The Wife:

Is it odd that I’m a vegetarian and found the various descriptions of delicious meat patties in this episode to be completely hilarious? Especially because so many of them were so sexual in nature? Let me first share a few of my favorite “burgasams:”

  • “Meat Christmas.” – Lily
  • “You deserve a triumphant mouthful of meat.” –Lily
  • “I’m never brushing my teeth again, unless it’s with a toothbrush made of meat.” –Ted
  • “I think I just had my first burgasm.” –Lily
  • “I want to get this burger pregnant.” – Barney
  • “If he does get that burger pregnant, I call dibs on the delicious burger babies.” –Marshall

Obviously, this episode centers on Marshall’s quest to relive the moment when, eight years ago as a new New Yorker, he finally left his apartment and experienced the best burger of his life. But the quest is about more than finding the perfect burger. For Marshall, it’s a chance to relive a moment from his youth, when he was free from real responsibilities and had his whole life ahead of him. Now, Marshall has been beaten down by The Man, saddled with his wife’s credit card debt, a crooked apartment and a complete inability to find the job of his dreams practicing environmental law. (Clearly, moving to West Virginia to lobby against mountaintop removal mining would be entirely out of the question.) Marshall is so unhappy and lacking in confidence that he spends his days wallowing in the apartment pantless. This was cute at first, Lily proclaims, but it just became sad as Marshall’s Underpants Radius began to encroach on the outside world: first it was answering the door pantless, then getting the mail and soon Marshall was going out to dinner with his wife, wearing only his boxer shorts.

That’s exactly what it was like when my husband didn’t have a job. Only he assures me he always put on pants to get the mail.

Barney spends the course of the episode shamelessly promoting the new bank his company acquired in a ruthless and hostile take over, Goliath National Bank. I felt like this subplot was rather ill-timed, given the current financial crises, but that’s not something that could have been helped as the episode was written and wrapped months ago. Barney gets a lot of small great moments over the course of this episode, including his Carnac impression, showing of Neil Patrick Harris‘ glorious singing voice by belting out the GNB jingle and, of course, doing a Regis Philbin impression in the presence of the Reeg himself. Ultimately, Barney’s hard-sell of GNB leads to the former home of Marshall’s self-proclaimed “Best Burger in New York,” where now sits a GNB ATM, right between the taxidermist and the XXX bookstore.

“Name two places where things get stuffed.” –Barney Stinson

Marshall then reveals to the gang that he has decided to take the job at GNB that Barney offered him earlier in the episode, finally realizing that, while it isn’t what he really wants to do, it’s what he needs to do right now. He still gets to practice law, and with the money he makes (and benefits!) from the job, he and Lily can finally bail themselves out of their massive debts and fix their money pit of an apartment in Dowisetrepla. This is a very adult move for Marshall, and probably the most adult decision I’ve seen anyone make over the course of the series. We’ve all had to make that decision: to do what’s best for ourselves and our families, rather than striving so hard to do exactly what we want to do. “You know,” Marshall says, “I also want to be a Harlem Globetrotter and get paid in candy,” but he clearly realizes that taking the job at GNB is the right – and adult – thing to do. After all, it is a reason to put on pants in the morning.

Regis tests his new game show Million Dollar Hamburger.

Regis tests his new game show "Million Dollar Hamburger."

The Husband:

When I got wind that this fourth season of my favorite comedy on television was going to do more self-contained episodes and move slowly away from their more serialized seasons, I cried foul on another TV website’s bulletin board. I felt that the strength of HIMYM itself was that it had a better progression than other shows, and that in order to get a feel for true character motivations, you really had to watch the episodes in order. HIMYM isn’t the first show to do this, but it’s certainly a lot better than something like, I don’t know, Friends. (*shudder*)

With this episode, I intend to put a bib on and eat at least a few of my words. I was worried that the more self-contained structures would limit what we loved about the characters – their growth, their stories, their complicated lives. It’s not a regular series, and I never wanted it to become one. It’s something more than that, more dramatic, more romantic, etc. But it’s also a gut-bustingly funny show, so I’m delighted to have other people see how hilarious this show can actually get. This episode worked extremely well, and while it didn’t have a whole lot of relation to the season premiere – no Stella appearance, no reference to Barney’s love for Robin – it had a great energy that I hope can bring the show more viewers over the next few months.

And yes, wife, when I was unemployed I still did put on pants to get the mail, but in all fairness they were pajama pants. But my underwear radius is not, like Marshall, in a negative correlation to the time of my unemployment. My radius will always stop at the front door.