I’m bored with this whole Marshall and Lily conceiving storyline and this episode didn’t exactly have the zip and vigor of some of the all time best How I Met Your Mother episodes, but it did have something that I occasionally look to HIMYM for (which I don’t feel like I get anywhere else): a legitimate, interesting, and amusing look on what it means to be a 20-something today.
Last week introduced Becky, Robin’s annoying new co anchor. When Becky’s “little girl lost” method to reading the news earns her incomprehensible popularity, Robin begins to question herself. When Ted starts dating Becky in all her-squeaky-voiced glory, it infuriates Robin, who can’t understand why Ted would want to date someone who acted like a 6 year old. When Ted points out that Becky lets Ted feel needed (for spider killing), unlike Robin, it leads her to doubt herself.
Robin is a pretty unique television creation. She’s a gorgeous, successful woman, only occasionally dogged by insecurity or daddy issues, who deals with her relationships (whether they be healthy or ridiculous) in a relatively mature fashion. When she and Ted split up, they were able to remain friends in large part because of Robin’s ability to put aside “girly” theatrics. When Barney and her split, even though the latter was literally scoring girls every night in front of her, she dealt with it on her own, going through her “mourning” period on her own time and barely letting her closest friends know. On top of that, there are the obvious “abnormalities”, like the scotch-drinking, gun-firing and casual-sex-having. At the same time, she is distinctly feminine and attractive, except when she’s working out at the gym.
Still, such a strong, awesome lady might be a bit intimidating for the average guy, and this episode has Robin dealing with this. Ultimately, the show doesn’t want Robin to compromise one bit who she is, any more than it wants Barney to stop issuing himself absurd challenges and dares. That’s what makes How I Met Your Mother so much more than just a silly three camera sitcoms, even in an episode where they take a hoary sitcom plot (Marshall and Lily want a baby of two different genders!). Rather than sticking with the standard sitcom cliche, the HIMYM crew deepened a discussion of genders by using this feeble plot as a base-line.
That’s not to say that this week of HIMYM was brilliant, or even a personal fave, but merely that it reminded me why it, like Robin, is not just like everybody else, even when it pretends to be, and that’s what makes it awesome.
And perfect for Barney.