Saturday, November 20, 2010

HIMYM 6.07: "Canning Randy"

“I love the office Halloween party. It is so much sluttier than the office Christmas party. Though, not as freaky as the office President’s Day rave.”

So, I was expecting to hate this episode, given the lukewarm reviews I had seen online a few weeks ago when it aired, but I actually found it kind of cute and entertaining. Maybe it’s because I kind of empathize with Marshall’s situation. Sometimes I can be nice to a fault, too, letting people walk all over me before finally getting fed up. Oh, and this was very loosely a Halloween episode, and Ted definitely did not dress as a hanging chad. Which kind of made me a bit sad. Ah well, I can imagine that he still actually dresses as a hanging chad for the rooftop party, and he just chose another costume for other events this year. A hot dog costume, to be specific.

Ted wears his hot dog costume as he teaches class, and he revels in how much his students like him. One student in particular really sucks up to him. His students generally think he’s cool, and Ted likes it that way. At the GNB office Halloween Party (which Ted attends thanks to his other job as architect of their new headquarters), Lily makes fun of him for it. Also at the Halloween party, we meet the hapless Randy, a GNB employee who seems to be Marshall’s assistant. We learn two important things about Randy in this early scene. First, he brews his own beer. Second, he seems to have a thing for Robin. Or at least he’s really adamant in asking the group about her whereabouts.

The day after the party, the gang, minus Robin, engages in one of their favorite Halloween pastimes. They hang out on the stoop of Ted’s building and watch the post-Halloween “walk of shame parade.” This is an event where the people who didn’t find themselves in embarrassing situations on Halloween night enjoy watching those who did make their way home. Just as they’re all wondering where Robin is, she walks up to the stoop with a dazed look on her face wearing a rumpled nurse costume. Much of the rest of the episode is spent with the gang trying to figure out who Robin slept with, because she’s being extra cagey. First Robin tries to change the topic, mentioning how appalling she finds it that her bimbo co-anchor Becky did a commercial for boats. Then she tries making up a name. The table at MacLaren’s inspires her to say she slept with “Bill Pepper.”

Meanwhile, Ted watches his cred with his class deplete almost instantly when Zoey shows up in his classroom. She’s upset because, while protesting outside the building, she and Ted had gotten into a rather silly war of words over the Arcadian. Ted’s reaction to realizing Zoey was in his class was absolutely priceless. He drops all of his books and has this hilarious look of horror on his face. Josh Radnor does indeed have comedic chops. Who would have thought? Lily tells Ted that she has a tried and true method for dealing with troublemakers in the classroom. There’s a car often parked outside Ted’s apartment building that has a unique and especially annoying car alarm sound. Lily imitates that (remember, she and Marshall used to be Ted’s roommates), and her kids quiet down immediately. One thing I thought was funny about this scene was that when Lily mentions the car alarm, Ted and Robin are able to immediately recreate the noise, perfectly in synch. Ted (rightly) decides that since his students are actually adults, he isn’t going to stoop to such measures.

For the final plot we must juggle in this episode, Barney is making the annual GNB “We Care” video. Barney is trying to film Marshall saying a really cheesy line, and Marshall really isn’t having it. Randy chooses that moment to walk into Marshall’s office. It turns out Randy really screwed up. He shreaded a contract that Marshall needed to work on. Barney says Marshall should fire Randy, but Marshall is way too nice to do that. Randy choose that moment to make things even worse by knocking Marshall’s salad onto his lap. Marshall still doesn’t fire him, though. The straw that breaks the camel’s back comes the next day, when it turns out Randy sent even more contracts Marshall needs to the shreader.

Marshall is horrified by what he has done, even having nightmares about the consequences of firing Randy. Both Lily’s theory that Robin slept with Randy on Halloween and Marshall’s fears, however, are proven false when Randy stops by MacLaren’s and talks to the gang. He’s smiling and happy because he is going to use his severance pay to start his own brewery. It’s his lifelong dream. Too bad for Randy, though, because Marshall already had a long discussion with his boss and got Randy his job back. Ironically, this makes Randy very upset. Randy threatens to do things that will force Marshall to fire him. Randy indeed follows up on this threat, pretty much completely destroying Marshall’s office with his mayhem. Marshall continues to refuse to fire him until Randy says that working at a big company like GNB might have been Marshall’s lifelong dream, but it isn’t his. This brings Marshall back to his senses. His lifelong dream, after all, was to practice environmental law and work for the NRDC. That dream was shelved when he needed to make money to help pay off Lily’s credit card debt. He tastes the bottle of beer Randy brought him, tells Randy he loves it, and fires him.

Ted ends up backing down from his earlier resolve, too. With Zoey constantly stirring the pot, Ted’s classroom gets more crazy than ever. Ted uses the car alarm noise, and the room is instantly back under control. When the class starts protesting again (instead of showing up to class), Ted calls Lily. Lily reveals her dark side, and tells Ted to use fear. Sitting by her is the headless stuffed horse of her worst behaved student. I thought that was delightfully dark humor. Ted takes Lily’s advice, threatening his students with an F if they don’t show up to class the next day. According to Saget!Ted, that next day was the best attendance he ever saw in his class. Oh, and in other news, it turns out Robin didn’t sleep with anyone on Halloween. She was doing her own commercial. For adult diapers. Clearly, trying to match Becky is not going so well.

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