Wednesday, March 28, 2012

HIMYM 7.18: "Karma"

“Who says any place is better for the baby if you two are unhappy in it?”

“Karma” was a somewhat disappointing episode of HIMYM. It just wasn’t really all that funny. The best episodes of HIMYM have both laughs and heart, and this episode was kind of lacking in both. The last scene had heart, but that was about it. There were jokes, but they were kind of cheap jokes- not jokes which left me laughing hysterically. And I really, really don’t like Quinn. I know it’s supposed to be all “Barney has finally met his match,” but she’s really a horrible human being. She’s not horrible because she’s a stripper, she’s horrible because of the tricks she uses to extort money out of men, including Barney. Barney’s certainly been a despicable human being too, but he’s made strides towards being a better person, and he just doesn’t deserve what Quinn does to him. The Marshall and Lily plot was kind-of out of nowhere. They had shown no sign of being so fundamentally unhappy on Long Island before, although I did appreciate the message that you don’t need to give your kid a stereotypical suburban upbringing to be a good parent. And all the crazy hobbies Ted tried to pick up to fill the void? Left me about as empty as Robin’s room. There just wasn’t enough substance to be funny. The sight gag got old after one scene. But Ted had to have two more hobbies after the first.

The episode opens with Ted and Barney at the Lusty Leopard. They seem to be going here a lot since the rest of their friends have left the city. They’re talking about Robin and Quinn over lap dances. Barney hasn’t been able to find or contact Quinn since their night together, but he still thinks about her. All of a sudden, he looks up and there she is. Working the pole as a stripper named Karma. Meanwhile, on the subject of Barney’s actual soulmate, Robin is staying with Marshall and Lily out in East Medow. She’s kind of neutral about the location, but Marshall and Lily are enthusiastically trying to convince her that there are tons of fun things to do in East Meadow. There’s the miniature museum. With painted thimbles! And a bowling team. That Marshall and Lily started! Lily also gives Robin a journal, because Lily thinks writing is a good way to work out complicated emotions. This sets the stage for really the one funny running bit in this episode.

Back at the apartment, Ted is feeling the emptiness of Robin’s old room and doesn’t quite know what to do with it. His first choice is to try barbecuing. While I love me some barbecue, all that smoke in an unventilated room just doesn’t seem healthy to me at all. It was a little funny, but then I was just overcome by the grossness. Barney interrupts the barbecue when he stops by to gripe about Quinn. Ted manages to convince Barney that maybe Quinn working at the strip club Barney frequents is destiny. Barney has to act like he came up with the idea on his own, of course. Barney goes back to the Lusty Leopard to try and ask Quinn out. Quinn keeps making the excuse that her manager is watching, and Barney keeps paying for lap dances to continue their conversation. He’s trying to convince Quinn that they should date.

Out on Long Island, we start to get the payoff to Lily giving Robin the journal. Robin starts writing in the journal, anthropologist-style, about the bizarre new suburban culture she has discovered on Long Island. Robin can’t take much more of this, so she tells Marshall and Lily that her co-worker has offered her a place to stay in Manhattan. Marshall and Lily, however, keep making excuses about why Robin can’t leave. Lily even spills stuff on Robin’s clothes so they need to be washed. Then, of course, Lily delays washing them. Eventually, she says she just took all of Robin’s clothes to Goodwill, which was kind of bizarre. As time goes by, Robin starts to feel herself morphing into a Long Islander, complete with a fondness for Snuggies and a desire to eat ice cream by the pint. Robin tries to escape while Lily and Marshall are at Bingo Night, but her plan is thwarted when Bingo Night is cancelled and Lily and Marshall catch her at the back door. Lily and Marshall finally admit that they hate East Meadow, too, but they want to tough it out because they think the suburbs are the best for the baby. Robin tries to make them rethink that, wisely pointing out that the baby isn’t going to be happy if they’re not happy.

Back in Manhattan, Ted has started in on another new hobby. This time it’s making furniture, and it’s not going especially well. The furniture keeps breaking. Again, Barney interrupts to talk about his latest trip to the Lusty Leopard. Quinn keeps dragging out her decision about whether or not to go on a date with Barney so that she can get more money out of Barney. This makes me rather angry at her. Or as angry as I can get at a fictional television character. Barney, however, fails to see how heinous Quinn is and thinks he’s in love. Ted has finally realized what is going on and thinks that Barney is being played. To make matters worse, Barney and Quinn’s first date is going to be at the Lusty Leopard. This proves that Quinn’s only in it for the money. If that wasn’t enough to prove it, Quinn manages to move the “date” to the Champagne Room at the Lusty Leopard, which costs Barney even more money.

Barney returns to the Lusty Leopard to see Quinn yet again, and he sees her using the same schtick on another guy about how she’s going to “break her rule” about dating clients just this once. Barney almost gets conned again, but he finally sees what’s going on, gives Quinn the what-for, and leaves. That’s not the end of Quinn, though, unfortunately. Barney happens to run into her yet again, this time at a coffee shop (the same coffee shop that called him “Swarley,” by any chance?). Finally, Quinn seems to give in to Barney’s charms. She buys him a coffee and actually agrees to sit with him to drink it. That seems to have turned Barney around on Quinn, but it certainly hasn’t convinced me of anything.

Robin finally escapes from Long Island, and the first thing she does is go back to the apartment to pick up the rest of her stuff. She interrupts Ted trying yet another new hobby. This time it’s pottery. Their conversation is a little awkward, but Robin does tell Ted about Lily and Marshall actually hating Long Island. They also talk about their new living situation, and they decide that it’s definitely for the best that Robin moved out, because Ted needs to close the door on their relationship once and for all. After Robin leaves, Ted calls Marshall and Lily and tells them to come to the city. They’re so bored that they jump at the chance. When they get to the apartment, they find it completely cleared out except for a crib in Robin’s old room. There’s a note from Ted saying that he never took their names off the lease (holy crap would that have pissed me off…talk about liability for landlord-tenant actions that you wouldn’t even know about to defend), so the apartment is theirs if they want it, because Ted has moved out too. Marshall and Lily decide to take the offer.

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