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Season 9, Episode 12: Rehearsal Dinner

So Prepare to Laugh or Chuckle your preference. This one should be Classic HIMYM.

Not sure how they are going to play out the Marshall part of this Episode. We know already that he was on the Bus, in Traffic, during the actual “Dinner”. Marshall was busy Talking in Rhyme to his son Marvin.

So if we See Marshall in this Episode it will be either while Marvin was asleep, between the Rhyme section of the Trip, or in Flash Back or Forward, is my Guess. So the photo below says flash back. You never know how this episode will actually turn out. Okay some of us do…

While you wait for the Review Here is the link to the Photo Page.

Here is the Episode Recap by Solo

So, that actually was pretty good. A good bit better than I expected, particularly after the last two weeks. I was expecting a “meh” episode (or “mehpisode,” if you will), but was pleasantly surprised. So, on with the commentary.

What Was Good

For starters, the episode “felt” more like a traditional HIMYM episode. It had over-the-top humor in it (no surprise there, being a Barney/Robin-centric episode), but it somehow felt a lot more grounded, with a few exceptions. It was wacky, but had genuine heart, too.

That brings me to another issue. For what’s only the second time in a while, I felt like Barney really is the right guy for Robin. It’s clear he’s over the moon for her, albeit in a different way from Quinn and Nora. I also have to admit that I enjoyed the “busting on Canada” bit at the start of the episode. I miss those days where the humor was just about wordplay and jokes rather than “OMG! There’s a bear at the wedding!” or whatever. More on that in a bit. The best part, though, was the way they flipped it at the end by singing Canada’s praises (and by the way, what, no respect for Rush and Vancouver native James “The Most Badass Engineer EVER” Doohan?!), including some stuff I didn’t know about previously like the guy who invented the paint roller. If you’ve ever done any kind of home renovation work you know that dude’s a genuine hero. Although James Doohan is more of a hero. Seriously, go look him up, particularly the bit about his military service.

But I digress.

Also, I have to give a serious shout out to Alyson Hannigan. She’s been looking better and better these past few episodes, and I really enjoyed her comic and somewhat more serious moments this episode. She’s been way too underused this season, and whatever they had her in for the first, oh, quarter of the season – hair, makeup, and wardrobe – I’m glad it’s gone. The purple sweater with black outfit and her darker red hair… Just put your foot down next time and say “No.”

Back to the quality of the humor, though. I’m still trying to put my finger on why this episode “felt” more like old-school HIMYM, in a different way than previous seasons. I think a big part of it was the style of the jokes and the humor, which was much less about wacky slapstick, and much more about…hmm…ideas, I guess. It’s not strictly wordplay, but the humor is less in the pratfall or the outrageousness of the situation, and more about the concepts being played with like Lily not being able to keep a secret. The other part that I think made a HUGE difference is that the vast bulk of the episode was centered on the main characters all of whom (with the exception of Marshall…>grumble<…) got a decent amount of screen time. Compare that to the guest-star-laden stuff that’s preceded this episode. Guest stars can spice up a show, but focusing on them too much is like dumping tabasco sauce all over you food. After a while it stops tasting like your food and just tastes like tabasco sauce. And for a while, I think a lot of this show has felt like How I Met Your Tabasco Sauce.

Lastly, I have to say that I thought it was surprisingly touching when Robin said she didn’t have time for Lily’s drama, Lily explained what’s going on with Marshall, and Robin said “I have time for your drama.” Nice touch there, too.

What Was Not As Good

Ok, right off the bat, I gotta say that I know people love this aspect of the show, but I always roll my eyes when they make Ted into such a ridiculously douchey caricature of himself. I get that he can be a bit fancy or pretentious at times, but some of the stuff they have him do…it’s just plain silly and demeaning. I liked that Robin and Barney took the Liberace bet. I would’ve liked to see Ted pull off the ice skating bit, though. I suppose, however, that they gave him a moment of redemption when he skated by with the piano at the very end. That was a nice touch.

I also have to say that I’m still kind of annoyed that we had no real plot movement – or so it seems at this moment – in the story. TIME moved, but that’s not the same thing. What was the purpose of this story in the larger arc? How does it tie in? If it doesn’t, then that’s at least three filler episodes (of varying quality) in a row, and to me, that’s unacceptable.

