The Wife:

The other day, my friend asked me to pick four currently running television shows that I absolutely could not live without. How I Met Your Mother was my number one choice. Because my husband and I see so much of ourselves in Marshall and Lily, it would be incredibly hard for us both if this show went off the air. I am always, always happy to watch it every Monday night. No other comedy currently running has given me so many consistent giggles, combined with a certain amount of tenderness that truly makes one fall in love with a show. I believe that movies are like a party, where you want a lot of people to come to and have a good time, and that a great television show is like a relationship: something you invest time in, something you love and something that you growth with over time. Sometimes, you have to break up with your favorite TV show and find a new one to love. I will never, ever break up with How I Met Your Mother.

That said, this was not my favorite HIMYM premiere. It was not a surprise that Stella would say, “Yes,” to Ted’s cliff-hanger proposal. We all know Sarah Chalke would be back this season, and we’d all heard there would be a wedding. It was a surprise to find out that Marshall and Lily hadn’t made up over the summer between seasons one and two, where she left him to go paint in San Francisco. But when your cliff-hanger hinges on a guest star returning and we live in an age where it is all-too-easy to find out what projects actors are working on, the cliff-hanger becomes decidedly unhinged.

You . . . I knew youd be back.

You . . . I knew you'd be back.

I did, however, immensely enjoy Marshall’s brief role in this episode as Ted’s conscience. It is probably not a good idea to marry someone you don’t really know much about on the assumption that “I have the rest of my life to get to know her.” Enjoying Star Wars is definitely crucial when marrying the Ted Mosbys of the world, as is knowing that the person you’re about to marry is allergic to peanuts. (Really, though, Ted. Who puts peanuts in pesto? It’s pine nuts or walnuts, you jerk.) Even more crucial than knowing who you’re planning on spending the rest of your life with, though, is knowing what sacrifices you’re willing to make for that person. The moment between Marshall and Stella where he asserts that Ted will love Star Wars in sickness and in health, in good times and bad and asks Stella if she really thinks she can pretend to like a movie for as long as she and Ted both shall live was so genuinely sweet, as was Stella’s response: “I do.”

Lily got to play the role of Barney’s conscience in this episode, as she guided him though his schoolboy crush on Robin. Watching Barney lean on his kitchen counter and writhe his feet on the floor like an impatient 8-year-old as he talked to Lily was an amazing character choice from Neil Patrick Harris, and an ever-so-appropriate display for a kindergarten teacher.

“I caught feelings. I caught feelings bad.” — Barney

Watching Barney take away the macho, uber-bachelor veneer and be sweet to Robin was actually kind of sad to watch, especially considering that Robin herself didn’t quite know what to make of Barney turning over a new leaf and, thinking he’d lost his spark, ended the night by playing Barney’s favorite wingman game and getting him to go home with a wine stewardess. (Granted, the version of the story Barney tells to Lily is even more sad. In that version, he admits to the wine stewardess that he’s not really a New York Yankee and that he just realized Robin will never love him.) Lily berates Barney for still actin’ like a playa when it’s clear that he’s head-over-heels in love with Robin, and Barney ends with what must be the greatest monologue ever written in praise of the humble bimbo. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from that great piece of writing:

“Bimbos make me want to pretend to be a better man.” — Barney

I raise my glass to bimbos everywhere.

I raise my glass to bimbos everywhere.

The Husband:

Here it is, my favorite comedy on television, cable included. Nothing is sweeter, more genuine, honest and relatable than How I Met Your Mother, and it’s a hilarious show to boot. It’s about that confusing time between college and the rest of our lives, that awkward space before marriage and kids, where we’re all looking for something to grasp onto. For Ted, it’s finally settling down and finding the right woman. For Robin, it’s getting out of her dead end job on the worst newscast in New York and finding a man who will love her despite her resistance to marriage. For Lily and Marshall it’s finding their dream job while still being the best spouse they can be to each other. And for Barney…well…Barney just pulled a 180.

Remember when we had sex to Sandcastles in the Sand? Yeah. That was hot.

Remember when we had sex to "Sandcastles in the Sand"? Yeah. That was hot.

I seem to be the only one to absolutely love this s4 premiere of HIMYM. After struggling a bit near the end of last season – no thanks to Britney Spears appearing not once but twice – the show finally recaptured its focus and its heart. No, it wasn’t a surprise that Stella was going to say yes, but if this show’s past is any indication, it’s not the destination but the journey that is important. (Duh. Hence the narrative framing device that is, well, the title of the show.) We can look for all the clues we want that Stella is the mother – as we discovered in the series premiere, it’s not Robin, despite all signs pointing to Ted loving the shit out of her – and we can love s1’s Victoria (a.k.a. Buttercup) all we want, but life has a tendency to not go as planned.

Case in point: Ted knows virtually nothing about Stella, and this all hinged on her reaction to Ted’s favorite movie, Star Wars. At the resolution of this plotline, I was wrenched in two different directions. Yay! She loves the movie and Ted is happy! He even high-fived his 15-year-old self through the space-time continuum. Wait…she didn’t like it at all, but is willing to pretend for Ted’s sake.

I know this is all sweet, but I will say something that my wife said earlier over AIM: I cannot marry anyone who hated Star Wars. No, I’m not a megafan or anything, and I’m not going to attend a convention decked out in full costume, but Star Wars is one of the most culturally important films in the history of cinema. It might be silly, but it wears its silliness on its sleeve. It is exquisitely structured and is a near-perfect story as far as beats are concerned. It and Jaws created the concept of the summer blockbuster. It advanced visual effects forever. It brought respect back into the science-fiction/fantasy genre. It is the movie. More importantly, it tells you a great deal about who I am as a person, my accessibility to imagination and fantasy, my understanding of fun.

For Stella to miss the point entirely by complaining about the Wookie language is almost all I need to explain why this couple is doomed. I’m dead serious about this. It is such a vital part of Ted that it is Ted, and sooner or later Stella’s fakery will start to transfer into her feelings on Ted’s bigger personality traits until she explodes. That’s how real life is, and if this show is good for anything, it’s that it’s so true to life.

Luckily, my wife loves Star Wars. The prequels…hey, whatever. Those are not as important, nor as good or relevant. You can hate those all you want.

I’m actually surprised that Marshall would be so calm with Stella regarding her dislike of Star Wars, because as we learned in the series premiere, his acceptance of Robin as a friend and potential lover to Ted was her opinion on Ewoks. (He’s right; the rebellion would have totally failed without them.)

I also am a ‘shipper when it comes to Barney and Robin, although much of the online community is against this pairing. Come on, people. We’ve known they were perfect for each other back in s1’s episode “Zip, Zip, Zip,” when they had the best Bro’s Night Out ever. Yes, they are best when they are Bros, and Robin can be excused for misunderstanding Barney’s advances and instead playing “Haaaaave you met Barney?” on an unsuspecting bimbo in last night’s episode, but he was right to drop trou back in s1 despite Robin’s confusion. They are perfect for each other, and as we slowly approach the series end – which I pray will be in a long, long while – they will make each other better people. I think it’s beautiful. Unlike certain online bloggers and commenters, I am willing to sacrifice a few laughs at Barney’s expense for his happiness, and ultimately my own.

It’s also good to know that Lily and Marshall’s sex password was “Rhinoceros” before it became the equally cumbersome and obvious “Chimichanga!” I wonder if show co-creator Craig Thomas – who Marshall is basically based around according to reports – has something just as awkward with his wife, because that’s just too wonderfully silly to not be entirely made up in the writer’s room.

Rhinoceros. Thats what she said.

Rhinoceros. That's what she said.