On “How I Met Your Mother,” it was only a matter of time before the CBS comedy addressed Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) struggles with how suddenly his life changed after getting engaged to Robin (Cobie Smulders). Gone are the days he staged elaborate pick-up maneuvers to land yet another girl. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think about them still, as “Weekend at Barney’s,” which aired Feb. 25, proved.
While Barney is pulling out his “HIMYM” playbook one more time to help Ted (Josh Radnor) -- because he only burned the “ceremonial” one -- Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) are showing once again why they work so well together. Marshall is once again trying to make jokes, this time about art. Most of them fall flat, but he finally finds a like-minded soul in Strickland, the artist that Lily is trying to woo on behalf of the Captain.
But trading jokes about "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" wasn’t the funniest gag of this storyline. Rather, that belongs to the moment that Marshall feels invisible at the art show. He’s standing still in dignity for a moment of silence that Strickland asks for his deceased grandmother... and just then, Skittles come pouring out of Marshall’s coat. And still, he stands stock still, proving his comedic skills all over again.
The focus of “How I Met Your Mother” “Weekend at Barney’s” though was Ted. His relationship with Jeanette (Abby Elliott) has finally failed, as fans all knew it would, and Barney wants to be his wingman so he can find someone new. That’s where the playbook comes into play.
The plays utilized -- “a special delivery,” “the kidney,” and “I have a pet Loch Ness Monster” -- are not the classic moves though, considering they all end with Ted muttering the word “penis,” something Barney rarely ever said to bag a lady. Still, Ted apparently talking to himself in the bar (but really conversing with Barney at mission control) just highlighted how crazy his character has become in recent “HIMYM” episodes.
Ted has clearly lost his marbles, and that’s even more apparent when he takes Jeanette back that very night. But then Jeanette shows her true side, again. She finds the playbook in Ted’s apartment, and Ted finds himself out on the street amid all his material goods. This was just the kick in the butt he needed to start taking his relationships seriously. Crazies like Jeanette are never going to be “the one.”
As for Barney, Robin discovers the playbook still exists, and not surprisingly, she’s none too unhappy. But it’s easy to see Barney’s side. After all, he won Robin through misdirection -- an nicer term than “lying” -- and that’s a part of who he is. He beautifully highlights his love for Robin all over again in this speech, and voila, he offers her some magical flowers.
Barney is growing up -- even encouraging Jeanette to blow his playbook up -- but he’s not changing who he is now that he’s in a monogamous relationship. He’ll always be ready for some “magic.”
"How I Met Your Mother" airs on CBS Mondays at 8 p.m. EST.
© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2013