It’s no coincidence that Monday night’s How I Met Your Mother was titled “Something Old.” Because, really, everything that happened during the half-hour was the same old, same old stuff we’ve come to expect from the show these lackluster days.
Although there was a pretty decent plot involving Barney, laser tag and guest star Ray Wise (welcome back, Mr. Scherbatsky!), the episode focused mainly on Ted and Robin, who were both clinging to their past in specific, overly emotional ways. Much like the show has been doing and continues to do.
Let us start with Ted. HIMYM’s lead and least interesting character was trying to convince Marshall and Lily to bring a rotting, old, Dorito dust-covered bean bag with them to Italy. In Mr. Mosby’s mind, the bean bag chair was basically him in nostalgic furniture form, and if his BFFs decided to toss it, it meant that they could toss him aside just as easily. As a fellow perpetual third wheel, I guess could see where Teddy Westside was coming from. But did he really have to be so childish about it? I mean, the man avoided a job interview to plant himself, sit-in protest style, on a decrepit bag of beans on the street. And don’t even get me started on his fanny pack obsession! (“Hands-free belt satchel” is the most pretentious, Ted Mosb-ius name for a fanny pack I’ve ever heard.)
I think what made Ted’s storyline both work and fall apart was Josh Radnor’s over-the-top delivery of most of Ted’s whiny lines. On the one hand, he totally nailed an awkward-awesome They Live reference (“I came here to chew bubblegum and pack boxes, and I’m all out of bubblegum!”). But every time he started talking about the fanny packs and the Spanish term for them, I wanted to change the channel. I don’t know what’s worse — Ted feeling sorry for himself and sad, or Ted getting too excited over something lame — and this plot had both.
The poison cherry on top of the melting ice cream that was “Something Old” came at the end, as Ted joined Robin in her relentless pursuit of an old locket she buried in Central Park as a teen and was hoping to use as her “something old” at her wedding. With Barney off making bad jokes and legendary laser tag plays with her dad, Robin had to lean on her former boyfriend for help when she realized that the locket was as MIA as her faith in her upcoming nuptials. Had Ted just acted as a good friend, offering Robin a shoulder to cry on in the rain (of course it started to rain midway through their heart-to-heart), I might have been down with the scene. After all, we all knew a Robin-centric pre-wedding meltdown was coming. But the fact that Ted took her hand and looked at her longingly, as though maybe, just maybe, there was still something between them, killed me. Do we really have to go down this route AGAIN? Why can’t Robin and Barney just be happy? And why can’t Ted just stay out of it?
OK, I know that last question has an obvious answer. Ted has always been and always will be obsessed with the past, and that past includes a time when he was in love with Robin. But this is a TV show, not real life, and we need some sort of change of pace. Ted, as a character, does too. I mean, we’re supposed to believe that he’s going to be ready to meet the infamous girl with the yellow umbrella during next week’s season finale.
Speaking of which, although I know they are trying to make us think that the Season 8 ender will feature a Ted/Robin Graduate moment, I think it’s all a big psych-out. At least I really hope so. They promised us a mother-at-a-wedding sighting at the end of last season, and I can’t see how that can work out if A) Ted is not at a successful wedding reception and B) Ted has professed his love to another woman. Of course, someone other than Barney and Robin could get married at the last minute (perhaps Barney’s adopted Bro, James, will renew his vows?). But that would be pretty lame for a show that, like Ted, seems so wholeheartedly obsessed with recognizing and celebrating people who, despite silly signs to the contrary (ahem, lost lockets), truly belong together.
- Lily: “We get it. You pack a lot in your fanny.” Marshall: “Obvious, but delightful!”
- “Looking for Ds?” – Barney, holding up the D batteries he stole from Papa Scherbatsky’s laser pack
- “It’s like Edmonton, minus the arts and culture.” – Mr. Scherbatsky on NYC
- Where do I get Robin’s blue and black blazer?!
The HIMYM finale airs next Monday, May 13, at 8 p.m. ET on City/CBS.