The Wife:

Thanks to CliqueClack’s Keith McDuffee, I now know the difference between peanut butter and jam, the joke so offensive to Lily that it sent her off for four weeks to have a baby and start wearing normal Lily clothes again.

If you click that link and read my blog because you’re my friend, however, that joke is really lame and totally not even funny or offensive at all, right? It was definitely better when I didn’t know the difference between peanut butter and jam because the humor wasn’t in the joke, but in Lily’s absurd baby-having overreaction. It was a much better way to give Alyson Hannigan some maternity leave to deliver baby Satyana (on her own birthday, no less) than Robin’s endless parade of very flowy tops in this episode. As always, I love when the showrunners randomly stick a large prop in the middle of the scene to hide a baby bump, and the best bit of that in this episode was Robin emerging from her bedroom only to be blocked in the midsection by a living room lamp that I don’t think was ever there before. Not as good as the globe on Lily’s desk, but still funny.

With one player on the bench, there were only two plots this week: Ted and Robin with Mosbius Designs and Barney and Marshall at GNB. Both, however, are about making a name for themselves. Ted struggles to make headway with his new business that he has inconveniently set up in his home and so hires an assistant, who, after refusing to let Robin into the “office bathroom,” ends up having an extended sexual tryst with Robin, which drives Ted crazy, forcing him to fire assistant PJ, only to find that its even more annoying for PJ to be in the apartment as Robin’s boytoy. Ted hired PJ back and the cycle begins anew. Meanwhile, Marshall feels like he doesn’t have a work identity, leading to a plot full of funny cutaways and sight gags, although not much content. Because Food Guy is Food Guy and Toy Guy is Toy Guy, Marshall tries to become Sports Guy, running the office fantasy sports leagues. (He’d have been fantasy guy, but that job was already taken.) Unfortunately, he finds carrying around that much money is too hard and makes him paranoid.

You cant peanut butter your dick up someones ass.

You can't peanut butter your dick up someone's ass.

There is a great tie between these two plots, however, in Barney’s admission of his love for Robin to Marshall. I’ll list all the funny stuff later, but the best part of this episode for me was Barney’s face when Ted announced that Robin was sleeping with PJ. He tried to hard to cover by being shocked that Ted hadn’t hired a hot female assistant for himself to sleep with, but the shock was because Robin had found someone, and that it wasn’t him. Of course, Lily, not being able to keep secrets, had already told Marshall of Barney’s love for Robin, so the admission wasn’t a surprise to him. Still, he and Barney come up with a solution to everyone’s problem by hiring PJ as a paralegal at GNB, successfully getting him away from both Ted and Robin and making him run the fantasy sports leagues, allowing Marshall to get all the credit, but not have any of the stress of handling the money.

I hope Alyson Hannigan returns soon, because something really is missing without Lily.

Funny stuff:

  • “A penny saved is a Penny Marshall! Yes!” – Ted, playing Wheel of Fortune over Robin’s shoulder, which was funny to me because Wheel really is that easy
  • Everything about Toy Guy.
  • But especially Toy Guy eating a hot dog from Food Guy with his Wolverine claws.
  • “Hey, Ted . . . this table just told me you’re a douche.” – Robin
  • Why no, Ted, Robin is not the Empire State Building . . .
  • Robin: How does Ted’s ass taste?
    PJ: I don’t know, but I bet it tastes like genius.
  • Fantasy Guy.
  • “Marshall! Storm off with me!” – Barney
  • Barney’s reaction to Marshall saying that he and Lily always sit on the same side of the booth to force Robin and Barney to sit together: “Awww, you guys, that’s so sweet!”
  • “She’s pure evil, Marshall. You got a good one there. Hang on to her.” – Barney, on Lily the Puppetmistress
  • “Pure evil, Erickson. Pure evil.” – Barney, on Marshall’s final solution for PJ
  • Robin very briefly dating Fantasy Guy.
  • The ninja.

The Husband:

I don’t know. I think the joke is pretty funny, but it’s definitely a dude joke, and it’s definitely all in how one delivers it. I think it would work best if you just kind of mumbled the punchline matter-of-factly and moved on with the conversation, leaving others with the sensation that something might have just happened in their brain, but they don’t exactly know what it was. Like how I expect one feels when they have a stroke. Because “peanut butter” is not a verb.

But I think the fact that my wife doesn’t find the joke even the slightest bit offensive makes me extra-glad I married her. (Wife’s Note: Awww, thanks, baby!)

The Wife:

So, let me start off by saying that the only Lethal Weapon movie I’ve ever seen is Lethal Weapon 4. My parents are Trekkies (no, they are not Trekkers – they’re not that serious about their sci-fi), so I wasn’t really raised on action movies. As such, I admit that I am an embarrassment to faux entertainment journalism and have no business commenting on this episode.

But I will say this: even without knowing the Lethal Weapon franchise inside and out, this was a pretty enjoyable episode. Barney’s idiotic attempt to complete everything on Ted’s Murtaugh list (“I’m too old for this . . . stuff”) was amazing, and I’m especially fond of the running gag about how infected his self-pierced ear was becoming over the course of the episode, as well as the sight of NPH in blue pants, a fishnet top and a pink wig during his “go to a rave” exercise. Even though I’m only in my mid-20s, I definitely recognize some things on the Murtaugh list that I have deemed myself too old for. Halfway through college I decided I was too old to hang pictures on my walls without frames and subsequently got fucking every poster I owned framed. I’ve noticed that many other bloggers are creating their own Murtaugh lists, so I offer a couple of brief things that I, as a woman of 24, am too old for:

  1. I am too old to shop at Hot Topic.

  2. I am too old to shop at Forever 21. (I mean, hello. It’s not called Forever 24.)

Those are the only two I can think of at the moment, actually, but I’m sure my husband has a few for his list.

