What a magical episode! I was truly, truly transfixed by the inventive, interwoven storytelling though which Ted explains a simple moment that he felt was life-changing. No, not the meeting of the titular mother (because she carries a yellow umbrella, like Ted), but a reunion with Stella, which clearly set him on the path to meeting that fabled mother. (I think Stella has a sister or a girlfriend that she might introduce to Ted as they try to rekindle their friendship.) And while I am not happy to see Stella again, I loved this episode and each of the three stories Ted had to tell to end up at that street corner at the very moment Stella would tap his shoulder from under her blue umbrella.
Story #1: Robin throws up during her morning show because she gets food poisoning from Schlagel’s Bagels, even though she keeps joking to both Ted and Barney that she’s pregnant. (It’s so meta, because Cobie Smulders is pregnant!) Because of this, Ted turns left instead of right, heading to his second favorite bagel shop instead of Schlagel’s to get a cinnamon-raisin bagel to power him through designing his ludicrous cowboy hat building.
Story #2: Barney is about to bed his 200th conquest, and he has made sure that his 200th will be none other than Russian supermodel Petra Petrova. Why is his 200th so important? Because long ago, a seventh grade bully told young master Stinson that he had already slept with 100 girls, so Barney retorted that he would sleep with 200. But when Robin looks over Barney’s list, she notices he listed one girl twice, which would make Petra number 199. So, with only a few hours before his big date with Petra, Barney desperately tries to find a 199th hookup. He tries to speed-flirt his way into the panties of every girl at the bar, but eventually finds himself going for his last resort lay, Pauline, a female bodybuilder who works out at Barney’s gym and has had her eyes on him for quite some time. When Barney returns from that outing, Robin points out that even though Barney had listed one girl twice, he also misnumbered the list, jumping from 138 to 138 . . . which makes Pauline his 200th. But, at the very least, Barney did still land a model for his 200th, as Pauline was soon to appear in an issue of Muscle Sexxy, which, like many of the women in it, has two xs and one y. So, on his way to his second favorite bagel shop that fateful day, Ted took the time to stop at a newsstand and look at Pauline’s photoshoot in Muscle Sexxy, which, if he hadn’t, wouldn’t landed him at that street corner at the right time.
Story #3: During Barney’s discussion of his sexual conquests list, Marshall decides to illustrate Barney’s success rate through a series of charts and graphs with which he demonstrates that, over Barney’s 16 years of sexual activity, he has hit on approximately 16,640 women, giving him only about a 1% success rate if he beds 200 women, which is the only successful argument to support Barney’s supposition that 200 girls is totally not that many. Ever since he started working at GNB, it seems, Marshall has become obsessed with abusing the graphics department to make a series of pop culture charts and graphs. (My favorites? His chart regarding the Simon & Garfunkel tune “Cecelia” and the pie chart of bars he likes and the bar graph of pies he likes.) His love of visual aids becomes so irritating to everyone else that they have to stage a chart-and-graph Intervention (which was an excellent callback), going so far as to even throw out charts and graphs Marshall needs for work.
When he discovers some charts missing during a meeting, he calls Ted to get them back and finds that Homeless Milt is selling them. Now, I was pretty sure that Homeless Milt was also the homeless man who tried to sell Lily’s “real artist” paintings last season, but I’m not sure it was the same homeless guy, as that guy wasn’t Dan Castellaneta. But, regardless, this is not the first time a homeless dude has tried to sell Marshall and Lily’s stuff. Milt refuses to give Ted the charts unless he gets $1 million dollars, so Ted agrees to give Milt $1 a day for a million days. Thus, on his way to his second favorite bagel shop that day, he had to stop and give Homeless Milt his daily dollar, the last of three acts that landed him at that crosswalk at the same time Stella was there.
In a brief coda, Barney faces off with his childhood bully and realizes that the foundation of his adult life was based on a lie (because said bully had not slept with anyone in 7th grade, let alone 100 high school girls). Driven to meaninglessness, Barney wonders, “Now what?” and his eyes fall upon Robin, ending us on a great BRoLove moment.
Like I said, a truly magical episode. I look forward to the goat next week, because that’s gotta happen. I recall it was to take place on May 8, 2009, which is this Friday.
Other funny things:
- “What has my career come to? A 2-story Stetson with outdoor dining on the rim!” – Ted
- The Weather Clown, which will give me nightmares for sometime.
- Vomiting into beaded handbags, because that’s a place I’ve not actually vomited into, and I vomit into crème brûlée bowls.
- Barney scooting out the door like a cartoon character who can’t get traction when Robin jokes that she’s pregnant.
- Marshall stalling at his meeting by resorting to his terrible, terrible fish stand-up routine.
Marshall is right. Why the hell do they call it a sea bass? Is there a land bass of which we are previously unaware?
And just to make sure that I can figuratively body check all those people online who completely misunderstood the “MOTHER” bit of the episode (this would include Vinnie on this morning’s Radio Alice Morning Show), nowhere in the narration did Bob Saget say that this was the mother, only that seeing Stella again led to something else. I watched the episode again today at work just to make sure.
He. Did. Not. Say. Stella. Was. The. Mother. Husband win.
(Although good catch, eagle-eyed viewers with big-ass HD televisions who spotted the back of Stella’s head way at the beginning of the episode. Maybe one day we’ll all have cyborg eyes like you.)
As for Barney’s hit against Steve Guttenberg for being in too many Police Academy movies, saying three was enough, here’s some food for thought – the Goot was only in four of them. By the end of the seven-film series (and the television cartoon show), only three actors from the original movie made it through the entire Police Academy run.
Nice touch with Schlagel’s Bagels using its “D” rating from the health board and disguising it as the first letter in their window decal that says “DELICIOUS.” I hope above all hopes that they got the idea from Failblog.org, which had this picture.
And for the record, I don’t hate Stella like my wife does, but I also do not want her to be the mother. Considering their past, I just think it would involve way too much compromise on Ted’s part. Compromise is important, yes, but he would simply end up being a completely different person, and that’s not Ted’s journey.
And by the way, here was the ranking on Marshall’s chart of presidents’ names in descending order of how dirty their name sounds.
(I especially like the touch with the seven spots between the two Bushes, as if it mattered.)
Best line of the night, in my opinion, goes to Barney in response to Marshall’s chart of projected interest in his usage of graphs and charts. Glory be to tool humor.
You’re a big sustainable growth.