'How I Met Your Mother': Crossing the line

Neilpatrickharris_howimetyourmother Watching How I met Your Mother week after week I have to wonder where they come up with the insanity (by which I mean "funny"). For instance, right off the bat tonight, Barney goes into the Vicky Mendoza Line." To summarize, picture an XY coordinate plane with "crazy" on the x-axis and "hot" on the y-axis. Draw a line originating at (0,0) with a slope equal to 1. The result is the "Vicky Mendoza Line," any girl that lies above that line is hot enough that the crazy does not matter. Any girl that lies below the line is too crazy and the hot becomes irrelevant. Ah, the "Vicky Mendoza Line," I think we all know girls that straddle the line.

Now, the show was complete genius, in my opinion, for establishing the line at the beginning of the episode and then revisiting it several times over the course of the episode. This is particularly true with Blah-Blah whispering into Ted's ear what she was going to do with him that night as her hot level jumped straight through the roof. The problem is that as soon as she states that she would inform Marshall about Ted's kissing Lily, the "Vicky Mendoza Line" needed to reappear and her crazy level needed to go way off the scale, way, way off the scale.

But, I will forgive the show this fault because they went all out with Marshall and Lily this week, and the two of them have, unquestionably, been given the short end of the stick this season. There was nothing new going on with the characters, it was just filling in backstory about how the two met, but those are definitely two characters that I'd like to know more about. And, as I know people whose first meeting stories are way cuter than Marshall and Lily's, so I can forgive them that overly schmaltzy aspect of the episode as well.

I know there are folks out there that are disappointed with Ted having a flavor of the week, and it's here that I think the show really excelled this episode. I think the producers were speaking right to you folks, having Ted be unable to recall the name of this week's girl. I am hoping that this was the producers way of telling us that they knew that they had introduced plenty of one episode and out girls for Ted. Hopefully this will be the last one.

Beyond these things, I think the episode really highlighted another strength of the series -- Ted and Robin. For the first two seasons I was rooting for Ted and Robin to get, and then stay, together, I thought they were great and was disappointed knowing it could never actually work out for them. Tonight though, with Blah-Blah's instant jealousy of Robin, even before she knew that Robin had dated Ted, I thought to myself "that's ridiculous, that relationship is so in the past and the two are totally over it." Wow, that was a fast turnaround from the season premiere when it was clear that they weren't. The strength of the series is that somehow this quick turnaround seemed completely natural and not really all that quick. The idea that Blah-Blah was worried about Ted and Robin was ludicrous.

There was one other upset tonight. I was hugely disappointed, hugely, that they did the final World of Warcraft joke. Now, this is a spoiler alert sort of, maybe, in a weird, I-don't-quite-think-it-is-but-I-guess-I'll-call-it-one way, so that everyone knows I'm going to give away a joke. I think we all knew that the girl avatar in World of Warcraft was going to be Ted and the huge hulking monster was Blah-Blah. This last little joke in no way seemed funny or clever and I can't quite fathom why it was included, except if, just maybe, the producers watch South Park and really got a kick out of that show's World of Warcraft episode and wanted to pay tribute.

Just one quote tonight and a couple of questions:

  • While there were many possible choices, so many of them seemed so long and to be full back and forth conversations, so I'm going to go with Barney in his first encounter with Marshall. As you will recall, Barney called himself Marshall's "bro" and equated himself with Yoda, inevitably leading to: "I'm your bro, I'm Broda."
  • I think the show fills in backstory a lot. I'm not yet tired of it, but at some point will get too Friends-like with the relentless "years ago" stuff?
  • I liked, as stated above, Barney's air picture illustrating the "Vicky Mendoza Line," but is there anyone out there (because it's a fear of mine) that thinks such a graphic combined with last week's Little Ted and Little Barney signals a direction shift in where the show's funny is coming from?

Well, either way, at least you know where I'm coming from, and where to find me later. As you well know by now, I'm over at The TV and Film Guy's Reviews.