Why does this remind me of the candy photoshoot from Make Me a Supermodel?

Why does this remind me of the candy photoshoot from Make Me a Supermodel?

In addition to the list of things Ted is too old for, Barney and Robin challenge him to complete a list of old person things that Ted is too young for, hoping to prove to him that its just as absurd to try to reach old age too soon as it is to desperately cling to youth. Where Barney goes to raves until four in the morning and helps someone move into a sixth floor walk-up in exchange for pizza and beer, Ted eats dinner at 4 p.m. and goes to bed at 8 p.m. In the end, though, they both realize that they should just enjoy being their own age, and subsequently head over to Barney’s laser tag arena and TP the place – retribution for Barney’s expulsion from the almighty force that is the laser tag arena.

Marshall and Lily had a sub-plot in this episode related to the age-appropriateness theme of the episode in which Lily encourages Marshall to coach her kindergarten basketball team, something she clearly sees as Dad practice. She is shocked, however, to learn that Marshall treats the kindergarten basketball team as though they’re a college team participating in March Madness, giving them more tough love than they’ve ever known in their short lives. When Lily tells him that there’s no winning and losing and that everyone gets a participation trophy, Marshall flips out, revealing that he coaches basketball the way his dad coached him, which drove him to improve himself and go after the things he wanted in life. Lily turns the tough love on Marshall and demands that he stop coaching the kids to win and that there is no way in hell he’ll treat their own children that way. Then, after a basketball game where the opposing team grows several feet with each telling of the story and ends with a Teen Wolf on the court and a final score of 118-0 (with the zero being Lily’s class), Marshall gets his participation trophy and realizes that Lily’s method of teaching isn’t totally stupid.

The basketball sequence here was pretty hilarious, and I have to admit that there’s something adorable about Marshall trying to treat 5-year-olds like 18-year-olds. Other than the Teen Wolf, my favorite part of this sequence was probably Jason Segel being unable to deliver the line “That’s not running, that’s falling!” without cracking. If I learn anything from watching Wife Swap, though, it’s that Marshall and Lily are both right because it is important for a person’s efforts to be appreciated, even if they don’t win, and its also important for them to learn that they can work hard to achieve things. In fitting with the theme, though, there is a sense of age-appropriateness in regards to those ideologies. Really little kids don’t need to concentrate on winning and losing, but older kids do need that sense of purpose and achievement.

Other funny:

  • Barney with a hunchback from moving that sixth-floor walk-up, trying to do a shot with strangers, but ultimately just licking the glass.
  • Robin’s suggestion that Lethal Weapon is a rip-off of the Canadian franchise McElroy and Mafleur.
  • Robin’s rave outfit: leftover from her Robin Sparkles days? Discuss.

The Husband:

I don’t have a Murtaugh list so much as a general connection to Ted and Barney’s predicament that I’m really starting to feel the things I cannot in good conscience or in good body do again. I quit drinking hard liquor over 11 months ago (and goddamn do I feel good about that decision) and with the help of my wife am trying to eat more organic food and cut down on the unnecessary prospect of processed food. That takes care of a lot of my inner gears and sprockets. But more broadly, it’s generally more things I was able to do when I was much younger that just seem kind of pointless. This runs the gamut from climbing trees and playing a damn good game of hide-and-seek to frequenting theme parks as much as I used to or just randomly buying candy for no good reason. All of these are great things, but I think finally living with someone other than my family or a roommate plus having an actual full-time job has rearranged my priorities in life without me even noticing, and I seem to simply be accepting them.

I don’t know what I’m talking about right now. I’m on antibiotics. They’re making my brain googly. Deal with it.

The Husband:

My Name Is Earl 4.22 “Pinky”

As Earl tries to solve #83 on his list (“never took the time to teach Randy how to blow a bubble”), we the viewers finally get an explanation to where the hell the pretty Camdenite lady went after last season’s finale. Turns out, she and Randy broke up, and she’s now at truck driving school. (I think I mentioned before that the actress who played said Camdenite, Deborah Ann Woll, is a friend of a friend of my sister, so her absence was especially notable here at Chez Children Of Saint Clare.)

That aside, Earl has something else to deal with, when Joy begins complaining that her son, Dodge, has been seen hanging out with one of Eugenia’s daughters acting all lovey-dovey.

“No son of mine is going to date something that came out of Eugenia’s devil chute.” — Joy

This in turn causes Randy to think back fondly to his childhood, when he and Earl used to spend time at the lake with their deliriously fat aunt as punishment, and how Randy was in love with a girl known only as “Pinky” (due to her pink hair), and was known to her as “Skipper,” due to his great ability to skip ocks. Unfortunately, when they were to meet on a bridge to finally have their first kiss, Pinky never showed up, and thus Randy lost his one true love.

Now 20 years later, Earl and Randy go back to the lake to track Pinky down, but the old employee there has enough on his mind.

“My penis lost all feeling in 1993.”

But when Randy mentions that the girl had pink hair, the employee knows immediately how to track her down, and, luck be to Randy, convinces her to return to the bridge so many years after the fact. Upon reaching the bridge, Randy discovers the horrible truth — Pinky is Joy. (OH NOES!)

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Turns out, Earl has been trying to stop Randy from pursuing Pinky because, 20 years earlier, Earl was so jealous that Randy was pursuing his first love while Earl was dealing with dying out his aunt’s fat folds that he forged a note and gave it to Pinky, a note that declared that the Skipper hated Pinky, and he wasn’t going to show up.

So now, he has a new list item — #277, broke up Randy and Pinky.

