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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Screaming matches and meatball subs

April 12, 2011 |  8:00 am

As “How I Met Your Mother” nears the end of its season — there are just four episodes left!— the issues that have been lying dormant in Ted (Josh Radnor) and Zoey's (Jennifer Morrison) relationship are starting to surface. Since becoming friends and then something more, the two have been getting along pretty well even though they were on opposite sides at the beginning of the season. Although future Ted confirmed their inevitable breakup, things had been going pretty smoothly for the couple. But executive producer Craig Thomas teased to me that their issues regarding the Arcadian would complicate their relationship. It was nice to finally see that brought up onscreen with this week's episode.

But the Arcadian is not the only thing Ted and Zoey argue about. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) brings up their constant screaming matches, which Ted calls “growing matches.” They dispute everything: Sex moves, who should hang up first, even “Tommy Boy.” Not everybody can be “one hermaphroditic blob” like Lily and Marshall (Jason Segel). Lily's response: “Marshall and I have been together for 15 years, and the only debate we've had about 'Tommy Boy' is whether it's awesome or super awesome. That's love, bitch.”

When Marshall finally quits his job and takes a nonpaid position saving the environment, Lily is completely supportive. Ted thinks her giant anime eyes give away the truth: She's not OK with Marshall's choice. Lily counters that his feminine mouth gives away his true feelings. It's saying, “Zoey, why can't I be on top just this once?” Lily mimics in a little-girl voice, which actually kind of sounds like an anime character. But they're still friends, so she admits that even though Ted and Zoey's relationship is different, that doesn't mean it's not right.

“Oh, my God, is that how support feels?” Ted cries. “So warm and wonderful. Oh, Lily, I've been so unhappy.” Turns out it's hard to date a girl whose sole purpose is to crush your dreams. But it may be even harder to be constantly supportive when your husband doesn't seem concerned with how you're going to pay the bills or that you seem to have given up on having a family. Not to mention Lily feels like has to always be supportive since his father just died. This proves so hard that Lily decides to do something for herself and go to Spain before she explodes. The decision was actually pretty in line for Lily, who also took off for San Francisco in the Season 1 finale to pursue her dream of being an artist. Thankfully, this time she didn't leave Marshall crushed and came home, where Marshall told her he was going to look for a paying job. This storyline really worked for me because, in this case, Marshall and Lily's almost singular entity-like relationship came off as endearing.  It wasn't the annoying, overly eager couple we saw trying to double date with Barney and Robin in “The Sexless Innkeeper” last year. And as happy as I am to be off the constant baby-making, it was nice to see that story's disappearance addressed.

Ted, meanwhile, realized that he couldn't argue with Zoey for the next 50 years. But then the graduation goggles came on. Everything got warm and fuzzy. Sarah McLachlan's “I Will Remember You” began to play. (A+ on the song choice, which has to be the most nostalgic song ever, and its clever use.) And Ted didn't break up with Zoey. Even though it's better to support each other, Ted would “have to learn that the hard way.” Why do I feel like Zoey's going to leave Ted in pieces at the end of this season?

And in what can only be described as the most bizarre Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) storyline ever, Barney was upset that Marshall quit GNB not because of his abandonment issues, as Robin (Cobie Smulders) suggested, but because he didn't get to exact his exploding meatball revenge on Marshall. Honestly, I don't know what to make of it. It didn't let us dig deeper into Barney, as it first seemed it might, and it wasn't as hilarious as it needed to be to work. Robin pretty much summed up my feelings: “What is wrong with you?” At least we learned that Barney sees a shrink. Interesting. And we finally got to see future Robin! Also, there's no way Herschel is real because I'm pretty sure it's impossible to find a person taller than Jason Segel.

Showtrackers, how much longer do you think Ted and Zoey will last? What do you think of Marshall and Lily's new journey? Did you like the meatball side story?

Complete “How I Met Your Mother” coverage on Showtracker

— Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

Photo: Lily (Alyson Hannigan), center, tries to break up a screaming match between Ted (Josh Radnor) and Zoey (Jennifer Morrison) in “Blitzgiving.” Credit: Eric McCandless / Fox.