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Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Rabbit or Duck'

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 9th 2010 12:03AM
Neil Patrick Harris in 'HIMYM' - 'Rabbit or Duck'(S05E15) I've noticed that the last few episodes of 'HIMYM' have largely taken place in the "home booth" at MacLaren's. I know it's the 21st century version of the couch at Central Perk, but the world of 'Mother' is a lot bigger than that these days. And, besides, Cobie Smulders and Alyson Hannigan aren't pregnant anymore; there's no need to hide their baby bumps under the table anymore.

That being said, it's a great place for two of this show's signature "bits" to start: 1) Absurd arguments, and 2) Incessant ball-busting. We saw both of these this week, with Ranjit thrown into the mix to make things more interesting. What really made this episode wasn't just the Rabbit/Duck argument, though; it was the subtle direction shifts that made loyal viewers think Ted was going in one not so good direction, when he was really going in a worse -- but more fun! -- direction.

Seriously, before his double-date with Lil, Marshall, and Limber Girl, you had no idea that Ted had found Barney's "magic phone" and decided to follow that lead. So when he and Robin exchanged "that look," and Ted thought Limber Girl was a rabbit and not a duck, there must have been a part of you that was thinking, "Oh, crap. He's not going back with Robin, is he?" That would have been a pretty big disaster for all involved. But, no, Ted's baser instincts took over, and that was surprisingly refreshing.

The plot where Ted asks L&M to "arranged marriage me" was a bit of a red herring, wasn't it? It was more there to help Marshall keep pressing Robin on the issue of her co-worker Don, and for Ted to introduce the much-better Duck/Rabbit concept. And, by the way, I do consider flavor and texture in the argument. Duck is succulent and delicious. Rabbit is bony and gamy. Duck wins. Oh, and Robin's down comforter argument is pretty convincing, as well. Heck, you can even make a cartoony argument: Daffy is the unwitting stooge, but Bugs is the calculating manipulator. Sorry, Marshall, I'm with the majority on this one: Ducks are good, Rabbits are bad.

As for Don... he pulled The Naked Man. Only he lured Robin to his apartment with a bogus party invite instead of getting into her place. He said he read about it on some guy's blog somewhere. Wonder if it was here? Anyway, he went from duck to rabbit back to duck, which means Robin's "gonna marry him so freakin' hard... right in the butt," as Marshall put it. Or at least we'll be seeing him around for a while. Good to see Robin have a complicated relationship and not pine after pencil-necks like she did last week.

Back on the topic of red herrings... it's clever that we saw a replay of the Super Bowl promo with the number of Barney's "magic phone" instead of the 877 number that was in the ad. Besides seeing Neil Patrick Harris' tour de force of twitches and scared looks as Barney gets seduced by too many choices, there wasn't much to this plot to hold on to. It almost seems like Bays and Thomas are accelerating Barn's tomcatting ways in response to his time as Relationship Barney. But is it a reaction, with Barney catching up, or is it just Barn trying to outdo himself? Because these volume gags are getting a little insane.

More fun stuff:

-- Teddy Westside is Ted's best nickname for himself. But Barney Westside sounds better.
-- Ted: "Permission to say 'Lawyered?' Marshall: "Granted."
-- Ranjit must have been on 24x7 call from Barney, as he knitted a scarf, hat, and gloves. Kitting is a great time-passing comedy device, isn't it?
-- Best Barneyism: "There's always a hotter girl out there with whom up can be hooked."
-- Another fun throwaway line from Marshall: "Well, dog my cats..."

[Watch clips and free episodes of 'HIMYM' at SlashControl.]

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frank

Did anyone else think that sometime during this episode that Ted was finally going to somehow meet his future wife?

February 18 2010 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jack

Does anyone know the name of the song at the end when Ted and Robin were sitting on the couch. I've been searching forever and can't find it.

February 12 2010 at 3:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jack's comment
mike hammer

re: jack

someday by haroula rose

February 22 2010 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Maurizio Maranghi

This episode was so awesome. I think it has met the standards for an emmy nomination. I wish they gave a been shot of the asian figure skater. She really captured my he art... well her profile did at least. lol

-Maurizio Maranghi

February 10 2010 at 3:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dc292982

Limber Girl ROCKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 09 2010 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sigma982

The 877 number during the Super Bowl did indeed take you to a pre-recorded call with Barney. Unfortunately, the call comes up as busy now.....It was somewhat amusing, but nothing out of this world.

February 09 2010 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

"He said he read about it on some guy's blog somewhere. Wonder if it was here?"
I think the obvious reference was Barney's blog.

BTW, I'm with Marshall. Rabbits are better than ducks, but the jokes wouldn't have worked that way.

February 09 2010 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dave's comment
Martin

Agreed. I have witnessed ducks kill other ducks and geese, and attack people, never saw a rabbit do that.

February 09 2010 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Wyant

877-987-6401

February 09 2010 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisa

Why was the phone # different in the Super Bowl ad? The 555 they showed last night is obviously bogus but did the other one actually take the caller to a recording?

February 09 2010 at 7:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

Barney's ringtone is "Turkey In The Straw" (the melody of which is used in the kids song "Do Your Ears Hang Low?").

When Ted asks "permission to say lawyered", Marshall says "I'll allow it" (as a judge would). He doesn't say "granted".

Does anyone have a link to the video of the NPH/Barney Super Bowl ad? All I can find is screencaps. =(

February 09 2010 at 4:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MattD

What song was Barney's ring tone?

February 09 2010 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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