Her eyes finally open to this terrible situation, Joy wants nothing to do with Randy, but agrees to at least give him a kiss, but only if Earl breaks up Dodge and Eugenia’s daughter.

“My body, my choice, hear me roar, kiss my grits.” — Joy

Earl goes through with the plan quite easily, using the same forged note trick, but not without getting kicked in the junk and being called a pedophile.

Back at the bridge, Joy makes Randy swig some bleach dyed green (to clear out that Petri dish of a mouth), but is still having trouble trying to kiss her former brother-in-law and sworn social enemy. Randy tries to remind her of the delightful child she once was by trying to give her orange soda and some sweet tunes courtesy of a Bobby Brown album.

“I traded in orange soda for strawberry wine when I was 13, and I stopped liking Bobby Brown when he started picking doodie out of Whitney Houston.” — Joy

Finally, though, Randy and Joy share a sweet kiss, and everybody moves on with their life.

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

Considering this was a non-ensemble episode, these 30 minutes still really got a rise out of me due to its sweetness and longing, even if it ultimately tells us that life never really works out the way we planned it. I wish more Earl episodes could be like this, but with only two left in the season, I think I’m just going to have to wish that the showrunners and writers figure out that, with this show, heartfelt is always better than wacky, and that perhaps next season could be a bit more character-driven. (And a few really good multi-episode arcs, please. I want to know I’m watching the fifth season of something, and not just a rehash of something I saw back in 2005.)

The Office 5.19 “Two Weeks”

After Michael finally stood up to Corporate last week and declared his resignation from Dunder Mifflin, he still has to drag himself through his final two weeks, and, as Jim points out, there is a surprisingly big difference between Michael trying and Michael not trying. (This includes Michael walking around the office with Splenda-seasoned scotch, and smacking pieces of paper away from his employees with one of those sticky hand ropes you get at drug stores.) But when somebody else comes into the office to interview for Michael’s old position, Michael learns that the sinking economy will more likely than not leave him completely unemployed for an extended period of time. And looking for jobs online isn’t really going well, either.

[Horrible moaning and groaning sounds emanate from Michael’s computer]

Jim [to Michael]: It’s “Monster.com.” Singular.

[Horrible noises cease]

Finally, Michael comes up with what he believes is a brilliant idea — start up his own paper company called, cleverly enough, Michael Scott Paper Company. He feels he knows everything there is to know about the paper company (which he doesn’t) and begins trying to recruit his former employees into joining him at his new venture. But nobody’s biting, for obvious reasons.

“You know what? I had a great time at prom, and no one said ‘yes’ to that, either.” — Michael

When new boss Charles Minor gets wind of Michael’s new business venture, he has him thrown out of the building. But that doesn’t stop Michael, who sneaks back into the office to grab some necessary paperwork and to try to rope at least one person into his new company.

Defect with me, Jim!

Defect with me, Jim!

Finally, Pam, a mixture of her recent terrible bout with the new copier and…well…pretty much all the bad shit she had to go through at Dunder Mifflin, agrees to ditch the company to help Michael, but this time she will no longer be a receptionist, but instead be a salesman.

A fairly laugh-less episode other than the two previous quotes, plus Dwight’s complete misunderstanding of the “headhunter” concept, but since this has been and will always be a dramedy, that’s okay. Not a whole lot was accomplished in the episode’s 30 minutes that couldn’t have been done in about ten, but at least they’re taking their time with a story that could, potentially, change everything we think we know about The Office, and are still leaving us with what I believe is the show’s best season.

The Wife:

30 Rock 3.16 “Apollo, Apollo”

Much like Jason Segel, I truly, truly love puppets. If I could see the world the way Kenneth sees it, I would be a happy lady. Especially if the puppets occasionally sang to me. That’d be totally sweet.

This was a truly wacky, really funny episode, filled with good visual gags about Jack, Kenneth and Tracy’s various modes of seeing the world, and lots of funny lines from Liz’s ex Dennis about his newly made-up sex addition.

Jack: Jack is on the even of turning 50, and wants to complete the list of things 10-year-old Jack set out to accomplish before turning 50.

“I have hunted the world’s most dangerous game: man . . . atee. Manatee.” –Jack

The only thing left on his list is to make friends with Batman. But, as Jack attends his 50th birthday party and is introduced by the wrong name by Adam West, he realizes that he’ll never be as happy as he was on his tenth birthday, when he didn’t even get to open his gift because he was so excited that he threw up all over it, so he begins a quest to find out what that present was by employing a number of odd experts, such as a Deaf lip reader, who discerns that he was saying “Apollo, Apollo” before he inevitably threw up on the present. (And she is very, very upset that he neglected to warn her of the vomit scene). Jack buys himself that Apollo model rocket, but is still somewhat unfulfilled.

Tracy: Tracy declares at a press conference that he wants to fulfill his lifelong dream of going into space. In order to prevent Tracy from actually going into space or otherwise doing something stupid, Liz gets Pete to fake a space expedition within the halls of 30 Rock, all so Tracy can kill an Ewok. I love how the whole staff contributes to the illusion by telling Tracy he has to be blindfolded until he gets in the cockpit to prevent “space madness” and subsequently stops all conversation whenever he draws near so as not to rupture the illusion. That, my friends, is one well-planned lie.

I, for one, would have liked to see Tracy get hit with a bout of space madness.

I, for one, would have liked to see Tracy get hit with a bout of space madness.

Liz: Dennis shows up, claiming he’s a sex addict, spouting off such gems as:

“Former sex partner, I’m sorry that my disease made you a victim of my sexual charisma. I’m sorry that I’ve ruined sex with other men for you.”

