March 24th, 2008
Ah yes, back finally with a real episode review. I didn’t get a chance to blog last week’s episode due to an impending thesis deadline, but it’s hard to ignore this week’s continuation of an alarming trend: we appear to be closer and closer to discovering who, in fact, is the Mother of the series’ title. After Ted picked up her yellow umbrella last week, tonight we got a distinct sense that there was something fishy about Stella, the dermatologist who steals Ted’s heart.
Of course, there’s a whole question right now as to what this episode was, and what it was intended to be. Alicia Silverstone was supposed to play the role of Stella up until a few weeks ago when, when Britney Spears was stunt cast as her receptionist. Silverstone’s three-episode arc, then, became a one-episode stint with now back to work on Scrubs Sarah Chalke filling in at the last minute. This leaves the HIMYM community with a burning question: considering the events of tonight’s episode, is Stella the mother? And, if so, doesn’t these events and Scrubs’ imminent renewal complicate things.
Well, in the end, I don’t think we have to worry – I don’t think she’s the mother.
The episode itself, as some have noted across the interwebs, was of a variable quality, although no perspective is likely to find a poor episode. For those who enjoy their HIMYM with lots of laughter, not your episode. For those like me, however, who enjoy a romantic episode of the series, a two-minute date was enough to enter this one into the category of memorable.
That two-minute date, the culmination of the ten week courtship of Ted and Stella, was a charming piece – from Rashish the Cab Driver, to Wendy the Waitress, it was charming and as well-acted as one can imagine. For a last minute stand-in, Chalke was fantastic – I can’t really imagine Silverstone in the role now that Chalke has knocked it out of the park by taking the compassion and excising the crazy from that other doctor she plays. In a perfect world, Bill Lawrence would realize that Scrubs is a dead horse, and let her loose to spend some time with Ted and the gang.
(I particularly enjoyed all of the small moments in the doctor’s office – from her falling out of her chair, to her reaction to the moustache, to her speaking French [I just find it charming, what can I say? C’est la vie!].)
As for Spears, it’s a unique piece of stuntcasting that ended up being unnecessary since the show already showed an uptick last week. If it can hold those ratings, all the better – she was inoffensive, easy on the eyes and showing no sense of the real crazy as opposed to the scripted crazy. The Barney/Abbie coda was a nice way to get more of Neil Patrick Harris in an episode where he definitely took a back seat to the A-Story…heck, there really wasn’t even a B-Story, just some expositional scenes at McLaren’s. I think that worked for the episode, gave it more of an event feel.
Which, of course, leads us to the question at hand: was Stella intended to be the mother, and is she now? For me, I go by the rule of “It ain’t over ’til the kids react.” Considering the central construct of the series, the kids should have been able to put two and two together from her occupation and the fact that she had an eight-year old daughter. I could be wrong on this point, and Thomas/Bays are willing to ignore the logical framing in favour of keeping the audience in the dark. Still, I’m waiting for an epiphanical moment before I start heralding.
- The Power of Me is starting to soak into too many things I watch…and perhaps I need it, since I don’t remember what the other example of this trend is.
- There was a lot going on here, which makes me wonder to what degree the episode was edited after the guest stars were added. I speak less of Spears’ cameo, and more of the various time-shifting Marshall/Barney visits to the clinic. They were a neat element, but also a somewhat disruptive one.
- Just a note to the ladies – definitely currently sporting a stache of sorts. So, if there’s any of you felicio…whatevers, it’s your lucky day!