It bugs me that most TV critics get to see shows before viewers do. For the first few episodes in a season, I can deal. It gives us a sense of what’s to come. For brand new shows, I totally get it – I base what I watch off those early reviews just like many other people do.
But this far into a season, I do not need to hear what every TV critic on the face of the planet thinks about an upcoming episode. Just let me watch it. I can decide for myself. I don’t go seeking out spoilers. I generally don’t read other reviews until I’ve watched the episode and have written my own blog post. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. It’s just out there.
I’m ranting because I heard so many Tweets and reviews and comments about Monday night’s episode of How I Met Your Mother before it aired. And they were overwhelmingly positive. People said it was one of their favorite episodes, one of the best this season, a return to the classic episodes. The raves were unavoidable and it was impossible for a girl not to get her hopes up. I knew Robin Sparkles was returning with her new sidekick Jessica Glitter, and I knew everyone loved it.
And therein lies the danger of knowing what everyone thinks about something before you experience it for yourself. It’s why it’s a good idea to see Oscar contender movies in their opening weekends. Or why that restaurant that everyone and their dog loves strikes you as just mediocre once you finally get around to eating there. This episode of How I Met Your Mother was over-hyped, and as a result I was disappointed.
I think my problem with this episode stemmed from the fact that the show relied so heavily on a joke that they already knew was funny. It was too self-aware. Robin Sparkles has always been done well in the past, but everything about this latest installment from “It’s Robin Sparkles 3, bitches!” to the constant sexual innuendos to the beaver song…it was overload.
Robin Sparkles 3 was a recording Barney found of Robin’s Canadian kids’ show that she did before she became a Canadian teen pop star. She and her sidekick, Jessica Glitter, solved crimes in space using math. I liked the silly premise, but how old were Robin and Jessica supposed to be in that show? 13? 16? All the porn comparisons and sexual innuendo felt inappropriate, and not in a funny way.
The rest of the show was OK. Lily, who was talking babies 24/7, freaked out when Ted suggested that the reason Robin wasn’t friends with Jessica anymore was because Robin (who hates babies) dumped Jessica after she had a kid. Lily and Robin got into a fight and “broke up”, which Marshall had a hilarious, outraged reaction to. He tracked down Jessica who revealed that she actually stopped being friends with Robin, because she just didn’t have time for all that friend stuff once she had a baby. Lily promised Robin that wouldn’t happen for them, and it was a good development for the show. I like how slowly HIMYM is introducing a baby into the show. They’re giving the characters and the viewers a chance to get used to the idea.
Meanwhile, Ted received a visit from his super-annoying high school BFF Punchy. Yep, the guy’s name is Punchy. And he’s always punching Ted. The story didn’t go anywhere at first. Ted secretly worries about Punchy because he’s stuck in the same dead-end job in Cleveland. Punchy secretly worries about Ted because he lives in a tiny apartment in NYC (nowhere near Times Square!) with no family and no girlfriend. The whole episode suggested that Ted and Punchy have nothing in common, and then that never really went anywhere. The good news, though, is that Punchy is getting married. And Ted is the best man. Do the math, Robin Sparkles style.
The final scene, where Robin and Jessica sang “Two Beavers are Better Than One” just didn’t do it for me. It felt more like a funny YouTube video than an actual part of a show. What did you think of the episode? Was it kind of lame, or am I just suffering the effects of a week of hype?
Here are some of my favorite lines from the episode:
- “It’s a noble creature.” – I forget if this was Barney or Marshall, but it was one of the few beaver-related lines that actually made me laugh and not roll my eyes.
- Barney’s string of reality television elimination lines. I won’t list them all, but they were hilarious. And made me feel a little ashamed about how many I recognized.
- Marshall: Oh you’re wearing a flower.
Barney: Thank You!
Marshall: I didn’t compliment, just observed.
- “Look, I hate most babies, but your baby? I’m going to love that kid so much. I’m going to pick it up and everything.” – Robin
- Robin’s Punchy impression was fantastic.