Tonight’s HIMYM episode called “A Change of Heart” really took a deeper and more serious look at Barney’s heart. We have seen Barney struggle with accepting genuine feelings for a woman before (basically when he realized he was in love with Robin and couldn’t act on it) but this was the first time we really saw him tackle the idea of love and marriage itself. While still packed with one-liners and jokes—plus a very light and fun side story involving dogs and weed—it was a rather serious confrontation of emotion for the Barnacle.
It all started with the gang each getting their hearts checked out in the wake of Marshall’s dad heart attack (and Marshall getting his checked twice, once with a mustache). Barney was reluctant, though, and needed Lily to accompany him because he was scared. I do like how Lily is often treated as the mom of the group trying to manage the shenanigans of her rowdy boys. The doctor detected a potential arrhythmia and made Barney were a heart monitor for 24 hours (a.k.a. the show used this as a corny gimmick to then tell the tale of Barney’s heart in response to dating Nora). Basically, Barney finally went on another date with the charming and intriguing Nora, and they continued to have a connection. But Nora made it very clear to Barney that she is ultimately looking for marriage and someone to share a life with, so she would rather know up front if that is even on Barney’s radar. Barney does an excellent job selling his desire to get married one day—so much so that it seems true.
Meanwhile, in a much less serious story, Robin contemplated getting a dog (remember she only gave away her original dogs while dating Ted). But Marshall called her out on her loneliness and told her to meet a guy instead. And that was exactly what she did—well, kind of. The guy she met—Nate Scooberman—was known as Scooby and essentially behaved like a dog. In various humorous moments, we saw Scooby chase his tail, catch Frisbees, stick his head out the window…and Robin did meet him in the park. At least he had his shots, as Ted pointed out when Scooby brought them shots from the bar. Ted, Marshall and Lily did take advantage of the special ‘sandwiches’ he had with him and, even though they were officially too old to smoke ‘sandwiches,’ they were not too old for ‘sandwich’ brownies. Once again, I loved the callback to the visual of sandwiches representing weed. And I loved that after they got high, the gang lost young Scooby and had to track him down peeing on a hydrant.
But back to Barney…he eventually admitted to Nora that he was lying about his desire for marriage just to sleep with her. She slapped him, as did mama Lily and the doctor. But, they know and Barney knows why they slapped him—because Barney wasn’t lying when he said he wanted those things; he just couldn’t admit it to himself. At least, not yet. At the end, a pensive Barney admires Nora at brunch with her parents through a restaurant window and imagines for a moment what their relationship could be. But, he is not quite ready to take that plunge yet. I am sure finding his father has something to do with that hesitation…and lucky for us we will soon get to see that.
Did you like this episode? I enjoyed it, but also found it a bit strange. I liked each story, but separately—I just don’t know if the two stories belonged in the same episode together. I am excited to see what big changes are in store for our favorite 30-something gang.