Season 8 of How I Met Your Mother is in its home stretch. With a mere 3 episodes remaining prior to tonight, Barney and Robin’s wedding is on the horizon and a potential reveal of the mother is on everyone’s mind for the next few weeks.
No wedding is complete without a bachelor party, and no bachelor knows how to party better than Barney Stinson. So the task the others are faced with is how can they give Barney a memorable night when he strives to make every night of his life the most memorable one ever?
The way they go about achieving that goal is very interesting, and of course, once it’s revealed what’s actually going on (spoilers ahead), any interpretation of the first half of the the episode totally goes out the window. I actually had to throw out the first draft of my review, which I was writing as I watched, since everything I wrote about poor acting and crappy timing was clearly intentional.
That being said, while I was initially fooled, it definitely seemed like something was off. For all the issues this season has had in terms of story and focus, it hasn’t been sloppy, and the first half was definitely sloppy. That’s all forgivable when you realize that it was intentional.
The build-up of the night is very believable. Though something seems off the whole time, it isn’t blatantly obvious until Robin calls off the wedding. That may have been a bit too big of a jump for that point in the plot, but in only 20 minutes, it’s a bit of a necessity. Other than that minor issue, the whole prank is pulled off quite well.
Although it was executed in a well-done, believable manner, the whole premise of the plot doesn’t sit quite right with me. It just doesn’t make any sense that Barney’s best friends would view that sort of night as the kind of bachelor party he would enjoy. Perhaps if that was the set-up for a more traditional party, but no, the night ends with champagne in his own living room. I just can’t see Barney being happy about that, but the episode played as if he was thrilled by their idea.
Basically, the whole episode is inspired by The Game, (which Ted and Barney talk about in Little Boys) but that film pulls off the story way better than this show does. There is no instance for Barney to change his life values, nor is that the goal. It simply comes off as a cruel adventure planned by Barney’s fiance, for no real reason other than the fact she thinks he may appreciate their novel approach.
I will say I enjoyed seeing just how brilliant Robin can be. She’s one of the more devious characters on the show, and tonight provided a slight glimpse into that sinister nature which she is capable of bringing to light. Her plan was brilliant, if indeed she was convinced that’s what Barney would enjoy.
The highlight of the episode was definitely the return of Quinn. Becki Newton has been sorely missed this season, at least by this critic, so to see her return was excellent. The jokes that are weaved around her appearance are some of the funniest of the night, especially when she tells Barney, “There’s a good chance our engagement doesn’t work out.”
The other part of the episode that provides a fair amount of humor is the clown. The various expressions that offend him had me in stitches, and the reveal at the end of the episode… well all I’ll say is that is a Shyamalan-worthy twist.
While executed well, there really isn’t enough to this plot to serve as a satisfying episode, so the result is merely an acceptable effort for How I Met Your Mother. Hopefully next week and the season finale can serve as a solid end to the season, and do something incredible to make up for the mediocrity we’ve seen for the majority of season 8.
Other Random Notes
- Barney broke up a girl fight. That’s in direct violation of the Bro Code.
- Surprise bachelor parties are never a good idea. Never.
- Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, War Horse. Just the most despicable movie villains of all time.
- Come on Ted. Who wears tweed to a bachelor party?
- “Says the guy who’s never beat me in Skeeball.”
- “You know the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City? You know the secret penthouse at the top of the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City? Boom, there it is—visible from our window!”
- An Inconvenient Truth drinking game? That actually has potential.
- I was going to be very angry if Ted and Marshall had actually forgotten that Barney always roots for the bad guy. As it stands, Ralph Macchio is an excellent addition to the episode, and Lily’s infatuation with him is wonderful.
- Marshall having his hand shot off was more reminiscent of Arrested Development than anything HIMYM usually goes for.
Check back next week for my thoughts on the next episode in the eighth season of How I Met Your Mother.