Thursday, November 11, 2010

HIMYM 6.06: "Baby Talk"

“In other news, later today, a Manhattan architect gets punched in the throat.”

Overall, I found “Baby Talk” to be a sweet, funny episode of HIMYM, although Ted really, really bugged me in this one. I laughed a lot (at the other plot lines), and I was really happy to see Barney and Robin start to get along well again. Since I’m so far behind, I know the next episode is truly horrid, but I decided to just put that out of my mind and enjoy this episode on a stand-alone basis. There were a lot of good things to take out of this episode, and I promise it wasn’t just a squee-worthy (yes they turn me into a twelve-year-old) Barney and Robin moment that made me enjoy this half-hour. It even had some fun continuity, which is essential for all the best episodes of HIMYM. Continuity is what sets HIMYM apart from more traditional sitcoms.

The continuity is evident right from the beginning of the episode. We get a chance to reconnect a little with Stuart and Claudia, peripheral friends of the gang who have popped up now and then in the story since the early days. They just had a baby, and Marshall and Lily are the first to visit after the big event. Stuart and Claudia, who never really seem to like each other very much, are still arguing over the baby’s name. Marshall and Lily are kind of horrified by this and don’t want that to happen when they have their own baby. At MacLaren’s, though, they discover that this goal could be easier said than done. Marshall suggests a list of boys’ names that all remind Lily of various horrible students she’s taught over the years. Most of these students got paint on her somehow.

Lily suggests a list of girls names that remind Marshall of women he has objectified over the years, such as a high school classmate and a stripper. I did appreciate the little “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” shout-out in this scene. Lily’s first choice of baby name was “Tara,” the name of Alyson Hannigan’s character Willow’s lover for several seasons of that show. In a sidebar with Ted, Marshall realizes that he’s afraid of having a daughter. He’s afraid he won’t be able to protect her, and she’ll end up with the likes of Old Man Barney (who was pretty hilarious, by the way, all plastic-surgery’d up). Robin is kind of preoccupied while all this is going on. She’s still having issues with her new co-anchor, Becky. Becky gets by using a little girl voice and acting helpless. Robin wants to know why the little girl act works on men. She thinks it’s sexist. Barney accepts an unintentional challenge to pick up a woman while talking like a little boy. Good times are guaranteed to ensue.

Marshall’s Skyping with his parents, as he does, and when his mom steps away from the web cam, his dad starts unleashing the Eriksen wisdom about how to make sure Lily has a boy. You see, Eriksen men for generations have only had sons. The advice is a bunch of silly little stuff like avoiding lemons and facing North. The next time he and Lily are planning to have sex, Marshall excuses himself to the bathroom and starts using all the tricks his dad told him. The worst is eating pickled herring- that’s just gross! Marshall soon finds out that Lily has learned about all these “Viking” legends, too. She’s got a whole pile of lemons next to her side of the bed. It turns out that Lily wants a daughter as much as Marshall wants a son. They reach an impasse until Stuart and Claudia tell them that they had to take their baby to the ER, and that reality check led them to agree on a name. The sobering news leads Marshall and Lily to decide to agree on a unisex baby name. They choose Jamie, although the choice doesn’t last for long, due to the behavior of one of Lily’s newest students.

In other news, the Becky situation gets worse when Robin discovers Becky went out with Ted. Robin confronts Ted and finds out that he met Becky when Becky dropped by the apartment to deliver some baked goods to Robin. They bonded when Ted killed a spider. This was a pretty difficult thing for Ted to do, which was kind of amusing. The conversation is interrupted by Barney’s adventures in trying to pick up women by using a baby voice. The result of Barney’s challenge is creepily hilarious. Neil Patrick Harris seemed to tap into the ADD side of Barney we first saw last season in Robin 101. Barney ends up forfeiting the challenge, and it tears him apart. Not because of the women he’s lost, but because he’s never forfeited a challenge before. He is about to accept a new challenge to try to pick up women wearing a bright orange shirt, but he can’t bear it and runs out of MacLaren’s sobbing.

Ted says Barney was creepy, and Robin wants to know why Ted changed. She always thought he went for more intelligent, independent women. Ted reaches new levels of douchiness and tells Robin that she didn’t make him feel needed, and guys like to feel needed. After dropping that bombshell, he gets a text from Becky and rushes out of MacLaren’s. Robin finds herself at Barney’s apartment, and she apologizes to him for not making him feel needed when they were dating. Barney, because he’s awesome, tells Robin that her independence is what makes her great. And I’m hoping this is the writers inching them ever closer back together. It was a wonderful moment because it showed Barney and Robin starting to be friends again, and it was one of those “Barney is actually human” moments that can really make an episode shine. The moment is broken when Robin asks Barney about the other woman in his apartment. It turns out that he had a post-challenge failure little boy breakdown, and he actually found a woman who was turned on by the little boy act. So he succeeded in the challenge after all. Now he’s really sick and tired of the woman, though, who uses a baby voice constantly, too. Robin happily agrees to help Barney get rid of her.

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