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How I Met Your Mother – “Rabbit or Duck”

“Rabbit or Duck”

February 8th, 2010

I strongly believe there is a time and a place for Barney Stinson at his most one-dimensional, so I won’t suggest that “Rabbit or Duck” was written off as soon as it was clear that it would feature that particular version of his character. I think Neil Patrick Harris sells this side of the character better than he has any right to, and as a result it’s a lot of fun…when it’s relevant.

However, while the show gets points for a clever continuation of the Super Bowl narrative, the problem with this particular Barney story is that it is entirely one-dimensional both in terms of how it presents his character and in terms of its position in the episode. Whatever novelty that story gained initially was lost by the time it reached its conclusion, and while it was never asked to do any heavy lifting it also never felt relevant to the rest of the episode, which made it seem that much more frustrating.

It was an episode that had some nice moments, but which never felt like it moved beyond a couple of key hangups.

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How I Met Your Mother – “The Sexless Innkeeper”

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“The Sexless Innkeeper”

October 12th, 2009

In the season premiere, we essentially got a confirmation that How I Met Your Mother would be dipping into the well of the double date: after struggling for a few seasons to integrate a drama-free Lily and Marshall into the show’s set of couples, they kind of gave up late last season with Hannigan disappearing to have a baby. The result is that, while Barney and Robin are a newer couple and in need of development, it’s perhaps more important that the show use this opportunity to remind us of Lily and Marshall’s value (as a couple, individually isn’t really a question) to the show’s dynamic.

“The Sexless Innkeeper” is simultaneously a justification for why we haven’t seen much of their individual life since they moved into their new apartment and a sign that the show really should have been going out of its way to do so. I don’t think that they should have rushed another couple together, but the addition of a two-couple dynamic lets them play stories that they’ve clearly wanted to dabble in without much of an opportunity. As Ted says at one point, couples need other couples, and Lily and Marshall only needed another couple to bring back what I enjoyed about their characters.

It really only had two jokes, but one was clever and the other was committed to by four really great comic actors and featured a whole lot of HIMYM-style intricacies (like The Best Night Ever.com, another meta-website), so it’s a very enjoyable half-hour of comedy.

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