Monday, December 3, 2012

How I Met Your Mother "Lobster Crawl" Review

Carter Bays and Craig Thomas took the classic trope of someone wanting someone else when the someone else doesn't want the someone and devoted an entire episode to it, forgetting about the flash-forward of Barney and Robin on their wedding day sometime down the road. The classic trope gets a new name, which is the "Lobster Crawl," coined by Lily, who reminds Robin of her penchant for wanting what she can't have. A doctor told Robin she could never eat lobster again, because of a food allergy. Robin craved lobster and wanted it more than any food on the planet. One night, Robin went to a seafood place and consumed lobster after lobster. Her face swelled up, and she nearly died. The lobster binge cured her of the desire for lobster; she needed to eat lobster until she nearly died to purge the desire from her system. Robin thinks the same applies to Barney Stinson, who, last week, told her he was done chasing her. Lily remarks, "He closed the door and you want to re-open it."

What's the point, show? Why bother with this nonsense? Robin's a mature woman with a terrific career who's reduced to Betty goddamn Boop because Barney won't try to sleep with her anymore. Why can't Robin be written as a mature woman with a terrific career who doesn't feel attraction towards a male because of his disinterest in her, or his abs, or for any other superficial reason? Barney's the model for consistency. Since the kiss, Barney hasn't slept around with half of the young female population in New York City. The various romps in the bedrooms with nannies post-Quinn didn't fill the hole he had. Barney's realization that sex doesn't produce happiness was the most significant character development he's had since the John Lithgow arc in season 1. The proposal to Quinn seemed significant. I theorized it was the step he needed to take to realize he wanted a married life; however, if Barney did feel that way, it hasn't been addressed.

Barney's distracted by an idea for adult male bibs following the loss of his tie, Cornelius, in a water spill. Robin turns into Betty Boop when complimenting Barney's folding technique. Lily and Robin begin their series of Barney related exchanges after Robin's embarrassing moment. The moments keep coming though. Robin's like a high school girl who doesn't know what the hell she's doing. She's all about flipping the hair and talking like a twelve year old girl. It's really unappealing. The second act finds Robin trying out different scenarios from 'The Damsel in Distress' to 'The Possible Gang Bang' to the 'I'm Angelina Jolie' and, finally, to the 'Girl on Girl action.' Barney misses every signal of the woman he loves because of his obsession with BroBibs. Robin's scenarios turn into advertisements for Barney's new product. She's pouty and out of ideas after the girl-on-girl scenario fails (Barney chooses the station's weather woman Brandi to sleep with).

What could draw Barney's gaze to her? A purpose in life is what Barney's after. The Quinn break-up sent Barney searching for what he wants in life. The obsession with BroBibs is explained away as part of Barney's search for happiness, satisfaction, and peace. Robin wants Barney to find what he's looking for without distraction e.g., a meaningless roll around in the hay to purge sexual desire for Barney. Barney's had his heart broken; he doesn't need it cracked open again. Of course, Robin's genuinely hurt upon learning Barney's on a date with Patrice, her annoying co-worker with a heart of made of silver and gold. The dance goes on for these two to the song that never ends.

Meanwhile, Ted feels empty after completing the GNB building. I forgot Ted was building it. HIMYM cares little for the careers of their characters. They're jobs become plot points whenever necessary. Mickey's out of town. Baby Marvin needs a sitter. Ted volunteers. Baby Marvin has many firsts in the care of Ted--he crawls, sees Santa, swims, and eats spaghetti. Ted's a dickhead for taking Marvin for firsts. Lily and Marshall shouldn't have apologized for firing him. The Eriksens are forgiving, though. Ted's aimless. Marshall reschedules Ted's meeting with the head-hunter so that he's able to move on with his career and leave Baby Marvin's other firsts to the parents. Ted didn't need to be a selfish prick to find purpose. The man's in his 30s.

"Lobster Crawl" is a completely ordinary episode of How I Met Your Mother. Ted's been on the sidelines, so his story puts him back into focus. What must Future Ted's kids think of their dad's never-ending Barney/Robin narrative, and the stories that hit a brick wall? Maybe the kids just love their dad's storytelling, though it's taken eight years to get to the few months before Ted met their mother. Anyway, the episode hurt Alyson Hanigan's career yet again. Each of Lily's anguished outbursts about missing Marvin's crawl made me wonder when she lost her ability to emote like no other dramatic actress on Buffy.

Honestly, the show won't move forward until Barney and Robin get back together sans shenanigans such as lobster crawl.


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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.