Liz later finds out that Jenna also slept with Dennis, when she picks up Jenna’s cell phone (and does an excellent Jane Krakowski impersonation) while Jenna is preparing for her Peter Pan scene. The two women decide to band together and not let a douche like Dennis destroy their sisterhood, so they head off to stab Dennis/give him a piece of their mind. When they try to tell him off, Dennis decides to rank the two women, giving Jenna the number one spot over Liz. Angry at her friend over sleeping with a guy neither of them actually likes very much, Liz neglects to tell Jenna that her secure cable is not so secure and lets her fall and hurt her ankle — a real injury for once. To make it up to Jenna, Liz allows her to tell the writing staff about the commercial she did back in Chicago when she was still trying to make it as an actress.

That commercial is a commercial for the late night chat line 1-900-OKFACE, and when Jack catches a glimpse of it, he laughs so much that he vomits, which shall be henceforth known as “Jacking,” since laughing while you’re peeing is known as “Lizzing,” although she tries to pass it off as a combination as laughing and whizzing.

Or cashiers checks, for that matter.

Or cashier's checks, for that matter.

Other funny:

  • Tracy sees the world as though everyone in it is Tracy.
  • Kenneth is only worth $7 when Jack sees the world in money.
  • “That’s not even enough numbers!” — Frank, on Liz’s phone sex line
  • “What is this, horseville? Because I’m surrounded by naysayers!” — Tracy, so lame its hilarious
  • Jenna speaks with English inflections because she lost her virginity to the My Fair Lady soundtrack.

The Husband:

30 Rock also did perhaps the funniest thing since Moonvest screamed that he wanted Kenneth’s fingernails. When Kenneth looks up from his dressing room to see a Muppet version of Liz, we cut away to real life Liz in the hallway, walking just like a Muppet, head down and arms flapping wildly. It was the episode’s quickest throwaway gag, but it’s also a fucking gem. Now that’s attention to detail.

The Wife:

Let me start by saying that the running joke about Robin’s mystery Canadian sex act with a mystery celebrity who collects a mystery collectible was hilarious if only for the name of the sex acts. Even more hilarious? That every sex act at canadiansexacts.org pops up a picture of Alan Thicke in front of the Canadian flag telling you that the site is temporarily down, but that you’re not perfect, either. One that I clicked on told me to go “open a brown pop,” and try again in a few minutes. I clicked the “open a brown pop” link, which took me to another greeting from Alan Thicke informing me that “a brown pop is not a sex act, you perv.”

And should I try to right click and get a screen cap of one of the photos of Alan Thicke, the site does this to me:

Those crazy Canucks . . .

Those crazy Canucks . . .

Damn that Alan Thicke!

Canadian-made computers apparently run on maple syrup.

Canadian-made computers apparently run on maple syrup.

Now I’ll never actually know what an Old King Clancy is, other than Canada’s most popular wrestler, The Frozen Snoeshow, who collects Harvey’s trays, absolutely doesn’t want to do it with Robin, who apparently carries a bottle of maple syrup in her purse (next to her handgun), just in case she finds anyone willing to perform the act. Robin, it seems, is a little bit freaky, despite telling her friends that it was she who walked out on ‘Shoe when he suggested this vile act involving maple syrup. I always kind of knew that Robin was one who liked to get kinky in bed. Those Canucks are crazy, yo!

And so is Robins hair in this scene. You can take the girl out of the mall, but you cant take the mall out of Robin Sparkles.

And so is Robin's hair in this scene. You can take the girl out of the mall, but you can't take the mall out of Robin Sparkles.

But this episode wasn’t really about pictures of Alan Thicke and the mysteries found at canadiansexacts.org or even Robin’s wild side. No, it was about when its okay to lie to your friends to protect them, as Marshall and Barney choose to do when they find out that GNB is axing the new headquarters project, which means their friend Ted will be out of a job. Bilson, returning from his stint selling drugs on SLOTAT, makes Ted’s two best friends inform him of the firing, but neither man has the heart to tell Ted his project has been cut. Marshall figures that because Ted’s firm will be paid for the job for another two months anyway, that they should just let him continue to work on the project for a new special task force comprised of people who actually like his ideas. That is, a group of crazy people and lower-rung workers from the building who were all paid $50 once a week to show up for the meeting and pretend they were enraptured by everything Ted said.

There are a couple of great sequences here, one in reference to the Ocean’s movies in which Marshall demonstrates how he rounded up each member of the new task force, including a janitor, Louisa the Lunch Lady who doesn’t speak any English and a crazy man from the street. I loved Marshall’s ignorance of Louisa’s inability to speak English, referring to her involvement in the scheme as “our little ablondigas,” or, “our little meatball.” But even better than this sequence was Ted and Louisa’s brief Telemundo-style romance post-meeting, in which Louisa confesses that she cannot love Ted because she is already engaged to Mr. Barney, and Ted, fearful of making love to a woman “on the special task force,” storms out, declaring that their love is wrong. I also really liked the preface to the complex lie in which Barney instructs Marshall about how to create complicated lies by telling a story about a pony he doesn’t have that changed colors when he drank water from a nuclear reactor. Marshall is so moved by the pony’s plight that he forgot the original lie was that Barney had a pony at all. I love Marshall.

When Ted finally finds out that his project has been canceled — and from a girl he tried to hit on in an elevator with a fake phone call, no less — he is furious with his friends for lying to them, fearing he’s going to get fired for working on a canceled project. Barney argues that they were only trying to spare his feelings, especially since he was going to get paid for two more months of work anyway, but Ted thinks this was too serious a thing to lie about, unlike when he and Barney told Marshall that his stand-up routine about the names of various fish was actually funny. (It was funny, because it totally wasn’t.) Still, the fish list story proves Marshall’s point about how everyone lies to spare their friends’ feelings sometimes. Barney and Marshall try to make it up to Ted by getting him a job redesigning the ETR, the Employee Transition Room, at GNB. The ETR is where people go to get fired, and it gets pretty real in there. Mostly, people launch themselves over the mediation table to try and kill their personal terminators. Sometimes, Barney sleeps with them and then fires them. And, sometimes, the fired employee takes a four-pronged approach that really brings the terminator to their knees. Or, in other words, they hit the person who fired them with a chair.

