Friday, February 10, 2012

HIMYM 7.13: "Tailgate"

“Faith is what gives life shape and meaning. I mean, if there aren’t Yetis and leprechauns, what’s the point of even getting up in the morning?”

“Tailgate” was a funny, heartwarming episode of HIMYM. It was a New Year’s episode, which is pretty rare in television. Sometimes reference will be made to the new year, but this episode was completely built around the holiday. It’s the second time I can think of that HIMYM has done a New Year’s episode. The other time was season 1’s “The Limo.” It’s quite amazing to look back on how much the show and the characters have changed since then. The biggest change is Marshall and Lily expecting their baby. As my own college roommate and her husband just welcomed a baby last week, I’ll never fail to appreciate how HIMYM captures this stage of life with such truth and heart. Oh and there’s plenty of humor in this episode, too, of course, as Ted and Barney finally realize their dream of opening up a bar called “Puzzles.” Any Ted and Barney bit is bound to be comedy gold, and Puzzles most definitely does not disappoint.

The episode is framed by Marshall going to visit his father’s grave out in Minnesota for New Year’s Day. He sets up a tailgate to watch the Vikings game by his father’s headstone so that they can experience the day just like they always did when Marvin was alive. I didn’t realize any NFL games were broadcast on New Year’s, but I appreciated the sentiment. I missed watching the Philadelphia Mummers Day Parade for the first time in memory this year because I was on a plane to Morocco, so I get Marshall’s need to keep a tradition like that alive. Marshall basically spends the episode telling Marvin what happened to himself and all his friends on New Year’s. This first story involves Marshall and Lily. Marshall convinces her to call her dad to tell him she’s pregnant, and it doesn’t go well. Lily’s dad is at a board game convention (one of the games he’s selling is “Slap Bet,” which is awesome), and when Lily calls, he just says “Okay, thanks,” and hangs up the phone.

Ted and Barney, meanwhile, are trying to spend their New Year’s Eve at MacLaren’s. It’s not a chill neighborhood bar on the holiday, though. There’s a huge line, a $50 cover charge, and a bouncer they’ve tussled with before (in the episode “The Fight”). The guys have to go to the back of the line because they’re afraid to fight the bouncer again. When they finally get to the front of the line, the bouncer says that the cover charge is not going to be $100 since the bar has gotten crowded. This is the final straw for Ted and Barney, so they decide to open Puzzles, the fairly-priced bar in Ted’s apartment that they’ve been dreaming of for years. With an assist from Kevin, they get the place up and running, and it’s actually quite awesome. The best part about it is that Barney and Ted even came up with a theme song for the place. I always love any opportunity to hear Neil Patrick Harris sing, even if Josh Rador did take the lead on this particular song. At least he got funny lines about wanting to use the bar as an excuse to have sex with women in Ted’s room. That was amusing.

Before Puzzles got up and running, Robin and Kevin had been in the apartment watching Sandy Rivers’ New Year’s Eve broadcast. Sandy is a drunken mess, and Kevin tells Robin she should try to get back on camera. I guess it’s good that he’s being supportive but I found it strange that he was suddenly being so insistent about this. Luckily for Robin and her career ambitions, Sandy calls her in tears saying that the producer of his show (who was also his girlfriend) just quit. Robin has to rush off to try and salvage the broadcast. At the show, the situation with Sandy gets worse and worse, and eventually, Sandy runs off to go find the producer/girlfriend. Robin has one of the underlings run the in memoriam montage while she runs off after Sandy. She finds him at the producer/girlfriend’s apartment, but things quickly go south when Sandy thinks Robin showing up means it’s time for a threesome. Needless to say, Robin has to drag a crying (again) Sandy back to the broadcast because his girlfriend’s broken up with him yet again.

Back at Puzzles things are starting to get a bit rowdy, especially considering it’s actually, you know, Ted and Robin’s home. First they start raising drink prices (which goes against the Puzzles mission statement Barney and Ted made Kevin memorize), and then they end up hiring the MacLaren’s bouncer. The bouncer keeps things under control, but he eventually scares off all the customers. Kevin decides to check the bathroom to make sure everyone has left, and he finds Sandy Rivers in the bathtub. At that moment, Robin calls to tell Kevin she can’t find Sandy because he’s run off again. Kevin decides to neglect to mention that Sandy is right in front of him (and thinking Kevin is from an escort service), and he tells Robin to get on camera and do the New Year’s countdown herself. Robin does the countdown and is awesome, and Saget!Ted tells us it was a turning point in her career.

As Marshall is telling these stories to his dad, more and more people show up in the cemetery, including his two brothers, and even mourners from other funerals in progress. They all want in on the tailgate action. Well, the other mourners do. Marshall’s brothers want Marvin’s grave to themselves. Marshall tries to pretend the interlopers aren’t there and continues on with a story about he and Lily having a fight over how to raise their child. Marshall finds his old copy of a book called “Enigmas of the Mystical” (an encyclopedia of sorts for conspiracy theories), and he says he wants to raise his child as a “believer” and read the book to him/her before bedtime. Lily, understandably, doesn’t think much of this idea. It turns out that what she’s really upset about is that her dad never taught her to believe in anything, because he was never around. She gets a huge surprise at the end of the episode. Her dad shows up at the door with a huge teddy bear. He wasn’t blowing off her phone call about the pregnancy. He was so excited that he ran out of the game convention and drove all the way to New York. Lily can’t believe her eyes. Marshall eventually makes peace with the interlopers too, when one of them says Marshall reminds him of Marvin because of his generous nature. We get a montage showing Marvin feeding everybody who stopped by the New Year’s tailgate just like Marshall has been doing.

No comments:

Post a Comment