Tuesday, May 15, 2012

HIMYM 7.20: "Trilogy Time"

“Dude, you can’t let that happen. If you’re not trilling it at least once every three years, the Dark Side wins.”

“Trilogy Time” was one of the more unique episodes of HIMYM that I’ve seen in a while. It really took full advantage of the show’s tendency to play with time and perception. I enjoyed the creativity that went into the flashbacks and the characters’ imagined futures. And I enjoyed the large role that “Star Wars” played in the episode as well. Especially the fact that the prequel trilogy never figured into the guys’ Star Wars tradition. Because really, we’d all be better off pretending that the prequel trilogy never existed. It was fun to see how Ted, Marshall, and Barney’s hopes and dreams evolved over twelve years, and surprisingly, by the end of the episode, it was Barney who showed the most growth of all. I always like stories that make sure Barney acts like a human being instead of a cartoon, so I appreciated the character growth for sure. This episode was rather light on plot, but the fun concept and characterization made up for that to me.

The show’s rather amusing cold open takes place in the apartment across the street from Barney and Quinn. The husband of a couple who lives in that apartment has been obsessing with Barney walking outside, taking a few steps away from the front door, and smiling at the exact same time each night. We then cut to MacLaren, where the group wants to know how living with Quinn is going. Barney first tries to say it’s great, then he backtracks and admits it’s bad. He just doesn’t know how to share his living space. He feels like he has to go outside to fart, and he and Quinn got into an argument about whose coffee mugs to use. Quinn sold all of her stuff but her coffee mugs, but Barney still wants to use his own coffee mugs. Barney tells Robin and Lily that he took the coffee mug stand because he needed to “assert his dominance,” and Robin and Lily tell him to never say that to any woman ever. Barney, feeling outnumbered, retreats to Ted’s apartment, where Ted and Marshall agree that talking about “asserting dominance” was a really bad idea. Barney is about to leave when Ted says he should stay because it’s Trilogy Time.

We flash back to Wesleyan in 2000 to see the inception of Trilogy Time. Ted and Marshall were procrastinating studying for an econ test, and Trilogy Time was born. They made a promise to watch the entire Star Wars trilogy together every three years. Before starting to watch A New Hope, Ted and Marshall imagine what their lives will be like in 2003. They are both successful, Marshall as a rich lawyer and Ted designing sky scrapers. Lily is married to Marshall and pregnant with their first child, and the three of them live in an apartment together and sleep in adult-sized bunk beds. Ted has a crunchy granola musician girlfriend named Rhiannon (who we see looks like Robin in Ted’s imagination). Oh and they’re all awesome musicians and play in a band together.

The real 2003 is quite different from how Marshall and Ted imagined it. Instead of practicing law, Marshall is managing a Structure clothing store because he hasn’t been able to get into law school yet. They can barely afford their apartment, and Lily and Marshall aren’t married yet. But they’ve added Barney to the group. Before watching the Trilogy, they imagine what their lives will be like in 2006. They’re all super rich and speak with British accents. They’re quite fancy in general, and Marshall is an environmental lawyer. Oh, and Barney is the same as he always is. He makes a joke where he tells the guys that they’ll be seeing a lot of his newest girlfriend, and when she leaves, he says, “and they never saw her again.”

Again, the real 2006 is nothing like they imagined. The guys are both somewhat more successful career-wise than they were in 2006, since Ted has his good job at an architecture firm and Marshall’s in law school. Ted is dating Robin, and Lily has left Marshall to move to San Francisco. Marshall is still not taking Lily’s absence well at all. They imagine their lives in 2009 very similar to how they imagined their lives in 2006 back in 2003. Marshall’s still British and fancy, and Robin’s a sort-of Mad Men-style housewife. Ted tries to say Lily has returned and is pregnant with Marshall’s baby, but Marshall adjusts the story so she’s pregnant by a douchebag who wears a trucker hat. Barney pulls the same “and they never saw her again” joke, but this time, he’s invented “back boobs” and his lady has some.

We know how the gang was in the real 2009. Marshall and Lily are back together and married, and Ted’s gone through his losing his job/getting left at the altar drama. Barney has told the guys he’s at “decoupage” class, but he’s actually banging Robin on the downlow. Barney and Robin are much more fun in this clip than they were in actual 2009. Because Barney is supposed to be out, Ted and Marshall want to watch the Trilogy on his good TV. But Barney is at home, of course. He has to quick get dressed, and Robin hides in Barney’s Stormtrooper suit. Which was hilarious. She listens to the guys talking and breaks a lamp when Barney tells the same “and they never saw her again” bit. Ted says that if he’s not married by 2012, something is seriously wrong with him.

Returning to 2012, we know that something is “wrong” with Ted in the sense that he’s not yet married. Ted imagines a horrible 2015 where he’s a bald hoarder who calls the frozen dinner comment line for companionship. His friends are all out yachting, and Robin is married to the douchebag in the trucker hat. Ted starts to add in the usual Barney story, but this time Barney asks for a correction. He doesn’t want that anymore, and he leaves the apartment to go spend time with Quinn. He starts breaking his own coffee mugs to show Quinn that he’s willing to accept her. Then they fart in front of each other. It’s the grossest attempt at a romantic moment I’ve ever seen on TV, and it did nothing for me. Ted tells us that 2012 was the only time he imagined a more bleak future. After that, things got better. We see the real 2015 where Ted has an infant daughter, and the guys all seem happy. And a sweet ending is kind of ruined by a stupid tag of Barney banging Quinn while Quinn is wearing the Stormtrooper suit.

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