Episode 2 - The Naked Truth
8 March 2013
Synopsis: Marshall has nearly secured a job as an environmental lawyer but is then told they will be checking online for information about him. He is disturbed to discover a video of him drunk and naked from college. He tracks down Pete, the friend who owns the video and tries to persuade him to take it down. Ted uses his magazine cover to meet two women and then can't decide which one to take to the Architect's Ball. Nora won't take any of Barney's crap and forces him to admit to all the lies he has told to get women into bed. He vows to stay in the same diner until she gives him another date.
The Good: I did like the way Ted's story was structured. He found that by shamelessly standing at the newsstand holding his New York Magazine he could meet women. I smiled at the joke where he admitted that it hadn't worked on everyone. This enabled him to get two dates, neither of whom grabbed him enough to make it an easy decision over who to take to the Ball. His pontificating was just entertaining enough and Lily slapping him was a nice moment as he made a meal over how to decide. I also smiled at Ted having to pee after two coffee dates in a row and then continuing his story.
Last episode he admitted that he was losing faith in destiny and I thought that story was furthered well here. He looks at Barney's decision to stay in the diner and realises that he was the one who used to do crazy romantic things like that. The return of Victoria was certainly an interesting twist to end the episode on. I have read elsewhere that fans remember her fondly especially compared to Stella and Zoey. The reality of that situation though is that Victoria was part of the show when the show was better. Yes she did a fine job but if the writing can't back her up then she will be just another stall tactic as we wait around impatiently for the mother to appear.
Marshall's story was passable, as was Barney's. It's nice that Marshall will finally be able to work for the environment after all these years. His alcohol-related mishaps were easy comedy that some may enjoy more than I did. Barney's decision to stay rooted in the diner was also easy comedy (see Comic Highlight) but got off his attempts to actually change to a good start.
The Bad: Of course it's difficult to imagine Barney actually changing. By having Nora expose all the lies he has told women to get sex Barney's character was exposed badly. If you imagine Barney is a real person who deceived and hurt women day after day then how could any self respecting woman trust him? He argues that she wouldn't have stayed and listened if she didn't care. Maybe, but again that just exposes the story to reality. If she actually sat through two hours of horrendous stories why would that make her like him more? As usual the story was all about the established character and we are no closer to seeing who Nora is or why he likes her.
Speaking of drunken personality changes, were we supposed to believe that Pete was a surgeon by day but got hammered and forgot everything he did by night?
I don't really buy Marshal as Beercules either. It's a TV crutch to assume that characters will do such self destructive things when they get drunk. I don't think of Marshall the way the writing tried to portray him here. He has always been whimsical, superstitious and childish but I don't think he is a wild man. They imply that he has been suppressing his true desire to run around naked and go wild but it felt unconvincing. We also got a "flashforward" to him winning money in a casino with a crestfallen Barney next to him on the phone. I'm not a fan of waiting around for that moment so that I can guess what shocking thing Barney is hearing about.
The comedy swung toward puns this episode with a bunch of terrible lines. Many came from Marshall's new boss Mr Coots who kept seeing crocodiles, snakes and swamps and finding their double meanings hilarious. But Barney got in on the fun with several lines where he "misunderstood" what people said. One or two silly lines can be fun but if you just pile seven or eight into an episode then you expose your lack of imagination.
Comic Highlight: Barney sitting in the diner all night could have yielded many jokes but it was hard not to smile at him ordering water and then nine hours later telling the waitress "I still need another minute."
How I rate your episode: Three fairly solid stories for the guys made this passable fare.
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