Monday, March 31, 2014

Celebrating HIMYM? Splendid!

Kids, I'm going to tell you an incredible story.  A story about How I Met Your Mother

Tonight the series finale airs for one of my favorite sitcoms.  I'm convinced I subconsciously forgot to wear mascara today, because I didn't want to ugly-cry it off during tonight's HIMYM viewing.  I didn't start watching the show when it premiered in 2005, but I think I picked it up in the 3rd season, catching up on previous episodes through Stacey's DVDs.  I've been hooked ever since.

I think one of the reasons I love it so much is because when I started watching it, I related to the characters.  They were about the same age as me, they weren't all working insanely high paying jobs with little experience (except Barney, PLEASE.).  Through the years we've seen the characters all go through some pretty dramatic changes, and I like that.  Because your twenties and thirties are full of change, at least in my experience.  I love that the characters always come back to each other because they are the family they've chosen.

Also, I love Marshall & Lily.

I love that for the duration of the series, the writers have given us so many quotable moments, so many callback jokes, so many high fives. 

I wanted to do a Top 10 list of my favorite episodes, but that was just too difficult, so I had to set some parameters for myself.  Below are my favorite episodes from each of the nine seasons, plus my all-time favorite episode.  Spoilers abound, yo.

Season 1 - "Zip, Zip, Zip"
Marshall and Lily abandon their plans for an anniversary weekend away in favor of a low key weekend at home.  This weekend includes a Quantum Leap marathon that makes my heart, well, leap.  Unfortunately they get stuck in the bathroom while brushing their teeth as Ted and Victoria return to the apartment.

Ted and Victoria are finally ready to sleep together, and the build up to the main event is full of cheesy lines like "I wanna know you, like know your soul."  After Lily and Marshall finally make it out of the bathroom, they mimic the absurdity of Ted and Victoria's conversation, including Lily asking Marshall, "What makes you cry?"

In the same episode, Robin agrees to be Barney's wingman for the evening for his "Bro-ing About Town."  This is some lovely foreshadowing for future seasons and also includes the Freeze Frame Five:

Season 2 - "Slap Bet"
The gang finds out Robin refuses to go to malls but she won't tell them why.  Barney is certain that Robin starred in a porno and sets out to find evidence.  He and Marshall enter into a Slap Bet, with Lily as Slap Bet Commissioner, about the real story behind Robin's past.  To throw them off the scent, she creates an elaborate lie that she got married in a Canadian mall.  Through Barney's search, we find out the truth is that Robin was a Canadian teen pop star named Robin Sparkles.  We are then treated to the masterpiece that is "Let's Go to the Mall", and it is truly magnificent.

This also begins the anticipation for the remaining slaps between Marshall and Barney, as Marshall won the right to slap Barney in the face, as hard as possible, five times throughout eternity.

Season 3 - "Spoiler Alert"
Marshall lost the password to the website where his bar exam results are posted.  Meanwhile, everyone in the group finds out their annoying habits through moments of clarity from their friends.  Lily chews loudly, Robin says "literally" all the time, Ted is a corrector, Barney has a whole slew of issues, and Marshall sings about the mundane things in his life, including but not limited to paying bills and doing laundry.  Robin points out that sometimes he sings nonsense, but since it's always so catchy, the rest of them end up with the ditties stuck in their heads.  For example:
AOBCD8663 turns out to be the missing password, and Marshall can finally find out that he has passed the New York bar exam.  Other highlights include Ted doing ASL, like when he first met Barney at MacLaren's.  I love that Josh Radnor actually knows ASL.

I also find the glass shattering metaphor is so true to life.  Once someone's annoying habit has been pointed out, it's all I can focus on.

Season 3 Honorable Mention - "Sandcastles in the Sand" because Robin Sparkles, y'all!  And the video is jus so magnificent with James Van Der Beek reprising his roll as Simon, plus cameos from Alan Thicke and Tiffany.

Season 4 - "Murtaugh"
Basically Ted has his Murtaugh List of things that he is too old to do anymore.  Barney accepts a challenge to complete the entire list before Ted can complete Barney & Robin's list of "old folks" things.  Hilarity ensues.  Also, Marshall starts coaching Lily's kindergarteners at basketball, and they don't have similar teaching philosophies.

My favorite quote from the episode is when Barney says, "My ear hurts so much and I can hear it," after his self-pierced ear becomes infected.  Barney and Robin attending a rave was also pretty spectacular.

To this day, I still laugh out loud at the teen wolf playing against Lily & Marshall's kindergartner basketball team.  It's so absurd! Lily's request that the kids make him feel welcome despite the fact that he looks different is great.

By far the best part of this episode, for me, is how they tried to hide Alyson & Cobie's pregnancies with flowy shirts, laundry baskets, basketballs & guitars.  The entire second half of the season is pretty spectacular because of that.

Season 4 Honorable Mention - "Naked Man" because it works 2/3 of the time.  And I love the callback to this episode in season 9.

Season 5 - "Say Cheese"
Marshall has planned a great birthday for Lily, but Ted throws a wrench in the plan by bringing a girl he just started dating to the intimate party.  Also, Robin tried to get Barney to take a bad picture.

Anyone who knows me knows that Lily's love for her birthday rivals only mine.  I love that Marshall is as excited about Lily's birthday as she is.  He even creates two games for her: Lillial Pursuit and Gilding the Lily.  I freaking love it.

