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October 7, 2015

'How I Met Your Mother' Season 6, Episode 19 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 22nd 2011 12:00AM
'How I Met Your Mohter'  'Legendaddy'['How I Met Your Mother' - 'Legendaddy']

You've got to hand it to John Lithgow; not only is the man a great actor, but he speaks truth to power.

When I talked to him last week, after CBS very generously provided us with a clip of tonight's episode, he told me that "Even 10 minutes into the show, he's not the father of Barney that you expect."

And, boy, was he right. The sneaky folks at CBS sent us the scene to make us all believe that Jerry, Barney's long-lost dad, was a senior version of Barney; he ordered the same drink, complimented Barney's skinny tie, and was able to pick up a woman like a champ.

But Jerry wasn't like that at all. In fact, he wasn't even close. And it's the reason why this episode was such a satisfying one to watch.

We found out a lot about Jerry and the dynamic that was in the Stinson household in the early '80s. Jerry at one point was a bad-ass -- he was a roadie for a bunch of different '70s-era bands -- but he boozed it up way too much, to the point where Barney's mother told him to stop coming around. Interesting, huh? Barney's mom might have been loose, but she tried her best to keep bad influences away from her kids. Jerry reformed after that and became a boring suburban family man.

The "legendaddy" version of Jerry that Barney told the gang about and the real version couldn't have been more opposite, and it's the reason why Lithgow is doing this role. He can veer from bad-ass to super-meek in the blink of an eye, and you could just tell the differences between Barney's tales and reality just by Lithgow's physicality alone. As "legendaddy," Lithgow leaned back; as the real, meek Jerry who has acid attacks, he was hunched over.

To be honest, I like real Jerry better. It's too easy for Lithgow to play that outrageous role; he did it for five years on '3rd Rock From the Sun.' To see him be the boring suburban dad, doing the matching sweaters thing with his family, is a role that I've seen from him less often. And Barney needs to have someone show him that having a family isn't death, even though when Barney walks into Jerry's home, it sure looks that way to him.

Odd to see Nancy Travis in what right now looks like a minor role as Jerry's wife. Even odder to see her with straight hair. She's been in too many good roles for her to be just a minor character, so I'm sure we'll see more of her the next time Jerry pops up -- and since Lithgow spoke to me from the 'Mother' set, we know he will be.

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Legendaddy'The scene between Neil Patrick Harris and Lithgow, when Barney tries to tear down Jerry's basketball hoop because "every kid should have a basketball hoop," was a heartbreaking one to watch, and well-executed by both. If not for Jason Segel's scenes from the episodes surrounding his father's death, this scene would have been the best of the season. It's a good thing that Barney's issues are pretty raw, but it seems, once the shock wears off, that Barney might let Jerry in a little bit. Jerry seemed to have a good time enabling Barney's insults towards 9-year old J.J. "Maybe you were on your 4th period!" Barn says to J.J. after the kid tells Barney when he has gym.

The other plot -- the rest of the gang's knowledge holes -- was a bit of a throwaway, but a funny one. Lily's bad aim, Ted's literal pronunciation of "chameleon," and Robin's stunning lack of knowledge about the North Pole, reindeer, and Jack Kennedy were fun. But the story took off when it was couched around Marshall's desire not to have his wife and friends treat him with kid gloves anymore. Marshall's increasingly crazy behavior to test his friends' resolve really outdid the knowledge holes themselves. Wonder if Marshall is finally going to set Rex the possum free to roam the city's sewers now?

More fun stuff:

-- The Best Barneyism of the week: "Legendaddy," with Barney talking about using his "tool" to fix the TV.

-- You'd think that Marshall's knowledge gap would be Nessie- and Sasquatch-related. But the fact that he's a grown man who can't swallow pills, among other things, was funny enough.

-- Was Ted's impulsively-purchased house a convenient way to position Barney down the road from Jerry or was it Bays' and Thomas' plan all along to have that house be so close to Barney's dad?

-- I don't want to know what freezes to an outdoor stripper pole in the winter.

'How I Met Your Mother' airs Mondays at 8PM ET on CBS.

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One thing that piqued my interest was the mentioning of a college aged daughter. Could Barney have already met his half-sister?

March 22 2011 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jordan's comment

Or, could she be the Mother? After all, we know that the mother was in the not-architecture class Ted mistook for this class.

March 22 2011 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If Barney met her...he would have slept with her. Let's hope that's NOT the case!
Better yet, maybe the daughter is the mother and Ted will marry her and become Barney's half-brother-in-law. I could definitely see that.

March 22 2011 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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