One of the more ludicrous episodes in recent memory: When Ted takes Royce, the new girl he’s dating, (Judy Greer, slumming it in a laugh-free role) to see a movie called The Wedding Bride, he discovers it was written by his ex-fiancée Stella’s husband, Tony, and is a retelling of the breakup story with Ted as a cartoonish villain. Leaving aside all the really obvious stuff — like how impossible it would be to avoid the fact that your ex-fiancée’s husband wrote a movie, especially if the goddamned thing was about your life, up until you walked into the movie theater — here’s a more minor question: Didn’t Tony get Ted the job at the school to try to right his wrongs? Why would he then write a mean-spirited, thinly veiled movie about Ted that starred Chris Kattan?
Okay, with that out of the way … we actually enjoyed The Wedding Bride stuff! It’s not a promising signifier for his general career options, but Kattan as the over-the-top-jerk movie-version Ted was a bluntly effective comedy tool (the catchphrase eventually wore its way into our good graces, and we even liked the reference to Ted’s mini-date with Stella: “Alls I got time for is a two-minute date. If you know what I mean. Sex.”). Also, considering Jason Lewis and Malin Akerman actually make dumb clichéd romantic comedies in real life, landing them for kindhearted naïve movie Stella and kindhearted karate-instructing-to-underprivileged-children movie Tony was a nice touch. What we’re trying to say is that making fun of predictable Hollywood movies, even in the broadest manner possible, is almost always a good time.
So, The Wedding Bride is a huge hit, and Ted has to restrain himself from revealing to Royce that it’s all about him. Then, while hanging out with Royce and some anonymous buddies (by the way, every once in a while the show nonchalantly slots in randoms and pretends like these people have always had other friends, and it’s always great) who are talking up the brilliance of The Wedding Bride, Ted snaps and storms off. He quickly realizes that he shouldn’t be so upset because we all have baggage (this was the lesson of last night’s episode, by the way: We all have baggage. They actually showed people carrying around figurative luggage) and rushes back to the movie theater, where Royce is taking in another showing of Bride. There was a neatly choreographed bit with the movie dialogue syncing up with Ted’s admission that the movie’s about him, the promise of pancakes, and a tidy resolution. It was almost enough to make you want to give love a roundhouse kick, right in the heart.
We concur with the Shame Index on this one: “The salute to Major Baggage. Silly, but one of the Index’s favorite running gags.”
The AV Club’s take on the movie-within-a-show: “It almost plays like a Very Special Guest Star that was thrown at them; most of the time you try to work around it, and if you’re really good you can actually build a few comedic structures of your own devising on top of it. “