TV Review: How I Met Your Mother Season 8 Episode 18


Writer: George Sloan
Director: Pamela Fryman

weekend at barneys

RECAP: Barney can’t stay away from the playbook, Ted breaks up then tries to get back together with Jeanette, and Marshall and Lily attend an art exhibition.

REVIEW: In what hasn’t been a particularly strong run for the show, this episode has to be among the weakest. The best episodes of How I Met Your Mother involve smart callbacks, intertwining narratives and affecting character moments. This episode has none of these and plays like a series of weak sketches.

Barney’s been having nightmares creating great plays and it turns out when he burned the playbook, he didn’t really burn the playbook. He wakes up having dreamed of the greatest play ever “The Weekend at Barney’s” where he pretends to be a corpse to pick up women. It’s a funny enough image but it seems more like an idea the writers thought would be cool rather than anything we really need to see.

The playbook has been done enough and there’s been enough development of Barney that we don’t really believe he would need it as much as he does. There are probably some fans who feel Barney has been neutered by engagement

Jeanette breaks up with Ted but because he’s an idiot he wants to win her back so Barney decides to distract him with The Playbook.  So Ted goes to the bar acting out plays and pretends to be something he’s not and then makes some kind of penis pun. If this is his game, how did Barney ever actually get laid?

In the other B plot (it was all B plots this week) Marshall and Lily visit an art exhibition and Marshall can’t get anyone to talk to him because he’s making bad art puns and they’re all too sophisticated. You can see their points. Then the supposed worst moment ever, Skittles cascade onto the floor during an artist’s poignant silence. Ultimately it’s a whole lot of who cares? We don’t know the artist and really there aren’t any consequences.

Ultimately Marshall’s lame chat gets him in with the artist, so they all lived happily ever after. The Skittles like the plays are something that is probably a funny idea in isolation but really isn’t joined to anything else.

Robin doesn’t have a lot to do except get mad at Barney for not burning The Playbook. But we’ve seen all this before. Barney’s apology where he tells her she loves him because of who he is, and deep down he’s a liar, but one that loves her is the only genuine moment in the episode but it’s a repeat. Barney already gave up his old life and seeing him do it again just feels redundant.

Jeanette comes back to Ted’s and finds The Playbook and sets his apartment on fire, burning The Playbook in the process. If this seems a little too familiar then that’s because they flashforwarded to it, two weeks ago. This is supposed to be Ted’s big Eureka moment when he knows he wants to settle down but he was with this girl for four episodes? There was no investment and nothing significant happened. They would have been better making Ted and Victoria’s break up count for more. And hey, didn’t he propose to her? Isn’t that a sign he was ready to settle? Whatever.

Ted is supposed to meet his destiny pretty soon but this episode is a great example of a show treading water. There have been some moments but this season has been mostly a write-off. Hopefully with everything to be paid off in season 9, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas can get it together and make it a truly great final season.

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