Robin's eventual success at getting Barney to take a bad picture is also tremendous.
Season 6 - "Natural History"
Admittedly, I never liked Zoe.  At all.  And I wanted to like her, but mostly because I went to college with the actress' younger brother.  But no, Zoe was just totally unlikable to me.  Her husband, The Captain, was also pretty ridiculous, but I love that when Ted introduced himself as Galactic President Superstar McAwesomeville, he went with it.  More people should be able to name themselves.

Hands down, the best storyline in the episode is Barney and Robin going through the museum touching things.  Robin carrying around the penguin and saying he's stuffed gets me every time.  Things take a turn for the touching when Barney finds out that the man he called Uncle Jerry as a young child was actually his father.  It's kind of heartbreaking that he didn't have any more contact with Jerry throughout his childhood because of the trouble Barney caused at the museum as a kid.

Season 6 Honorable Mention - "Hopeless" because of the opening sequence:

Also, because "Bad News" is too sad to make this list.

Season 7 - "Ducky Tie"
This is kind a confusing episode, bouncing back and forth between dinner at Shinjitsu teppanyaki restaurant and the Architect's Ball.  During dinner at Shinjitsu Barney bets Marshall that he can complete all the tricks the chef does in exchange for seeing Lily's boobs (now larger due to her pregnancy).  If Barney loses, he must wear Marshall's ducky tie for one year.  While all this is going on, Ted recounts to the group what happened when he ran into Victoria at the Architect's Ball, which he attended with Robin.

I loved Victoria in Season 1, so I was so excited to see her come back in Season 7 (initially - not a fan of her in the rest of her episodes)!  The best part of the episode for me, though, is Robin's constant reminders to Ted to pick up where he left off in the story.  We all know how annoying it can be to be constantly interrupted during a story, and I love that she keeps reminding him to finish.

Season 8 - "P.S. I Love You"
It's Robin Sparkles 4 y'all!  After Robin comes to Ted's defense when their friends say his new girlfriend is a stalker, Barney goes on another hunt for evidence of why Robin feels this way.  It's revealed that she recorded a song called "P.S. I Love You" and was obsessed with a Canadian celebrity.  We later find out the celebrity was Paul Schaffer.

Highlights of the episode include a conversation of Dobbler vs. Dahmer in terms of pursuing a love interest.  As a way of illustrating the difference, Ted uses Marshall and Lily as an example.  The flashback of Marshall playing ukulele to Lily in major (Dobbler) and creepy minor (Dahmer) keys is lovely.  Also, I love any time Jason Segel plays an instrument - especially a ukulele!
The video for "P.S. I Love You" is a fantastic reference to fellow Canadian songstress, Alanis Morisette's video for "You Oughta Know".  Speaking of "You Oughta Know", Dave Coulier has a cameo, as do Paul Schaffer, Geddy Lee, Jason Preiestly, Alex Trebek, Steven Page, and k.d. lang.  It's like the Canadian lottery!

Season 9 - "How Your Mother Met Me"
This season has been a little more disjointed that previous seasons, since it's supposed to take place during the wedding weekend, but flashes back and forward multiple times each episode.  This episode explains what the mother was doing throughout the series till we meet her - all the instances where she and Ted had near misses.  It also starts with the adorable mother-centric opening theme:

This is a pretty amazing episode full of callbacks since we see the last 9 years through her eyes.  I must admit that I cried within the first 3 minutes of the episode when she loses someone close to her.  I cried especially hard when I saw that he had given her a ukulele for her birthday!  We get to see her at the St. Patrick's Day party where she loses her yellow umbrella, which she leaves behind when she takes her former orchestra camp counselor, Mitch, back to her apartment to give him her cello for his underfunded orchestra program.  That's when she finds out that Mitch is the Naked Man from Season 4.

We see how she meets her roommate Cindy during the lecture on Ted's first day teaching.  We see the aftermath of Ted and Cindy's breakup, which leads to Cindy kissing the mother and telling her, "I might have some stuff to figure out."  We see the mother meet her next boyfriend, Louis, after a gig with her band.  There are Save the Arcadia posters in the background when they meet!

We see her meet some of the gang and anonymously buy Ted a drink.  We see her make the conscious decision to move on with her life after a proposal from Louis.  It's all very sweet.

And now...

All Time Favorite Episode!  From Season 1 - "The Pineapple Incident"

After a night at MacLaren's where Ted drinks multiple shots in succession, the next morning is spent piecing the evening together.  Questions Ted needs to answer include how he sprained his ankle, what happened to his jacket, what phone number is written on his arm, who the girl in his bed is, and of course WHAT ABOUT THE PINEAPPLE?!

The each scene of the episode builds on the knowledge of the previous episode.  We learn that Ted gets put to bed multiple times by his friends, each time, returning to the bar and shouting, "I'm back, babydolls!" Throughout the night he repeatedly calls Robin, he sings Cheap Trick to everyone in the bar, and talks about breaking into the zoo because, "I gotta see some penguins, like, right now!"  (I can relate to this feeling.) Danica McKeller guest stars as Trudy, which is awesome, because WINNIE COOPER FTW!

This episode is just full of hilarious moments as Ted recreates what happened the night before.  Easily my favorite episode ever.

And thus ends my love letter to How I Met Your Mother.  Even the episodes that could be better are still good.  I've grown to love the characters, and the actors for that matter, and I'm going to miss them!  Thankfully the show is all kinds of syndicated, and our apartment has two nearly-complete sets of the series on DVD.

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