The groans came fast and furious for How I Met Your Mother last night, kicking off with the atrocious hippie stereotype marrying Ted’s mom. As soon as he started talking, you knew he’d get to icky sex talk. And he did, sooner and more often than expected. It wasn’t funny when he called Ted’s mom an “erotic woman;” it wasn’t funny when he revealed a naked self-portrait; and it wasn’t funny when he sang a song about her “trembling bosoms.” (To be fair, that bit at the end of the song about “Ghandi and the pancakes and the dragon” wasn’t bad.) Atrocious Hippie Stereotype was the most offensively insipid part of another clunker in a season full of them. The saving grace for last night, though, was the show admitting something we should have all been discussing much earlier: Ted Mosby, its ostensible central character, is insane.
Ted’s always been a bit of an obsessive, but this episode took him to new, terrifying heights. When his mother “lapping” him by getting married a second time sends him into a tailspin of depression, Ted disappears for 72 hours, popping up again to chauffeur the gang out to a mystery location. (Marshall: “Ted, do you want to maybe let someone who isn’t having some sort of manic episode drive?” Nice.) It’s a house in the suburbs! Ted doesn’t have the wife and kids yet, but he does have this!
Thankfully, the rest of the crew are as weirded out as any real person would be, and it only gets worse when the inspector comes and discovers the house is a mess. Ted’s under attack from his friends, and Marshall comes to his rescue by calling off some of the epically stupid things he’s done (microwaving bottle rockets, riding a bike down a ladder), inadvertently inventing the “drunk or kid” game (see video below!), and instilling some much-needed mirth. Ultimately, Ted realizes he’s made a huge mistake and will have to level the house and sell the property, meaning we get an undeserved slo-mo montage of everyone taking a sledgehammer to the wall.
But! This isn’t a show about how sad and pathetic Ted is; it’s a show about how he met your mother. So — after some mildly amusing B-plot with Barney, Robin crying, Atrocious Hippie Stereotype, Ted’s mom, broaches, Barney’s fictional endowment, and second base — we find out Ted didn’t level the house. This here … this here is the very house he’s telling the story in now. Cue “Our House” and (thank God) the credits.
The Shame Index asks if it was “alone in finding the home-inspector a little problematic? The Index was having a hard time remembering the last time an African-American character of any substance showed up on HIMYM. That this one talked a little jive before taking a hard, one-story plunge for our amusement made the Index uncomfortable.”
The AV Club liked the episode, saying “we know, we devotees of this dinosaur of a televised genre, it’s not about breaking new ground; it’s about how you execute the required figures. And this group was light on their feet and gave it their all.”