Tuesday, January 22, 2013

HIMYM 8.13: "Band or DJ?"

“Well I figured you knew. It’s on my Facebook page. You really should respond to my friend request.”
-Robin Sr.

“Band or DJ?” was a decent episode of HIMYM, although it was still significantly more cartoon-ish than I would prefer. It didn’t actively make me angry, which I suppose is really all I can ask of HIMYM these days. The episode really focused in on the aftermath of the Barney/Robin engagement. There are friends and family to tell and arrangements to be made. And of course Ted has to come to terms with the fact that one of his best friends is marrying the woman he once thought was the love of his life. One very redeeming aspect of this episode was that it seems to confirm, once and for all, that Barney and Robin do actually get married. Although we just see Robin dancing with her dad (no Barney), so I guess the rug could still be pulled out. I certainly hope not, though. That would just be plain cruel and not good storytelling. It would be a twist too many. I suppose it’s a sign of how badly the show has fallen off he rails that I’m even worried about such a thing. Also in the teasing the viewers category, we got more incremental progress on figuring out the Mother mythology. We now know why Ted meets her at Barney and Robin’s wedding. So there’s that, at least.

This episode really just covers the immediate fallout from Barney and Robin’s engagement. We see Ted at the GNB opening party getting the text from Barney announcing the news. Even though he gave the relationship his blessing, the reality of it all hits Ted at that moment. The next day when the gang is at MacLaren’s, Ted and Lily have the beginnings of a wedding planning fight. Ted’s got the whole thing planned out. The ceremony will be at the church where Victoria almost got married, and there will be a DJ at the wedding. Almost like he was planning his own wedding to Robin, right? Lily had been really looking forward to the wedding planning, and she almost ges physically violent after Ted starts acting like he’s going to do the planning. Robin and Barney show some interest in booking a band for the wedding, and Lily instantly offers to try and hook them up with the band she an Marshall were going to have pay at their first attempt at a wedding.

All of this fighting may be premature, however, because Barney and Robin have hit a little snag. Robin is kind of upset to find out that Barney hasn’t asked her dad for permission to marry her. Which I find highly out of character for Robin in the sense that Robin is, at her core, supposed to be an independent, kickass woman. On the other hand, she does have serious daddy issues, so maybe that’s why she wanted Barney to ask permission. To his credit, Barney thinks the idea of Robin as her dad’s property is ludicrous, but because it’s what she wants, Robin, Barney, and Robin Sr. all have lunch together at a hole in the wall Italian place. It turns out that Robin’s dad has moved to New York, gotten into a serious relationship, and become a Parrothead, and Robin knew none of this. Her dad thinks she should have just checked his Facebook page. Robin Sr. made a big show about being “fun” now, but he can still be pretty darn scary. When Barney starts to ask for permission to marry Robin, Robin Sr. says “permission denied” before Barney can even get out a whole sentence.

Barney tells Robin not to worry, and he seems convinced he can win over Robin Sr. with a little charm and effort. Barney’s attempt, however, devolves into Robin Sr. trying to get Barney to shoot a cute white rabbit named Fluffernutter (Robin Sr. had been talking about the hunting tribute he gave to Robin’s mom’s dad). This is, obviously, pretty traumatizing for Barney. Robin, meanwhile, has made the rather unwise decision to friend her dad on Facebook afterall (there’s a pretty funny scene where the gang warns Robin about what happens when you friend your parents on Facebook…let’s just say “50 Shades of Grey” gets a name check). She finds out that her dad isn’t just in a serious relationship with Carol (the fellow Parrothead). They’re married. Since her dad didn’t want her at his wedding, Robin tells him that he’s not invited to her’s. So now everything is a complete mess in that department.

Things become a complete mess in the Ted vs. Lily wedding planning wars, too. Things come to a head when Ted takes the rather drastic step of booking the wedding band Lily wanted to book so that she will fail in her efforts. At that point, it becomes pretty obvious to Marshall and Lily that this isn’t about wanting a DJ at all. Lily orders Ted up to the roof for a chat (Marshall watches Marvin). She wants Ted to admit that this is really all about being hurt that Robin is truly gone as a romantic prospect. In order to give Ted a “pass” for saying something kind of horrible (that he doesn’t really want Robin and Barney to get married), Lily says something horrible herself. She sometimes wishes she wasn’t a mother. Between teaching and parenting, she never gets a break from taking care of kids, and she’s seriously neglected her art. Once they’ve let all that out, they go back downstairs to the apartment, where a previously constipated Marvin has become unconstipated…all over Marshall. The joys of parenthood, I guess?

Anyway, Barney manages to talk some sense into Robin, Sr., and Barney even gets him to apologize to Robin. Robin Sr. will come to the wedding and even participate in the father/daughter dance, because Robin says that all she wants is a normal dad who will be happy about and participate in her wedding. Later, when talking to Ted, Robin says that Barney must really love her to have faced down her dad like that. I think that’s the beginning of Ted coming to terms with Robin truly being in love with someone else. We see a flash forward to May, where he’s on the subway talking to his lesbian ex-girlfriend and former roommate to the Mother, played by Rachel Bilson. The band that has been booked for the wedding has fallen through, and Ted’s ranting about how everyone should have listened to him. Rachel Bilson’s character offers to hook Barney and Robin up with her former roommate’s band, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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