January 12, 2010

how i met your mother's 100th episode

Last night was the 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother. While this series got off to a slowish start, I'm glad to see it has come so far. Many would say HIMYM's success is due to Neil Patrick Harris' resurgence/illustration of one of the funniest characters on television right now - and that isn't wrong. But the cast also works really well as an ensemble. Cobie Smulders - who we were all a little dubious about in the beginning - is shining these days.

I usually don't look to critique HIMYM because it's a fun show with quirky stories that's consistently entertaining. It's just good fun. So, for the 100th episode, I was perfectly happy to sit back and watch Barney's hilarious struggle between girls and suits. Some of the best comedy acting by NPH this season - hoping they'll use this as a showcase to the Emmy voters. The musical number was hilarious and brilliantly showed the talent of this guy - as well as the other characters. How about that conversational baritone from Marshall??

All of that was so fun, as was Robin's astute observation that hot female bartenders benefit from "circumstantial hotness." So very true. I'm going to say the same for those beer promoter girls who pass out tchotchkes and free beer at bars wearing tiny referee uniforms.

That said, my issue with this episode comes with my beef with the show overall. The problem of the title. On one hand, I love the How I Met Your Mother concept. The narration works really well for telling stories in a fun and different way - flashbacks, montages, etc. And the concept has worked well to keep the suspense going about Ted's love life.

The problem is, sometimes (like last night) it takes away from more than it adds to Ted's storyline. Some of the best Ted episodes were back when he was chasing after/dating Robin. Early on, we found out she wasn't the mother, but it was still fun watching Ted at his best - fighting for true love, which he's a complete sucker for. The later seasons brought more clues about the mother - yellow umbrella, etc. - to build anticipation. With the exception of Sarah Chalke's arc (which didn't really do much for me, or for Ted for that matter), all of Ted's potential love interests have been short-lived and seemed pointless as soon as we find out she's not the mother.

I would have loved more from last night's guest appearance by Rachel Bilson. She and Josh Radnor had great chemistry, but the story seemed rushed with not much pay off (save for a few tidbits about the mother). Stretching their story out a bit more would have given Ted more to do. Sorry, but I just don't get as much from his adventures with teaching and architecture.

I have faith that the showrunners have a great plan for finally introducing the mother, so I'll stop questioning the strategy. But I wouldn't mind seeing her now, rather than later, so we can see more Ted Mosby at his best.

For fun, here's a video of the making of "Girls vs. Suits":


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