How I Met Your Mother Recap – The Locket and Coming Back

Season 9, Episodes 1 & 2
The Locket / Coming Back
Final Season Premiere

In May I am going to need a receptionist like Curtis telling me “It gets better” after my beloved HIMYM comes to its final ending. It was with this bittersweet feeling that I eagerly turned on the season premiere (for the last time, tear) and How I Met Your Mother did not disappoint. We were treated to two episodes—The Locket and Coming Back—and a whole lot of Mother.

Episode 1: The Locket
55 hours before the wedding

Planes, Trains and Automobiles
It’s little details (or should I say “Lil” details) that add to this show’s special blend of humor. We picked up exactly where we left off—everyone on their way to the wedding weekend. That means Ted in his leather driving gloves and a carefully planned guidebook of nerdy attractions entitled “Lil and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Obviously Lily grew frustrated quite quickly and demanded out of the car, opting for ‘modern’ transport and plumbing on a train.

As we all know, a certain Mother also boarded a train for Farhampton and she just so happens to be in the same car as a pissed off Lily. You see, Lily is not only irritated at her former traveling companion and worried he may try to spoil the wedding with Robin’s infamous locket, but she misses her son and is sick of grandma Judy posting anti-Italy photos online. Fortunately, Mother (as she shall be known until we get to learn her name) has some yummy cookies, or ‘somebitches,’ to offer a stressed out traveler. Here is where we get the first real Mother interaction…and I think we can all agree she is adorable. Her quick wit—like jokingly telling Lily she found the cookies on the train—and her nerdy likes that rival Ted’s are set up so nicely that we know they will make a perfect match. Not to mention, her future nickname to get her husband to drive faster sounds like a character from Downton Abbey: Lady Tedwina Slowsby. But perhaps most importantly, she even seems to understand Ted before having met him—she alerts Lily to the idea that her car companion may have purposely tried to make the drive to Farhampton alone. Now Lily is convinced that Ted has found the locket and plans to gift it to Robin as a final ploy to win her back.

Meanwhile, Marshall and baby Marvin have their own transportation mishaps when the father and son get kicked off their flight back to New York for being disruptive on his cell phone. Judy had posted a photo of Marshall acting like a judge with a banana, thus spilling the beans on Marshall’s new job over Fake-book. As Marshall frantically tries to get his mother to delete the photo before Lily sees, anyone with a mom who doesn’t quite grasp the latest technology can appreciate these scenes (cough* me *cough). But Marshall’s fight with his seat neighbor, Daphne, gets her kicked off the flight as well, and their battle has only just begun. As for the incriminating photo, baby Marvin saves the day by accidentally deleting it in the knick of time.

Lastly, the happy bride and groom ride comfortably in the back of Ranjit’s car, until things get a little uncomfortable. As they each discuss the crazy deck of wild cards who are invited to the wedding—including the likelihood of a wild animal thanks to Barney’s understanding of a ‘ring bear’—the couple discovers the possibility that they could actually be related. Apparently both Robin and Barney have a kooky Canadian cousin named Mitch…and it is the same Mitch with only six fingers. After bouts of fright, awkwardness, and vomiting, they get confirmation that Mitch was adopted on Robin’s side. Phew, now they don’t need to dispose of Ranjit for knowing an incest secret. But at least we got to witness the world’s most awkward kiss between possible cousins and soon-to-be spouses.

Ultimately the episode concluded with Lily tackling Ted to the ground as he gave Robin a present, but the gift was a sweetly framed photo of the gang—the one we see every week in the opening credits (tear). But that locket still may turn up, as we also learned that Ted did fly to LA to look through Stella’s storage items in hopes of finding it. Every wedding does have a wild card, but maybe this wedding will simply be “legendary”…no need to wait for it.

Episode 2: Coming Back
54 hours before the wedding

Somehow all of that took place in just half an hour, and we still had another jam-packed half hour to go!

I really enjoyed the condescendingly sympathetic inn receptionist named Curtis who takes so much pitty on poor single Ted that it is insulting. From the romantic lighthouse brochure for couples only (versus the TV Guide Menu for singles) to the “It gets better” speech upon finally receiving his single room key, Ted does a nice job of keeping up strong spirits. And it’s a good thing because “she’s just around the corner”…both the housekeeper and the Mother.

But we are still hours from the wedding and weekend plans are starting to crumble. Marshall is stranded in Minnesota without a flight and with one very angry fellow passenger that he got kicked off the plane. When they learn that all flights into New York are now cancelled due to an incoming East Coast storm, they race to the rental car line. Marshall gets a miracle in the form of Herm—the world’s most efficient rental agent—and gets the very last car. Unfortunately, it is a “Monstrosity 2006.” Oh wait, just a “Monstrosity Sport.” But more unfortunately, Marshall doesn’t have a car seat with him (ok, sure). Marshall and Daphne tentatively strike a deal in which Marshall must place his faith in humanity: she will take the Monstrosity and buy a car seat and return to share the ride. The crazy twist is that…she actually does return for them.

