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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: 'I'm not ready for this'


Well, that was a harsh way to start off the new year. Monday' s episode title -– "Bad News" -– was a major giveaway, but I still didn't expect it to be quite so bad.

Bad news for Robin (Cobie Smulders): The host at her new job is Sandy Rivers (Alexis Denisof), her old coworker and onetime date. Sandy remembers it differently, though. He thought they had sex and announced it to the whole office. Robin finally convinced him that they didn't have sex, prompting Sandy to remember the real reason he finds Robin so memorable: She's the reporter who stepped off a carriage and fell into poop. Thus, Robin's new nickname, Scherpoopy -– I admit, it made me giggle -– was born. It got worse. Her new coworkers uncovered what is essentially a Robin Scherbatsky's Most Embarrassing TV Moments clip reel, featuring all my old faves, including the Robin Sparkles videos and the adult diapers commercial, but not the owl attack -- shoot. It was fun to see Robin's greatest hits -– or should I say misses? -– pulled together.

Earlier this season, I pointed out that Robin was amassing quite the embarrassing collection of videos, so it was nice to see that tie back into the story and bite her in the behind a little. Smulders response to her clip reel of embarrassment? "I think that [Robin] has the ability, like all Canadians, I should say, to laugh at ourselves and to not take ourselves too seriously," she told me. She certainly demonstrated that at the end of the episode as she donned her Robin Sparkles jean jacket. And although they're very cute, I have to ask, what's up with the glasses, Robin? Is it a nod to Clark Kent the journalist? Wanting to look more serious and smart at the new job?

Also fun: Denisof's game return as Sandy and the image of him in a bald cap, standing in front of a bear wearing a bra.

Bad news for Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan): Still unable to get pregnant, they went to see a specialist, Dr. Stengel (Neil Patrick Harris). Fittingly, the reproductive specialist turned out to be Barney's (Harris) doppelganger. One guy has a lot of sex with women. The other guy stares at female private parts all day. Like I said, fitting. It took Barney and Dr. Stengel both being in the room during her exam for Lily to believe that Dr. Stengel wasn't Barney. But Barney had to wear what looked like Ted's anti-spoiler goggles from "Monday Night Football."

Lily turned out to be "extremely fertile," so Marshall worried that the problem was him and his little swimmers. Dr. Stangel gave him a cup for a sperm sample, which he took home. Unfortunately, his parents had arrived for a surprise visit. All the talk of his mother's two-piece bathing suit was making it quite difficult for Marshall to make a deposit, so Lily finally forced him to tell his parents the truth about what was going on.

Bad news for Marshall: Just moments after telling his friend his sperm were OK, Marshall learned from Lily that his father had a heart attack. He didn't survive. It was an unexpectedly dramatic twist, but one we should have probably seen coming as soon as the show started featuring Marshall's father more this season. It's the circle of life and the gun in the first act all rolled up into one. (Apparently, there were numbers throughout the episode counting down from 50 to the moment Marshall found out, but I didn't notice.) Though the moment was a bit startling after all the sitcom shenanigans, it reminded me that "Mother" can often be just as heartfelt and real as any one-hour drama. And Segel and Hannigan played the scene beautifully. "I'm not ready for this," Marshall cried as Lily hugged him. No one ever is, Marshall.

Readers, did the ending bring a tear to your eye? Are you enjoying Robin's new job? Want that clip reel for real? And are two NPHs better than one?

— Vlada Gelman


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Photo: Marshall (Jason Segel) visits Dr. Stengel (Neil Patrick Harris). Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS

Comments () | Archives (10)

I did not like this one bit. I cried for ten minutes! This is not what a comedy should be about.

Worst part was the follow on CBS spot for their new morning show who mentioned "Now that you're having a great time".. I know they were shot earlier in the day, but just made the new morning anchor look like a total tool

This episode was really good. The script was written really well. One thing that I love about the show is the ability to make you laugh but also focus on heartfelt-real-issues that we can relate to. I adore the cast and last night Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan really outdid themselves. I just started crying my eyes out!

I don't get Robin wearing the glasses either! And I love that Sandy is back, I actually just watched the episode of when they went on the date. Perfect timing!

Great episode, and yes, I cried. And I love that while it's a comedy, there's also tremendous pathos.

We did notice the numbers with my 9 yo daughter calling them out "21!" as they popped up.

What was this all about no reason to kill his dad. What are they trying to do here I couldn't believe it I said it as soon as the phone was ringing and his dad did not pick up. I noticed the numbers counting down when it said 49 but i missed a couple of the numbers. I am an avid follower and this is a comedy if i wanted a tear jerker I would re watch Old Yeller.

Lucas where have you been all this time? Certainly now watching HIMYM. This show has always had dramatic moments and tugged at the heartstrings. That's what I love about it.

Wow. I was really shocked that a sitcom would go this dramatic and emotional. I definitely cried. I know its happened before but not that often. I'm glad they did though. Why can't comedies have some genuine heartfelt moments? Do people get up in arms when a drama sprinkles in some comedy?

If like me, you didn't notice the numbers at all or just didn't catch every single one, here's a video of all of them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lVai5GLcks

I was pretty shocked by the ending and I did tear up... I think the numbers, besides serving as a distraction so it would be even more of a sucker punch, are meant to show the final moments of Marshall's life with his dad in it. It made me realize even more how precious life is, a perspective that this show has always shown for me. So even though I was heartbroken, I love HIMYM for its realism and ability to make me high with happiness and just kill me the next moment. And I agree, the acting in that scene was amazing.
Also, are two NPHs better than one? ALWAYS.

I loved this episode. It was dramatic, sad, and of course, still funny. A lot of people are saying that as its a sitcom, Marshall's dad shouldn't have died, because its not comedic. But sad things happen all the time in sitcoms; Ross and Rachel broke up, Monica and Chandler couldn't have kids, Paul Henessey (John Ritter) on 8 Simple Rules died. (In real life too!)It happens. Sitcom is, yes, meant to be funny, but its not wrong for an episode to deal with a slightly more serious issue. It was touching and Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel played it extremely well. Some people seem to be unable to handle the fact that just because this a sitcom, the characters can't experience difficult situations.


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