Ted pitches a more womb-like version of the ETR to Bilson, who says he loves it and then promptly takes Ted to the ETR to discuss how those changes can be made to the existing ETR . . . only when they get there, Bilson fires Ted. As a result, Ted gets fired from his firm, but realizes that his friends were only trying to help him and that, free from Bilson’s constraints, Ted was presenting his fake task force with some of the most inspired work of his career. He decides to start his own firm, following the central metaphor of his womb-like ETR and being “reborn” as an architect. Naturally, Ted also takes a chair to Bilson’s head. Gotta love that four-pronged approach.

This was a good, solid episode with yet another one of Carter and Thomas’ website-enhanced storylines. I, too, am disappointed that I’ll never actually know what an Old King Clancy is, but perhaps I’m better off not knowing. It could be as dirty as a Newfoundland Lobster Trap.

“Don’t know. Don’t wanna know. Those Newfies are out of control.” — Robin

The Wife:

At first I wasn’t sure about this episode, thinking it was going to be another story-telling catch-up episode like last week’s (a novelty that’s cool once, but not cool many times in a row), but by the end, I was totally sold on “The Front Porch” as one of the stronger emotional episodes of the series. I don’t think we’ve ever really seen angry Ted before . . . and I don’t think I care much for angry Ted.

After realizing that no one watches her very early morning morning show, Robin begs her friends to watch that morning’s taping (so, I guess all of these characters can just not go to work whenever they want? or perhaps this was a Friday?). They all head to Dowisetrepla to watch in their pajamas at Marshall and Lily’s apartment. I have to say, btw, that I think this is the first time we’ve seen Lilypad and Marshmallow’s place with furniture in it, or at least with so much furniture, so I was momentarily very confused about where this was taking place. (Husband Note: We’ve seen it before, but only glimpses.) There’s much discussion of everyone’s pajama choices, particularly Marshall’s affinity for the nightgown/nightshirt and Barney’s oppositional choice, the suitjamas (complete with “sleeping cravat”). Over the course of the evening, Marshall converts a reluctant Barney to nightshirt wearing, citing the benefits of one’s junk being able to breathe easily and, my personal favorite:


“No elastic waistband leaving its judgmental pink teeth around my Thanksgiving belly.”


Barney, on the other hand, in his shiny suitjamas:


“I have to lie perfectly still so I don’t wrinkle my suitjamas.”


The two men share some Big Lebowski-esque dream sequences where they fly over New York in their nightshirts, set, even, to the Big Lebowski dream sequence music and by the end of the night, Barney is snuggled up next to Marshall in his night shirt, fondly dreaming of a marriage in which he can make a special arrangement with his wife that will allow him to sleep with other women.

But as enjoyable as the pajama talk was, the main event is fueled by Ted’s announcement that Karen, ever the douchebag, had broken up with him after finding one of Robin’s earrings in his bed. Ted finds Robin’s other earring on Marshall’s dresser and accuses Marshall of sabotaging his relationship, but Lily confesses that it was she who placed the earring in Ted’s bed for Karen to find. As the two have it out, Robin, in the background on the muted morning show broadcast, desperately tries to give a shout out to her friends, but goes unheard. Lily explains that she puts all of Ted’s girlfriends through the “Front Porch Test,” in which she envisions the kind of woman Ted should spend the rest of his life with, sitting on the front porch with her and Marshall, playing pairs bridge together. Future Old Karen, spouting off acidic diatribes about toxic chemicals in the water and how playing cards bores her, clearly failed Lily’s test, so something had to be done to get rid of her. And this is not the first time Lily has done this to Ted, either. She once broke him up with one of his college girlfriends by planting Marshall’s Creed CD in the girl’s dorm room.

Of all the old people photos over at CBS, I thought this one was the funniest. How cute is Old Alyson Hannigan? I hope she still gets work when shes Grandma Aly.

Of all the old people photos over at CBS, I thought this one was the funniest. How cute is Old Alyson Hannigan? I hope she still gets work when she's Grandma Aly.

In an A Few Good Men-style shouting match, Ted demands to know if Lily was responsible for breaking up him and Robin. She did, but inadvertently. From her post outside of the relationship, Lily realized that Ted and Robin wanted different things out of life and she wanted to get them to open up to each other and talk about their issues, lest they all end up on the front porch bitterly playing cards, with Ted accusing Robin of being too selfish to bear him children and Robin venomously accusing her marriage to Ted of destroying her career as a journalist. So Lily began asking them questions, inadvertently feeding them the script to their inevitable breakup.

After a broadcast filled with failed shoutouts, a cooking demo inferno, a cardiac-arresting weatherman and an on-air birth, Robin rushes into the apartment, pleased that her friends saw this particular taping, only to find that they haven’t watched it at all. Ted informs her that Lily broke them up, which Lily tells Robin was for the best, because, without that breakup, Ted and Robin would have stayed together too long and ruined each other’s lives, thus the fivesome wouldn’t have been able to stay friends and, most importantly, Robin and Lily would have never become best friends. The two women hug, leaving an awkward gap in between them to accommodate their very pregnant real-life bellies. Ted, still furious at Lily for interfering in his relationships, tells her to just keep her front porch fantasies to herself.


Lily: What happened to your jacket?
Robin: Soot. Breadcrumbs. Placenta.


