Wednesday, October 10, 2012

HIMYM 8.03: "Nannies"

“Robin, I expensed seven grand on merch. This is happening.”

“Nannies” was another sub-par episode of HIMYM, although at least it was better than last week’s episode. Damning with faint praise, I know. Once again Barney was more on the cartoon side of the spectrum as opposed to the “real boy” side. The one redeeming aspect of that was that Barney repeatedly admits that the way he is acting is not okay, but he doesn’t think he can help himself. It’s like that old cliché about how admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. There’s also a rather silly parenting related story featuring Masrhall and Lily. I thought Marshall and Lily being parents might be fun, but it’s turned out to be every parenting cliché taken to extremes. Not fun. I definitely think there’s room to tell stories about Marshall and Lily’s newfound parenthood in a more grounded, but still funny way. That’s what really first attracted me to HIMYM – its ability to chronicle the moments in the transition years of life in a way that was funny but emotionally honest. I miss that.

The episode opens with a bit of Cartoon Barney. He’s invented his own fall holiday called “Bangtoberfest,” complete with a new arrangement of the “Bangity Bang” song playing in the background as he describes it to the gang. My only reaction was to sigh, although, as I mentioned, the plot does get a bit better and takes somewhat of a turn away from Cartoon Barney. The other two plots of the episode are also introduced early in the episode. Lily’s dad accidentally burned the Long Island house down, and he shows up at Marshall and Lily’s apartment. To add to that chaos, Marshall and Lily are arguing over taking care of Marvin now that Lily has to go back to work. They’re having a lot of trouble finding a nanny, and even though Mickey rather desperately volunteers, Marshall and Lily don’t take him up on the offer for obvious reasons. While discussing all this at MacLaren’s, Robin says she and Nick could babysit, because they’re just clicking so well as a couple. This grates with Ted, who immediately says that he and Victoria are clicking really well too. What follows is inevitable one-upsmanship, and it kind of made me gag because it was so ridiculous.

Back in nanny interview land, Marshall and Lily interview Mrs. Buckmeister, who is older and British and the quintessential perfect nanny in a Mary Poppins sort of way. Marshall and Lily adore her and desperately want to hire her, but her fee is way too high for them to afford. Most of the nannies on the kind of sketchy nannies they can actually afford are scary bad. They do like Julie, a young woman from Minnesota. She grew up not far from Marshall, and they all just hit it off. Julie says she has one more interview later that afternoon, but she can’t imagine choosing to work for a family other than the Eriksens. Predictably, she calls and says she won’t be working for them after all. She’s met this rich dad, and she’s fallen in love with him. And they’re going on a vacation together right away. Marshall and Lily investigate and discover that the “rich dad” is Barney, who had been desperately looking for new ways to pick up chicks for Bangtoberfest. Julie says she can’t possibly nanny for a couple who would be friends with a monster like Barney.

Meanwhile, the Ted/Robin whose relationship is more perfect argument continues to escalate to new heights of foolishness. They’re enjoying drinks at MacLaren’s, as they generally do, and they start comparing future vacation plans (Jamaica versus Hawaii…I’d take either, really), how far in the future these vacations are planned for, and if they’ve met their new significant other’s parents (Robin has, Ted hasn’t). Ted accuses Nick of being needy, and we get a flashback of Nick talking about “wanting to be heard” while he and Robin are watching football at MacLaren’s. Robin, in turn, accuses Victoria of being a slob, and we get a kind of funny flashback of Victoria just destroying Ted’s apartment.

Just when Marshall and Lily are getting really desperate for a nanny, Mrs. Buckminster shows up at their door again. It turns out Barney agreed to pay her salary (I guess as an apology for ruining things with Julie), which I thought was kind of sweet. He knows he can’t act like Cartoon Barney any more, and he’s trying to move away from that, I hope. He actually faces a smackdown from a bunch of the nannies he slept with through his scheme. Anyway, even though they have the perfect nanny, Lily is extremely reluctant to hand Marvin over when the time comes. She ends up sending Mrs. Buckminster away. Lily wakes up at 5:00 in the evening holding a stuffed animal. She and Marshall don’t know where Marvin is, which causes a brief panic until Mickey arrives home from a trip to the park. He’s been taking care of Marvin all day. Apparently he was the primary caretaker for Lily during the first few years of her life, which she didn’t remember. He shows her a photo album, the one thing he was able to rescue from the Long Island house. It turns out that having to leave Lily at preschool was what drove him to gambling. Lily hires Mickey to take care of Marvin, and we get a sweet montage of Grandpa Mickey with Marvin as he grows up into a young boy. The sweetness of that is kind of ruined by the episode tag of Barney sleeping with Mrs. Buckminster, but no more needs to be said about that.

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