'How I Met Your Mother': Quack, quack
It's tough out there for a single person, especially on Valentine's Day. The single life even takes a toll on Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) this week. He's overwhelmed with buxom beauties calling him after he holds up a sign with his phone number that says “Call Barney Stinson” during the Super Bowl. The image actually ran Sunday during the Super Bowl. From all the tweets, it sounds like everyone got a recorded message from Barney asking them to meet him at 3:45 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2016, at MacLaren's. But in the episode, Barney picks up the phone and meets up with the callers. How fun would it have been if CBS had run a contest, giving one of the real callers a walk-on role as one of Barney's conquests?
Barney gets together with the ladies, but can't help wondering if the grass breasts are bigger on the other side. He picks up the phone and leaves behind the girl before he can close the deal each time. How can he sleep with a “hot lady bullfighter” if there's a gold medal Japanese figure skater out there? Then there was the girl with the really flexible leg, but the best bit of physical comedy in that scene came when Barney shook his head and said, “Aiy, aiy, aiy.” It was great to see Barney finally overwhelmed by his own insatiable quest for sex as he barked at Ranjit (Marshall Manesh) – a welcome return! – with escalating levels of stress. It got so bad he even started to twitch and hear the phone even after he threw it in a dumpster behind the bar.
Ranjit did more than just drive Barney around. His story of his happy, arranged marriage prompted Ted (Josh Radnor) to allow Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) to find his future wife. He'll go on a date with her on Valentine's with Lily and Marshall and if he likes her, he'll marry her. My first thought was that it gives Lily and Marshall too much power and as notorious meddlers, I could only see a whole lot of bad coming out of it. But to my surprise, Lily and Marshall dropped the ball, forgetting about the double date. Hours before they're supposed to meet Ted, they start asking every girl in the bar if she'd like to marry their friend Ted. It's a big jump from, “Have you met Ted?” so unsurprisingly, no one bites. One girl even maces Marshall, giving him vampirish red circles around his eyes. A list of possible candidates also proves unsuccessful. Blah Blah's committed – in the hospital, not in a relationship! Out of options, they pick up the phone and set Ted up with the flexible leg girl, who actually turns out to be perfect for him.
Meanwhile, fellow singleton Robin (Cobie Smulders) thinks her pantless coworker Don (Benjamin Koldyke) has asked her out on a date on Valentine's. Marshall, who seems to be president of the Robin/Don shipper club, teases Robin that she is going to marry Don. “I hate Don,” Robin argues. “I can't stop thinking about how much I hate him. It's like all the time. I want to attack him and rip his stupid clothes off and attack him and spank him with his little paddle until his bum's all red!” Um, yeah, that's just how I feel about all the people I hate. I'm afraid you've lost this fight, Robin.
Despite her protests, Robin puts on a beautiful red and pink dress and heads to Don's party on Valentine's Day. But it's not so much a party as it is a one man Naked Man seduction. Yes, Don tried the Naked Man, but this time around, it doesn't work on Robin. Maybe the pose wasn't creative enough? He should have gone with the Burt Reynolds.
But all comes down to one question: Rabbit or duck? Earlier in the episode, after an intense fight, the gang got Marshall to concede that ducks are better than rabbits. Don goes from being a duck – Ted hilariously points out that Donald Duck never wore pants either – to a rabbit before morphing back into a duck after making amends with Robin. Ted leaves his date – a rabbit – early despite hitting it off with her because he's become addicted to Barney's phone and the never ending stream of greener pastures. The phone turns out to be the biggest rabbit until Lily submerges it in a pitcher of beer.
Readers, what do you think of Don? Is he a duck or a rabbit? Do you think Ted had the right idea letting Lily and Marshall set him up? Did you call Barney?
– Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)
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Photo: Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) holds up his sign at the Super Bowl. Credit: Sonja Flemming / CBS