Friday, May 3, 2013

HIMYM 8.22: "The Bro Mitzvah"

“Shut it, Ralph Macchio. Why don’t you go have a party with Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter and Warhorse and all the other movie bad guys and stop ruining mine!” -Barney

This episode was more amusing than many more recent HIMYM episodes, but there are parts of it that made me really sad, too. Thankfully, the sad parts turned out to be a really elaborate plot, and the ending of the episode was happy. I’m not yet sure how I feel about what Robin did in this episode, really. Her elaborate plotting could either be seen as an example of why she and Barney are really well suited to each other, or it could be an example of how because Barney and Robin are so similar, putting them together is just too much of a slightly obnoxious good thing. And I didn’t quite buy the logic at play in the episode either. Robin’s idea was that because he tries to make every night legendary, the only way Barney’s bachelor party would be memorable would be if it was the worst night of his life. Seems kind of cruel to me. Methinks Barney would have been just fine with a night of gambling and strippers (who aren’t Quinn) in Atlantic City.

As you could probably tell from the introduction, this episode centers around Barney’s bachelor party. Barney’s been talking about what he wants in a bachelor party for quite some time, and now that he’s actually engaged, the bachelor party talk has reached fever pitch. Barney calls the bachelor party his “bro mitzvah,” and he has a list in vaguely Hebrew-looking letters describing all the things he wants for his party. The gang points out that this list first surfaced when he was engaged to Quinn, but Barney doesn’t want to talk about that. Anyway, Barney makes it quite clear that he doesn’t really think Ted and Marshall will be able to put together a sufficiently awesome bachelor party. Robin claims she could do the job, but Barney dismisses that, saying that planning the bachelor party is a bro’s job. Nevermind that Robin has been Barney’s honorary bro on occasion throughout the years.

Anyway, Narrator!Ted then sets the stage, telling us that Barney was gearing up to have a nice night introducing Robin to his mom, and he was happy because things were going well in his life, but all that was going to fall apart in the worst night of his life. The set-up is that, as I mentioned, Barney and Robin are supposed to have dinner with Barney’s mom. On top of that, Robin gives Barney several thousand in cash to pay for a wedding-related deposit on the way to the restaurant. Just as he steps out of his apartment building and takes a pause to contemplate how awesome his life is, Barney is kidnapped. The kidnappers turn out to be Ted and Marshall, and they’re taking him to his bachelor party. Barney calls Robin to say he’s going to be a little late to dinner, and she doesn’t seem pleased about it.

Marshall and Ted take Barney to a hotel, and that’s where things start to go horribly wrong. In fact, things go so wrong that I should have suspected something was up long before I did. The hotel is a sensibly priced corporate-type place just outside of Atlantic City, instead of actually in the city. Marshall and Ted say this is because they don’t want Barney to be tempted to indulge his gambling addiction. Marshall and Ted then start going through Barney’s list of stuff he wanted at his bachelor party, and we see each item in turn become horribly twisted. Great entertainment turns into a clown who makes balloon animals. The Karate Kid turns out to be Ralph Macchio, not William Zabka (Barney seems to view the protagonist and antagonists of movies to be the opposite of what most normal people would think). Barney freaking hates Ralph Macchio, and it’s kind of hilarious. To make matters worse, Ralph is a catch phrase saying player who is almost a parody of Barney. Every time one of the other characters says Ralph and Barney are a lot alike, Barney gets really pissed off.

The real crowning moment of bad is when the stripper shows up and it’s none other than Quinn. She appears to be really pissed off that Barney got engaged again so soon. She offers to strip for everyone at the party (including Lily, who brought Ralph Macchio) except for Barney. Barney has to go sit in the bathroom. While he’s there, he calls Robin, who starts complaining about how horrible her evening has been. She told Barney’s mom that she’s not a virgin (Barney had told his mom that Robin was), and now Loretta Stinson is going crazy regaling Robin with all manner of stories about her past sexual exploits. Barney says not to worry, because he’s heading home. Barney then leaves the bathroom and announces that the party is over. The gang all piles into one van (ironic, considering there’s a clown in the group), and Barney is tempted to go into Atlantic City and play his favorite really complicated Chinese gambling game. Barney loses spectacularly and incurs a gambling debt of about $85,000, plus he’s given the casino owners Marshall as collateral.

The group (minus Marshall) heads back for New York, and when they meet up with Robin, she’s incensed. The final straw is when she sees Quinn get out of the car. Robin and Quinn almost get in a physical fight, and then Robin breaks up with Barney. Barney just sits on the sidewalk dejected. At that moment, the grand finale of the prank takes place. A car of Chinese mobsters holding Marshall captive pull up, and they appear to cut off Marshall’s hand. Ted is all upset that they didn’t think he would be better collateral than Marshall. Right before the grand finale, though, we start to learn that all is not as it seems. Basically the whole first half of the episode was an elaborate prank planned by Robin to give Barney the best bachelor party in the only way possible. Since he always parties hard and has great nights, the only way he’d really remember the bachelor party would be if it was a terrible night.

We see in detail how Robin set everything up, and what’s amusing is how eager everyone is to be a part of the plot and get one over on Barney. The Chinese casino proprietor is happy to participate, Quinn is happy to participate. Heck, even Barney’s mom is happy to participate. Anyway, after the big finale, Barney is led up to his apartment where he’s greeted by everyone yelling “surprise!” Robin reveals that she arranged everything, and Barney thinks it is awesome. He’s flattered Robin put so much thought into planning everything. The icing on the cake is that the clown is actually William Zabka, the “real” Karate Kid in Barney’s eyes.

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