Review: How I Met Your Mother - Jenkins
by Joel Keller, posted Jan 19th 2010 1:02AM
(S05E13) This was one of those episodes that seemed like it would be more fun than it actually was. The stories seemed to be potentially amusing, and there were some funny moments. But this was definitely on the lower side of the ledger as far as this season's episodes are concerned.
Which one of the stories did I like better? Hm... the Jenkins one, but only by a little bit. It was fun seeing Amanda Peet playing someone who was even more alpha male than Robin, and envisioning Peet doing some of the things Marshall described Jenkins doing wasn't exactly unpleasant. Oh, and it introduced us to Big Fudge, who I hope plays more Skee-Ball as the seasons go on.
There wasn't a lot of Barney in this episode, but that was on purpose; Neil Patrick Harris directed this episode, the first time he's directed anything on TV. I was on the set of HIMYM with my fellow critics this morning to watch them do a table read of a later episode; during the Q&A after the read, someone asked Neil about his directing experience. He said that he consulted the show's usual director, Pamela Fryman, quite a bit:
"She was there, sort of over my shoulder helping in scenes that I was in," he said. "In scenes that I was in as well as directing she was able to call the shots at the monitor and stuff. And it was an amazing learning experience, the first thing I've ever directed."
So there wasn't a lot of Barney there this week, which might have been why the laughs were light. I wasn't buying the Robin "But, um" drinking game, for a couple of reasons. First of all, why are little kids and authors being interviewed at four in the morning? At least in the author's case, the implication is that he paid ten bucks to appear. But the kid? Also, how does thirty-something Ted get wasted at four in the morning, puke on himself, and then seem fine later that day?
At least Jenkins' decision to play the But-um game proved to have work-related consequences. I can see why Lily wouldn't get jealous of Jenkins or believe Marshall when he said she kissed him. The reacher-settler dynamic is there in most relationships, and there's no doubt who's who in the Lily-Marshall marriage. I did like how he finally got her to admit that she's the settler, invoking the image of Oprah as an airline pilot to do it. "And there's nothing more Oprah can do?" said Lily, just to make sure.
But it was also nice to see Lily slug the crap out of Jenkins when she said "it happened," at Marshall's infinite encouragement. Why did the scene work? Because, while she was taking off her rings and other accessories in preparation, she was smiling. For some reason, I didn't see the vicious swing coming.
More fun stuff:
- Some post-Swarkles feelings are starting to show, as Barney describes a conquest to a perturbed Robin. Also, Ted and Barney have agreed that Barney isn't going to talk about what he did with Robin in the bedroom, even though he can't resist.
- The Best Barneyism of the week: "I want to wear Jenkins like a sock." Second place: "Step two: I sleep with Jenkins first." Third place: "Marshall, you're blocking the shot!"
- Robin: "A horse? I love those things!"
- More fun from Robin, after assuming that Marshall is the reacher because he got Lily a horse: "Take the hit. Take the hit."
[Watch clips and free episodes of HIMYM at SlashControl.]