Season 8, Episode 7
The Stamp Tramp
In my book, tonight’s new HIMYM episode gets my stamp of approval! Yes, “The Stamp Tramp” had all the right elements, from funny jokes and great character dynamics to the return of a recurring character and even college videos featuring kids smoking “sandwiches.” It also had some nice plot movement regarding Marshall’s career path and Barney and Robin’s eventual reunion. And, of course, Bays and Thomas continued to prove why they should pretty much name every type of establishment in this country—it would certainly be a more amusing world.
The episode was off to a lusty start, as Barney informed the gang that he must sadly choose a new strip club to patron. You see, Quinn has returned to her work at the Lusty Leopard, so Barney can no longer go watch his former fiancé. While Barney is bummed out (but not more bummed than the owner of the Lusty Leopard) he quickly becomes the object of every strip club’s affections and realizes that there is great power in his decision. Robin immediately jumps on board in a hilarious turn as Barney’s strip club broker, taking calls and cutting deals like a pro for more swag.
Meanwhile, Marshall bumps into his old law school buddy, Brad, outside of his office. I loved seeing slovenly and down-on-his-luck Brad, especially since he is played by hottie Joe Manganiello. Poor Brad is “going through a depresh.” Brad and Marshall had a great bromance back in the day, so of course good-natured Marshall wants to give his pal the Marshall Eriksen stamp of approval and put in a good word at his firm. This leads to a great little argument among the group about who really has a valuable stamp of approval (Lily) versus who just gives it away (Marshall). Or, there is Ted who is deemed a “piggyback stamper”—someone who claims another’s stamp as his own.
After this great set-up all stemming from the notion of giving one’s approval, these storylines each spin off in their own funny directions. Ted becomes obsessed with proving that he is not a piggyback stamper by trying to find something original he ‘stamped.’ Props to the show for backing Ted into a wall and forcing him to admit his own worst-kept secret: that he is the Dr. X from his college radio days. Ted goes even further by pulling out all of his old college video diaries—an idea he only got from Reality Bites—and the more he watches the more and more dismayed he becomes. Right from the first words on the tapes he sees how his own thoughts and opinions come from someone else (usually Lily). Ted and Lily do have a nice moment thanks to these videos, as it seems that Ted was the first to give Marshall a stamp of approval for Lily way back when they started dating. Oh, but Marshall should still sleep with some other girls first.
Marshall brings Brad in for an interview and he behaves…like a crazy slob. Marshall probably should have been suspicious at Brad’s rants on astrology and otherwise inappropriate business interview behaviors, but Marshall always wants to believe the best in others. He starts to sweat it out a bit when his own presence on a critical case gets put into jeopardy because his boss no longer respects his ‘stamp of approval.’ So Marshall works his way back into his boss’ good graces by giving small yet solid stamps of approval, including some awesome cheese & caramel balls.
Robin takes her role as Barney’s strip club agent quite seriously, and in true agent form she skims a little too much off the top. She goes as far as committing Barney to the Golden Oldies thanks to some extra bling. To make amends, she apologizes to Barney and promises to treat him to his first lap dance at the establishment of his choice. The day finally arrives and Barney makes his decision the way a free agent athlete announces who he is signing with. At the ‘brodium’ in the bar, with all the strip clubs present, he exclaims that he will be the new exclusive patron of Mouth Beach. True to her word, Robin goes with Barney to the club and the two get drunk and have a blast, in the way only Barney and Robin can. They briefly kiss but Robin runs off.
As for Marshall, his boss begins to trust his stamp of approval again so he is put back on the major Gruber pharmaceutical case. But surprise—it turns out that Brad was faking the whole time. He is actually a high-powered lawyer for the pharmaceutical company and used Marshall’s kindness to access their strategy. Now Marshall’s boss lays down the law: Marshall either wins the case or gets fired. We know from Future Ted that Marshall will ultimately be successful, but time will tell just how much success and what impact it has on their lives.
Tonight’s episode seemed to capture a lot of the fun and flavor of earlier seasons of the show. I will close this recap with the names of the strip clubs that I was able to catch, including the new replacement to the Lusty Leopard!
- Money Balls (complete with statistician)
- Golden Oldies
- Fur Coats
- Melon Patch
- Winning Pick: Mouth Beach