Wednesday, January 13, 2010

HIMYM 5.12: "Girls vs. Suits"

“Yeah. Suits and insecure women. I hate ‘em. Just hate ‘em.”


I certainly didn’t dislike HIMYM’s 100th episode extravaganza. Okay, maybe “extravaganza” is too strong a word. Team HIMYM basically included two special things for the 100th episode: significant advancement on the “Mother” plot and an entertaining musical number at the end. While I didn’t dislike the episode, I didn’t exactly love it, either. It wouldn’t kick any episode off of the “15 Most Legendary Episodes of HIMYM” list, in other words. There were definitely some laugh-out-loud funny scenes, and I always love watching Neil Patrick Harris do his song-and-dance man thing, but overall, the episode fell kind of flat to me. Many of my issues with this episode most likely stem from my overall problem with the direction this season has taken in general. Also, there were a few too many repeats of jokes and concepts from earlier in this season.

Both of the main plots in this episode involve a character going to absurd lengths for a woman. After class one night, Ted meets Cindy (played by the always adorable Rachel Bilson), a grad student who is tired of being hit on by undergrad frat guys. Ted and Cindy hit it off and decide to go on a date. Throughout the beginning of the episode, there is much teasing that Cindy could potentially be the “Mother.” Cindy saw Ted’s screw up in the Economics 305 class just like the Mother did, for instance. It turns out, though, that the Mother isn’t Cindy, she’s Cindy’s roommate. And Cindy has “roommate issues.” Similar to Maggie from “The Window” (a little too similar if you ask me), every guy who meets Cindy’s roommate falls in love with her. Every time Cindy tells Ted something about her roommate, Ted thinks the roommate sounds really awesome, but he tries to hide that from Cindy.

Meanwhile, the gang, while in Ted and Robin’s apartment, hear some commotion coming from downstairs outside MacLaren’s. It turns out that the crowds outside the bar are due to a new “hot bartender,” Karina (Stacy Keibler). This gives Barney a new idea for a challenge- he has never slept with a hot bartender before. This, unfortunately, has to be followed up by a list of the careers of all the women Barney has slept with. While the list is kind of funny (there’s a “rhyming section”), I find it unfortunate because it is a repeat of a joke from the final, poignant scene of “Robin 101.” In that scene, Barney is trying to explain to Robin how he really feels about her, and he gets sidetracked describing past women in his life. It was silly and cute the first time, but repeating it so soon (especially since it kind of stings the Barney/Robin shipper in me), didn’t work. Anyway, back in the present, Barney is convinced he can see right through Karina’s bartender game and convince her to go home with him.

Both Ted and Barney’s situations quickly spiral out of control. Cindy informs Ted that after reading the Columbia student handbook, she realized that they aren’t allowed to date, even though she is a student in a completely different department than the department where Ted teaches. Ted is not happy about this. At MacLaren’s, he asks the rest of the gang if they think he should pursue Cindy anyway. The answer is a resounding “NO,” but Ted doesn’t really want to hear it. Ted feels like his dream of the perfect, average life, including triplet schnauzers named Frank, Lloyd, and Wright (I admit, that was a funny joke, considering it comes from Ted’s nerdy love of architecture), has been shattered. Barney, meanwhile, is shot down by Karina…repeatedly. Marshall investigates the situation and finds out that since Karina’s last boyfriend, a Wall Street type, was a jerk, she is no longer dating guys who wear suits. Barney makes a startling proclamation- he’s giving up (wait for it) suits. I must say that I did love Marshall’s shocked gasp after Barney’s “wait for it,” especially because Robin had already exasperatedly said that they all knew he was going to say “suits.” Oh, quick aside for fellow die-hard HIMYM fans. Doesn’t Barney’s pursuit of Karina constitute a violation of the “Platinum Rule?” Shouldn’t Barney be looking forward to a lifetime of being afraid of Karina like he is of Wendy the Waitress?

Robin is not pleased about the Karina situation at all. One would think this could be because she’s jealous that Barney is moving on, but, given the ridiculous, backwards way these characters have been written since “Bagpipes,” this clearly can’t be the case. Robin is simply jealous that she’s not the hottest chick in the bar anymore. The attempt to add a new term to the HIMYM lexicon, “circumstantial hotness,” even falls flat because Robin’s motivation here is so empty. To demonstrate “circumstantial hotness,” Robin tries to get behind the bar to show that she can be hot too when she’s in a situation like being a bartender. Thankfully, this doesn’t last long before she’s sent back to the other side of the bar, practically kicking and screaming. Lily and Marshall, meanwhile, are relegated to a repetitive, trite C story, where Lily spends the whole episode trying to convince Marshall that it’s okay if he thinks Karina is hotter than she is. This was too reminiscent of “Double Date” for me to find it at all entertaining.

Against all advice, Ted ends up hightailing it to Cindy’s apartment to ask her to give dating a try, despite the fact that it might get her expelled and Ted fired. He tells her “I know the university rule book says we can’t date, but it also says ‘don’t teach drunk,’ and I do that all the time.” I thought that was kind of funny and pathetic. Cindy is receptive and still finds Ted charming until he starts going on about how much they have in common and points out a few things in Cindy’s room like a CD, a book and a bass guitar. It was a wrong move on Ted’s part, because each of those three items either belonged to Cindy’s roommate or was given to Cindy by her roommate. She throws Ted out of the apartment, and Ted catches a glimpse of the Mother’s foot as she goes into her room after getting out of the shower. He also leaves behind the iconic yellow umbrella.

Meanwhile, Barney’s “suiting down” (aka wearing a t-shirt and jeans) has succeeded in capturing the interest of Karina, but it has also caused Barney to go through “suit withdrawal.” His suits call “suit up!” to him from his closet. When Marshall shows up at MacLaren’s directly from work, Barney can’t help but nuzzle Marshall’s suit. Finally, Barney goes into the MacLaren’s bathroom, where he has a suit hidden, just to wear that suit for a minute. He ends up ripping the suit, which leads to perhaps the most laugh-out-loud funny scene of the episode. The suit is rushed to Barney’s personal tailor, who just happens to be Tim Gunn. Unfortunately, despite Barney’s tears on Tim Gunn’s silk vest, Tim Gunn cannot “make it work,” and the suit’s buttons are donated to save another suit. Not realizing Barney is grieving over his suit and not a lost human friend, Karina takes pity on him and ends her shift early to spend time with him.

Later at Barney’s apartment, Karina discovers Barney’s closet still full of suits. To Barney’s chagrin, she gives him an ultimatum: her or the suits. I’ll just embed this video here to show you the awesomeness that happens next (I can’t stop the tradition of embedding a video every time I write about Neil Patrick Harris singing, after all). It kind of makes my irritation at other aspects of this episode all worth it.

Barney Stinson - Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit from Bono van den Hork on Vimeo.

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