Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HIMYM 7.09: "Disaster Averted"

“I think I need to go home and reevaluate how I make life decisions.”

“Disaster Averted” was a fun little episode of HIMYM that showed how the gang weathered Hurricane Irene. I personally spent that hurricane cooped up in my apartment watching the Pepco outage map on my computer and waiting for the power to go out (which, amazingly, it never did). This story was a bit more interesting, thankfully. It also marked a turn in Robin and Barney’s relationship, which I approved of. I’m a sucker for anything Robin and Barney, really, as long as Barney is acting like a human being and not a cartoon. Barney act in a rather idiotic and mean-spirited way at one point during the episode, but he apologized by the end, so it’s all good in my opinion. I liked that, in the tradition of New York-based sitcoms like “Seinfeld,” this particular episode put the gang in a fairly run of the mill situation (waiting out a bad storm) and took advantage of the little stories that arose from character interactions.

The episode opens with a fantastical, almost Indiana Jones-like scene of Barney being heroic in the streets of New York. Barney ends up using his Ducky Tie to rescue a kid who is hanging off the side of a building. It turns out, of course, that this story is meant to be an elaborate lie Barney told to explain why he isn’t wearing the Ducky Tie despite his bet with Lily and Marshall. The lie is quickly proven false, however, as Lily found the tie in the trash outside MacLaren’s. Kevin has joined the group for the evening, and he asks why there’s a “No Boogie Boarding” sign in front of MacLaren’s. This serves as the framing device for the episode, which, as I mentioned, takes us back to August for Hurricane Irene.

Ted, of course, was in Boy Scount mode, and he was super-prepared for the storm. He had an emergency kit and pink rubber rain boots, and he wanted to take the rest of the gang to his house in Westchester to ride out the storm. Instead, the gang ends up at Barney’s apartment. Marshall is especially freaked out because his health insurance from his old job has just expired and he can’t be added to Lily’s plan for two more weeks. Marshall wants Lily to personally protect him from harm until he’s insured again, which is kind of bizarre. He doesn’t want to leave Lily’s side at all. The one good thing about this particular plot line is that all of Marshall’s paranoid fantasies of injury involve him being attacked by a guy in a bear suit. That was pretty darn hilarious.

The gang sees a rather dire news report showing Irene touching down in North Carolina, and they decide that maybe it’s a good idea to leave New York City after all. The plan to leave for Ted’s house gets delayed because Ted goes out into the hall to take a phone call from his mom. Robin is kind of upset that everyone’s parents, even Barney’s until recently estranged dad, is calling to make sure their children are okay. Except for Robin’s dad. When Ted comes back into the apartment, he said that Barney can’t come in his car to Westchester. It turns out Ted picked up a hot chick out in the hallway, and she’s going to be taking Barney’s seat in the car. Lily offers to stay instead because she desperately needs some alone time. Marshall has been really super clingy, after all. Just as the situation descends into complete chaos and Ted is about to leave with nobody, Mayor Bloomberg appears on the television and says that the time for evacuation is over. Thanks to the shelter in place order, the gang is stuck at Barney’s apartment. Then, to make things worse, the power goes out.

Throughout the episode, we flash forward to the present day, where Barney is still trying to get out of having to wear the Ducky Tie. He says that the tie has hurt his quest to be taken seriously at work. Marshall reveals that he may be willing to make a deal with Barney if the deal involves slaps, but he doesn’t want to use up his final original Slap Bet (circa season 2) slap. Kevin, however, realizes what’s actually going on. It turns out Barney is supposed to meet Nora’s parents in two days, and he wants to make a good impression. A good impression doesn’t involve wearing a Ducky Tie, apparently.

Back in August, the gang makes the best of being stranded. Marshall draws Lily a bath in Barney’s bathroom as an apology for being so clingy. Lily appreciates the gesture, and it turns out that is where their baby was conceived. This, of course, leads Ted to suggest that “Hurricane Eriksen” would be an awesome name for the baby Marshall approves, but Lily doesn’t, which I found amusing. The next morning, when the worst of the hurricane has passed, the gang stands in front of MacLaren’s. The bar is closed, but Ted has beer, so it’s all good. Everyone starts goofing off in the rain, and Marshall decides to boogie board on a trashcan lid in spite of having no health insurance. He eventually crashes through the MacLaren’s window, hence the “No Boogie Boarding” sign.

In the present, Marshall offers Barney a chance to rid himself of the Ducky Tie in exchange for three additional slaps. Barney quickly agrees, and almost as quickly, Marshall uses up two of those slaps. This means that Marshall has two total slaps remaining. I guess this was a move by the writers to accommodate the show going on longer than they originally planned. I’d bet they have the final slap planned for the final episode, which doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon. Robin gets into a cab with a kind of dazed Barney, and they reminisce about how they almost kissed after the hurricane when Barney apologized for calling Robin and pretending to be her dad. Then, they start actually kissing. And the Robin and Barney shipper in me rejoiced, even if I’d really rather they didn’t get back together by cheating.

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