Monday, November 19, 2012

HIMYM 8.06: "Splitsville"

“Please.  I was bro-ing you out. I'm just glad he bought it so quick. Any longer, I'd have had to kiss you.”

 Parts of “Splitsville” were almost unforgivably cartoonish (surprising, nothing involving Barney fits into this category), but the Barney and Robin stuff, especially at the end of the episode, pretty much made me cry.  What can I say, I am rather ridiculously invested in Barney and Robin.  They are pretty much the reason I’ve stuck with the show for the past couple years.  Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris still have that same chemistry that they did back in season one’s “Zip Zip Zip,” and I’m such a sucker for it.  I’m such a sucker for it that I can almost ignore the stupidity of some of the other aspects of this episode, like Marshall getting so ridiculously invested in a community basketball league and none of the rest of the gang volunteering to babysit Marvin at any point before this.  Maybe it’s time to start counting down the episodes until HIMYM is no longer around to make me angry about how far it’s fallen?

 The episode really looks at both Lily and Marshall’s and Robin and Nick’s relationships, with some side involvement from Ted and Barney.  Apparently there’s a Little Ivies over-30 professionals basketball league in the HIMYM version of New York City, and Marshall is on a team of lawyers called the Force Majeures.  There biggest rivals re the accountants, called the Number Crunchers.  Nick is playing as a ringer with the Force Majeures, and he’s been invaluable to the team.  There’s just one problem- he strained his groin in the latest game.  Not only does this mean that Nick will be off the basketball court for a while, it also means no sex.  Without sex as a distraction, Robin has come to realize that Nick is really, really dumb, and she finds this off-putting.  Robin is tempted to break up with Nick over this, but Marshall begs her not to.  He thinks that a break-up will throw Nick off his basketball game.  Meanwhile, Ted has decided to start his own team in the league.  It’s for architects, and it’s called the T-Squares.

 After a couple failed attempts to break up with Nick (because of Nick showing her his abs or acting sad), Barney issues an ultimatum.  Robin and Nick are going to dinner at desert restaurant and popular break-up spot Splitsville, and she is going to break up with Nick.  If she doesn’t, Barney is going to send Robin’s annoying co-worker Patrice an invitation to a “Robin and Patrice BFF Fun Day.”  Patrice will never leave Robin alone if this happens, so Robin does indeed have some motivation.  Robin and Nick do go to Splitsville, but Robin still has trouble breaking up with Nick.  First, she’s has trouble because he’s so dense that he doesn’t pick up on her hints that she wants to break up.  Then he gets a phone call that makes him sob and Robin thinks one of his family members must have died.  It turns out though, that the call was just from his doctor saying that the groin injury was serious enough that he was going to be off the basketball team for the rest of the season.

 Barney gets fed up, and he decides to go to the restaurant and take matters into his own hands.  He tells Nick straight up that Robin wants to break up with him.  He’s not quite honest about the reason why, though.  He says it’s because he loves Robin.  Which is true, of course, but that’s not why Robin wants to break up with Nick.  The speech is absolutely gorgeous, as is Neil Patrick Harris’ delivery of it.  If you don’t feel for Barney in that moment, you have no heart.  It was pretty much what I’ve been waiting for for eight long seasons.  When Barney said of Robin, “I am hopelessly, irretrievably, in love with her. More than she knows,” I was pretty much a teary puddle of goo on the floor.  Once he succeeds in finally chasing Nick off (straight into the arms of two pretty and also freshly broken-up-with women), Barney plays it off like he was just trying to be a good bro to Robin.  Robin sees through it, though, amazingly enough.  She realizes that Barney meant what he said   They’re about to kiss when Robin’s phone rings.  It’s Patrice, of course.  With all the excitement, Barney forgot to cancel the BFF Fun Day invitation, so Patrice now never, ever wants to leave Robin’s side.  Way to shoot yourself in the foot there, Barney!

 The rest of the episode (which was thankfully a fairly small percentage compared to the Barney/Robin stuff) was way too broadly comedic for my taste.  That seems to have been a trend with HIMYM overall lately, and it’s why I’ve been describing aspects of the show as “cartoon” thus-and-such.  I miss when the show was based in real emotions and aspects (albeit somewhat exaggerated) of what it was like to transition from college to “real” life.  Anyway, in the cartoon section of the show, Ted enthusiastically tries to lead the T-squares to some sort of basketball glory.  He uses his magical architect powers to visualize the perfect angle at which he would need to ounce the ball off the wall in order to make a basket.  Ted succeeds, and he scores the only points for the team in the game.  Then the points are taken away because the ball went out of bounds.  Ted protests, but the decision stands, and the rest of the team abandons him.  On a better not for Ted, he puts the pieces together from Marshall training so hard for the basketball team and Lily not being shy about telling the gang her erotic fantasies to figure out that Marshall and Lily haven’t had sex for a long time.  They explain that with Marvin crying on a fairly regular basis, it’s kind of difficult to get their groove on.  Ted offers to take Marvin out for a few hours so Marshall and Lily can have their privacy, and they are only too happy to agree.  I’m really surprised they didn’t think of this solution a long time ago.

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