Monday, January 21, 2013

How I Met Your Mother "Ring Up" Review

I continue to learn that anyone who writes about television on the internet, no matter the size of his or her readership, is always part of the minority. The critic's recommendation reaches the eyes, or ears, of only his or her established readership. The majority of people watch network shows without abandon. How else to explain the never-ending run of How I Met Your Mother? The critics who still like it watch it with beer goggles on. They're clearly not watching the crap the writers, and the director, are putting on screen each week. CBS is going to give the sitcom a ninth season. Ratings increase every year. I long for the days when CBS threatened to cancel the show for its first four seasons. Back then, I wanted renewal because I enjoyed the show. Now, I wonder if I am in part to blame for what's happened. The show hasn't been enjoyable in four years. Episode 14 of season eight was yet another low point in an endless series of low points.

Barney Stinson's a loathsome character. His redemption arc is simply about a girl loving him for him and forgetting about his past where he used women over and over again, tricking and manipulating them because Carter Bays and Craig Thomas thought that character was the comic gem of the show. Neil Patrick Harris is the rare actor that can pull off the Barney Stinson character. NPH is naturally charming and charismatic. He could throw a smoothie at your girlfriend and you'd end up shaking his hand and blame your girlfriend for getting in the way of the smoothie. Your girlfriend wouldn't be mad, either, because NPH would've charmed her, too. Barney's a horrible character because of how he treated women. The writers chose to tell another story related to his vainglorious man-whore days of seasons past during this never-ending wedding arc.
The way Barney won Robin's heart was manipulative and totally cheap, but Hollywood's conditioned audiences to melt for anything that's a big romantic gesture. Thus, audiences embraced the engagement of two characters who clearly didn't work together in season five. Whatever. HIMYM's telling the story.

Barney seemed past womanizing, but that is if you forget his womanizing done this season while pulling the strings of his proposal plan with Robin. Anyway, Nora, and then Quinn, seemed as if they'd serve the role of the woman who, more or less, domesticates Barney, to put an end to the womanizing. HIMYM is eight seasons in and fresh ideas are hard to come by. That's why Barney needs to move past the fact he'll no longer enjoy one-night stands anymore, and why the show introduces a half-sister, because why the hell not they've already destroyed the integrity of the show.

It's a bad idea whenever a half-sibling is introduced in the late stages of a show. Boy Meets World did both. In season 1, Shawn had a half-sister that disappeared. In season 3, he had a half-brother that disappeared. In season 5, he had a half-brother that stayed. The introduction of Barney's half-sister is incredibly lazy. The crux of the story is Barney's successful completion of detox, i.e. the reality that he'll never sleep with another woman besides Robin again. Barney begs Ted to sleep with the hot 20 year old he met because Barney needs it. He's an addict who hasn't had a hit in awhile. Ted's going to be his proxy. Ted won't sleep with her until he feels a connection. A decade in age difference doesn't connect Ted to her. 20 year olds in HIMYM are all hipsters that roller-blade around the city. I bet Bays and Thomas read comments about Girls and decided all their 20 year olds would be the hipsters commenter’s hated in Girls. Ted sleeps with her. Barney's horrified to find out Ted banged his half-sister.

The lesson Barney learns is non-existent. Barney realizes one-night stands are disgusting when it's with someone you know and love, which represents progress, but really isn't progressive at all. Barney still smiles at the memory of duping other women. The yang to this ying story is Robin coming to grips with men losing interest in her once they see her ring. The engagement ring is given the magical qualities of the One Ring in LOTR. Robin's invisible and can't get anything any more because HIMYM views a women's worth in terms of whether or not they're having sex with someone. Robin's invisible because she won't have sex with any of the other men; therefore, the men won't give her a goddamn thing because she's not giving them anything--that's horrible, writers.

As per usual, the episode builds to a sweet conclusion wherein Robin learns the true value of the ring. She'll see Barney and he'll be the only man in the room, the love of her life, the man she'll grow old with. She doesn't need her old life anymore; she's building a new life. I think that was a horrible ending. It was easy and sweet and probably made a lot of viewers smile and feel happy, but the episode was about Barney having a panic attack over not sleeping with 20 year old girls again, and Robin not having men do a Broadway number for her when she buys a coffee from a vendor. Ted's just a plot device.

There's a C story about Marshall and Lily rekindling their sex life that involves a leather bracelet that, in fact, swells Marshall's hand to the size of a small gopher. Jason Segal gets to be funny, so that was good. Marshall’s the one who lets Robin know the secret value of the ring, which makes Lily beam. Overall, though, "Ring Up" is lousy and another example of how bad this show is now. The absolute low point was Barney’s insistence his half-sister and Ted marry in his apartment with Barney serving as minister.



Anonymous said...

the writers dont espouse men-get-sex-and-they-are-nice mentality.
they are showing what the world is truly becoming.
a director showing a man raping a woman in his film doesnt mean he espouses rape.

and barney-dont you think you are judging him without consideration?
he had a lonely childhood.a tough father,...a mother who really wasnt one.
he loved a girl who dumped him for bucks.
people screw up,deep injuries make them screw up more.
look at marshall,lily,ted-they had parents,legit parents.
and they are okay.
barney met someone who could undrstand what a tough childhood was-robin.
nobody is perfect.
and barney,robin where dealt tough cards when they were kids.
so,yes-maybe barney's plays are sinful.that is bad,yes.
but its all about the fact that he is ready to stop running,and settle down.
my point-dont hate him,mate.
atleast he is trying to be better now.

Parker Adams said...

I agree with our Anonymous Friend here; don’t hate Barney. Everyone has a past they aren’t proud of, but what makes us who we are is what we do in the present. I don’t understand the hate. I think this season the show has finally gotten back on track after a bit of a slump in seasons 6-7. I love that they took the prevailing theory on the Internet, that the Mother was going to be Barney’s sister, and just totally blew it out of the water. I was watching the show with some of my DISH coworkers and they agreed, it was hilarious how they took all those believers (of which I was one) and sent them right back to square one! I’m so stoked this episode was recorded on my DISH Hopper last night with PrimeTime Anytime, which records every show on the big four networks, that airs during prime time. Now, when I sit down to re-watch it, I can skip the commercials using AutoHop.

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.