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Monday, September 20, 2010

How I Met Your Mother- "Big Days"

I chose How I Met Your Mother over House last night, partly because I was curious to see whether Carter Bays and Craig Thomas could be taken at their word that they recognized the deficiencies in Season 5 and were striving to correct them. (My other reason was residual dismay at the House season finale. I am not a Huddy supporter.)

"Big Days" is a promising start. The episode was more truly vintage HIMYM than just about anything Season 5 had to offer. HIMYM works best as a slightly-cracked version of reality, where the little comedic observations about life and relationships are punched-up with witty dialogue and a touch of the absurd. It also helps when there is real sentiment behind the plot-lines, but too much sentiment tends to become cloying and corny. Too often last year the absurd and the corny tended overpower the witty and the romantic.

It was gratifying that the premiere got off to such a strong start, with great banter between Marshall and nervous pre-wedding Ted. ("Dude, you fixed church!) Barney was also great tonight, and in less of a breakout crazy character kind of way. NPH had some great line reading tonight, such as when he told a cheese-crusted Robin "I must paint you!" and the whole "Dibs" conversation really worked. Barney also got to be a real person, mentioning his missing father without dwelling on it. Strong work from the writers.

Marshall and Lily got a traditional sort of sitcom plot tonight, but one that brought up some fairly relatable issues. (Marshall tells his father about the couples' efforts to have a child, which Lily thinks is over-sharing.) Marshall's response to Lily's "what-if-I-can't" fears is maybe a little too perfect, but that's who they've made Marshall, so it was at least consistent.

Spoilers: I enjoyed the fake-out with the wedding, even though this is exactly the kind of thing they've done a hundred times before. It worked though, what can I say? I really hope HIMYM is in for a big comeback this year, it'd be a same if they only got around to introducing the mother when there was no one left to care.

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