Before we get into last night’s (decidedly un-terrible!) episode, a quick order of business. Have you noticed that the bully in the Taco Bell “it’s not a sandwich” commercial is Brad, the auxiliary HIMYM character who once went to brunch with Marshall, out on a date with Robin, and is generally trotted out whenever a plot needs to move along? Nice to see you again, team player Joe Manganiello! And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
First, to get Marshall and Lily out of the way, as theirs was the most inconsequential subplot since the time Marshall tried to get rid of a barrel: After spending the weekend in a bed and breakfast with twin beds, they decide to get separate beds at home, too, only eventually Lily decides that’s a weird thing to do for a happily married couple. Then they have sex and fall asleep in the same bed. Conflict resolved! But we actually didn’t mind the frivolity of this one at all*: Marshall and Lily genuinely do seem like a happily married couple. Why pretend otherwise with weightier stuff?
Especially when there’s … dum dum dum … weightier stuff elsewhere. With the Robin and Don** romance in full swing, Don finally finds out that both Barney and Ted*** are Robin’s exes and flips out: “Robin, of the four people you consider your best friends in New York, you’ve slept with 50 percent of them.” Ahhh! Don, don’t say it out loud! We all just pretend that didn’t happen.
And that’s when we realized exactly where we turned on this show. Everything leading up to Barney and Robin breaking up made sense, in the wacky broad sitcom sense of the word. We believed that Ted and Robin would be cool with still being friends because from the beginning, their relationship was set up to fail, and because we saw an actual transition period (remember Ted stewing while Robin caroused with Enrique Iglesias?). Then we believed that Robin and Barney would end up together, because their outlandish personalities suggested that’s what the writers were planning the whole time. But ever since Barney and Robin broke up — which, granted, we’d advocated for, but what the hell do we know? — the dynamic of the crew dissolved. It’s just really tough to not constantly be thinking, Wait, how is everyone cool with each other? Yeah, the episode where Barney apologizes for going back to being skeazy so quickly was good, but last time we checked, the dude is still telling gross sex stories in front of Robin. And, ultimately, two ex-boyfriends constantly hanging around is a whole lot more than one.
Seems like the HIMYM writing staff agrees, as this episode blows shit up. After Ted and Barney get super hammered together (which, by the way, is always a good, aggressively strange time on this show), they hoof it down to Don’s apartment to try to get Robin back. This sounds like a terrible plot twist, but it was made clear both were lashing and not really still hung up on her. (Yeah, blaming the whole thing on the booze the next morning was a little bit weak, but we’ll let it slide.) The incident is enough to push Robin into Don’s arms: She’s moving in with him, and she’s out of the group, at least for a little while, because this thing with Don is “real,” and she can’t be hanging around her two ex-boyfriends all the time. Gasp.
Shaking things up! We like it! But if it turns out that Cobie Smulders just landed a movie and couldn’t be on set for a few episodes, we take it back.
*Also, since the title of the episode is “Twin Beds,” we were awaiting a clumsy “twin beds” metaphor for whatever issues everyone was having that week. That it never came was a relief.
**Who, it turns out, for some reason, dresses like a sophomore at NYU when he’s not in a suit.
***Also, the “Ted is gay” stuff was surprisingly well executed, huh?
The Shame Index didn’t like the “Ted is gay” stuff! “The HIMYM writers didn’t waste much time thinking about clever ways to make Ted seem gay to Don, dipping lazily into a series of well-worn stereotypes. He doesn’t follow sports! He likes to cook! He likes girly drinks!” Okay, but calligraphy?
The TV Squad says, “By now, it’s not much of a stretch to say that most ‘How I Met Your Mother’ fans have moved on from both the Ted-Robin and the Barney-Robin relationships. They’re both over, kaput, donezo. Robin’s moved on, and the guys have moved on, and we’re all ready to explore how the gang conducts their lives as just friends.” Not us?