Oh, that's right: This is a series about a guy named Ted Mosby trying to find the mother of his children. After several episodes given over to plots revolving around the other four characters, this week
returned to the story of Ted's love life. And you almost thought you missed it.
This episode was largely free of acute shamefulness, but suffered from a generalized dullness. To wit:
—The B-plot, in which Marshall discovers a letter enumerating the hopes and dreams of his younger self, was half-heartedly developed and funny only insofar as it afforded a peek at teenage Marshall, sporting a rat tail and overalls.
—The C-plot, in which Barney challenges himself to seduce a woman while wearing said overalls, felt similarly mailed-in—at least until its final moment, when Barney acquiesces to the advances of an elderly woman rather than admit defeat.
—The A-plot was your average Ted's-in-love, no-this-time-it's-serious storyline. If it was slightly less cloying than usual for having a clever conceit—Maggie Wilkes's fleetingly open window—it was typical of such plots in another respect: It wasn't that funny. As soon as Ted announced "I'm not going to screw this up," we knew that he would, and there were scant laughs to entertain us as we awaited the inevitable conclusion. (A few notable exceptions acknowledged below.) The A-plot also suffered from its nearly complete uninterest in establishing Maggie's character. She's the "ultimate girl next door," Marshall and Ted tell us, and is thus irresistible to men. We're left to take their word for it—the role of Maggie Wilkes was barely a speaking part.
—Marshall's Mad Libs: "Fart went to the fart to fart fartly." That is
how Vanilla Thunder would have filled out a Mad Lib.
—MAGGIE: Make Adjustments, Go Get It Energized. Nice recovery, T-Mos.
—"Did you see the one over there of the corgis doing it people-style?"
on Monday, offered his latest explanation for the
of Barney and Robin, hinting that
is not done exploring the fallout of that relationship. He also promised "big shake-ups" in the second half of the season. Let's hope so—after yet another week where the laughs were few and far between, the series needs something to licky-boom-boom it back to life.