Lastly, hardly any Marshall and no Mother, AGAIN. I sincerely hope that next episode permanently rectifies THAT deficiency because at this point there is simply no reason why Cristin should be listed as a main cast member. Frances Conroy, Wayne Brady, and Sherri Shepherd have all been in more episodes this season (or at least it felt that way), and they weren’t listed.

Further Thoughts

I’ve got sort of two different tracks to discuss my further thoughts this week. We’ll start with my thoughts on the show itself.

As I mentioned above, this is – possibly – the third episode in a row that was apparently 99% filler. The one bit of movement in the plot may be Lily’s revelation that Marshall took the judge position and how she reacted to it. They haven’t touched on this hardly at all since the text was sent, and I think it’s something that’s been really lacking in the show. Lily’s been just a drunken placeholder for a while, and it’s nice to see her finally actually, you know, feel like a real person would. This is serious stuff that Marshall did, and it’s bound to have a major impact on their relationship, even if it’s ultimately resolved happily. My hope, however, is that this ends the whole “Barney, we can’t just keep doing stuff on our own” crap that they’ve done with Robin and Barney. The bickering stuff hopefully comes to an end with this episode, which would, for me, make it a lot more substantive than it appears in and of itself. I’d accept ACTUAL cold feet (e.g. “Holy crap, this is a big decision. Am I making the right one? DID I PICK THE RIGHT TIE?!”), but that’s not what we’ve had. Hopefully, that’s all we get moving forward.

Although, I have to say, this brings up a separate issue. We see the ridiculous lengths to which Barney goes for Robin. It’s clear that he loves her very much. But for me, Robin just seems very…reactive. What’s she actually DO for Barney? How in love with Barney is she? I kinda feel like that side of the discussion has been ignored. We need either her or Barney or both of them to have a moment which explains why they’re together and what Robin’s role is in this, other than as passive recipient of Barney’s adoration who’s also willing to put up with his crappier behavior.

Last point on the show. I liked this episode. I honestly did. But as I said, it didn’t really move the plot at all. I tend to be more critical of this show than, I think, a lot of other people are, but that’s for two reasons: (1) the show can do SO much better at times, and (2) this is THE LAST SEASON so they don’t have any more time to screw around. I got into this show because it had an arc and because it had heart in executing that arc. For much of this season, that arc seems to have been forgotten in favor of a gimmick – that being the 24 -like countdown of time detailing every insignificant moment during the wedding. They’ve yet to tie these moments together or explain why any of them matter to Ted’s story, and yes, this IS Ted’s story. I don’t judge episodes on a standalone basis with this show; I judge them as a part of a greater whole, and in service to that greater whole, the show has been seriously lacking this season. That said, as filler goes, this is about as good as it gets in my opinion. Funny, heartfelt, and enjoyable. I find that to be in sharp contrast to last week’s episode which was more gimmicky than anything else, and WAY in contrast to Mom & Dad from two weeks ago, which was boring.

All of this ties into my second point which isn’t exactly related to the show. These past few weeks, I expect I’ve come across as extremely critical of the show. And, indeed, I have been – and in my opinion, not without reason. I’m really hoping that the 12/16/2013 episode will rekindle the show’s brilliance by bringing ALL the characters together (finally) and actually allowing the PLOT to move, and that we’ll get another 12 episodes of the kind of brilliance of which this show is entirely capable of displaying.

But I’ve got to be honest: if things continue as they’ve gone for the last few weeks, I’m gonna have to seriously question whether it’s worth sitting down at 8pm on Monday nights to watch this show on a regular basis, or whether I have the interest in writing – for yet another week – “Still no Mother. WTF?! When is this gonna improve?!” I’ll still watch the show, of course, but I expect it’d be more binge-watching, or watching later in the week than on Monday nights. Tuesday mornings, maybe, while I sip my coffee and iron a shirt for work or whatever.

I’m hoping it won’t come to that, though.  I want to keep watching and writing these recaps with enthusiasm.  That hasn’t been the case for a few weeks in a row, but this episode did give me a glimmer of hope.  And I can still tolerate the occasional “just funny” episode mixed in with actual “arc” episodes, as long as the overall momentum of the show is headed forward, instead of just treading water.  Just to be clear, though, this would be more about my own writing of the recaps.  I don’t think Ross would turn out the lights on this site, so folks would still have a place to discuss the show.  Anyway,  I guess we’ll see what 12/16 brings, and how I feel in the new year.  More on that later, kids.

