Monday, April 11, 2011

How I Met Your Mother "The Exploding Meatball Sandwich" Review

Does How I Met Your Mother really need weekly reviews from various websites? No, it does not and, certainly, not from this little blog. The characters in every story clearly voiced the themes of the episode, as if the writers or the network felt they could not trust the audience to "get" the meaning of the episode. Regardless, I'll continue to write about How I Met Your Mother.

Explosions and clocks were the most prominent things in the C story. Strangely enough, the theme of explosions and the tick-tock of a clock were relevant in the A and B stories with the show's only two couples. It's strange because the C story usually exists outside of the heart of the episode as a pleasant two scene tag or whatever. I remember Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse discussing on the LOST podcast how they and the writers arrived at various C stories for an episode. Usually, the LOST staff arrived at various C stories by playing ping pong or video games. They aren't excruciating to break. Yet the most important elements of tonight's episode were within the C story and I'm not sure whether or not that is poor storytelling.

The two couples of the show were in parallel storylines. Ted wanted support from Zoey while Lily wanted to challenge Marshall's life decisions. Ted and Lily were ticking clocks, awaiting to explode on their respective spouses. Ted felt unloved and unsupported because Zoey offered no support for Ted's goal to build a skyscraper in Manhattan. Since her introduction as a character, and the beginning of she and Zoey's relationship, debate existed about her place in the show as well as the purpose of the relationship when she clearly wouldn't be the mother. I waited many episodes to offer an opinion because the writers had opportunities to make the relationship interesting and meaningful to Ted's overall arc; however, the relationship seems like a waste of time. Ted acknowledged as much at the end of the episode before the graduation goggles clouded his judgment. The relationship never felt authentic from the beginning. The circumstances surrounding their coupling felt forced. There is no investment for the audience in the relationship. Future Ted hinted that he'd learn a lesson before his relationship ended about support so maybe hope remains for the doomed relationship to be something other than a waste of time but it's doubtful given the recent track record of the show.

Meanwhile, the death of Marshall's father hasn't progressed in the way I originally thought. The untimely death of his dad motivated Marshall to quit his corporate job at GNB for an unpaid internship with an environmental firm because Marshall's longed to be a do-gooder. Lily remained supportive of every decision until she told Ted how many issues she had with Marshall's decision-making. Lily felt most stung because she and Marshall stopped trying to reproduce. I assumed the death of Marshall's father might've opened the opportunity to make the journey towards their own child more meaningful and heartfelt but the writers seem mostly unsure with how to write Marshall after this life-changing event. Nothing changes between the married couple in the episode. Marshall decided to find a paying gig without the need for Lily to confront him about her issues. The inciting incident of their story led to zero transformation by the end of the story. Bad storytelling.

Robin tried to psychoanalyze Barney but her analysis wasn't accurate. Barney's feelings about his father remain a guarded secret. I forgot about the "Legendaddy" episode for the initial minutes of the episode. It seems futile for Barney to be involved in emotional arcs because his behavior shifts every episode depending on the needs of the episode. He's a difficult character to take seriously, and when the writers want us to take him seriously, he's portrayed like a secondary character in a mainstream Hollywood rom-com that's released in the dead months of January and February.

Overall, the episode beat the audience over the head with what it wanted to say about relationships and its characters. There's no momentum heading towards the finale in May. Bad episode.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.