'How I Met Your Mother': Your baggage is my baggage
I've had mixed to ambivalent to negative feelings about “Mother's” recent episodes, but I found myself enjoying Monday night's episode. No, it wasn't perfect, but I found quite a few things to like, including:
Judy Greer: The serial guest star appeared as Royce, a girl that Ted (Josh Radnor) had just begun dating. Ted took her to a see “The Wedding Bride” not knowing that the movie was inspired by a true story – his story. Stella's (Sarah Chalke) ex, Tony (Jason Jones), was behind the film, and he'd skewed the story to make Jed Moseley (Chris Kattan) the bad guy, while he got a major upgrade, with Jason Lewis playing him. The fact that Tony knew about private things like Ted falling asleep on top of Stella while they were make love – it only happened once and he was on cold medicine! -- and Ted's red boots does not makes me think nice things about Stella. I hope she at least gave Tony some hell for making Ted into a cartoonish villain. Or maybe she's too busy enjoying all her new money because “The Wedding Bride” is already the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time, Robin (Cobie Smulders) informs Ted. Clearly the movie is supposed to skewer today's horribly cheesy romantic comedies – I sat through “Valentine's Day” the other day, and it was not pretty – but with every “aww” and burst of laughter from the movie audience, I had the same thought as Ted: “What is wrong with you people?” Perhaps it was another jab at the horrible taste of movie-goers. I've definitely been to real movies and wondered why people were laughing.
A cheesy but romantic ending: Robin would have probably found it “a little cheesy,” as she did all of Ted's romantic gestures toward Stella, but I found the overlay of “The Wedding Bride's” ending with Ted running to find Royce in the movie theater quite sweet. As on-screen Tony professed his love for on-screen Stella (Malin Akerman), Ted revealed the truth about his left-at-the-altar baggage to Royce and asked if he could make her pancakes. Royce accepted – the explanation and the pancakes – as the audience, egged on by Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), cheered, “Kiss her.” Except he wasn't saying, “Kiss.” You can use your imagination. Royce and Ted kissed as Tony and Stella did the same on screen to the sounds of the “Love Actually” score. Even the piece of the score was fittingly matched to the rom-com episode. It was from the sequence when Colin Firth's character goes to profess his love to his housekeeper, Aurelia. As they exited the theater, Royce picked up Ted's baggage and helped him carry it.
A clever sight gag: A trademark of “HIMYM,” the episode substituted the emotional – everyone's baggage – with physical representations. Everyone's baggage literally became a piece of baggage labeled accordingly. The scene of the random people walking by the theater also gave us some pretty amusing and bizarre pieces of baggage. I particularly liked the guy carrying the “Elvis is alive” piece of baggage.
Continuity: Not only did we see Ted's red boots again, but we saw the return of Robin's and Ted's tradition with the salute to “Major Baggage.”
Nice, girly Marshall: One of my favorite aspects of the serious has always been the role reversals between the guys and the girls. Ted and Marshall (Jason Segel) have always been the lovey-dovey, romantic types who are comfortable with their feelings, while Lily and especially Robin are a bit more hard-edged. It's fitting then that Marshall was excited to see “The Wedding Bride,” the ultimate chick flick, and was even upset when Ted spoiled the ending. And I'm still laughing at the thought of too-nice-Marshall's high school mascot being a hug.
The episode tag: Although it appeared to Ted that Royce had no baggage, it was obvious that something was going to get in the way of their romance, because Greer is only a guest star. And boy did it, as Royce revealed her baggage at episode's end: She'd been left at the altar three times, has a gambling addiction and shares a bed with her brother.
Readers, what did you think of “The Wedding Bride” -- the movie and the episode? Do you agree with me that this episode was an improvement over those of recent weeks? And what are your hopes going into next week's season finale?
– Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)
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Photo: Ted (Josh Radnor) takes his date (Judy Greer) to see “The Wedding Bride.” Credit: Eric McCandless / Fox