Note: So, our DVR thought this episode was called “Barney Stinson: That Guy’s Awesome,” so if you saw this post with that title earlier in the day, you can blame Comcast. IMDB calls this episode “The Possimpible,” which is a much better title. Although, presumably, Barney’s video resume is indeed titled “Barney Stinson: That Guy’s Awesome.”

The Wife:

Robin needs a job by the end of the week or else she’ll get deported, so the gang rallies around to find a way to keep their Canuck friend in the country. She’s tried for four months to get another news job, but even at auditions she’s sure she can get, she somehow gets pysched out and loses them, like the time some smarmy reporters from Denver went up against her for an anchor job and made her self-conscious about her sign-off phrase, leading her to come up with something so horrible and long-winded that I was only able to catch this part:


“Stand tall, New York. Trustworthy. Recycling. Wear a condom.”


As they start to review her reel to ascertain exactly why news stations don’t want to hire her when disasters like the above aren’t present, they realize that maybe they, too, should start to revise their resumes and delete some of the things that make them sound cool, but don’t really get them anywhere at all.

This whole plot was pretty much here for the jokes, and the jokes were pretty amusing, as they often are with HIMYM‘s grand manipulation of the flashback. Robin likes to keep her first reporting job on her reel because she feels it shows where she comes from, even though everyone else hates the clip so much that they secretly hope she gets attacked by a bear at the end. Ted likes to keep his college radio stint as the mysterious Dr. X on his resume, even though no one, including Marshall and Lily, actually liked Dr. X at all. Marshall and Lily liked to listen to his broadcasts stoned and make fun of him. And no one ever came to his happenings. Marshall includes the fact that he was a slam dunk champion back in 1995 who earned the nickname Vanilla Thunder, until he developed “dancer’s hip” and couldn’t dunk anymore. Lily prefers to use her resume to boast about her hot dog eating abilities. She took first place at the Coney Island Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in 1995, billing herself as Lily “The Belly” Aldrin and gloriously showing off her distended hot dog belly after downing 29 hot dogs in 8 minutes. (I am so happy this show found an unexpected way to show off Alyson Hannigan’s baby bump. You go, baby Slayer! You’ll work your way onto this show one way or the other!)

Hot Dog Belly is the hottest thing I've ever seen.

Hot Dog Belly is the hottest thing I've ever seen.

Barney, however, doesn’t include anything extraneous on his resume. Actually, he doesn’t include anything of substance at all. He has a video resume in the tradition of that Russian guy whose extreme video resume was all over the web last summer, filled with images of Barney standing next to horses, revving a motorcycle engine but not actually riding it and, of course, standing next to the American flag in a tuxedo, just being awesome. As Barney interviews himself, the interviewer sporting a British accent, he spouts out non-words like “the possimpible” and “visitivity” and “insaneulous” to show how creative he is. After all, this kind of resume is exactly what people are looking for.


“That’s what corporate American wants: people who seem like bold risk takers, but never actually do anything.” – Barney Stinson


But because Barney’s insanely ridiculous resume got him 11 job offers, Robin enlists his help to make her own insaneulous video resume. He encourages her to invent her own portmanteaus, but gets defensive when she tries to take his, and then asks her to break a stack of bricks with her head. Robin wonders why she actually has to do stuff in her video while Barney just got to stand around. He explains that, as a woman, she automatically has to actually prove she can do stuff, trying to inspire her with the rhetoric of feminism:


Robin: I can’t break 15 bricks with my forehead.
Barney: Robin, it’s not 1950 anymore. Yes, you can.


But this is the last straw for Robin, and she reaches her nadir when she heads off to audition for the worst possible job a television personality can have: being a Lotto Girl. (Incidentally, Barney has a game he plays with the nightly lotto numbers that uses them to reveal the true sadness in the Lotto Girl’s life, like her actual age vs. the age she pretends to be.) The producer and director of the lotto segment think Robin is too stalwart for the job, and she fails to get it, returning home to her friends with the heavy heart of someone who has to move back to Canada.

one really good reason why Robin should never be a Lotto Girl.

This face: one really good reason why Robin should never be a Lotto Girl.

Meanwhile, Marshall, after enduring much teasing about his dancer’s hip, informs Lily, eerily:


Marshall: Lily, I have something I need to tell you . . . I dance more than you know.
Lily: I don’t know how to respond to that.


His dancer’s hip, of course, is not at all from a basketball injury, but from his secret passion for dancing for joy, which he often does behind closed doors when something good happens so as not to embarrass himself. Until the day he danced a little too vigorously and injured himself, that is. Lily encourages Ted and Marshall to give up listing Vanilla Thunder and Dr. X on their resumes, insisting that they no longer need to judge themselves on accomplishments from their youth. The very idea of these resume revisions reminded me of a segment Conan O’Brien’s been doing on his show since the inauguration wherein he tries to heed the words President Obama quoted from scripture, “The time has come to give up childish things.” In accordance with that, Conan has slowly been retiring some of his insaneulous characters, like the alligator with gaydar, the really tall Daschund (a favorite in our home) and the FedEx Pope. There is, of course, a point where we all have to give up some of our former accomplishments in an effort to make ourselves relevant in life and on the job market. Being Dr. X or Vanilla Thunder may make you more interesting as a person, but a less serious job candidate.

By the end of the episode, Barney manages to save Robin by submitting her video resume to several networks and fielding calls for her, ultimately getting her a prime offer to host a morning talk show on channel 12. Should GNB ever fold, I think Barney should seriously consider being a talent agent. Clearly, he’s got something going for him in that arena. Thankfully, Robin hugs Barney, but not after both parties linger for a moment in which I hoped they’d spontaneously kiss. In deference to Robin’s new career move, Ted and Marshall decide to remove Dr. X and Vanilla Thunder from their resumes, although I hope they’ll save that information to toss out at office cocktail parties. Lily, however, refuses to give up her hot dog eating stats and decides to go for another record, downing 33 dogs at McLaren’s in 8 minutes and displaying an even more prominent hot dog baby bump, which Marshall fondles in awe. So fucking cute. Also cute: Lily immediately and proudly updates her stats on her resume as the boys delete theirs.

If it weren’t for the flashbacks and Barney’s amazing video resume, this episode would have been a little too generic. However, those elements are the very things that elevate HIMYM above the level of a basic sitcom, even when it comes across a standard sitcom plotline. Mostly, I am suddenly inspired to make my own insaneulous video resume and start inventing endless portmanteaus so I can be just as awesome a Barney.

Oh, and one more thing to add into the “Why I’m Like Lily” column: she speaks Italian. Or, at least her resume claims she does.

The Husband:

Having just mainlined the first four seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I’m hoping of all hopes that Robin’s new job will be a major focus in the upcoming episodes as well as the next season. There’s something quite wonderful about news stations as settings on American television sitcoms that really make me happy – my favorite show of all time is Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night – and even middling dreck like last year’s Back To You still found a chance to worm its way into my heart every now and again.

A morning show is a great opportunity to continue Robin’s ascent into true responsible adulthood, and may even give us a few great extra characters. It’s a great source for conflict, but even if it just ends up being like Ted’s architect job – meaning, it’s kind of beside the point of the show’s stories and rarely discussed – even the slightest acknowledgement of it will make me happy.

As for the episode, I think I found it funnier than others – my coworker would go so far as to declare that it sucked – but I appreciate Robin’s arc this season, how she has sunken so far that she will basically be forced to reevaluate the way she lives her life despite her strong will. And Barney’s eventual insistence on always being there for her puts him in a great position for their relationship.

But yes, coworker, it would have been nice to see Robin’s Barney-made video resume.

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