Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HIMYM 6.23: "Landmarks"

“Okay, what’s the message, because if it’s another hypothetical, yet eerily accurate drawing of my boobs…”

Although it didn’t exactly have a ton of substance to it, I generally enjoyed watching “Landmarks.” It looks like Zoey is on her way out, which is very welcome, in my opinion. Watching Ted and Zoey bicker constantly was not exactly my idea of entertainment. Another positive about this episode was that it featured a comedic, but not cartoonish performance from Neil Patrick Harris as Barney. If you’re one of the one or two people who have been reading this blog since the early months, you know that I have a love for the Joss Whedon internet movie “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog,” and there was a scene early in the episode where Harris really got to channel Dr. Horrible. I found that to be a lot of fun, of course. I also liked that, in addition to mostly dealing with Zoey, this episode also brought the Arcadian conflict to a head. I guess that’s to be expected considering it’s the season’s penultimate episode, but it’s nice to know what side Ted’s on. Well, it’s nice to know what side he’s on this week at least.

The episode uses a hearing about the Arcadian as a framing device. A committee is considering whether the Arcadian should be named a landmark (thus shutting down the GNB headquarters plans). Marshall speaks on behalf of Zoey and the others who want to save the Arcadian, taking pride in ending his arguments with rhymes. I found that kind of silly- the joke just didn’t work for me. Then Ted is called before the committee, and he’s asked whether, as an architect, he thinks the Arcadian is a landmark. Ted pauses, and we backtrack to see what led up to the moment when he’ll have to make this decision. As most things on HIMYM do, it started during an evening at MacLaren’s. Ted, Marshall, Lily, and Zoey are all sitting at the usual booth, and Barney and Robin are sitting at a separate booth because of Barney’s feud with Marshall and Ted over the Arcadian. I really liked that Robin is sticking with Barney throughout this whole mess- I don’t think he’d have any friends otherwise.

Anyway, my favorite part of the episode is when Robin delivers a message from Barney. Barney has instructed the MacLaren’s kitchen not to make any more hot wings, and he makes his friends watch as he licks each hot wing on a plate in front of him and throws them on the floor. The note instructs Robin to end the message with an evil laugh, but she’s not very good at it. Barney finally comes over to talk to the rest of the group in person, and he gets Ted to admit that he’s gone turncoat because of Zoey. It’s not Ted’s architectural judgment that has him suddenly wanting to save the building. But we already knew that…back at the beginning of the season. Anyway, after getting Ted to make that admission, Barney leaves the group with a real evil laugh- Dr. Horrible style! Because working on the evil laugh is about standards, people!

Barney and Robin have a conversation about just why Barney is so upset that Ted has taken Zoey’s side in the Arcadian feud. We see a flashback to Barney warning his boss, Arthur, that Ted might tell the committee that the Arcadian should be a landmark. Arthur reminds Barney that Ted was only hired on Barney’s recommendation. Arthur is in a bad mood because he’s going through a divorce and has lost custody of his beloved dog, so he tells Barney that if Ted tells the committee the Arcadian should be a landmark, both Ted and Barney will be fired. After hearing this news, Robin tries to change Ted’s mind about what he’s going to say at the committee meeting. She gives him three scenarios about how the meeting could pan out, and none of them are especially good, even if he tells the committee exactly what Zoey wants him to say. If he does that, then he’ll resent Zoey for the rest of their relationship because she will have forced him to give up on his dream of making his mark on the Manhattan skyline. She’s a smart one, that Robin.

That night, Ted appears to be visited by Barney in the middle of the night- Barney dressed up as the architect who designed the Arcadian , that is. Ted immediately assumes it’s Barney playing another of his crazy pranks. Barney did sneak into Ted’s room in the middle of the night to get condoms when he was dating Robin last season, after all. Barney assures Ted that Ted is actually dreaming, and tells Ted he needs to tear down the Arcadian and follow his dream. Ted still thinks it’s actually Barney until suddenly his mother appears. Which was kind of gross and only mildly funny. Ted wakes up almost immediately and calls Zoey. They meet in front of the Arcadian and reminisce a bit about how they first met. As she’s about to leave, Zoey says it was nice to have “one last look at what we’re trying to save.” Ted agrees, and it’s obvious he’s made the decision to speak in favor of the GNB headquarters at the meeting and break it off with Zoey.

At the meeting, Ted does exactly what it was obvious that he would do. He says the building should not be a landmark and gives some very good reasons why. Zoey is incredibly pissed off by this (which is also predictable), and in retaliation, she rushes onto the stage with the tape she recorded back during “Natural History” where Ted said that the Arcadian should be a landmark because of the lion’s head stonework. She plays the tape to quite an uproar, and the committee decides to adjourn for the evening. The gang (even Marshall) holds an emergency pow wow at MacLaren’s. Barney and Ted are convinced their careers are over, and the boys and Robin all start talking about opening a bar. They think it would be especially amusing if it were a court themed bar (I didn’t think that was so funny- sounds too much like work to me), but Lily wants to come up with a plan to save their jobs instead. This gives Marshall pause because he knows how diabolical his wife can be when she puts her mind to it. Sure enough, she comes up with a plan rather quickly.

We see the gang meeting with Arthur, but Saget!Ted refuses to confirm exactly what happened for legal reasons. When the committee reconvenes, something rather unexpected happens. First they say that Zoey’s recording convinced them that because of the lion’s head stonework, the Arcadian should be a landmark. But, what do you know, late in the night, the lion’s head stonework was removed, so now there is no reason to call it a landmark anymore. As they leave the meeting, Ted and Zoey officially break up. And we also see that the lion’s head stonework is now in Barney’s bedroom. And he’s hoping he used the right screwdriver to put it up. Here's hoping Jerry has given Barney some more lessons on how to use tools since we last saw him!

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