Monday, February 11, 2013

HIMYM 8.15: "P.S. I Love You"

“It was tragic. I mean to this day, you ask any Canadian where they were when Robin Sparkles lost it, not only can they tell you which Tim Horton's they were in, but what donut they were eating.”
-Steven Page

Of the two episodes of television I’ve blogged today, I actually liked this episode better than the “New Girl” episode. Go figure. I guess it really shouldn’t come as all tht much of a surprise, considering I love when HIMYM embraces the Canadian jokes, and sine this episode featured the fourth appearance of Robin Sparkles, there were Canadian jokes a plenty. This episode saw the evolution of Robin Sparkles the “80’s” teen pop icon into Robin Daggers, uber-90’s grunge singer/songwriter (or blatant Alanis Morissette ripoff…take your pick). There was also plenty of Barney in a Tim Hortons, which is never not funny. Although this time, thankfully, he didn’t get beat up by a pee wee hockey player. The Barney and Robin plot in this episode was just so good that it overpowered a kind of annoying Ted plot. I really watch this show for every character other than Ted, so a good Barney and Robin plot is enough to make me happy.

The theme that ties the whole episode together is, basically, stalking and when it is appropriate. Ted thinks he’s had the best meet cute on the subway with this girl Jeanette, and it kind of unravels throughout the episode. Ted sees Jeanette on the subway and calls out to her just as she’s getting off the train. He then goes into super stalker mode to try and find her, complete with notes on a yellow legal pad. Marshall and Lily call Ted out on being creepy, but it’s very unlikely to stop him completely. Not for lack of trying, though. They do take away both his primary and back-up stalker notes legal pads. When the gag is discussing this situation, Robin mentions that Ted’s actions aren’t all that starnge. She says that everyone has that one person who they obsess over a bit. She won’t say who hers is, though.

The fact that Robin once had an obsessive crush drives Barney a little nuts, to put it kindly. He first breaks into Robin’s apartment to read her teen journal, where he sees a poem called “P.S. I Love You.” He then flies all the way to Vancouver to interrogate as many of Robin’s exes as he can find. Well, he questions them rather forcefully in a very nice Tim Hortons. Eventually the train leads him to none other than Simon. Simon wasn’t the subject of Robin’s obsession, but he clues Barney into something even better. There’s a fourth Robin Sparkles video, y’all! This one is an episode of MuchMusic’s “Underneath the Tunes,” which is supposed to be the Canadian version of VH1’s “Behind the Music.” Simon promises Barney that watching this program will answer Barney’s questions.

Barney rushes back to New York, and the rest of the gang is super excited to learn that there’s another Robin Sparkles video. The video itself is absolutely hilarious. It’s like the creative team got together as many B list Canadian celebrities as possible, and the result is glorious. The end of Robin Sparkles happened at the 1996 Grey Cup (Canadian Super Bowl, for those of you not in the know), where Robin performed the half-time show. Instead of performing her pop hits like “Let’s Go to the Mall” and “Sandcastles in the Sand,” she became Robin Daggers and performed “P.S. I Love You.” I loved how Alanis Morissette it sounded. And of course, with the Alanis comparison came talking head interviews with Dave Coulier swearing that “P.S. I Love You” wasn’t written about him. I’m a total 90’s kid (I was born in the early 80’s, but I really became aware of pop culture in the 90’s), so I was really just loving the 90’s-ness of all of this.

Meanwhile, Ted happens to run into Jeanette again, this time at school when a fire alarm interrupts his class. Marshall and Lily keep trying to dissuade Ted from pursuing Jeanette, suggesting alternative scenarios that make Jeanette seem more and more like a stalker. First they suggest that Jeanette may have pulled the fire alarm to arrange the meeting. Jeanette says this is true. Then Marshall and Lily point out that most college buildings have a smoke detector, and when Ted asks if Jeanette started a fire to set off the alarm, the admits that’s true too. And that’s when we really get into creepy stalker territory. Ted doesn’t think it’s creepy, though. He can’t get over the fact that they’re so in synch that they kept identical primary and back up stalker legal pads. He thinks that stalking and big romantic gestures aren’t creepy if the recipient is happy about the attention. Which is kind of messed up, I think. By the end of the episode, Jeanette admits that she has been stalking Ted for a lot longer than he originally realized. She’s been interested in him ever since he was on the cover of New York Magazine. A year and a half ago. Yet Ted starts kissing her anyway. Even Narrator!Ted admits this was a big mistake. The last mistake he would make before meeting the Mother.

As Barney and the crew continue to watch “Underneath the Tunes,” it’s revealed that the most likely inspiration for “P.S. I Love You” was none other than Alan Thicke. Barney immediately goes to his apartment and attacks him, which was funny only because Neil Patrick Harris is a master of physical comedy, and his face as he launches himself at Thicke is hilarious. Alan Thicke, predictably, kicks Barney’s ass, and thanks to the bruises, Barney has to admit to Robin that he has an obsession too. Figuring out who Robin’s obsession was. Especially since a line in “P.S. I Love You” talks about whoever she marries being second to this mysterious person. Turns out the subject of Robin’s mysterious teenage obsession was none other than musician Paul Shaffer. P.S. Get it? Somehow this moment turns Barney’s obsession from creepy to endearing, or, as Ted would put it, from Dahmer to Dobler.

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