October 19th, 2009
So, this was pretty awesome, eh?
I don’t know if there’s many episodes of an American comedy series that likely work far better for Canadians than Americans, but I think this is probably one of those examples. Much of “Duel Citizenship” took the form of a pretty standard episode of the show, with Ted turning into an unwilling third wheel on a trip with Lily and Marshall, but the story of Robin’s need to consider becoming an American citizen turned into a love letter to Tim Hortons (which is a famous Canadian coffee chain, in case you weren’t aware) and in many ways another sign that this Robin’s character (and the show) has more of an appreciation for Canada than the jokes might initially indicate.
The result is a solid episode of How I Met Your Mother from the perspective of someone who finds the jokes to be at Canada’s expense, and a kind of fantastic episode for those of us who “get” the Canadian side of the storyline in a way that others cannot. All in all, it’s an episode I had a lot of fun with, albeit for the love of my country more than my love of the rest of the episode.
“Claim to Fame”
February 3rd, 2009
Early in the season’s second episode, Jessica observes that something is beginning to change around these parts: after the first week where everyone was concerned about staying, they enter into one of two modes. They either, like Jessica and a few others, switch from survival mode to awesome mode, or they switch into a mode where all they have is personality-driven drivel. It’s a sad existence for those few, and it is not very surprising that they are amongst those who are almost out the door by episode’s end.
They might be designing a dress for Elisha Cuthbert, but considering that her requests are for a dress for a “night on the town” it’s not like this makes her very special. Instead, it’s a test of the designers’ ability to design a simple dress in a way that isn’t too ugly, and that isn’t too much for them to handle. It isn’t surprising, really, that it is the people who spend more time feuding and ranting during the conception phase are those who can’t put together a dress to save their lives in the end.
But in the end Jessica is right: we don’t get much of a sense of any major design emergences here, instead focusing more on personalities. And considering that they’re dressing a celebrity, I guess it makes sense to focus on some of the people only concerned about trying to become one through the world of reality television.
December 15th, 2008
For those of you who don’t know, I am from Canada. So is Cobie Smulders, who plays Robin Cherbotsky, who is also from Canada. This has made us the butt of many jokes in the span of How I Met Your Mother’s four seasons. The show has never really strived for accuracy, of course, but its skewering has been quite adept: I had recent HIMYM addict Angie Han send me a YouTube link the other night that she viewed as proof that the 80s hadn’t, in fact, come to Canada until 1993, which I won’t share here because it was actually quite damning for the state of popular music in the mid to late 90s in Canada.
If they had created an image of Canada in the past though, the final episode of HIMYM before its Christmas break proved that they are willing to go one step further. In an episode that would make Baudrillard proud (and by proud, I mean roll over in his grave while proud that he was right all along), Marshall invites a homesick Robin to “Little Minnesota” (aka the Walleye Saloon) a version of Marshall’s home state (which offers similar weather patterns to Canada) where everyone knows your name, everyone laments the Vikings’ loss in the 1999 NFC Championship, and where they believe that Canadians are afraid of the dark.
What followed was an episode that, despite the episode’s other storyline being a simulation of a mediocre sitcom, brought new life to the show’s version of Canada: sure, it’s not the truth, but it’s a well constructed enough exaggeration that I believe the show deserves credit for its-AHHH WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LIGHTS?!