Friday, December 2, 2011

HIMYM 7.07: "Noretta"

“I can turn this around!”

“Noretta” falls among my less liked episodes of “How I Met Your Mother,” mostly because I found the central theme of the episode to be rather juvenile, and the resulting jokes were mostly just pretty gross. I’m sorry, but characters picturing their significant others as their parents just isn’t funny to me. It’s just awkward. I like comedy just fine, but I prefer witty comedy as opposed to comedy that just goes for the cheap laugh. And I’d classify Lily and Marshall’s dads looking like they are about to have sex as cheap laughs. Granted, Barney’s plot in this episode was also more cheap laughs than wit, but I didn’t mind it quite as much. Maybe because the cheap laughs weren’t really gross? I was feeling more sorry for Nora than grossed out as Barney desperately tried to salvage their ruined several times over date night. I’ll also do my best not to start ranting about how this episode made Ted extra pathetic. He’s supposed to be the optimistic romantic, not the clingy loser.

Anyway, the episode opens, as they often do, with the gang sitting around a table at MacLaren’s. Barney’s brother James is in town, so they have a bigger booth than usual to accommodate the extra person. Wayne Brady was kind of wasted in this episode (because he’s only in the opening scene), but I know he comes back in the most recent episode, so I’m not going to complain too much. Barney’s super excited because he thinks he’s going to get lucky with Nora later that night. She told him earlier that she had a special treat for him. Nora herself appears and starts to tell Barney more about the actual treat. They’re going ice skating, which, needless to say, doesn’t interest Barney a whole lot. Then Nora says they’re going to shag afterwards, and Barney is feeling much better.

After Barney and Nora leave the table, James begs the rest of the gang to ask him what he thinks of Nora. After being prompted several times, James lets loose with the truth. Nora reminds James of his and Barney’s mother. Apparently Loretta Stinson has a thing for Julie Andrews and would often affect a British accent and act like Maria or Mary Poppins. Barney and Nora return to the table to get Nora’s raincoat, and instead of seeing Nora, James starts seeing his mom instead. After Barney and Nora leave, the conversation at the table turns to Lily not feeling sexy anymore because she’s putting on pregnancy weight. Marshall desperately wants to change her mind with compliments, but he keeps sticking his foot in his mouth instead. Finally, continuing the theme of honesty, Robin asks Ted how he feels about Kevin. Ted likes Kevin overall, but he feels weird about this one time he saw Kevin standing in the living room of the apartment in his boxers. Robin assures Ted she’ll talk to Kevin about it.

At the ice rink, Nora skates around while Barney happily tells a kid getting ready to skate that he’s going to get lucky with Nora that night. It looks like Barney’s hopes might be dashed, though, when Nora falls on the ice and loses a tooth. Barney vow to turn the night around, and he takes Nora to a really shady 24 hour dentist who gives her a gold tooth. That’s not the end of their terrible night, though. Just after Barney convinces Nora to go out for another drink, a rat jumps on her head. Once again, Barney vows to turn it around. He does so by offering to draw Nora a bath at his apartment so she can relax. Nora agrees. The night is starting to turn, and after her bath, Nora and Barney go out on the balcony of Barney’s apartment. When an upstairs neighbor decides to commit suicide by jumping, falling right by Barney and Nora. That ruins the mood for sure, and Barney has to comfort a crying Nora. Later, while they’re sitting on the couch, Nora says that now she wants to turn the night around. She starts singing “My Favorite Things,” and all of a sudden Barney realizes the resemblance to his mother.

As promised, Robin tells Kevin that he needs to be fully clothed in the apartment common areas. What Ted told Robin wasn’t the full story though, and Kevin thinks Ted is nuts. Which is probably not something a psychologist would actually say, but whatever. Ted was wearing a loose-fitting bathrobe, and Kevin caught a glimpse as Ted went to the kitchen. Startled, Kevin dropped coffee on his lap, and that’s why he didn’t have his pants on when Ted saw him standing in the living room. Robin tells Kevin to be nice to Ted because Ted is the only one in the gang not in a relationship, and he hasn’t exactly gotten any in a while. Kevin sort of makes an effort at this, but he breaks and throws a fit when Ted ruins a movie at home night with Robin. Ted was pretty obnoxious, switching their movie to a coin documentary, getting a backrub from Robin, and inviting Robin to a concert. After Kevin throws his fit, Robin explains that she wouldn’t have been the first person Ted would have invited to the concert (Weird Al Yankovic) by a long shot, and we see a really funny montage of Ted calling different random characters to prove it. Kevin feels bad for Ted and pretends to be a huge Weird Al fan. He offers to go to the concert with Ted, and Ted is really excited about it. At this point, Kevin’s striking me as a little too perfect and desperate.

Marshall has a new strategy for trying to make Lily feel sexier. It’s a board game called “Chutes and Lilies.” Instead of having the intended effect, though, it unfortunately makes Lily think of her dad. We learned in season 5 that Mr. Aldrin is always making board games. It gets worse when Marshall draws a nice bath for Lily, but she keeps seeing her dad instead of Marshall. The whole storyline is just gross, really. And it gets even more obnoxious from there. Lily finally admits to Marshall that he’s reminding her of her dad. Marshall responds by saying he thinks Kevin’s theory about how people gravitate towards romantic partners who remind them of their parents is bunk because Lily’s not like Marshall’s mom at all. Lily’s finally feeling better and is about to make a move on Marshall, when all of a sudden Marshall realizes who she is actually like. His dad. The climax of the whole thing is a really unfunny scene of Marshall and Lily in bed picturing each other as their dads and getting completely grossed out and backing off.

The episode wraps up with the gang back at MacLaren’s. Barney admits that Nora is like his mother, but he has a different spin on it than the rest of the gang. He thinks that if Nora is at all like his mother, he’s lucky, because his mom is the best person he knows. Marshall expresses the same sentiment about Lily and his dad, and they leave the bar much happier, presumably to go have sex. Ted realizes that he’s been intrusive to Robin and Kevin, and he tells them to go home and enjoy their movie while he hangs out at the bar a while longer. A woman approaches Ted, and it turns out she’s a massive Weird Al fan. Just as Ted is really liking where things are going, the woman starts to remind him of his mom. He decides to just go with it.

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