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October 7, 2015

How I Met Your Mother: Shelter Island

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 20th 2008 10:27PM
HIMYM: Shelter Island
(S04E05) Ah... now I get it.

Now I get why Bays and Thomas wrote Sarah Chalke's character of Stella to be so incredibly dull that it invokes tears. I get why, despite the fact that Chalke has comedic acting skills to spare, she essentially played straight man to Ted and the rest of the Scooby gang. And I get why, even though Ted has professed that he was in love with her and wanted to be with her forever, it seemed like this was the worst chemistry Ted's ever had with a girlfriend.

I get all of it now, and now it all makes complete sense.

Carter and Craig didn't want us to like Stella.

You heard me. At the end of last season, too many people were starting to buy into Stella being the Mother, even though something about that didn't feel right. So instead of making Stella even more charming in her four episodes this year, the guys decided to make her even more dull, so no one had any doubt that a) Ted was going to get his heart broken and b) he was going to rebound quickly.

Heck, they even had Old Ted say "and that's how I met your mother!" to two blond kids, representing what would have happened if Stella told Robin to leave instead of Ted. It's almost as if the guys were acknowledging all the Mother speculation right there.

Don't get me wrong; I support Stella's notion that you shouldn't invite exes to a wedding. And, as you can see, she was really bitchy about it because she was more afraid of what she might do with Tony, rather than what Ted might do with Robin. But it's pretty obvious that her bitchiness leading up to the big reveal made her look even more unsuitable for Ted than before, and puts the fan in the position of cheering Robin on as she lectures Ted about how he's rushing into things and that this isn't the proper conclusion to his grand romantic quest.

Oh, about the rushing in part: the "let's get married in three days!" gambit seems to me to be Sitcomland code for, "Let's make up an implausible situation to clear this off our board as quickly as we can!" Just the fact that the wedding was on Shelter Island to begin with just so Robin can be on the ferry to see Stella and Tony's reunion was also a bit on the contrived side. Both contrivances took away from the usual emotional gut punch that Bays / Thomas and company have been good at conveying in these moments.

Don't get me wrong, though; it was a relatively funny episode. I just think there was too many turns to get to the destination we all thought we were going to, anyway.

Other funny stuff:

  • Poor Barney: he had the formula to get back with Robin (achieved Numb3rs style); he resisted the advances of Stella's recently-jilted and horny sister ("I was a vegan for two years. I want some meat!"); he even had Robin outside his room with a bottle of scotch, thus bringing "Get Robin Drunk at Ted's Wedding" to fruition. Too bad the crunchy desk clerk got to him. His failure to resist on the lowest levels is the Best Barneysim of the week.
  • Robin's job in Japan didn't last long, did it? Chimps with marshmallows, "Giant fan!"... just the background behind her desk told us that Robin wasn't poised to become the next Lara Logan.
  • I think every groom has sympathized with Marshall's plight before his wedding. And I bet it all became noise to them, too.
  • Jason Jones was perfect as the over-the-top macho but pathetic lovesick Tony. Too bad we didn't see more of him this season.
  • This thing with Robin and Ted isn't done yet, is it? She'll move in with Ted and now Barn will be going after her while she tries to win back Ted. My, my.
  • One more thing: Lara Spencer, talking about the CBS comedy lineup while cooking bagged pasta dinners? Creepy as hell. Hope I never see that again.

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Lara Spencer is to cooking what Lara Spencer is to journalism.

October 23 2008 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't you all remember the episode when Ted and Victoria broke up? I'm not 100% sure, but pretty positive that Future Ted said they did not end up together.

I will be so disappointed if they try and twist it around somehow to Robin being who Ted ends up with. Since in the first episode, Future Ted said "...and that kids is how I met your Aunt Robin," I've not at all set my mind or heart on it being her, so now it would just feel so wrong for her to be it...

October 23 2008 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fowak's comment

Robin isn't the mother. On the DVD commentaries, the writers constantly state how they keep writing themselves into corners that are hard to write out of but they know they eventually have to lead the story away from Robin since they made it clear from the binning that she's NOT the mother.

Also, Robin wasn't at the St. Patrick's Day party, and Robin hasn't mentioned missing a yellow umbrella that Ted still must have somewhere...

November 15 2008 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Waiting for an Invitation" by Benji Hughes.

October 22 2008 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Barney's equation solving was a reference to A Beautiful Mind/The Da Vinci Code (both Ron Howard films, explaining the similarity of the mechanism), not "Numbers." The music was similar to the stuff James Horner did for A Beautiful Mind, but to me, it becomes obvious that it was intended to be more of a Da Vinci Code reference if you listen to Hans Zimmer's "Chevaliers de Sangreal" from the film and then the clip of Barney directly after.

October 21 2008 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff stiefer

thank you for that...i wondered what the sign translated into but forgot to look it up. great joke :)

October 21 2008 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are we making a mistake in assuming that the kids are Ted's? Maybe those are someone else's kids, like Robin's sister's? Thus Aunt Robin, Uncle Barney (I had an Uncle Barney BTW). Maybe he is Uncle Ted to those kids? Way out there I know.


October 21 2008 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jeff's comment

That's a good theory, and a way for Ted to still end up with Robin in the end, but I'm pretty sure that the kids have referred to Future Ted as Dad, tho someone would have to verify this to be certain.

October 22 2008 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

You mean other than the fact that the kids have called him "DAD" multiple times.

October 23 2008 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What happened to Stella's daughter? Did they just leave her at the reception?

October 21 2008 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tinkk's comment

I'm sure Stella had plenty of family there to watch Lucy.

October 21 2008 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

can anyone get me the song at the end of the episode? its stuck in my head and its driving me crazy i need to know the songggg

October 21 2008 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved this episode...finally things are going back to normal...
Loved the part of 'Namasteying here any longer than I have to' and the part where Ted says robin is his best female friend and lily 'Hey, Oh, ahm I don't care, why fake it?' and also the part when barney says 'I just know a hopeless cause when I see it, the same reason I don't recycle...LOOOOOOL!

October 21 2008 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So far, the mother is the director Pam Fryman since she played the woman with the yellow umbrella.

Didn't the boys say that we haven't met the mother yet, which rules out Victoria and Wendy and anyone else. Plus, I'm sure the kids would have noticed if Future Ted mentioned their mom's name while telling his stories, but then I can't remember if the episodes with Victoria were ones where he was actually telling it to his kids.

October 21 2008 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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