Lily being Lily, she feels bad for meddling and tells Karen everything, including a handwritten note revealing that she’s planned a surprise for them upstairs in Ted’s apartment as a peace offering. Even with Lily’s apology out on the table, Karen tells Ted that, of course, this means they can never see Lily again. Adhering to the time-honored rule of bros before hos, Ted breaks up with Karen and invites his roommate Robin to share the gourmet meal Lily had provided for Karen and Ted’s reunion. During their dinner, they talk about their issues in their previous relationship, and agree that Lily was right to force them to confront those truths but that, at a different time in their lives, they might have been great together. As a result, Ted gets down on one knee and asks Robin to be his back-up wife, should they ever reach 40 and still be single. She agrees, provided that he never, ever wears a nightshirt. Ever.

Yes, nightshirts and suitjamas and Robin’s various morning show antics are hilarious, but the fight between Ted and Lily is really the most important part of this episode, and certainly very relatable. While I can’t say I’ve ever tried to break up some of my friends’ relationships, there are certainly times I wish I could have, if only to spare them the inevitable pain of staying with someone for far longer than they should have. I think we all look at our friends in relationships and wonder if this partner is going to be with our friend for the long haul. And while it may seem selfish to hope that the girlfriend or boyfriend you like the most is the one your friend chooses to be with, it’s a thought that comes more out of your sense of your friend’s well-being and the well-being of your friend-group as a whole than anything else, especially in a relationship like Ted and Robin’s. It’s rare to see the gang on HIMYM fight, and because of that rarity, I think this one is a very important and volatile episode. I get the feeling that, while Lily’s actions may have been wrong, had she told Ted what she thought directly, he wouldn’t have listened to her at all, blinded by his quest to find a mate for life and his unflinching desire for every girl he dates to be The One.

The Husband:

And the similarities between Marshall and myself continue. Until halfway through high school, I wore nightgowns to bed every night, but I also had no problem with calling them “nightgowns” instead of “nightshirts.” I had no illusions about what they were. They are indeed the most comfortable thing ever, and I vastly prefer them, in theory, to the tighter variety of pajama pants that do, in fact, leave their judgmental pink teeth around my belly.

It wasn’t until Pajama Day in middle school when I realized, upon wearing a nightgown with shorts on underneath, that nobody else my age wore nightgowns, and that the standard of pajama-ness was a t-shirt and some silk or flannel PJ bottoms. I felt embarrassed, to say the least, but not embarrassed enough to go around the rest of the day freaking people out while I pretended that I wasn’t wearing anything under my Big Dog nightgown.

Approaching college, though, I finally had to wear something that could be communally accepted, as I was going to be living with strangers in Los Angeles instead of my silly nightgown wearing Bay Area family. A part of me wishes I could wear nightgowns again, but I’ve gotten so used to the aforementioned t-shirt-and-pajama-pants combo, which can also easily work with my “underwear radius” to the mailbox or into the car for some drive-thru, that I always immediately get into PJs upon returning home from work. It’s a rare occasion that I’m wearing actual clothes at home. Maybe 1% of the time. When we have company. And that’s if “company” isn’t just my sister, who doesn’t give a fuck.

Maybe I’ll pick a nightgown up in the near future. If my wife will let me, of course. I will make a concession, though: this time, the nightgown won’t be from Big Dog.

And yes, as the Facebook group proclaims, even Jesus hates Creed.

The Wife:

I always appreciate the way in which HIMYM creates its narratives, and this episode was unabashedly about storytelling. It’s just an episode where the gang chills at the bar after last call (so Robin can have her morning drink before heading off to tape Come On, Get Up, New York!) where they catch Robin up on everything she’s missed in their lives due to her new sleep schedule. She’s at first disappointed that no one has news, but then two narratives emerge: Barney encourages Marshall to tell the funniest story in the world – the tale of the day Marshall forgot his pants – while Ted fesses up to the gang that he’s reunited with his douchebag college girlfriend, Karen.

Lily and Marshall hate Karen because she’s a pretentious douchebag and, worse, she turned Ted into “one of her douche-zombies” whenever he was around her, Lily says. Just how big of a douchebag is Karen? This should answer that question:

“I love that you guys live in a dorm. It’s so American – like, we should all eat bologna sandwiches and be racist.”


She also thinks that salt is really bourgeois and would constantly cheat on Ted – in his bed – prompting the titular “Sorry, bro” from whomever Karen had seduced. Ted would then break up with her, and immediately get right back together. The gang is very disappointed to learn that Ted has called Karen and had lunch with her, where they relive their doucheyness by ordering Italian food by leaving off the final vowels (which makes me want to punch Ted square in the balls) and casually asking the waiter to correct an embarrassing mis-listing on their wine list.

But shes like cute-pretentious, right guys?

But she's like cute-pretentious, right guys?

Barney tells everyone that there are only four reasons an ex would want to have a meal with you. First, they might want to get back together, like Lily and her high school boyfriend, Scooter. Second, they may want to kill you, which is what Barney thought when Wendy the Waitress only wanted to give him a new tie. Third, they may just want to give you back your gun, because Robin has a habit of leaving her gun at people’s homes. Or, if your Marshall, they want to rub their newfound success in your face, like Marshall’s first grade ex who left him for a boy who read at a fifth grade level.

Ted and Karen end up hooking up, only to find out that Karen hasn’t changed at all and that she’s still a philanderer, only this time, she’s cheating with Ted instead of on him.


“The meathead Karen was cheating with was me, Ted! Me, Ted!”

(Say it out loud if you don’t catch the pun . . .)

Ted at first feels vindicated that he gets to huff, “Sorry, bro,” at someone, but then realizes that if he stays with Karen this time instead of telling her how he really feels, neither of them will be better people for it. So he calls her on her shit and breaks up with her.

