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How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother is a comedy about Ted Mosby, a New York architect who wants to get married and start a family. Future Ted is telling the story of how he met their mother and we see his past story set in the present day and the adventures he has with friends Marshall, Lily, Barney and Robin. CBS 2005-???

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Episode 18 - Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M.

25 March 2012

Synopsis: We see Robin’s day before she invites Ted over. Events conspire to make her feel very single and alone. Ted accepts her invitation but on the cab ride over he begins to justify himself to the “Victoria” in his mind. He calls Marshall and he and Lily tell Ted to go home. Meanwhile Barney convinces Marshall and Lily to stay out and party with Korean Elvis. Ted arrives at Robin’s place and lies, telling her he broke up with Victoria. He and Robin end up making out on the couch. Ted decides to call and break up with Victoria from the bathroom. But he takes the wrong phone and Victoria calls Robin.

The Good: Robin. Sometimes an actor or actress just “gets” sitcom acting. And Robin gets it here. It’s a real skill to convey simple emotions in a plausible way. In a sit com you don’t have time to show a huge range of emotions, but you need to convey your mood in both an obvious and a subtle way. Obvious so that everyone watching knows how you feel but subtle, in that over acting will bring the humour and realism down. The writers do a good job of establishing why Robin would call Ted and make such a desperate grab for his attention. Her day of judgement about being single leads her to feel alone and needy, so she calls the man she is in love with. Once he is with her, her acting really took off. All the little indicators of her attraction to him. The way she smiled, the way she tried to play things cool, the way her hands moved while hugging him. Spot on.

Credit to Ted too as he is of course a big part of their strong chemistry. His self justifying behaviour with his mental “Victoria” was a clichéd but sensible way of conveying his state of mind. I liked the way he kept on rationalising what he was doing even though as soon as Robin showed real interest in him he just lied right to her face. It was a far more real piece of behaviour than TV shows often show us. Millions of people cheat, have affairs and of course lie every year. Ted is doing what people do, omitting the truth and justifying why he did it. And he has a good case, even beneath his love for Robin, he is a guy and all he wants to do is spend the night with her.

The twist with the phones was another clichéd but effective way of keeping the couple apart for another few episodes. I thought the writers misdirected viewers pretty well by playing up the sexual tension when they brought up that Robin and Ted had the same phone. It should have kept the twist safe from a good number of viewers.

As ever the writers made sure Barney, Marshall and Lily were involved. Their night at the karaoke bar made sense, continuing on from the previous episode. Lily telling Ted that Robin was in love with him was consistent with Lily’s inability to keep secrets (102) or her ability to make good judgements about others (112). But it was easy to see why she thought it would help and even easier to see why it drove Ted straight to Robin.

The Bad: The Korean Elvis side plot felt very unnecessary and too blatant an attempt to make the B story seem relevant.  Alexis Denisof’s news anchor character was not good. He seemed like the wrong actor to play the cheese ball. Or another way of putting it would be that the lines given to him were far too arrogant and ignorant to sound real.

Comic Highlight: Ted opens up to his cab driver about his dilemma. Realising he is gabbling on, he apologises and says “I guess cab drivers are the new bartenders right?” The cabbie smiles and agrees. Then takes a sip from his hip flask and asks Ted if he wants some. “You can just let me out right up here” Ted says quickly.

How I rate your episode: When Ted and Robin start talking about getting together to “make juice” it set up a really intriguing episode. It was so obvious what they both really meant and yet clearly they weren’t just going to jump each other. The writers did a good job of keeping things intriguing and Robin and Ted played their roles really well. In the end the plot turned like a very traditional mid season will they-won’t they romance story.  But it was effective nonetheless and kept you caring about these characters.

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