The How I Met Your Mother Shame Index: Episode 16

Slate's Culture Blog
March 2 2010 7:54 AM

The How I Met Your Mother Shame Index: Episode 16

CBS put its comedies into reruns out ofdeference to NBC's Olympics juggernaut, so it had been a couple of weeks since the last installment of How I Met Your Mother . The ShameIndex, an aspiring Nordic skier and adamant supporter of Julia Mancuso's tiara,thoroughly enjoyed the XXI Winter Games, but had one issue he'd like to take upwith the planners in Vancouver: No Robin Sparkles. The Index would have slotteda performance of " Let's Goto the Mall " in the closing ceremonies, somewhere between Inward Eye's "DayAfter Day" and Neil Young's "Long May You Run."

Awesome :

Barney's catalog of failed "bait." Slot machine: too fun.Trampoline: too dangerous.

Teacuppig : just right.

The revelation that a Wu-Tang poster played a key role inMarshall and Lily's courtship. The Index wonders if Marshall set the mood byplaying one of the more romantic numbers in the Wu Tang catalog. " Ice Cream ," perhaps, or " Camay ."

"On the hook": The Shame Index has complained this seasonwhen HIMYM has constructed episodesaround strained concepts thesexless innkeeper , for example, which failed to elicit laughs or describeromance in 21st century New York. (It was like a bad riff on the NewYork of The Apartment .) The hook,by contrast, was a sharply observed phenomenon, one the Index suspects most HIMYM fans have experienced, either as hookee orhooker.

"No money changed hands."

Marshall's complexion circa 1994. (Also: What hip hopartist do we suppose was featured on the poster 1994 Marshall was so eager toshow off? The Index's educatedguess .)

What it took to get girls in 1994 St. Cloud: A LeBaronconvertible and an in at the roller rink.

Ted's inadvertent proposal to Henrietta. A littletelegraphed, but still an amusing set-up. Though poor Henrietta. The Indexadmired her work with ice sculpture, and hopes she finds a man who appreciatesher talents.

Shameful :

Carrie Underwood. The Index actually thought she was finein the part; the Index is just getting tired of all the cameos this season.[Ed. note: The Shame Index, a longtime admirer of Jennifer Lopez's work ,reserves the right to praise her forthcomingcameo .]

Hot female professions down the ages. What might have beena funny bit was tainted by the lameness of Barney's laugh lines. The Indexgets it, they were supposed to be corny,to go with Barney's wink, but a homo erectus joke? Not even 1994 Marshall wouldlaugh at that. And are the HIMYM writers, who earlier this season showed us a different side of Barney during his short-lived romance with Robin, now only going to use him in high-concept set pieces about sex? That would be disappointing. (The Index confesses that he enjoyed the specificity ofBarney's prediction that soon, Pharma girls will start looking like "the crewon a Southwest flight from Albuquerque to Little Rock." There's nothingbecoming about those chinos Southwest forces on its flight attendants.)

Marshall's professed belief that the Lunch Lady Scooter wasa scooter for lunch ladies. Come on. That's just silly.

The entire Scooter subplot, actually. The teacup pig wasundeniably adorable, but this storyline didn't really go anywhere.

Barney's psychotropically altered behavior in the kicker.As with the Scooter plot, not terrible, just not particularly inventive orfunny. A wasted opportunity. Would have liked to see Henrietta walk into McClaren's with some hunkier-than-Ted dude on her arm.

Index readers, what did you make of the episode? Share yourthoughts in the comments. And happy Tijuana Tuesday.

Previous Shame Indices: Episode  1 2 3
4 5 ,   6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 , 14 , 15

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.



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