“Let’s just talk about the assault.”
Kal Penn made his debut on How I Met Your Mother this week. Penn, the Kumar half of Harold and Kumar, is Kevin, Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) therapist via court mandate. Why does she need a therapist you ask? Turns out she committed an assault.
Robin has been under a great deal of stress for the past few weeks as she’s in love with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) but she can’t tell him. Robin pushed Barney to tell Nora (Nazanin Boniadi) how he felt about her and now she has to watch as Barney romances Nora, all the time.
Robin quickly irritates Kevin with digressions about Ted (Josh Radnor), Marshall (Jason Segal) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) though she promises that the stories tie together. Ted has decided that he is a member of ‘Team Baby,’ matching t-shirts and all, and is interfering in Marshall and Lily’s baby prep.
Ted suspects that Lily’s doctor, Dr. Sonya (Newsradio’s Vicki Lewis) isn’t good enough. Dr. Sonya tells Lily she can have just a little bit of anything from alcohol to sushi to Cheetos whiles she’s pregnant.
As Kevin grows more impatient, Robin returns to her story about Barney. After Robin gets Nora assigned to a story in France, she hopes she can win him back. To do so, she volunteers to help Barney shutdown his many BDSs, Bimbo Delivery Systems.
For years Barney has devised elaborate ways to make sure he was getting laid. The schemes include Dr. Barney Stinson who offers free Breast Reduction consultations, Lawyer Arnie Linson who will help busty women sue Dr. Barney Stinson and Jack Fantastic, Barney’s gay hair stylist twin brother.
After Kevin fails again to keep Robin on track, she returns to the story of Marshall Lily and Ted. Ted is out of control, first interrupting Lily’s appointment with Dr. Sonya and then, after Marshall joins ‘Team Baby,’ signs the trio up for a birthing class.
If you didn’t know that Lily wasn’t coming to the birthing class or that Ted and Marshall would attempt to go it alone, you really aren’t trying here. Of course, Ted and Marshall rock the baby class as only two bros can. And, of course, things get awkward fast.
Elsewhere, Barney shuts down his BDSs with Robin’s help, except for one. The Cold Call 5000 is a phone system that Barney rigged after accessing the customer database of a company that sells high end pasties and body glitter.
The Cold Call 5000 randomly calls all customers between the ages of 22 and 23 and leaves a message claiming that Barney saw them on the subway and that if they believe in fate they should meet him at McClaren’s.
When the Cold Call 5000 doesn’t get completely turned off, a call goes out and a bimbo shows up at the bar looking for Barney. Robin is left with a conundrum, she can tell the blonde about Barney’s lie and leave him to a happy evening with Nora or she can tell the blonde where Nora and Barney are having dinner.
This eventually does lead to the assault as Robin tackles the blonde before she can ruin Barney’s date. It’s easy to miss in this scene the first actual signs of romantic chemistry between Barney and Nora; they are sweet together at the restaurant while not noticing Robin outside assaulting a bimbo.
It’s good to finally see How I Met Your Mother use Cobie Smulders; she’s been relegated to the background of the first three episodes in season 7. Robin getting drunk under tables at work and at McClaren’s is a very funny visual and will surely please many fans.
Supposedly, Kal Penn’s Kevin is going to develop into a romantic interest for Robin. For now, it’s too early to say much about their chemistry; Penn will likely need a little time to get the rhythm of the show.
Speaking of the show’s rhythm, the whole ‘Team Baby’ subplot was a little out of sync. I get that Ted was merely projecting his loneliness on to Marshall and Lily but the baby but the plot made Ted look idiotic and pushy rather than just lonely.
Robin’s digressions into the ‘Team Baby’ story was a much more interesting case of transference as it demonstrated her need to evade her feelings and her embarrassment over the assault. The plot also allowed for some sly, self-referential jokes from the writers about the structure of the show and the way stories tend to dovetail at the end into one singular point.
That these two stories had no connection to each other cleverly mocked the show’s usual structure, even as it pointed out the flaws of the ‘Team Baby’ story, which was far less interesting than Robin’s assault and Barney’s bimbos.
‘Team Baby’ did give us one good gag: Ted, Marshall and Lily’s Halloween costumes.
Salt and Pepper and Cumin
Lady and the Tramp and their Bowl of Spaghetti
Lewis and Clark and their Canoe
Dr. Frankenstein, the Monster and a Scared Villager
C3PO, R2D2 and the Robot that Luke’s Uncle Almost Bought from the Jawas
Finally, the episode “Stinson Missile Crisis” left us with a new How I Met Your Mother future mystery to be revealed. Marshall is going to be late to the birth of his child. Future Ted (Bob Saget) promises “That’s a crazy story kids. I’ll get to that.”
How will that play out? We can only wonder.