The How I Met Your Mother Shame Index: Episode 14

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 2 2010 7:21 AM

The How I Met Your Mother Shame Index: Episode 14

The Shame Index recently retired as a sports fan, but he's not so far removed from the sporting life that this episode's significant charms were lost on him. How I Met Your Mother fans were abuzz a couple of months ago when news broke that Yankee heartthrob Nick Swisher would make a cameo this season. But in the event, the show was stolen by another sports figure: CBS's own Jim Nantz.



—Nantz: Time 's James Poniewozik asked last night on Twitter whether Barney's dream interview, were his imagination not circumscribed by CBS's corporate imperatives, would have been conducted by Bob Costas, not Nantz. While Costas is the bigger name, and thus might have been Barney's true wish, the Shame Index isn't sure he'd have been the funnier choice. That's because Costas is funny—a quick wit, and a practiced raconteur of comic sports tales. (See, e.g., this endearingly lo-fi compilation of his Letterman appearances.) Nantz, on the other hand, is forever playing straight man to more lively color commenators and sports personalities. But Nantz's status as the milquetoast man-in-the-blue-network-badged-blazer is what made it so hilarious to hear him say things like "Over two hundred women, spanning six continents, 17 nationalities, 74 sexual positions, and not a single fatty." And "I think she has a thing for the Barnacle." And "You don't open an e-mail from Phil Simms in front of your kids." And " Our toothbrush?"

—The baseball gags: Ted eating a hot dog and calling for his beer at MacLaren's as if he were at a ballgame; the amazing pitcher/catcher consultation between Ted and Barney (he shakes off "the heater" and "high and outside," before deciding on the girl with the mini-burgers, "the slider"); the hats Marshall makes commemorating Barney's historic feat ("I was going to do shirts but then you have to guess sizes, feelings get hurt, it's a mess").


—The gradual realization that Lily, Marshall, Ted, and Robin had for long stretches of the previous eight years been using the same toothbrush. (Though how did this happen? How did no one notice when a new toothbrush appeared and they hadn't bought it? Marshall and Lily might have just assumed the other spouse had replaced it. But Ted?)

—Marshall's sudden realization that his use of a certain performance enhancing drug has led him to present a certain well-publicized side effect.

—"Barney's whole life is a cry for help."

—"Phil Rizzuto. Holy cow that guy had game."

—"Mookie Wilson: Is that a thing?"

—Barney's induction into the Hall of Game. Specifically, Marshall's wish that Barney's performance be recalled for generations, which set up Ted's sarcastic "Yeah, I'm totally going to sit my kids down one day and tell about how Barney nailed seven girls in a row." Which in turn set up Ted 2030 to ask "Am I a bad dad?" As much as we HIMYM fans enjoy Ted's stories, it's good for the series to acknowledge from time to time the absurdity of the conceit that he is telling these ribald tales to his adolescent children. The kids nailed the reaction shot.

Shameful :

—Cook Poo: Gross, vaguely offensive, not funny.

—More romantic embarrassment for Robin. When are the writers going to give her a break? Is she really going to be this hard-up until the not-so-eagerly awaited Don plot kicks in?

Don't look now, but HIMYM has a little streak of its own going: a nice string of episodes since the mid-season break. Or is it a jinx to mention it?

Previous Shame Indices: Episode 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13

[Update, 9:12 a.m.: The Shame Index is ashamed to admit that he originally misspelled Jim Nantz's name.]

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.