How I Met Your Mother: The Front Porch
(S04E17) This episode proves that Bays and Thomas can do silly, sitcommy things in an episode and still take their loyal audience on an emotional ride with the characters they've grown to love.
Because of that, this was a fun one. We not only got a glimpse of what four of the gang might look like when they're seniors (Ted somehow looks 20 years younger than Marshall, even though they're the same age) but we got to find out about the joy of nightshirts and a morning broadcast that would make Al Roker jealous.
If you went by the promos, this episode had "stupid" written all over it. Dream sequences? Old age bridge? Barney in suitjamas? It looked like a trainwreck. But thankfully, unlike some of their network counterparts (I'm talking to you, NBC!), CBS likes to be cagey with their promos. This one turned out to be funny only because the confluence of things that may have seemed dopey when taken individually worked as a whole. And it brought us to a moment that fans had been wondering would happen: the Robin-Ted relationship relapse.
They came close, didn't they? After Ted asked Robin to be his "backup wife," they exchanged a little look, one that acknowledged that things have changed in two years to the point where they could be back together. Luckily, they didn't act on it... yet. Maybe that'll come during the goat episode. Anyway, if the two of them get back together, will that delight or frustrate the loyalists? I'd like it, only because Ted's been such a dud with everyone since then. But on the other hand, we know that'll get us further away from finding "the mother," because we know Robin's not the one.
It seems fitting that Lily would sabotage Ted's relationships, and do it equally with people she loves (Robin) as well as those she hates (Karen). The fact that Bays and Thomas retroactively had Ted and Robin's breakup words first come out of Lily's mouth was a good way to show how Lily torpedoed them. And how can you tell the flashback scenes weren't outtakes from two years ago? The magazine Lilly is constantly reading. No need for a magazine if there's no baby bump, right?
More fun stuff:
- Barney's nightshirt jokes to Marshall are my Best Barneyism of the week, if only because he thought they were hilarious no matter how lame they really were. My favorite? "Something about Scrooge!"
- Speaking of nightshirts (they do look comfy, don't they?), note the question Barn asks as Marshall tells him that wonderful bedtime story about marriage: he called himself someone "who didn't grow up to be the man he wants to be." Interesting that Barn's starting to have pangs of regret about his trampy ways just as Robin is having an inkling of a thought about getting back with Ted...
- You folks think the gag of Robin having the most exciting work day ever in the background while none of the gang paid attention got old? It did to me... a little bit. Maybe having her deliver a baby was going one step too far. But it led to a good line when Lil asked Robin what's on her jacket: "Soot, breadcrumbs... placenta."
- The front porch test is a good one, isn't it? It's made even funnier by the fact that to the gang, Bridge is some sort of amalgamation of gin, poker, and hearts.
- The less said about Laura Prepon's character the better. Suffice to say, Karen did less than nothing for me.
- I'm guessing the exchange between Ted and Lil after Ted found out about Lil's sabotage was a tribute to A Few Good Men. Who knew that Alyson Hannigan could channel Jack Nicholson so well?
- For someone who was sitting most of the time, Alyson Hannigan sure got a lot of action this time around. Thankfully she also had bulky robes, College Lily dressed baggy, and they only needed her voice for the sci-fi sabotage. And, of course, we saw a hint of Lil's dirty side. She might know more about porn than Barney...