Episode 11 - Last Cigarette Ever
19 December 2009
Synopsis: Older Ted reveals to his children that the group used to smoke. Robin in particular was a consistent smoker. She is upset that her new co-host Don is deeply cynical and unprofessional. Marshall ends up smoking again as a way to bond with his new boss and his former boss, Arthur Hobbs. Lily, Ted and Barney all get sucked in and try to help each other quit for good.
The Good: It’s the same old story with How I Met Your Mother, though the plot was pretty solid in theory. The idea that older Ted hid the groups smoking habits from his children is plausible and an inoffensive way to add a new layer to their characters which was never there before. The end to that story where Ted lists when all of their last cigarettes were was a really nice touch. It gave the story a more significant feeling by linking it to future loves and babies. It keeps the story of the mother at the forefront of the show and gives some nice continuity plot points to be reached down the road.
Robin’s desire to be professional was an admirable idea. Bringing back Arthur (315) to provide Marshall with a good excuse to smoke was solid continuity. I even liked Arthur’s obsession with his dog, the one person in his life who doesn’t hate him.
The Bad: The only problem here is that all the attempts at humour are implausible exaggerations. These jokes wouldn’t happen in real life and so each time one appears it induces a groan rather than a laugh. And with any unreal exaggeration they run the risk of undermining the serious part of the story.
Don not wearing pants and smoking on the air are the worst offenders. One could get him fired and the other definitely would. The whole plot is built on the flawed logic that no one watches TV in the small hours of the morning. Many people would see them and to smoke on air would have the station being sued by everyone.
Ted and Barney reminisce about smoking in bars with a huge exaggeration of what that looked like. The gang go through typically exaggerated withdrawal symptoms when they try to give up smoking. Lily’s voice goes super deep from smoking so that a man does voiceovers for her, obviously not believable. And so on.
Comic Highlight: The only exaggeration which works is Marshall imagining kicking his thirteen year old self as he looks for someone to take out his withdrawal pain on.
How I rate your episode: A decent story with no good jokes.
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