgot how sexy Busy can be, with that lisp of hers... she doesn't quite reach those heights when she's got her hand in a sucking chest wound on ER, does she? Now, as much as I like seeing Trudy back, I just have one question: do Bays and Thomas have more in store for her than just a fleeting threesome? There's a backstory there, and I can't imagine they brought Danica back just for this episode; I hope not, as I think she's going to play a big part in the journey Wild Ted takes to find "the mother."
Speaking of that: Whether Ted actually went through with the threesome or not (and Barney was going nuts trying to find out at the end, didn't he?), even the fact that he told the lead-up story to his kids seems a bit... unseemly, even compared to some of the stories Old Ted has told his kids over the years. I mean, really... do you want to know about that time that your dad hooked up with two chicks? Didn't think so; the thought alone would make me cry in my Cheerios on a daily basis.
Barney had a lot of good moments in this episode, despite the fact that he didn't leave the confines of the Ted/Marshall/Lily abode. The Best Barneyism has to be his step-by-step instructions that would lead Ted to tricycle nirvana, from the tequila and the smoking jacket to the foot massage (with grandma references... it's good to look like a caregiver) to the speech about not denying the joy, it shows how depraved and ingenious ol' Barn is. Fortunately, Ted didn't need any of that, as the girls got started without him. By the way, I give Bays and Thomas credit for that; I really thought they were going to have the girls leave while Ted got the pep talk from Barney in the bedroom, but they faked us out by having them move to Marshall and Lily's bedroom. Smooth.
As for the other plots... well... that's mostly what made the episode unfunny. The Wii tennis tourney was fun, especially as Marshall settles in by taking off his pants, leading to a couple of good "bangars and mash" type of jokes from Barney (heh... because bangars are sausages...). But it just served as a way to keep Barney, Marshall and Lily in the apartment. The boot sale frenzy? Considering that the fact that Lily's objection to Rachel (Philipps) being her boot thief enemy got about five seconds' worth of consideration (let's just say Lil can be bought) really showed how little that complication was needed in the grand scheme of things.
And Robin's hairy dating dilemma? Not good. Not at all good. I mean, having her butter up her legs to shave was kind of funny, but the entire plot could have been sliced out of the episode and no one would have really missed it. It really shows that the writers are having problems trying to figure out how to integrate Robin back into the group post-breakup. So far, it's been painful, leaving Cobie Smulders adrift from the others. I think if they hook her up with Barney, as most fans seem to think is bound to happen, that might rope her back into the fold. I hope they think of something; as I have said, the show works best when the entire group is together, and having Cobie carry entire plots on her own isn't the best of ideas.
This is the best of the three episodes we've seen so far this year, but the season overall still needs to hit its stride. Am I disappointed at this slow start? A little. But I have faith in Carter, Craig, and their crew that they'll get up to speed soon. They'd better, because if The Big Bang Theory is getting more viewers than they are, that's not a very good sign.
|Loving it||393 (56.4%)|
|It's OK||195 (28.0%)|
|I'm disappointed but hopeful||97 (13.9%)|
|I'm done with the show||12 (1.7%)|
Gallery: How I Met Your Mother