The Karen story was told entirely through HIMYM‘s signature flashbacks, but even Ted’s storytelling utilized the show’s skillful manipulations of time and misdirection. He constantly mislead his listeners by suggesting that he was going to do in the future the things he had actually already done, and then, of course, reveals after his announcement that he broke up with Karen for good that they’re actually still dating and that she’s coming to join them at the bar right now. It just makes sense that the way Ted tells stories in the present of the show is reflective of the way the show tells stories as a whole.

As for Marshall and the day he forgot his pants, my favorite storytelling riff in this one was Barney’s constant interruption of Marshall’s delivery of the crucial realization that the pants were indeed forgotten. As Marshall starts, and Barney interrupts, saying he wants to say it, the flashback of Marshall taking his clothes out of his gym bag restarts. The story cannot continue unless someone is telling it correctly, and each time they restart, it restarts. As for the story itself, Marshall forgot his pants, so Lily brought him a new pair and gave them to Barney, who cut them up into pirate-y bermuda shorts, which Marshall has been wearing all day and is still wearing because they show off his sexy calves. It’s not as funny as Barney thinks it is, although I bet it’s funnier than Robin’s “funniest thing in the world,” a monkey wearing two tuxedoes, but it’s brilliantly told. I love that the show chose to acknowledge its storytelling techniques this week as the characters just sat around and told stories. Still, Barney did get a great line in about Marshall’s short pants at the very important meeting for which he needed said pants:

“Hey, Erickson, please sir, may I have some more . . . pants?”


And where was Robin during all of this? Hopped up on sleeping pills, talking in her sleep, and sleep-eating ribs on Ted’s kitchen floor while he and Karen made out like douche-zombies on Ted’s couch.

Some other funny things I just couldn’t work into a paragraph:

  • Marshall does not for one second regret that he grew a soul patch in college, wore a rasta hat and demanded to be called MJ Smooth for a week.
  • Most hilarious attempt to cover up Alyson Hannigan’s pregnancy: stick a globe right the fuck in front of her!
  • Second most hilarious attempt to cover up Alyson Hannigan’s pregnancy: drape her in an American flag for the Wrestlemania segment.
  • Lily hates Karen because she one walked in on Lily painting Marshall nude (why? Marshall ate her bowl of fruit), and Karen’s gaze lingered on that fine man specimen that is Marshall Erickson. She’s a dirty lingerer.
  • Barney: A hug is like a public dry hump.
    Marshall: I think you’re hugging wrong.

The Wife:

You know what I love? Metatheatre. You know what else I love? This episode of How I Met Your Mother.

After the break, this was a great episode to come back on, and I love especially that it plays with the idea of the actor and, particularly, the actors on HIMYM. The premise is this: the gang starts to notice some unusual behavior on Barney’s part. He’s calling someone and telling him he loves them, disappearing from the bar and ignoring scads of floozies. When he leaves suddenly, they hop in a cab and follow him out of the city. After he steps inside a nice suburban home, they follow him in demanding to know who this secret girlfriend of his is. He introduces the gang to his mother, impressing Lily with the revelation that he is, at heart, a mama’s boy . . . until a blonde woman walks into the room whom Barney introduces as his wife, followed by an obnoxious kid introduced as his son, Tyler.

Worst family portrait ever.

Worst family portrait ever.

Everyone, including the viewing audience, is shocked to hear about Barney’s secret life, until his mom leaves the room and Barney reveals that Tyler and his wife, Betty, are both actors, hired to appease his mother’s fondest wish for him. When she was ill, she hoped that Barney would get married before she died, so Barney hired Margaret, a Broadway actress just this shy of a Tony, to play his fiancée, Betty. But Margaret has a tendency to go off book and added a surprise pregnancy to the mix when Barney’s mom expressed a desire to live to see grandchildren. And then she got better and Barney had to begin casting child actors to play the part of Tyler in his fantasy life.


Mom at audition: You said if I slept with you my son would get the part.
Barney: Well, apparently, I’m a better actor than your kid.


Ted recognizes Betty from a Brecht play he saw some years ago, admitting himself as Brechtophile, and the two of them develop a rapport over Brechtian theatre and a passion for acting. Ted tells Betty that he always wanted to act, even staging plays for the children in his family to perform at holidays that he artfully overdirected. Betty gives him a few tips on acting. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily, after having sex in Barney’s childhood racecar bed, try to convince Barney to tell his mother the truth, debating amongst themselves when the truth should be told and when it should be held back to spare someone’s feelings. They agree that the truth should be told always, so Lily admits that she hates Marshall’s mother, which Marshall finds completely shocking because, well, he was the runt of the family and that woman still loved him. (“I’m only 6’4″!”)

Barney wishes he could tell his mom everything, especially because he totally hates the kid he cast as Tyler, ragging on the boy’s lack of professionalism, inability to stay in character and constant desire to develop a catchphrase (“Tyler no likey!”). He complains that child stars were just so much better in the 80s, an awesome wink at Neil Patrick Harris’ star-making turn as Doogie Howser, M.D. that merited every bit of canned laughter they tacked on to it. If I heard that line in a stage play delivered by a former child star like Harris, the laughter would be louder than the track provided. And that was a loud track – an intentional move, I believe, to further point out the artifice of theatre, television and filmmaking that highlights the metatext about acting in this episode. Even having everyone converge on the three-room set of Mrs. Stinson’s house made this episode seem like a sitcom from another era, or even a stage play by someone like Neil Simon. Every part of this episode is about artifice and theatricality, and I’m glad that the creators, writers and Pamela Fryman took that conceit full-tilt. Brecht would totally approve.

