Wednesday, March 20, 2013

HIMYM 8.19: "The Fortress"

“Barney, I wouldn’t live here even if you scrubbed every inch of this place with Purell, Amoxicillin, and holy water.”

This was another fairly forgettable episode of HIMYM with the overall theme of “bitches be crazy.” I don’t know why the creative team has continued to go to that well so often recently. They’re becoming one trick ponies, which makes me kind of glad that next season will be the last. This episode also focused on cartoon Barney a bit much for my taste. Like I’ve said on this blog more times than I can count, I prefer when Barney acts like an actual human being as opposed to a cartoon. He was rather cartoonish in the show’s very early days, progressed to a more well-rounded character as the series went on, and now sadly seems to be regressing back to a cartoon. Seriously, some of the stuff he rigged up in his apartment (like a system to eject “ho’s” from his apartment) was just gross. The Marshall and Lily (and tangentially Ted) B plot was equally disappointing. With the exception of that rough patch in late season 1/early season 2, Marshall and Lily have always had each other’s backs. Now their relationship is strained because Lily had the audacity to get a job where she actually uses her degree. There was a funny Downton Abbey parody bit, though. So there’s that.

As I already alluded to, the main plot of this episode is that Robin has given Barney an ultimatum that he needs to sell his bachelor pad. She’s already given up her apartment, and they agreed that he would too, and that they would find a new place to live together. Barney tries to convince Ted to buy the apartment, and of course he does this in style. Barney has a contraption that allows him to project his face, Jor-El or Wizard of Oz style, in the middle of his apartment. Even the whole “my son” schtick doesn’t convince Ted, though. Ted is understandably grossed out at the thought of living in Barney’s former bachelor pad, so that plan is a no-go. Robin tells Barney he has to try something else. He’s not really working on it with a sense of urgency, though, so Robin hires a realtor to stage an open house. Barney is pissed off about this at first, but he says that since he loves Robin, he’ll go with it.

Meanwhile, Lily’s been working crazy hours at her new job as the Captain’s art consultant. Every time she settles down at home, she gets another phone call from the Captain asking her to check out some piece of art. One night when this happens, Marshall goes over to Ted’s apartment to hang out, and Ted tries to turn on “Woodworthy Manor,” the aforementioned Downton parody. Whenever any of the characters mention Woodworthy in this episode, the descriptions are always highly mundane and highly pretentious plot points. It’s pretty amusing, if a bit one-note, since that’s really the only point that seems to be made with the parody. Anyway, Marshall says that Woodworthy is something he always watches with Lily, and he wants to wait until he has a chance to watch with her. Eventually, though, after several more foiled Woodworthy dates, Marshall finally breaks down and watches an episode with Ted.

Lily, Marshall, and Ted all find themselves at another fancy art party that Lily needs to attend for the job, and just for fun, Ted pretends to be a British dude, and he and Marshall get mistaken for a couple. Marshall is pissed at Lily, so he goes with it, and he and Ted really ham it up. When he sees Lily is upset, Marshall takes every opportunity to drive the knife in even further with his interactions with Ted. He rather gleefully tells her that she’s already watched Woodworthy Manor, for instance. This whole bit was just very much unlike Marshall. Marshall is gentle and nice almost to a fault. I don’t see him as the type that would deliberately hurt Lily in this way, and I especially don’t see him as the type of person who would take joy in hurting Lily. I also don’t see him not fully supporting Lily transitioning to a more fulfilling career. Lily has been nothing but supportive of the twists and turns Marshall has taken in his career. I think he’s left lucrative law firm jobs for one reason or another at least twice on the show, and Lily’s been cool with it. Granted, Lily’s love for art is the one thing that did break them up temporarily in the early days, but they should have really moved beyond that. Anyway, Ted hits it off with this girl at the art event while he’s still in character, but they end up making out in Barney’s projection room (the one he uses to project the huge image of his head) by the end. Awkward. And unexpected, considering just a couple weeks ago we were told that Ted was done with dating for realsies.

Anyway, at the big open house at the Fortress of Barnitude, Barney tries to put on a supportive front, but he’s really trying to undermine things. He takes some glee in showing off the little modifications he’s made to the place, like a body mass index detector at the door. Granted, most of his modifications are in pretty poor taste, but I thought this was very cartoon Barney. Anyway, there is one couple that appears to see past all the grossness and still wants to buy the place. It’s Robin who has a change of heart, though, when the couple tells her that when they buy the place, they want to gut it. Robin doesn’t want to live in Barney’s bachelor pad, but she doesn’t want all that work destroyed either. She tells the couple that the apartment is not for sale. You know it’s a rather odd episode of HIMYM when the relationship dynamic between Barney and Robin seems healthier than Marshall and Lily.

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