How I Met Your Mother: Ten Sessions - VIDEO
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.
Gallery: How I Met Your Mother
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.
I 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.
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.