Episode 20 - Showdown
18 September 2011
Synopsis: Marshall and Lily agree to spend the last two weeks of their wedding in different apartments. Ted tries to write a best man's speech which can get past Marshall's editing. Lily tries to gain weight to fit into her dress. Barney is preparing to go on "The Price is Right."
The Good: Once more the show becomes all about Barney and benefits from his unique attributes. Though I have barely seen "The Price is Right" I still found Barney's appearance on it as entertaining as almost anything that How I Met Your Mother has produced.
The construction of that story was quite brilliant. At first Barney's intense training for the show just seems like another of his silly challenges. But then he reveals that his real motivation is to meet his father...Bob Barker. The idea that his mother had pointed to a TV screen just to get him off her back when he was a child could have been awful. Yet the writers handled it beautifully by the way the plot concluded. Instead of telling Bob the "truth", Barney backs down and wishes him well instead. He then explains to the group that "If you've lived your life thinking one thing, it would be pretty devastating to find out that wasn't true...I just don't think Bob could have handled it." Suddenly this ridiculous sounding plot ends on this wonderful moment of sympathy for Barney. He knows Bob isn't his father but didn't want to acknowledge that and so kept playing make believe until the moment of truth came. The whole story was so unexpected and clever. We've not heard much about Barney's father before but the groundwork for this was laid nicely when we met his brother (210).
Needless to say Barney's actual role as a contestant on the show was very entertaining too. Winning every round, arrogantly dismissing the crowd and his opponent all while treating Bob as his father. The clock round where he begins showing Bob his childhood photos was another brilliant idea. Some comedy plots are so entertaining that laugh out loud moments aren't necessary to make them compelling.
Barney also neatly summed up many viewers feelings when he heard how sickly sweet Marshall and Lily are together at bed time: "Why don't you kiss?! I love it when two chicks make out." To be fair to Marshmallow and Lily pad their desire to spend so much time together is a good sign for their marriage. The use of flashbacks was entirely appropriate on this occasion as Ted constructed his speech. Marshall's objections made sense and it did build nicely to the actual toast Ted would make at their wedding. I'm glad the writers acknowledged what an unsympathetic idea it was for Lily to be too skinny for her wedding dress.
The Bad: However they are a pretty sickening couple at this point. And it makes you wonder why they had such trouble living without Ted for twenty four hours (218).
Comic Highlight: Barney, in typically unconventional style, runs into Ted and Marshall's apartment to practise his two choices for when he runs down to contestants' row. It was a funny visual and then it gave Ted a nice moment as he asks Barney to try the choices again and quickly locks the door.
How I rate your episode: Where the show would be without Barney is worrying. The writers do deserve a lot of credit for the way they crafted this story about "The Price is Right." Otherwise it's a slight concern that the last two episodes have been so dependent on Barney when the major stories have nothing to do with him.
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