Wednesday, February 27, 2013

HIMYM 8.17: "The Ashtray"

“Trust me. The tax code being what it is, you do not want to be rich right now.”
-The Captain

This was another episode of HIMYM that really took the core conceit of the show and cranked it up to eleven. We saw very literally on the screen, once again, the unreliable narrator trope. If they hadn’t just done an episode like this the week previously, I’d think it was entertaining.

The episode is framed around a call from the Captain. For those of you new to HIMYM, The Captain is the ex-husband of Ted’s ex-girlfriend Zoe. Zoe was still married to the Captain when she first met Ted, although Zoe and Ted didn’t officially get together until after Zoe and the Captain were separated. Anyway, Ted’s got this voice mail from the Captain, and he’s petrified that his past is coming back to haunt him. Specifically, he’s worried about something that happened not long after he and Zoe broke up. After breaking up with Zoe, Ted went back to dating Robin’s ditzy former coworker, Becky. The gang (minus Becky, and Barney too) goes to an art gallery opening. Lily’s psyched about this since she was an artist before becoming a teacher. The problem is that the Captain shows up. From Ted’s perspective, the Captain is mean and threatening. Lily wants to show the Captain and his art consultant a painting of an elephant that she really likes, but they’re decidedly meh on it. The Captain invites the gang up to his apartment to see a new addition to his own art collection. He says that he and Ted are cool over the whole Zoe thing as long as Ted doesn’t steal the Captain’s new girlfriend too. Ted looks at a framed picture on the Captain’s desk, which is of Becky, of course.

In the present day, Ted gets another phone call from the Captain, and this time, Ted answers it. It turns out the Captain wants Robin’s phone number, which is really kind of creepy. Barney gives Ted permission to give the Captain Robin’s phone number, just because they want to find out what he actually wants. Robin’s not especially thrilled to hear about this, and she tells the story of the gallery opening from her point of view. Apparently Ted was quite high thanks to sharing a “sandwich” with Becky earlier in the evening. In Robin’s recollection, though, she’s completely sober. She remembers the Captain being creepy and constantly hitting on her. She’s worried that the Captain will want to date her. She does eventually agree to call the Captain, but there’s another twist to the story. The Captain actually wanted to talk to Lily, he just got Robin and Lily’s names mixed up. Marshall says that Robin can give the Captain Lily’s number, because the Captain has enough money to pay the amount Lily and Marshall agreed they could sleep with other people for. Which is kind of weird.

Lily’s equally unhappy to have had her contact information given to the Captain. She too is afraid that her past has caught up with her. Apparently, not only was Ted high, but Robin was sloshed from a late “work meeting.” Heh. It turns out that she was the one hitting on the Captain, and in a rather embarrassing way. I found that to be more than a little disappointing. Oh, and the photo Ted saw wasn’t of Becky. It was a yachting magazine cover with a tiny photo of Becky’s boat commercial in the corner. More importantly, the Captain’s art consultant was really snooty to Lily over Lily’s praise of the elephant painting. Later, when they all go up to the apartment, the Captain is even worse. He disparages the painting and Lily’s taste in art, saying she’s “just a Kindergarten teacher.” Even though we haven’t heard about it in years, Lily still believes in “Aldrin Justice,” aka if you misbehave, she’ll take one of your toys. So she stole the Captain’s big crystal ashtray, and she’s worried that he’s figured that out.

Marshall is really upset to find out that Lily stole from the Captain, and he asks the rest of the gang to leave so they can have a fight. The rest of the gang ends up at MacLaren’s, where they find out why Barney’s been so upset all episode that he wasn’t part of this particular crazy story. He feels like crazy stories are his “thing,” and without it, he’s got nothing. So Ted and Robin try to make up a story about Barney being part of the story. Robin mentions something about running a play from the Playbook, and Barney thinks of a play involving pretending to be an Archduke and having an oil painting of yourself. I’m kind of tired of the Playbook. It’s tacky. Anyway, upstairs in the apartment, Marshall and Lily have their fight. Marshall wants Lily to return the ashtray immediately, but Lily is still really upset over what the Captain said. When Lily explains that she feels like a failure for not using her Art History degree, Marshall becomes more sympathetic, and he tells Lily to quit her job and follow her dream. Seems only fair considering Marshall has done that on multiple occasions himself.

Anyway, Lily pays the Captain a visit and returns the ashtray. The ashtray isn’t why he called her though. The Captain shows Lily that he bought the elephant painting she liked after all. And it increased in value by $4 million over the past year because the artist suddenly became the next big thing in the art world. The Captain is impressed by Lily’s judgment, and he wants her to be his new art consultant. Later, Lily tells the gang that she did indeed take the job offer. I think this will be a good move for Lily. I know what it feels like to languish professionally, although thankfully I didn’t languish for as long as Lily did, so I’m glad to see that it looks like she’ll have an opportunity to be fulfilled. And the job should pay well, too, considering how rich the Captain is, which is a good thing considering Marshall’s a rather low paid environmental lawyer, who by virtue of having been to law school, probably has a ton of student debt.

No comments:

Post a Comment