'How I Met Your Mother': M.A.G.G.I.E.: Make Adjustments Go Get It Energize
The quest for love was back on tonight with “The Window.” After getting a mysterious call from an old woman informing him that “the window is open,” Ted (Josh Radnor) abandoned his friends and rushed to the doorstep of Maggie (JoAnna Garcia), an old college friend. Maggie is “the ultimate girl next door,” Ted explains. She's never been single for very long because every guy she encounters falls in love with her. Played with charm and warmth by the attainably pretty Garcia, it's easy to see why she has a major case of Joey Potter Syndrome. It's nice to see that Garcia still has it after a disappointing, lifeless turn on “Gossip Girl” earlier this season. I choose to blame the writing.
After missing the window three times before, Ted made a deal with Maggie's elderly neighbor to inform him the second she broke up with her boyfriend. Cue mad rushing. Ted gets to Maggie in time, but he has to teach a class that evening, so he leaves her at the bar with Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) under strict orders to keep all males away from her. If she's on fire, he wants a firewoman to extinguish her. Marshall remarks that he doesn't think 911 takes request. The demand for hunky fireman would be high if they did.
Marshall and Lily guard Maggie like she's the president. She's not just Ted's dream girl; they can grow old with her and Ted too. While hanging out at MacLaren's, Marshall reads Lily and Maggie a letter that he wrote to himself at 15, in which he calls himself Vanilla Thunder and describes his dream woman as “blond, 6 feet tall, has an awesome rack and caters to your every need.” Lily hilariously points out that he just described his mom. I'm sure Freud would have a field day with this. Then Marshall, who works for a big, corporate bank, gets to the part about not selling out and takes off. Lily runs after him, thinking he's going to quit his job, and fails at her own job: guarding Maggie from the many eager-to-pounce guys at the bar. Instead, she leaves Maggie under Robin's (Cobie Smulders) care.
Ted's panic attack is our gift because Robin's idea of guarding Maggie is to throw herself at Maggie's clearly smitten co-worker, who couldn't care less that Robin is spilling wine on her breasts. When that doesn't work, Robin leaves Maggie in the hands of an even less capable wrangler: Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), who gives Ted 10 minutes to get to the bar or he's going to enter the window.
In my interview with executive producer Carter Bays, we spoke about the lack of a love interest for Ted so far this season. The writers wanted to show Ted being carefree and happy for a while. I get that, especially considering that Ted got his heart broken in a big way by Stella last season. I'm happy to see him once again on the quest for love and realizing that he's ready to chase the real thing. The episode that brought us the biggest romantic Ted storyline this season also brought us the best scenes of Ted as a professor, with his students playing relationship therapists after Ted subconsciously writes “Maggie” on the chalkboard. He tries to pass it off as a lesson about bridge building, with “Maggie” standing for “Make Adjustments Go Get It Energize.” And how sweet was it to see that his class really did want to hear a lecture about bridges? Ted's not one of those professors who makes you want to fall asleep.
But Ted's quest did not end with Maggie. She ended up marrying her childhood neighbor and boyfriend in the second-greatest love story Ted has ever heard. The first better be Marshall and Lily because Marshall writing to his 60-year-old self that “as long as you're still married to Lily, you're doing just fine,” could restore a cynic's faith in love.
And finally, I want to hear more of Robin's “you look like a farmer” jokes. The two we heard -- “He's not saying hello. He's just telling you what he feeds his horsies” and “He's got a big, brown jug with three Xs on it” -- were simply not enough.
Readers, are you wishing Maggie was the mother? Are you happy that Ted is looking for love again? Who's having a hard time believing that Marshall, who's played by 6-foot-4 Segel, couldn't dunk the basketball?
– Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)
Photo: JoAnna Garcia. Credit: Getty Images