Tonight we saw how it all began. And I don’t just mean the day young Barney’s dad left him with the parting words “never stop partying.” I refer to how Ted came to find his beloved red cowboy boots. Oh, and how Robin met a hottie—a guy who it seems will soon play a major role in her life.
The story in tonight’s episode, “Hopeless,” was actually just the opposite: pretty hopeful. However, Hopeless was the name of the bar the gang chose to go to with Barney’s dad after a hilarious (and extensive) word-play joke similar to “who’s on first” but using bar names like “Was,” “OK,” and “Lame” (a gay bar that Marshall now knows is pronounced La-may). Barney was determined to see his dad the way he used to be: a ‘ledenJERRY’ man known as Crazy Jerry and not a driving school instructor who lives in the suburbs. At the bar for their awesome night out, hijinks ensued as Barney made his friends pretend to have cooler back-stories. That part fell pretty flat for me—there was no need for these make-believe identities at all, nor were they even all that exciting.
I will say that, while I didn’t care for the idea of these fake identities, they did lead to some funny moments. I particularly enjoyed Robin and Ted’s banter—even though they haven’t been a couple since season two, they still have that great chemistry that makes for a solid friendship. Unfortunately for Robin, Ted and her are supposed to pretend to be a couple in front of Barney’s dad (again, not sure why this makes sense, other than the writers needed to come up with something to keep Robin apart from her new guy a little while longer). At the bar, Robin saw a cute guy (aka her “secret crush”) from a few years back whom she met when shopping with Ted when they actually dated. In fact, it was Ted’s most infamous attire purchase of all time…the red cowboy boots that have been the subject of much fashion controversy over the years. Turned out that secret crush guy remembered her too and they started to flirt. Cue Ted pretending to be Robin’s boyfriend—and then fiancé–when Robin made it clear that the new dude was hotter than Ted. Robin getting together with secret crush guy was not in the cards for that night, but she didn’t seem to mind. She was hopeful for the future, and it seems she may be onto something. We got a little teaser (as HIMYM likes to do), that this is not the last that we or Robin will see of him.
Barney also took what sometimes seemed a hopeless situation and became more hopeful. For many years he lived thinking he would never know his father. Then he finally found him, but was disappointed in who his father had become. Tonight he tried to change his father and even his friends to supposedly create a more exciting evening. But deep down Barney was being a magician—a master of illusion—about what he really wants to be. Jerry used his magic to make Barney think he could get trashed and party like the old days, but quickly confessed that he had changed for the better and settled down. Barney began to realize that he wants to settle down one day too. But he probably won’t go fishing again, because it sucks.
Some of the best lines from tonight’s episode that probably rank between a 2 and an 8:
- “Are you sure? I feel like we collectively learn the opposite lesson at least once a year” (Ted believing that they are getting to old to be awesome…which sounds an a lot like the Murtaugh episode).
- “Ted, just be yourself…hahaha just kidding” (Barney has tons of cards for Ted about what he should NOT say because he is too boring).
- The gang getting side-tracked talking about how good The Devil Wears Prada is.
- “Hey, I’m not perfect, I’m an 8…and a half” (Ted, countering that he is hotter than secret crush guy)
- “You were picturing your crush?!” (Ted); “Somebody had to…” (Robin)…followed by hilarious awkward silence.
- “Too bad your playwright friend isn’t a lawyer” (Jerry believed Marshall was a playwright, since Marshall did such a good job embracing his role).
- “Do you remember a magician’s best friend?” (Jerry); “A drunk audience!” (Barney, touched that his dad lied to him for his own selfish reasons).
Last but not least, I am curious to hear what people thought of the most meta-reference to the show the characters have ever engaged in. Barney lies that his friends are in a band—and they cut to the gang performing HIMYM’s theme song. I laughed because it was funny and unexpected…but I don’t want to see quite that level of a meta-joke very often.
Are you hopeless or hopeful for the rest of the season? Will it just be “OK” or “Lame”…or should I “Shut Up” now?