'How I Met Your Mother' shows us what not to do at work
With so few episodes to go this season, when How I Met Your Mother delivers a disappointing one it seems that much worse. I know they can't all be perfect, but I like to think that we can expect more than what we got this week.
First off tonight, Ted bought a new car. As his friends pointed out, no one in New York City needs a car and there was no reason for Ted to buy one. They all completely ignored the fact that up until recently Marshall had a car in the city (remember the Fiero?). But, who knows, maybe someone would have brought that up if Marshall hadn't appeared looking shell-shocked and repeating the word "beer" as he headed into the bar.
It seems as though Marshall's boss isn't the nicest of people, in fact, he yells at people (Marshall used the word "scream" but it seemed more like yelling to me). Today, it was Marshall's turn to get yelled at (he failed to turn in a report on time). That wasn't really the bad part of Marshall's day though. Rather than just taking the screaming, Marshall broke down in tears. Yup, he cried... he cried like a Patriots fan after the Giants ended their chance at a perfect season (that's right, it happened months ago, but I'm going to live off of it for a little while longer still).
Unsure of how he could possibly go into work the next day and hand in his report, Robin proposed to Marshall that he bring a gun and yell at his boss and Ted suggested delivering a big pompous speech (both of these suggestions were shown with Robin and Ted, respectively, as Marshall talking to his boss).
Barney was entirely against both these courses of action. He told a wonderful story about a nice fellow at his office, Gary, who finally stood up to the boss after getting yelled at repeatedly. Gary ended up with "stage fright" and after yelling at his boss couldn't pee on the conference table to truly drive his point home. Then, after Gary lost all his money when his cousin's website, which he'd invested in, went belly-up, he moved into an apartment above a bowling alley before he died. Which, in my mind, and Barney's too, clearly all happened because he yelled back at his boss.
Barney's point was that there is, in corporate America, a "chain of screaming." This pretty much amounts to the big boss yelling at the slightly less big boss, the slightly less big boss yelling at their underling, who yells at their underling, and on, and on, and on.
Lily was, naturally, against the yelling. She suggested a speech on respect and then moved in a direction which belied the fact that she and Marshall haven't been having sexual relations recently (she too was dressed as Marshall and delivering the speech to his boss as she suggested the idea).
Marshall wanted to go with Lily's suggestion, but Barney convinced him not to. Barney had Marshall try to propagate the chain of screaming at a diner, but the plan backfired when the waiter yelled at Marshall instead. Undeterred, Barney allowed himself to be the target of a tirade from Marshall, and once Marshall started yelling he couldn't stop. Marshall went into work the next day and yelled at his boss before quitting.
This turn of events left Marshall and Lily in a precarious position, what with their mammoth mortgage payments, student loan payments, and complete lack of sexual relations. However, while in the back of Ted's car, Lily explained to Marshall that he didn't need to get the job back, that they would be okay, that they would find a way to make it work. Then, they had sex in Ted's new car.
This last bit didn't so much matter as Ted sold the car (or, perhaps somehow got the dealer to take it back) and loaned Marshall enough cash to tide them over.
I guess, all's well that ends well, and it's nice to know that Marshall and Lily are back in the saddle, but I didn't really get that same sense of joy from this episode. Usually the episodes that center on Barney-isms are my favorite, but this one simply wasn't as much fun. Maybe that's because Marshall's life was falling apart, or maybe the problems lies in the fact that Barney couldn't decide whether it was a circle, chain, or pyramid of screaming.
More likely though, it is the fact that there can be no doubt that the chain of screaming is real and obvious. Barney isn't necessary to point out that when your boss has a bad day you have a bad day and those around you later are likely to have a bad day as well. Barney's ideas are at their best when they are true and not obvious, when he shows us the world in a way we never saw it before. Without that happening tonight, there was little point in his chain of screaming.
A quote and a question:
- Okay, so it's not a family-oriented quote (depending on how you look at it), but I have to go with Lily-as-Marshall talking to Marshall's boss and, in discussing Lily, stating how Lily-Marshall was going to "drive her home like a pack of sled dogs."
- You can probably guess the question, but I'll give it to you anyway -- am I wrong? Was the episode genius? Did I just miss it? I saw bits of funny, did you see more than the smattering I did?
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