Web Host Note…

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20 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. OH! CANADA!!!

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist, shutting up now.

  2. maybe i’m just emo, but i just teared up after a VERY long time. good episode.

  3. I personally liked this episode, though I have noticed a decrease of quality lately in the HIMYM episodes. Nice written post and great blg you have here! I will surely return to read more!

  4. You Guys did see all the people grow up/old and was that Robin’s X with the paint roller?

    It was not James but jeff kueppers. Too me they have similar facial features under that disguise.

    This was an A for laughs and twists. Lots of Call backs. Liked the Hair Hockey going on. Missed Marshall and Marvin but I guess we will see a lot of the missing cast members next NEW Episode on the 16th.

    And Yes this site is paid up through Summer of 2015. We are not going anywhere. Just be watching on the 16th is all I will say.

  5. Another notable thing about this episode is the whole Ted/Lily relationship dynamic. Having those two in a scene is awesome. Having them share a real moment is even more so.

  6. I hesitate to write this, because I know that people’s criticisms can affect how others enjoy the show, but I’m just so disappointed with this season. There are so many important things that I think they need to address and they spend time doing callbacks to James’ wedding singing and Alan Thicke?

    I’m with Solo, I used to look forward to getting home after rehearsal and watching HIMYM even though it aired hours earlier, but now I do it out of obligation, and it is on the cusp on not even happening on Monday night anymore. This is not how a final season should make people feel.

    I can be wordy, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

    • I understand where you’re coming from. I didn’t mind it this episode, but this one was on the edge for me. It was filler, but really good filler (whereas the last two weeks have been mediocre-at-best filler, in my opinion). Mostly, though, the format for this season has just been SUCH a drag and seems to include so much useless crap that it’s made even good episodes like this one seem like they’re insufficient within the overall story.

      That said, I think — well, I HOPE — there’s more to this episode than meets the eye. I’ll try to unpack some of this.

      We’re seeing what I suspect is the windup to a multi-episode arc addressing Lily and Marshall’s showdown. Marshall screwed up bigtime, even if he made the call that’s right for him and possibly even right for his family as a whole. It’s more the WAY he did it — just pulling the trigger on his own without consulting Lily. Her line “I feel so alone” was really important in that respect, and I think we’ll see that play out a lot more down the road.

      As I mentioned above, I’m really hoping this is it for the stuff with Robin and Barney bickering, and Barney acting like a pain-in-the-ass 6-year-old, only for them to say something at the same time and then say “aww” as if doing that makes them a good couple. I’d hope that, moving forward, stuff like THIS is shown as the reason why they’re a good couple, although I still want to see more from Robin about what she does for Barney.

      Lastly, Ted. Ted’s been…pretty pathetic all season. With the exception of the moment at very end of The Lighthouse, he has alternated between douchey goofball and sadsack. Knight Vision was about as good as he’s been in terms of being proactive, and even that was just about getting laid. This episode is yet another moment where Ted acts like a doofus, what with the whole Liberace thing. I’d like to see all of this broad comedy actually pay dividends that relate to the heart of the story, like some scene where Ted explains how this all ties into his emotional state, which is…unmoored at the moment, and fluctuating between “Happy for my friends” and “Sorry for myself.” Like how focusing on the ridiculousness of the costume and his behavior was a distraction for feeling crappy that he’d blown his chance. Maybe even having him realize that his approach actually worked, and that all the goofiness he went through was ultimately fun for him, and distracted him enough to get to a point where he’s relaxed and at peace with things.

      I think it’ll take a long while to get there, but I’d like to see them at least TRY to tie whatever Ted’s ultimate last steps in his journey are back to the steps he’s taken from the start of this season.

      But all that said, I’ve given up on shows before, and I’m willing to give up at least on real-time viewing of this show if it just stops being satisfying. Life is too short to spend it pissed of at a television show, so when it gets to that point, when it starts feeling like an obligation or a “duty” that you’d rather not perform, maybe it’s time to take a break.

      This episode did quite a bit to ease that feeling for me. I’m hoping the upcoming episode will do more.

