Sunday, February 13, 2011

HIMYM 6.15: "Oh Honey"

“We hate Ted now. Get on board or the sexting stops.”

“Oh Honey” was a decent episode of HIMYM, certainly one of the better episodes of the later seasons. I’m still not sure I’d call it an overall favorite, though, but that’s just because I’m really partial to Barney and Robin, and this particular episode dealt more with Ted’s romantic exploits. On a purely subjective level, this was a good quality episode. There was a fun framing device, an all of the characters got to be their best. Ted was the dopey romantic trying to be responsible. Barney was the trickster rogue who then has an attack of humanity. Marshall was back to being the dorky, polite Minnesotan. Lily was the loving and supportive but sassy wife. It was definitely an enjoyable half hour overall. I like having the characters I thought I knew back. I missed them during season 5.

Marshall is spending some time out in Minnesota helping his mom, and that provides the episode with its framing device and its charm. He’s in his childhood bedroom, which has been preserved as it was when he lived there, and the best way to describe the situation is to use a term HIMYM coined a few seasons ago-revertigo. Robin calls Marshall on a landline- believe it or not- with big news about Ted and Zoey. The story starts out with a flashback (that Marshall was actually a part of, so it doesn’t really make sense Robin would include this in the story). In December, Robin was trying to have a dinner party for the gang, including Zoey. The dinner was a disaster, of course, since Robin can’t cook, but there was an important moment between Ted and Zoey. Ted and Robin are out of ketchup (necessary for the very burnt food Robin has produced), and Ted and Zoey argue over who is going to go out to get a replacement. Ted agrees to get the ketchup if Zoey sets him up with her hot cousin.

After not hearing from Zoey for a while, Ted calls her. Not because he’s worried about her, but because he wants to collect on the hot cousin deal. We then flash to MacLaren’s, where we meet Zoey’s cousin. Nobody can remember her real name when retelling the story. Everyone just calls her “Honey” because she’s so gullible. She’s gullible to a farcical degree. She talks about the landlord being kind enough to install a camera in her shower and giving her social security number to some nice people. Basically, every time she says something, it makes the person listening want to say, “Oh, honey.” Hence the nickname. Ted likes Honey well enough, and of course Barney is instantly drawn to her. He likes independent women like Robin for long-term, but he’s never been one to shy away from vulnerable, gullible chicks when he’s not with Robin. In fact, he relishes it. Ted actually leaves Honey to Barney.

Robin tells Marshall she’s proud of Ted for this move, and after Marshall’s mom interrupts the phone conversation with some commentary (which was adorable- an adjective I could use to describe most of the Minnesota scenes in this episode), Robin explains that Ted let Honey go because he’s in love with Zoey. Ted recognized this was a problem (considering Zoey’s married to the Captain), so he calls his own intervention, complete with the “Intervnention” sign. I love the little bits of continuity HIMYM manages to incorporate in every episode. It’s like a little reward for being a loyal fan. At the intervention, Robin tells Ted he needs to shut down his feelings for Zoey immediately. She doesn’t want him to stop interacting with Zoey, because she doesn’t want to have to stop hanging out with Zoey too.

Marshall’s next call comes from Barney. Marshall is surprised by this because it’s a number he doesn’t recognize. It turns out Barney has gone all Barksdale crew from “The Wire” and has started using burners to make his phone calls. He wants to tell the Honey story from his perspective. The visual representation of the fallibility of memory is one of the things I find most interesting about HIMYM. Of course, Honey was much more into Barney in Barney’s version of the story than Robin’s. Barney brags about his conquest to Zoey (while making squeaky bed noises) the next day, and instead of being grossed out, Zoey hugs Barney. It turns out that Marshall’s brother Marcus is listening in on this call too, and he interjects that Zoey must be in love with Ted.

Marshall calls Ted to get Ted’s take on the situation, but Ted has a story to tell Marshall first. Zoey came over one day and filled Ted’s refrigerator up with ketchup. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever liked Zoey. It reminded me of the episode “Benefits” where Barney filled up Ted and Robin’s refrigerator with milk so Ted and Robin would have one less excuse to have “stop arguing” sex. Ted appreciates the gesture, but then he tells Zoey they can’t be friends anymore. At that point in the story, Marshall has to take a phone call from Lily. She says they hate Ted now. Apparently, Ted’s excuse for ending his friendship with Zoey was that Zoey hates her. Zoey goes to Dowisetrepla to confront Lily about this. At first, Lily goes with it and tries to pretend she hates Zoey for Ted’s sake. But then Zoey mentions she’s going through a difficult time, and Lily can’t help but comfort her. She says Robin is the member of the group who actually hates her.

Marshall then gets another call from Robin warning him that Robin told Zoey it was Marshall who hates her. He hears a call waiting beep that he thinks is from Zoey, and his polite Midwestern self just can’t not answer. It actually turned out to be Honey. Barney left his cell phone in the trash there, and she’s been calling all his contacts. When Barney went back to Honey’s apartment, he said “Who’s your daddy,” and it went horribly wrong. He started to completely break down because he wrote a letter to his father and hasn’t heard anything. I’m assuming that’s why Barney ditched his phone and why he still hasn’t heard from his dad. Marshall tricks Honey into telling him about the “difficult stuff” Zoey has been going through. It turns out that Zoey and the Captain are getting a divorce.

While Marshall is in the process of learning this very important information, Ted is trying to scare off Zoey once and for all by telling her that he himself hates her. Marshall, luckily, with the help of a corkboard (another “The Wire” shoutout like Barney’s “burners”), his Clue board game, and his family, has a plan. Again, Marshall’s life in Minnesota is so completely adorable. Ted is yelling at Zoey about how much he hates her when she gets a phone call from Marshall. We can’t hear what Marshall’s saying, but we can see the expression on Zoey’s face change as he says it. After Zoey hangs up, Ted’s phone rings. Presumably, Marshall’s telling him about Zoey’s impending divorce. Ted stops his tirade, and the two kiss. The lady who lives across the hall peeks out, then goes back into her apartment, where she phones Marshall to give him the good news. The Eriksen clan all cheer from Marshall’s childhood bedroom. Again, I’ve got to say, how freaking adorable is this episode (even if I’m not a massive Zoey fan)!

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