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October 4, 2015

How I Met Your Mother: Ten Sessions - VIDEO

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 24th 2008 10:23PM
HIMYM: Ten Sessions(S03E13) You know, I'll probably be the only person in the TV-review world who won't lead off his review of this episode with a picture of Britney Spears. Believe me, I had one up before I saw the episode (it's still there; I put it after the jump). But after watching it, I just couldn't do it; the episode is about the relationship between Ted and his tattoo removal doctor. Britney, as most people expected, was just there as an accessory. More on her in a little bit.

OK, now on to the episode... it stunk.

It didn't just stink; it was among the worst episodes of HIMYM I've ever seen. It was corny. It was only occasionally funny. And it had sitcommy situations that would have made Three's Company fans roll their eyes. I was tempted to channel The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy and utter his catch phrase, but this episode didn't even deserve that.

What made it so bad? Well, Brit Brit's presence didn't help. But not in the way you think; sure, her acting was a little stiff and her character was superfluous. But that's not what brought the episode down. It was her presence; because of her, Alicia Silverstone pulled out as the character of Stella the laser doc. Considering she was replaced by Sarah Chalke, you'd think I wouldn't mind. But what happened when Silverstone pulled out was the multi-episode arc that Bays and Thomas intended to write for Stella was reduced to one episode. Now, there's no way to say they compressed the entire arc into this episode. But I'm sure some drastic changes had to be made to accommodate these changes. And those changes weren't good.

How I Met Your Mother: Ten SessionsI mean... kissing up to Abby the assistant to get to Stella? That's something Jack Tripper might do. The misunderstanding with the book The Power of Me? I could see that happening on The King of Queens, but not here. The two-minute date? That was the topper; we haven't seen Corny Ted since he was wooing Robin in season one. I mean, how did Ted even arrange all that... the tables, the movie being shown in the window of the store, all that cheesy stuff? The only part I could see him pulling off was recruiting his old friend Ranjit the cab driver to help him with his romantic grand gesture. Oh, and it was a lot longer than two minutes. It felt like a Scrubs fantasy sequence, only it wasn't nearly as funny... or interesting.

Now, even though the episode was pretty bad, there were still some good parts to it:

  • Sarah Chalke did a nice job. This role isn't as manic as Elliot Reid can be, and Chalke showed that she still knows how to dial it down, something we hadn't seen her do since her early days on Scrubs. And, of course, she looked gorgeous the whole time she was on camera.
  • Because the only reason why Stella thinks she can't date Ted is because she has a kid, it makes me wonder if we won't see her more down the road. Oh, that and the fact that she said she went to a St. Patrick's Day party and she left early... a not-so-subtle reference to last week's episode, no?
  • Lily giving Barney a time out for sparking a magic fireball inside McLaren's. No one seemed to like that, did they? And he just continued in the conversation from the next booth...
  • Some of the "connections" that Bays and Thomas are so good at weaving were in this episode, like when we find out that it was Barney who was yelling into the phone at Abby when Ted showed up. We then found out where Marshall left his copy of The Power of Me... in Stella's office, which is where Ted found it.
  • Robin reacting to Ted's reference to himself as a romantic "Stairway to Heaven" by saying "Boy, Roger Daltrey must be rolling in his grave right now." I mean, jeez, Robin; Rush was not the only classic rock playing on Canadian radio back in the nineties...
  • Marshall: "Have a shrimp." Boy, he really does know what he wants to eat ten days in advance.
  • Finally, there's the Best Barneyism of the week: he finally got Ted to grow a mustache. And, it was interesting that Robin went along with his felliculaphilia ruse: "I got it a little bit." Those two always seem to have this subtle chemistry together that no one seems to notice, but Bays and Thomas always makes reference to, as we saw when Barn referred to a conversation they had about "ruining their friendship." Of course, that's what Robin told him, not the other way around.
I do hope Chalke comes back; even if she's not the mother, she and Josh Radnor had some good chemistry. I just hope it can be explored in a less corny episode. With Scrubs likely entering an eighth season, it doesn't seem like it will happen. Sigh. A man can wish, can't he?

By the way, next week's episode looks like it involves the NCAA Tournament. It's even called "The Bracket." Wonder if that was pushed back a week so this Britney-tastic episode could air and take advantage of the publicity? I wouldn't have put it past CBS to do that.

Is Stella the mother?
Yep. Sure looks that way.253 (19.4%)
Nope.421 (32.3%)
I don't know. I hope Sarah Chalke comes back, though.631 (48.4%)

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What was the song in the background of the two minute date? Anyone know?

March 28 2008 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bkboyler's comment

"What was the song in the background of the two minute date? Anyone know?"