      • I think the TIMES TED has had with LILY are why we are still watching this show. Yes and the Mother but for the original 5 it is because of Josh and Alyson.

        Most every time they are together alone it is significant. I would say some of the interaction with Marshall has also been important.

        I have the benefit of knowing the next three times the mother is going to be on the show. Thomas more than Bays has been talking her up lately.

        Not everyone is buying into this hype because he said this episode was very exciting just like the last one. I know some of us have a difference of opinion on what makes great HIMYM. The Barney Robin fans have for the most part enjoyed this season.

        But all of our expectations are not being met and we knew this going in. We expected more of the Mother by now. Marshall and Robin will meet the Mother along with Ted. Not all at the same time but they will get a chance to have alone screen time with the Mother.

        This is an 8+ year story. Put it in perspective. Those who have been waiting for the mother would not get to have this much if no season 9. It would have wrapped at 8 with the reveal Here She IS!!

        To me that would have been it. End Done. So we have already seen more than I expected a year ago. Now we are promised and this may be a spoiler of sorts…. Text is in white so mouse over to see it…

        Sorry an Episode coming with the Mother as the Lead Character sometime before the end of the season.

        Now with That news I would watch the entire season just for that Episode. You do not have to go out and purchase the DVDs and it is only 30 minutes. It still has funny stuff with a story you are already invested in.

        Some say that alone is the reason why the writers are doing this. We have been through the Actors and Actresses had other obligations.

        But Next weeks Episode has everyone back together.

        That is past us now. Don’t Hold that against the show now.

        I think the best part of the season will come in the last 12 Episodes. That is my opinion and I am sticking with it.

  7. I don’t really consider this as a filler. It might not have a high significance in the overall story, but it is part of the story in the same way as the bachelor party prior to LAME’s wedding is part of the story. It might not resolve or explain anything nor set up any future arc, but a rehearsal dinner (first time I’ve heard about “rehearsal dinners”, but I’m as far from a wedding expert as you can get) is by itself a major event if your best friends are getting married. Or am I wrong?

    Overall I liked the episode, there’s some good old HIMYM structural play, and it ends with heart, and I really didn’t see the twist coming (stupid me!, headbang, headbang, headbang). What I did expect was that Barney finally would be convinced that he was not being conned, and that the final twist would be that Robin actually did con Barney .

    And yeah, I’m eternally grateful to Canada for Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, but how could they leave out Donald Sutherland from the list??? Not only would he make for an excellent Serial Killer, in my youth he actually looked very much like me too.

    Anyway, the story (of the episode) moved around both at different location and time spots, so it got out of the claustrophobic hotel. And I’m sure it will hold up for several viewings.

    • Well, technically, the Marshall bachelor party IS filler, but I think you also have to consider the different positions we’re in in terms of the overall story.

      When Marshall had his bachelor party, it was Season 2. That’s a loooooooong time ago. At that point, the series had plenty of time to “play” with the story, and it could indulge in filler episodes here and there.

      To be clear, I don’t mind well-done filler episodes. Episodes can be filler and still be good. Or they can be filler and be awful. I think this one was filler, but good filler. Actually, it may have been more than filler, but we won’t really know until later. I’d say it’s probably closer to “substantive filler.” Not really adding anything to the story, but sort of fleshing out the relationship between Barney and Robin in a meaningful way.

      By comparison, their earlier antics this season have been pretty meaningless. The thing with the pastor dying, the hijinks with “No Questions Asked,” etc. THAT stuff has been meaningless filler because it literally just spun its wheels. With this episode, it felt like something MAY have been resolved. We’ve also seen what I’m pretty sure will be the wind-up for the Lily/Marshall showdown and (hopefully) typing up that loose end.

      The thing is, I don’t think you can view episodes as entirely 100% distinct entities, existing in and of themselves. They’re part of a larger story, namely the story Ted’s telling his kids. And while we’ve put up with a lot of tangents and screwing around throughout the years, some episodes aren’t even remotely related.

      For me, the classic examples of total filler episodes are The Burning Beekeeper and The Bro-Mitzvah. In and of themselves, they’re decent episodes. Burning Beekeeper plays with time, and the characters do some somewhat funny stuff. Bro-Mitzvah was funny as a big con for Barney, including the Billy Zabka reveal. But they did zero to advance the story. And at a certain point — like after seven or eight or nine freaking seasons, you really need to start asking yourself “Why is this episode included? Why is this part of the overall story? What’s the point of it?”

