Monday, December 24, 2012

HIMYM 8.10: "The Over-Correction"

“Sometimes you fall for someone you’d never expect, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Doesn’t everyone deserve to be happy?”

So “The Over-Correction” was as overly broad and cartoonish as most of the episodes of HIMYM lately, but so help me, I actually laughed at some of it. I feel dirty. I guess part of that could be because I know that things turn out okay (for now) for Barney and Robin soon enough. This was definitely a jokey filler episode though, in the vein of some of the series’ worst episodes like “Rabbit or Duck?” I have to admit that the gang all stuck in random closets (most of them in Barney’s apartment) was pretty darn funny, and Ted having a pretentious (and kind of funny) background plot was a welcome change from him being angsty in the foreground. And there were some decent callbacks to past seasons, too, such as Marshall’s love for fish-related standup comedy and the infamous “Intervention” banner. I’m not sure if knowing now that HIMYM has been renewed for a ninth (and hopefully final) season makes me more or less irritated at the filler-ness of this episode. If this was the eight season, I’d be upset that we were wasting our final hours with these characters on this silliness. Now that a ninth season is certain, I’m wondering if this might be a sign of how the creative team intends to stretch out the remaining story to fill an additional season. I’m not hopeful.

The main plot of this episode involves Robin failing to come to terms with Barney and Patrice’s new relationship. Robin can’t stand and doesn’t respect Patrice (her yelling at Patrice is a running gag on the show that isn’t nearly funny as her former work-related running gags), so she can’t for the life of her figure out what Barney sees in her. The rest of the gang spectulates, coining a new term for a social phenomenon as they often do, that Patrice is Barney’s “over-correction” after the untrustworthy Quinn. Robin is determined to put a stop to this, ostensibly to save the innocent Patrice from the nastiness that is Barney, and she wants to do this by showing Barney’s Playbook to Patrice. The idea being that if she sees the Playbook, Patrice will realize that Barney isn’t the kind of guy she wants to be with (and Robin will have him back for herself, naturally).

Meanwhile, Ted is kind of miffed that the rest of the gang keeps taking his stuff (all labeled “Property of Ted Moseby,” naturally) and not returning it. It’s silly stuff like a Cleveland Chamber of Commerce cooler (that Lily is now using to store pumped breast milk) and a Vote for Ted hoodie that Marshall took and never returned. And it turns out the gang has taken other stuff of Ted’s that Ted didn’t even know about. Like Barney taking Ted’s Christmas ornaments, for instance. This all comes to a head mid-way through the episode when Robin finds herself in Barney’s apartment, desperately snooping around for the Playbook. She finds other important books, like the Bro Code, hidden in secret retractable compartments that made me think of the National Archives, but she has trouble finding the Playbook. Just as she is about to hit paydirt, Barney comes home, and Robin has to run and hide in a closet. She hears Barney on the phone talking to Patrice and inviting her over for a nice night in, and Robin knows she’s going to need help to get out of the apartment unseen. She enlists Ted’s help on pain of destroying Ted’s prized red cowboy boots that are conveniently in Barney’s closet.

Ted lures Barney down to the lobby by saying that Hugh Hefner is there, and this provides just enough time for Robin to finally find the Playbook. It’s not enough time, however, for her to escape the apartment. She ends up having to hide in the closet again. Robin wants Ted to continue helping her, so she texts him a hilarious picture of herself with the boots and her pocket knife that reminds me of something out of Robin 101. Ted tries to lure Barney downstairs by saying Jon Bon Jovi is there, but Barney isn’t buying it this time. Robin does, however, manage to get the Playbook in a position where Patrice will eventually find it. By the point that Patrice discovers the Playbook, we’ve discovered that Lily is hiding in Barney’s apartment, too. Apparently his big screen TV makes it a pretty kickass retreat for pumping breast milk, but Lily doesn’t want Barney to know she’s been taking advantage.

Marshall is the only one of the gang who doesn’t end up in Barney’s apartment. He’s back home dealing with his own nightmare. His mom, Judy, has come for a visit. He really wanted her to stay at the apartment, in spite of Lily presenting him with an extensive list of alternate options. Mostly because the apartment is kind of crowded with the baby and Lily’s dad, Mickey, being around most of the time. Early in the episode, Judy reveals to Lily that she thinks she might be ready to get back into the dating scene. I thought this was a little preposterous, considering her husband of several decades hasn’t even been dead for an entire year yet, but whatever. Lily thinks it’s a great thing that Judy wants to get out there again. What she doesn’t anticipate is what Marshall discovers, to his horror. He hears his mom and Lily’s dad having sex over the baby monitor. He tries to call Lily immediately, but she’s too wrapped up in the drama over at Barney’s apartment.

Anyway, when Patrice discovers the Playbook, she’s not happy, and Barney makes a big show of trying to prove to her that he’s a changed man. They have a long conversation out on the balcony, conveniently out of earshot of the rest of the gang. Then Barney takes a very drastic step. He burns the Playbook. The rest of the gang looks on in shock. Robin still thinks she has a chance of breaking Barney and Patrice up, though, and the rest of the gang (minus Barney) end up staging an intervention to basically tell her she’s gone whackadoodle. Meanwhile, Lily is horrified to learn Marshall’s news, although she and Marsall do try to put up a supportive front. Until Judy and Mickey say they’re just “family with benefits,” that is. Gross.

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