That is the song "Thirteen" by Big Star, one of the sweetest love songs ever. I just saw this episode this past week and was coming over to comment on the excellent choice by the writers for using it there.

May 26 2008 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nothing is wrong with corny and cheesy if it's done well as it was in this episode. Unfortunately for whatever reason we had to deal with Britney who can't act and was detrimental to what was a great episode.

March 26 2008 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dude, we really watched two different show. Classica sit-com jokes were amazing and funny. BS was perfect in her little role, even though she's a better singer then an actress. Sarah Chalke is not an actress I like that much but she was goooood and funny. Love the faces she does. Adored the connections within the episode and withe the past two episodes.
I really don't see why you didn't like the show, it was a regular legen... wait for it... HIMYM installment.

Alessandro [from Rome]

March 26 2008 at 5:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm also in the camp of those who enjoyed the episode. Britney pulled off the "I don't understand what people are saying" look in a pretty humorous way, and I too loved the 2-minute date. It was an adorable way to impress someone who says they don't have time to date. Joel, you ask how he arranged it - of course, if someone were really doing it, the answer would be MONEY (and the help of friends Wendy the Waitress and Cabby Guy).

This also showed how far Chalke has come as an actress. As New-Becky on Roseanne, she ruined every scene she was in. On HIMYM, even though - like on Scrubs - she was playing a busy doctor flirting with a Goofy Jewish-y Lovable romantic lead, she still managed to create a character totally distinct from Eliot Reed.

Looking forward to the next ep!

March 26 2008 at 2:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

One thing this episode did get right - "Manos, The Hands Of Fate" is the worst movie of all time. Even the MST3K treatment couldn't save it!

March 25 2008 at 6:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Isabelle Carreau

The reasons you listed as to why the episode wasn't that good are the same I would have listed.

I don't know if it's because my sources got their hands on a pre-Silverstone-pulling-out script, but they told me Stella is listed in episode 3.15.

March 25 2008 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with the comments. This episode, while less funny haha than usual with the gang, was really quite sweet. Sarah Chalke was FABULOUS in this episode. She's got great chemistry with Ted. Especially that 2 minute date - which, if you looked at your video machine from the start of the date to when Ted says it's the end of the 2 min date, WAS exactly 2 minutes long.

March 25 2008 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought this episode was pretty weak. It seemed very forced and didn't have the easy going sensibility of a normal episode. It did a good job of layering the story (Marshall's book, Barney's phone call) but overall everything felt contrived. I liked the 2 minute date, but will admit it was sweet to the point of being corny.

I think my big problem with the episode was Britney. It felt like her character displaced Chalke's character and thus the more important character's development was disrailed. This also created a lot of awkwardness in how the episode ran. Britney's "acting" was very wooden and it's clear she developed her acting skills to their prime on the Mickey Mouse Club (for most shows this is an acceptable level of acting). However, my big problem was that everytime she was on screen I just thought to myself "Britney Spears just keeps sinking lower and lower" and I would spend the next several minutes feeling bad for her. Depression usually isn't a good feature for a comedy show. While I would be more than happy to receive advice from Barney, medical help from Doogie Houser MD, or have my car stolen by NPH, I still feel bad that NPH needs to try and bail out Britney.

I think if it weren't for the draught caused by the strike, people would realize this wasn't that great of an episode. But like everybody else, I am just happy to have a show to watch and the worst HIMYM is still better than most sitcoms.

March 25 2008 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yea! The Stella Date!!

I liked it. I liked the corney 2 min. date. It was sweet.

Brit? She was fine, and I must agree with everyone else who said, if it was just some unknown actress nothing would have been said about it.

HIMYM is a GREAT show... and it's not Friends. It's not supposed to be Friends. Sheesh!

I wouldn't rank it in the top 10, but I wouldn't rank it in the bottom 10 either.

Now what I don't understand is how Big Bang Theory gets renewed and HIMYM is still on the bubble. *sigh*

March 25 2008 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Alicia's comment

Hey! Watch what you say about Big Bang Theory! It's been getting funnier as time goes on. You might have to be a huge geek in order to grok it, though, I guess...

As for HIMYM, as I said before, better than most TV even at it's worst. And no, this episode was definitely wasn't the worst. I think people had a preconceived notion because of Brit. This episode was hilarious, with or without her.


March 25 2008 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's the big deal about the 2 minute date being corny? Ted's corny! Don't you remember the blue orchestra in Robins apartment at the end of season 1? What about all of the talking between him and Victoria while Marshal and Lily were stuck in the bathroom? Ted's just a corny guy and the 2 minute date was perfect for him. I thought it was cute.

I think the funny parts were good enough to carry everything else and make this a pretty good episode.

March 25 2008 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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