      The tangents stop being cute and start getting tedious after a while, so I think that plays a big role in why people are getting sick of the wheel-spinning and episodes that don’t actually do anything except showcase yet more wacky wedding hijinks. This episode was a lot better than that, and I think that’s a big part of why it’s been so well received.

  8. Just a quick Wednesday note for HIMYM.

    This coming week on Monday Night Dec 9th we will have a re-broadcast of Season 9 Episode 1 “The Locket”.

    Next New Episode

    December the 16th is Episode 13 of Season 9 (If I tell you the title it will give it away). This is the one you will not want to miss.

    The following Monday is December 23rd re-broadcast of Season 9 Episode 2 “Coming Back”.

    As always if you click on my name “Ross” below the Ted Photo you will go back to this sites Home Page.

    Spoiler Updates on the HIMYM SEASON 9 SPOILER PAGE with Links just below the Episode Recap or in the May Archive.

  9. Man it’s quiet here this week……I guess folks just didn’t have all that much to say about this episode?

    • It’s nice to know I’m not the only one disappointed in how spasre the comments are this week, Solo! I’m not a regular poster, but I really enjoy reading fans’ comments and predictions (I’m spoiler-free since ’93…er…’05). This episode made me tear up at how thoughtful Barney was. The bonus was all the Canadiana, being a Canuck myself. Shame on me for not knowing the paint roller is a Canadian invention!
      My fave line? “Just say the word…then say it again in French!”

  10. Watched the Big Bang Theory Tonight. It had some funny stuff and serious story line. That in fact reminded me that again the funny sit com with real serious relationship issues this season on CBS was???

  11. Of all ocres, that episode was the mediest. Personally, as the season’s been fizzling, I’ve lost some excitement over the blog also. I don’t post much, but I used to get excited to visit this blog every week. I was here to see if anything was posted about an article I read when I realized I forgot to visit the blog at all last week. Anyway, here’s the article:

    • Yeah, I read that article yesterday. It doesn’t surprise me. The Facebook page for HIMYM is littered with negative comments. I think people are really dissatisfied with the season, but, as the article says, are sticking with it purely to find out the end. Plus, when news of this sort hits NPR….you know things aren’t good.

      As for the blog, I’m not surprised you’re not that interested in it. Truth be told, I’ve been losing interest in the show myself, or at least with this particular incarnation of it. There’s only so many times I can say “This is boring. I hope they move the story along soon.”

      That said, for those looking for a more positive, perpetually upbeat and optimistic view of the show, check out Donna Bowman’s blog on AV Club. She almost never gives the show bad reviews and is entertained by just about everything they do on the show. As you might’ve guessed….I do not share her opinion.

    • Yes, Solo and I discussed this Yesterday morning. I was again thinking about ways these episodes can have meaning in the season of Returning Guest Stars and Re-Lived one liners.

      For instance the Pineapple thing is still being beat to death. The best call backs are from the early season when we all saw such promise in the sit com world.

      Sit Coms loose it over the years because they get away from the core focus. So this article is on target. Glad others are still hanging with the show.

      When you sort through it all I want you to all stay for the great episodes to come this season. Like I have said over and over we have a lot of great stuff coming soon.

      Stay with the episode on the 16th please. Not to be confusing but also watch the 16th Episode of the Season in January. It is the 200th of the Series and is Mother centric.

      Two of the most viable Mother Name Theorist on the Web have been pushing either the Lost Date from “Milk” Season 1 Episode 21 and the Marissa Heller Season 5 Episode 22 connection. I hope the Mother turns out to be the real Marissa Heller who went to paint Robots fighting Wrestlers because in the Elevator that Episode Lily said she would like the Mother who subscribed to Soap opera Magazine etc.

    • Yes it is hard to visualize the end of this show HIMYM. I wish that I could have had the ending season of Ted and the Mother together in the future.

      The writers did not see it the same way. They could not take the leap with some of us fans that wanted to see more than just a glimpse of beyond May 2013.

      It will be sad when the Gang is no-longer on Monday Nights. But all shows need to end at some point. Ted has to end the story so those kids can grow up.

  • The Mother