Sunday, February 3, 2013

HIMYM 8.14: "Ring Up"

“Hold up, guys. She had to bounce. Flash mob broke out in front of a line of Korean-Mexican food trucks in Williamsburg.”

“Ring Up” was a largely inoffensive episode of HIMYM that had a few good laughs. It was still highly cartoon-like, but I guess I’ve grown to not really expect anything more from HIMYM like I do from “New Girl” or “Suburgatory” or “The Mindy Project.” This was really kind of a filler episode before we head full blast into February sweeps (yeah, I know I’m really behind on blogging…I blame my coworkers for convincing me to go out with them after work one too many times in the past couple weeks now that our busy season is over). Anyway, I thought it was interesting to see Robin’s perspective on how her life has changed since getting engaged. Barney’s not the only one missing his former lifestyle, although I liked how that aspect was all resolved by the end of the episode. And we also met Barney’s half-sister, and in the process, debunked one of the most popular theories about the Mother’s identity.

In this episode, Ted takes a little break from the “I’m the only one in the group not married/engaged” angst to enjoy the pleasures (I guess) of dating a 20-year-old. Ted is bragging to the rest of the gang about his conquest, but he doesn’t really see the relationship lasting long-term. The girl he’s seeing is ridiculously super hipster, as the quote of the episode above shows. She’s like a walking hipster cliché. I wouldn’t really expect Barney’s sister to be a hipster, but there you go. Barney pretty much begs Ted to keep seeing this girl, because he’s living vicariously through Ted. Barney says he loves Robin, but he’s still going through withdrawal from his old ways, and he needs Ted’s stories to keep going. At one point he even breaks into Ted’s apartment in the middle of the night to demand that Ted keep providing him with tawdry stories.

In a rather inconsequential subplot, Marshall starts wearing the leather cuff Ted was purchasing when he met Carly, and it really turns her on. She starts creating this elaborate fantasy where Marshall’s a loser musician, and since sex has been hard to come by since Marvin’s birth, Marshall goes with it. He continues to go with it even when he has a really nasty allergic reaction to the cuff. The increasing elaborateness of the fantasy and the disgustingness of the reaction on Marshall’s wrist are a running gag throughout the episode. Eventually, though, they realize that Marshall does legitimately need medical attention. They aren’t without a source of fantasy for long, though. At the very end of the episode, Lily gets a pair of mom jeans by accident, and Marshall is all over that. Eww.

Robin, meanwhile, is starting to see how being engaged is really a life change. With an intentionally cheesy musical sequence, Robin explains to Marshall and Lily how her mornings used to be before she got engaged. Men would part for her in the coffee line, and she would get everything from coffee to beer for free. She had been under the impression that New York was a cheap city to live in until she actually had to start paying for stuff. Yep, once guys started seeing the ring, the freebies and musical numbers were done. One evening at MacLaren’s Robin can’t even get a beer because no guys (including the bar tender) notice her. There’s a funny sequence where Marshall and Lily try to explain to Robin that the engagement ring makes her invisible, first by comparing it to the One Ring (Robin says she doesn’t speak nerd), and then by comparing it to Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak (Robin says she doesn’t speak virgin). By the end of the episode, she comes to terms with her new paradigm, mostly because she realizes that she can make Barney get stuff for her now.

Ted is increasingly skeeved out by how much his age turns on Carly. She even wants to know if he’s a Vietnam veteran and is convinced he must be over 50, even though he’s really just in his mid-30’s. Ted, despite Barney’s protests, is determined to break things off with Carly unless they can find something in common. Just as Ted is about to go through with it, he discovers that Carly’s phone has a Star Wars ring tone. Even though she’s just seen the movie once, this is enough for Ted. Ted wants to show bragging pictures to Barney the next day, but when Barney sees the pictures, he’s horrified. Ted has been dating his half-sister. Barney just can’t deal with this turn of events, and he lures Ted and Carly to his apartment for a wedding (which they don’t go through with, of course). Ted congratulates Barney on finally making it through his withdrawal period.

So yeah, I can deal with HIMYM cruising at this level until it officially wraps up at the end of next season (although I’d like to see it reach greater heights, of course, I just don’t have confidence the creative team has enough juice left in them to make that happen). I’m glad we have an official end point to the series, because as much as I enjoy hanging out with these characters when they aren’t being especially cartoon-like, I’m ready for them to move on with their lives, and given the conceit of the show, that means the show needs to end. The show has kind of been marking time for a while now, and it’s lost its charm. I’m ready to see Ted meet the Mother and Barney and Robin get married. And it seems like we’re finally making decent progress towards that goal, most likely thanks to the writers realizing that their time on the air is winding down. Ideally, we’ll meet the Mother at the end of this season or early next season and have a chance to get to know her a bit before the finale. But I’m really just happy that Barney and Robin seem to be on solid footing.

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