Oh how I missed our favorite 30-something HIMYM gang. It had been so long since we saw Ted and company that I almost forgot what was going on in their lives. But then…faint music started playing and my vision turned into a slow-motion dream… “I will remember you…” Just kidding, I didn’t actually hear music. But that was definitely a hilarious running joke in this stellar episode and it WAS a very long time since the Legendaddy episode (thanks, Katie, for recapping while I was out of town!).
Tonight’s episode, “Exploding Meatball Sub,” had the makings of a great HIMYM episode: serious emotion and plot development, hilarious one-liners, sight gags, a repeating musical montage; a comical flash forward; and new lingo to add to my HIMYM dictionary (welcome “Graduation Goggles”). The central theme involved differing ways couples interact. On the one side, you have Lily and Marshall—a couple so supportive of one another they are practically one “hermaphroditic blob” of love who say everything in unison and never fight. As the challenger—literally—we have Ted and Zoey, a couple who seem to only “challenge” each other (i.e. have screaming matches). Both Lily and Ted each insist their way of being in a relationship is superior.
The battle of the best couple type takes center stage as each set faces obstacles. Ted is still trying to achieve his dream of designing an NYC skyscraper while Zoey is still leading the protests against destroying the Arcadian by labeling it a landmark. Despite their differences, Ted insists that he likes the way Zoey challenges him to “growing matches.” Meanwhile, Marshall is still adamant that the time has come for him to follow his dreams to be an environmental lawyer and quit GNB. Lily claims to be fully supportive of Marshall quitting, and even smiles along when he takes an unpaid internship at the NRDC and offers to throw an environmental party at their apartment. It turns out neither Ted nor Lily are as happy with their relationships as they make it seem.
Barney is suffering from his own relationship issues, but more like relationship abandonment issues. When Marshall quits GNB it really affects Barney to the point that he flies into a rage—with Robin casually watching. Robin is there to play shrink to the entire group tonight, from explaining to the gang what ‘graduation goggles’ are (when you are ready to quit something but then start seeing it in a new and positive light) to trying to get Barney to open up about feeling abandoned by his dad and now Marshall at work. It was a good effort, Robin (especially your fake creepy murder story)—I found your therapy sessions to be enlightening and highly amusing. But, alas, Barney was only upset about Marshall leaving because he had been planning a revenge prank for months and the day Marshall quit was supposed to be the big day for the “exploding meatball sub.” You see, a while back Marshall made an innocent comment when Barney got a tiny bit of marinara sauce on his tie from meatball sub day at work. It should come as no surprise that Barney takes his ties very seriously and takes this comment as a challenge to get Marshall back with an exploding meatball sub. I believe the only words to respond to this scheming are those of Robin: “What is wrong with you?”
Just as Barney grows more and more frustrated at not being able to enact his meatball revenge, Ted and Lily also grow increasingly frustrated with their couple counterparts. Lily especially struggles to ‘support’ her husband, and it is nice to see the continuing fallout of Marshall’s grieving process rear its head. Everyone has been so focused on making sure Marshall is OK, that no one has noticed Lily quietly suppress her own dreams to start a family because Marshall is no longer ready. It is not until Ted unwittingly takes Lily to the airport to catch a flight to Spain that Ted realizes the challenges Lily is facing. Fortunately, Lily returns to face Marshall and confront their challenges, but Marshall beats her to it by saying he is now prepared to get his act together. Ted also has an epiphany about his relationship—he needs to break up with Zoey because she is incapable of supporting him. But….here comes the Graduation Goggles and the “I will remember you” music….and it makes Ted push off the inevitable. Hopefully it won’t take Ted ten years to break up with Zoey, which is how long it ultimately takes Barney to gets his exploding meatball revenge on Marshall—in an elaborate plot involving faking an illness.
There are many lines from tonight that “I will remember” fondly:
- Would Wylie Coyote try to sleep with the Roadrunner? Robin thinks the roadrunner wants it!
- Ted and Zoey have a philosophical debate…about Tommy Boy.
- “No, you hang up….” Poor Robin.
- “I don’t think you know what Spain is” (Robin to Barney, who uses every incorrect Euro cliché)
- Robin’s Graduation Goggles regarding ex-boyfriend Scooby and the way he licked (i.e. kissed) her.
- Ted and Zoey in bed together: “Who likes that?!” “I DO”
- “Oh, Zoey, why can’t I be on top just this once” (Lily mocking Ted’s pouty female voice).
- “There’s no Hershall!” (Barney trying unsuccessfully to make Marshall jealous by name-dropping a “new co-worker”).
- Yeah, sure Ted knows Spanish.
- Lily saying she is so angry she could murder someone while in front of the TSA security at the airport, including using words like ‘explode’ and ‘ticking time bomb.’
I continue to be impressed with this season of HIMYM. Everyone is bringing their A-game, from the writers to the actors. Even Robin, who served more as a therapeutic support guide in this episode, had some of the greatest comedic moments in her bits of screen time. Did you love this episode as much as me, or am I simply remembering it with graduation goggles?