Robin feels bad for Tyler, learning how much he hates playing Barney’s son and she and the boy strike up a sort of kinship for being put-upon by their employers. Robin knows she’s a good journalist, but she’s stuck doing some shitty morning show gig, just because it was available at the time. Likewise, that’s how Tyler got this job. They know they’re better than that, but Robin assures the boy that the best thing he can do to get through it is just to be as awesome as possible at a terrible job. This eventually leads to an awkward moment where Tyler misreads her motherly adoration for the boy as romantic intentions and tries to kiss her, apologizing, “Sorry! I thought I was picking up on something there!”

Barney goes so far as to script some banter for the dinner scene with his mom, filled with things she’d want to hear, like stories from Betty about Barney almost forgetting their anniversary but actually surprising her with a romantic candlelit dinner and a half-remembered nightmare from Tyler about how he doesn’t want to lose his mommy and daddy – a line that Barney had to deliver because Tyler forgot and ad-libbed something about dinosaur bones coming alive, a thought which terrifies Marshall. Barney, by the way, based his “in a relationship character” on Ted. During Barney’s recitation of Tyler’s nightmare, Betty and Ted slip out to the kitchen, where they’re caught making out by the whole group as they head in to the sundae bar Loretta prepared for them. Caught in the moment, Ted decides to resort to some of Betty’s acting tips, improvising a story about Barney stealing Betty (who is blind, in Ted’s estimation) from him when they met on a train to Algiers. Tyler, finally getting something right, runs out of the room crying about how he doesn’t want his mommy and daddy to get divorced.

Realizing that he has to do some serious rewrites on his false life, Barney takes his mom aside and tells her that Tyler is dying and Betty plans to commit suicide the moment her son dies, but then he recants and admits that the family he’s been parading in front of her for years are only hired actors. Rather than being angry or confused, Loretta is relived to hear this because she fucking loathes Betty and Tyler (especially his stupid catch phrase). She doesn’t even like the people Barney hired to play his friends!

Barney comes clean and tells his mom that his life is so completely the opposite of the life he’s been pretending to have to make her happy. He tells her that she wouldn’t even want to know some of the terrible things he’s done, and she counters with:

“Barney, when you were three, I left you to go on the road with Grand Funk Railroad where I was passed around like a bong.”


Like she told Lily and Marshall, Loretta is basically a big, fat whore. Like mother, like son.

Seeing Barney make up with his mother, Lily decides to try to make up with Marshall’s mom, but the cutaway reveals that the person she’s calling is actually Betty, who, with Ted, is telling her what to say to make it sound like she’s trying to make amends and appease Marshall. (Yet another similarity between my husband and I and Marshall and Lily: my husband’s mother is also named Judy. But unlike Lily’s feelings for Marshall’s mom, I totally love my mother-in-law, even when she kicks my ass at Scrabble.)

In addition to the vast metatheatre of this episode, I like that it highlights just how much acting we do everyday, especially through Lily’s feeble attempt to make amends with someone she hates by pretending to call her at the episode’s end. We all put on a good face for our parents that, except in certain cases, is probably far from who we are to our friends, or our coworkers or our teachers. We often pretend to enjoy people or things more than we actually do because to do otherwise interrupts social protocol. As the Bard said,


“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,”


We lie a lot to save face, we put on a face to meet the faces that we meet and we present different facets of ourselves at different times – all of it acting. In that light, Ted’s admission that he has always wanted to be an actor is funny not only because we know Josh Radnor is an actor, but also because everyone already is an actor, even if it isn’t their trade.

I’m a theatre geek, interested in metatextuality and performance studies (among my many other assorted academic interests) and, yes, I used to tread the boards a little bit. I fucking loved this episode. It’s brilliant. And when I say that, I’m not acting.

The Husband:

I’m not entirely sure where to come down on this episode. Yes, the metatextuality was great, but how about the actual plot itself? It really breaks down into two separate things:

1.) If everything at the house, all the fake plots and lines, etc., were meant to be a direct parody of 1980s-1990s TGIF family sitcoms (Step By Step especially), then the episode was brilliant. The design of the house particularly lends credibility to this theory.

2.) If it didn’t have those types of shows in mind, aside from the Doogie Howser reference, then it was more weird than anything else.

I hope it’s more of the latter, but it was done with such a light touch that I couldn’t really put my finger on it. It’s tough enough getting a Barney-centric episode – those, such as “The Yips” or “Single Stamina” (yes, both the Wayne Brady episodes), tend to take away much of his comedic power, because he’s best when in the background simply mocking everybody else – so adding all the bizarre theatre jokes (the writers once again show off by dropping so much Brecht knowledge) and perhaps mocking an entire subgenre of television comedy might have been too tall of an order to make all the pieces work. That may explain why I was underwhelmed by the tiny Lily-Marshall story, even though it gave me the biggest laugh of the episode when Marshall screamed “I hate you” at Lily.

They can’t all be 100%, and HIMYM definitely has the best comedic good-versus-bad ratio on television (second place after the uproarious but somewhat cold 30 Rock, of course), so I shouldn’t really complain. Hell, it’s still better than most of the stuff out there, and I’d be impressed as all hell if this were on any lesser show.

NPH gives Frances Conroy a happy ending. Wait! No! I didnt mean it like that!

NPH gives Frances Conroy a happy ending. Wait! No! I didn't mean it like that!

Whatever. Basically, as a major fan of Six Feet Under, I love seeing Frances Conroy in anything, be it getting a massage-gasm on Desperate Housewives, being a mysterious gypsy trainer person in the otherwise risible Catwoman, or here played a former skankatron. It makes me not even care that we’ve already heard the voice of Barney’s mother on more than one occasion, and that voice was provided by Megan Mullally.