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Monday, September 19, 2011

HIMYM: "The Best Man"/"The Naked Truth"

The Best Man opened with a glimpse into the future with Ted calming down a jittery Barney just before his wedding. (Of course Barney maintains a pretense that he's just worried he's choosing the wrong tie.) When Barney comes clean with his fear that his wedding will be "the worst ever" they both realize that it can't be because they've already been to the worst wedding ever, Punchy's.

Yeah, we're not really that close to the end of the story, as Ted makes plain to us and his children. But big things loom. Lily's pregnant but keeping it secret, and Robin is experiencing a rekindling of her feelings for Barney, who's still interested in her friend Nora.

Despite being a little long-in-the-tooth, HIMYM still does a lot of things well, and it's at its best when it remembers what those things are. The Best Man and The Naked Truth both fall into this category. The episodes introduce new mythologies and catchphrases and feature callbacks to earlier episodes. There are flashbacks and flash-forwards and funny, playful narration. The foreshadowing of Marshall ruining the wedding paid off nicely when his real sin proved to be unintentional.

The Best Man gave us a nice preview of where we're headed with Robin and Ted this season. Robin's denial of her feelings and her helping Barney with Nora by using her own sentiments were incredibly well-acted and heart-wrenching. And her and Barney's dance scene was surreal but awesome.

And then it lead to that great conversation between Robin and Ted, where he confessed the erosion of his belief in destiny, and she managed to cheer him up while sucking on a cigar.

The Naked Truth was less monumental of an episode but it did continue the groundwork laid in The Best Man. Barney lurches his way toward honesty with Nora, and the show manages to make it funny with his history of lies.

I didn't really care for the Marshall storyline, and Martin Short kind of strikes me as too cloying for this show. I hope I'm wrong. I did like Marshall's history of "sweeping declarations" and I might appropriate that phrase sometime.

Ok, I know this isn't exactly a major sign of my intelligence, but I was pleased with myself that I recognized The Kinks' "Victoria" as the recurring music cue and from that intuited the little "surprise" cameo at the end of The Naked Man. I'm so glad to see Victoria back and I hope she sticks around for awhile even if she's not the Mother.

All in all it was a promising beginning for HIMYM.

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