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So far the season has been great; I mean, like really great, you could say that it has been as good as How I Met Your Mother was on its glory days of season 2 to 5, so why? Why would on earth the writers pull off an episode as lame as this one? Don’t get me wrong, there were aspects of the episode that worked wonders (the whole Marshall and Daphne subplot was outstanding), but the main plot is incredibly weak, dull and predictable. This isn’t the kind of thing How I Met Your Mother usually pulls and I see no reason why they would try to make such an over use plot device as the parent trap work.

The episode starts very interestingly with James’ father, Sam, arrives to Farhampton to announce that he would perform the wedding. It’s really nice to see him back and to know he will participate in the wedding; talking about parents, Barney’s dad, Jerry, is here! And he comes with wife and everything. Soon he meets Loretta and they have a polite greeting, which Barney interpreted as they being in love. Now, Barney is the kind of character that sometimes read some social clues wrong, but this is embarrassing; he feels like a kid and the whole episode he will try to parent trap his parents.

The parent trap plot is one of the oldest play in the book of sitcoms; there are many, many shows that have done this and it always end the same; the son/daughter tries to bring their parents together, he/she fails miserable and learn a valuable lesson about letting things go and moving on; I knew that this is what I was going to get from the moment I saw the preview of the episode, so my expectations were incredibly low and as I watched the episode I couldn’t believe how bored I was with this storyline.

Barney pulls out all kind of crazy schemes to get their parents together, which include sending Jerry’s wife with Ranjit to god knows where, trapping Jerry and Loretta in the elevator and try to set up a romantic meal there (and some 1970 pornography in the mix, with some familiar faces for Loretta). When Barney pulls schemes, the fun usually comes from them being uncanny and drawing some very funny unpredictable scenarios later on. This doesn’t happen here, the schemes are flat and weird to watch, I didn’t laugh with them at all.

So, in order to make things a little different from your usual parent trap plot, the writers decide to start a competition between Barney and James to see who would be able to set up his father with Loretta (insert sarcastic “yay” here). There is a very funny moment here that I must talk about, which is the musical number in black and white; NHP proves that he is an amazing Broadway actor and he uses all his musical and dancing talents to show on the number. The song is good and draw some chuckles as one watches, and it’s probably the only redeeming property to an otherwise flat unfunny plot.

Luckily, after the musical number, Barney and James find out that Loretta and Sam are actually together, so this plot could finally end. Some funny lines are said here (Barney: “get your hand off my mother!” James: “get your hands on my mother!”), but when Barney asks if Loretta could do a three way with both his and James’ dad I just face palmed. It was utterly pathetic and not at all like Barney, it was so off character that I was about to storm off the room just out of frustration.

There’s a sweet moment when Barney talks Robin about the whole situation and Robin tells him that after all what James been through, with the divorce and everything, he probably needs mom and dad more than Barney does. And it’s true, Barney knows it and he accepts it, so at least the horrible parent trap plot comes to an end with a sweet note. Oh wait… there’s the scene with Loretta and Sam in the elevator, trapped there thanks to Barney, who tries to show his support, sending some wine, an ipod playing music and nutella , and asks them to consummate their love, though James is in there too (James: “Thanks bro, but this is super weird… super weird…”). I don’t even want to talk about this anymore.

Now, let’s talk about subplots: First (and the weaker of the two) Barney asks Ted to hide a Gretzky photo (Robin’s hero, who she sometimes calls his name in bed) until it’s time for the wedding. Ted accepts, he leaves it at his desk and soon he discovers someone spilled ink on it. So detective Mosby is on the case to find out who did it. Though I love when Josh Radnor play comedic bits like this and that are recurring in the show, the subplot never lived to its potential. Sure, some good jokes came around (see stray observations), but mostly I found it to be a waste to a good set up in what was supposed to be a Billy Zabka’s and Ted’s confrontation; Zabka wanted to be Barney’s best man, because he was always hated for portraying bad guys in movies, and being chosen by Barney as his best man made him feel good. So he made sure to sneak into Ted’s room, switch the Gretzky photo with one of himself (he always carry them in his car), spill the ink and he would save the day by delivering the Gretzky photo in perfect condition. Because Ted is such a good guy, he lets Zabka go with it, thus solving the conflict between those two. Really disappointing, I was expecting some kind of epic fight in middle of the wedding, or some crazy scheme. No, I got this.

And now, onto the only storyline that I felt that really worked: Daphne and Marshall and the end of their joint trip.
I’ll be missing Sherri Shepherd a lot, she’s been so great and she had such a great chemistry with Jason Segel; if there was any way that she could be back I would be really happy, but it seems unlikely as she has achieved her goal of getting home in time to watch her little daughter at the school.

The trip starts with the right foot with Daphne falling for the spell of “I’m gonna be 500 miles”, which is awesome (no one can resist this song), but suddenly the mood changes after Marshall makes a short stop. Turns out that her daughter tells her that she doesn’t want her to go see her at the school after all, which makes her really sad; it’s uncommon to see Daphne vulnerable, but it’s sweet how affected she seems while she tries to remain strong and even sweeter how Marshall tries to help her out.

In the end, against what Daphne said about forgetting about making it to the school, Marshall took Daphne there anyway so she could see her daughter at presenting at the school and we get a funny moment with Daphne’s daughter being just like her mother saying that children are not the future, but oil, calling environmental sissys, which only terrifies Marshall (his face is priceless!) as he stares. He lets it slide, he says goodbye to Daphne and he is back on his way to the wedding.

One good subplot can’t make up for an episode that felt mostly like filler, as if the writers just didn’t know what to do with this episode and they just had to stall us. This kind of thing can happen time to time even in the most solid shows, so I'm not worried that the quality of the season is going downhill or anything, because there's no indication that the writers will pull an episode as weak as this one again. I hope that's the case, because so far it has been a great ride.

Grade: C

Stray Observations:

-Almost forgot! The pineapple incident gets mentioned! Too bad we don't get to know what happened, but great callback.

-Ted staring at the spilled ink: “My calligraphy ink! I mean… The Gretzky photo!” Classic Schmosby.

-Ted: “Detective Mosby is on the case”
Lily: “Oh god, that’s horrible”
Ted: “I know. It’s a gift for Robin”
Lily: “No, I mean ‘oh god, that’s horrible’ detective Mosby is the worst”

-Funny moment at the end: Ranjit at the end of the road, about to do gods know what to Jerry’s wife, and Jerry jumping over the car to stop them. I found it hilarious.

-Daphne bought oranges for her trip with Marshall, but Marshall left them on the roof. Then Marshall tried to fix things up by buying a new one, which he also left on the roof. Classic Erikson.

-Next week: An episode solely on rhyme! I’m actually pumped for this episode!

Pablozky
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing articles and some reviews as well

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