How I Met Your Mother: Benefits
Back to the A-story. For the twist, we can thank Barney. And not just because he broke all those TVs.
Barney's pain at seeing Ted and Robin settle their roommate disputes with sex was that twist, and it was excellently played by Neil Patrick Harris. For the first time since the beginning of the season, we're seeing a vulnerable Barney that's barely hiding behind the Awesome exterior he puts up for himself. What was interesting was that we had a lot of the standard elements of such a story: the friend warning that exes getting back together will only result in someone getting hurt, the "ground rules" a la Seinfeld, the slip-up where one of them lets things get too emotional. But at the end of the episode, Ted and Robin were OK, and Barney was the one left with the sucking emotional chest wound, especially after Robin told him that friends shouldn't get involved with each other. If anyone saw that coming at the beginning of the episode, they'd be wrong.
The story led to some nice Barney moments. His Best Barneyism of the week is his careful selection of TVs at the electronic store, considering colors and black levels, just so he can smash them in the alley of MacLaren's. You know that Barney can't help but flex his alpha-male muscles just so he can find the perfect TV to take the brunt of his frustrations. First runner up is feelings hour in Lily's class. Second runner up is the "Gaza Strippers / Apart Thighed/Tear Down Your Pants" theory, especially because he came up with it after sex with Madeline Albright.
Boy, could I relate to Marshall's "reading a magazine" problem. At my old job, I used to print out pages from web sites to read in my "other office," just so it looked like I was walking around with important papers instead of the latest Slate think piece on Laguna Beach. Speaking of awful reality shows ... now we know how Heidi and Spencer of The Hills were used on the show; they mocked Marshall from the cover of the magazine he brought to the bathroom, as did Kendra Wilkinson of The Girls Next Door (had to look that one up) and Kim Kardashian, who -- OMG! -- "might cut bangs!" "You're right, woman who I don't know but my wife assures me is famous," (someone give me the exact quote, please!) was my favorite line of the night.
More fun stuff:
- "That's aws... ful." - Barney to Robin after she said Ted broke things off.
- Ted broke it off because he knows about Barney. How could Ted not figure it out after Barney tried to settle every one of the roomies' disputes?
- Do they spell "weird" differently in Canada?
- Lily: "My cuteness interferes with my message." Boy, does it ever.
- "That didn't last long," for both Marshall's 8th floor bathroom and Ted/Robin's benefits break.
- Barney: "Read a magazine means masturbating, right?"
- Boy, Barney's mis-read "I love you" was a kick in the teeth, for him and us.
- Ted/Robin saluting "Private Thing." Nice callback to last year.