Monday, March 25, 2013

How I Met Your Mother "The Time Travelers" Review

Ted Mosby is sad, so sad that he spends a night in MacClaren's imaging his friends are with him, urging him to go to Robots vs. Wrestlers: Legends, and getting into silly fights about who gets a drink named after them at the bar. The hijinx are high and insanely irritating to the point I wanted to investigate what Wild Numbers are in mathematics instead of watch the show spin in circles like its Senor Chang in season two of Community (you know when he's like a dog chasing its tail with his school bag). "The Time Travelers" opens with Ted telling his kids where he and his wife were in the month before they met. Ted was alone. The future Mrs. Mosby was not. Bays and Thomas use the audience's familiarity with the structure of the show against them. It is the typical HIMYM episode, full of the horrible and overlong gags, and what-not. Only everything is imagined because Marshall and Lily are parents now and can't come out every night, and Robin and Barney are in the midst of wedding planning. The idea is clear: his friends are growing and changing, totally unalone, and Ted's totally the same.

The tipping point of Ted's epiphany comes when a woman he met checking his coat in and out of a bar or a club comes into the bar, seven years later. Ted wanted to talk to her seven years ago, but he did not act. The appearance of coat-check girl seems fateful, but Ted's been through the 'it's fated' thing before. We've all been there, haven't we? Someone catches your eye and you don't act and you spend time wondering 'what if?' Ted psyches himself up to talk to her, exchange numbers, and see what happens. The future selves of Barney and Ted urge him on. Future Ted and Barney are in the booth trying to get present Ted to attend Robots vs. Wrestlers: Legends. Other future selves of both characters pop-up, but that's not worth 'reviewing.' The device allows for coat check's future self to pull Ted into the booth seconds before he introduces herself. Coat-check girl wants to let Ted know that they won't work out. She'll get sick of him or he'll get sick of her. Someone will cry, and the other won't. Ted thinks it's horrible that it won't work, that they haven't even got a chance and he knows it won't work. Coat check girl reminds him dating never works out for him.

Ted gets really sad after he realizes that truth--dating never works for him. Mosby's near despair when Future Ted 20 Years From Now says he's still looking for his wife (and relieved when he learns Future Ted is married). Ted's stuck in his loneliness. Future Ted (the narrator) wishes he would've done one thing on that lonely April night after he left the bar. He wishes he went to his future wife's apartment and told her he loved her and told her about their life together they'll share when they meet in 45 days. HIMYM die-hards probably melted for Mosby's earnestness in his imagined life. I wondered what the writers will do to waste time for the next YEAR before we actually meet the mother. Folks, we aren't meeting her in the season finale.

Ted imagines the events of the episode because he has nothing to go home to, no one to communicate with, and it's better than nothing for him. The imaginations are important because they clearly frame Ted's emotional state with but a few episodes before the wedding. What he wants is far away from him. What's important to him is in his fantasies about his friend's. Lily has Marshall's back always because of her love for him. Lily storms off in Act III, but she doesn't storm, because she goes to the jukebox to play Marshall's favorite song so he can dance-off with Robin.

Of course, there's nothing new added to Ted's arc. Ted's wanted to meet his wife since the "Pilot." We knew this. "The Time Travelers" repeats the information. This time, it is more overwrought, sappy, and annoying than usual. Radnor gives it his all in the imagined meeting outside of her apartment. Bays and Thomas continue to borrow from terrible romantic comedies. HIMYM IS a fantastical show due to its sitcom roots and its zanier stories throughout its eight year run. The Act III is quite fantastical. It is actively and overtly pulling the strings of the audience, blatantly trying to get folk to cry and clutch their chest in hopes a beloved fictional character meets his beloved fictional spouse soon so he won't be so sad and be near-tears and in turn make the audience near-tears. Ted's cry for love did not move me.

Jason Segel is again the best part of a HIMYM episode. Marc Zumoff, Philadelphia 76ers play-by-play man for CSN, would say, "Segel turns garbage into gold." The imagined Robin-Barney feud is fun. Segel and Smulders dance. Segel has a blast with the material. I didn't want to read about Math Melodrama during this small sub-plot. So, that's something, isn't it?

Other Thoughts:

-Imaginary Barney thinks the Robots vs. Wrestlers event will rule. Ted’s unsure. The first act builds up the event like it’s a can’t miss when in fact legends wrestling events should be missed. The episode eventually acknowledges the depressive atmosphere of a Legends event. The characters agree alcohol is important to consume during the event. I wouldn’t consume alcohol during a Legends event. I don’t drink. Yes.


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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.