Over at the Farhampton Inn, Barney, Robin, Lily, Ted and Barney’s brother James begin to settle in for the weekend festivities. But the gang soon learns that James’ husband Tom is not present because they are getting divorced. It seems that the old Russian Stinson curse has reared its ugly head because James has cheated, repeatedly. Robin doesn’t want James to tell Barney just before the wedding, fearing that if the one positive marriage example Barney holds dearly turns out to be void, it will turn turn Barney against marriage (never mind that super drunk Lily is sitting right there, one half of a quite happily married couple, loaded with drinks from her bartender, Linus). While James astutely points out that Robin should probably have more faith in her relationship with Barney if they are about to marry, it turns out that Barney takes the news very maturely. While he is saddened by his brother’s news, Barney does have faith in his relationship with Robin. And the happy couple enjoys the erotic treats Barney had placed in James’ room as a surprise anniversary gift.

Poor “it gets better” Ted also gets a peak at the erotic romantic gifts when they are accidentally moved into his room. But things really do get better for Ted, because we get to see a legendary flash forward of exactly one year from right now: Ted and Mother sitting at the table in the lounge where single Ted had done his crossword puzzle and promised himself he would return with “her.” Such a sweet scene and a great way to get some Ted-Mother interaction even before Ted actually meets her.

I think this is shaping up to be a great final season. Were you surprised at how much Mother we got? Are you also pretty sure that she will one day write that children’s book about a lonely unicorn? And, were you most surprised that for the very first time ever this show ended with a “Next time, on How I Met Your Mother…” because that certainly shocked me!

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – Something New

Season 8, Episode 24
Something New
SEASON FINALE

After an eight-year pregnancy, the Mother was born into the world, on this day, the thirteenth of May, 2013. Just like actual labor, it was at once both exciting and terrifying (or so I am told). And there were times we never thought it would happen. My only fear now is a final season of post-partum depression as we face the reality of what is on the other side of such intense anticipation. But we still get to look forward to TED meeting his future wife and their courtship, and that makes me happy. Regardless, it is a bittersweet moment to actually see the face and hear the voice of perhaps the most elusive and anticipated character in television history. Things will never be the same. But that is a very good thing for Ted.

For a finale that aired in two parts over two weeks with wedding-y names like “Something Old” and “Something New,” we did not get any more actual glimpses of the infamous Scherbatsky-Stinson wedding. But, I am going to let that slide because tonight’s finale was so jam-packed with cliffhangers, I almost forgot about the actual nuptials.

Happy Endings?
Robin and Barney head to a sentimental restaurant to toast the end of wedding planning. With the big day just one week away, the two seem perfectly in synch. Barney even brings their favorite cigars to enjoy after dinner, but another obnoxious couple proceeds to ruin the mood of the evening. After putting the cigars away and getting stuck at a table next to the kitchen door, Robin and Barney agree that the only thing that could still make this night magical is to diabolically mess with Krirsten (yes, that is an ‘r’ both before and after the ‘i’) and her equally snooty boyfriend. Let’s pause just one moment to mention that Krirsten is played by the wonderful Casey Wilson, also known as Penny Hart on the sadly just-cancelled Happy Endings. Tear. Overall, this story line doesn’t do too much other than fill time before Robin and Barney walk down the aisle and once again emphasizes that they behave like two peas in a pod. But will that be enough for a happily ever after? I certainly hope they get legen-married, because I totally want to see their choreographed first dance, complete with chorus line and confetti.

Judgment Day
Lily accidentally spills the beans about the big move to Rome to Judy, Marshall’s mother. Apparently Marshall had not planned to tell her…and instead just come visit at Christmas. Upon learning of this big move, Judy insists that she get some quality grandson time. Marshall heads off to Minnesota with cutie Marvin in tow, and some crushed nuts thanks to his brother. As Lily grows concerned that her hubby will be talked out of Italy by his over-protective mother, he consistently reassures her that Rome is happening. Until…a twist that I did not see coming. It’s funny because I have been waiting for some excuse that would keep Marshall and Lily in NYC—or maybe perhaps a time jump one year into the future when the show returns next season—but tonight we got a new wrench thrown into their plans that harkens back to much earlier this season, something I had totally forgotten. Marshall had applied to be a New York State judge so that he could really make a difference and affect change. Mr. Belding was on the judge panel in fact. Well, while home in Minnesota, Marshall gets a call offering him an open judge seat. And despite Marshall lawyering the man in true Marshall fashion, the job starts a week from Tuesday, not a year from Tuesday as he would like. So now we have both Lily and Marshall presented with incredible, once-in-a-lifetime career opportunities…and not both can happen. With Marshall’s brother calling him “your honor,” it sounds like Marshall has a huge announcement to delicately break to his wife. But Marshall is not the only one with major, life-changing news…

Teddy Westchester
Sans baby + husband, a solo Lily is ready for a night on the town with her bud, Teddy Westside. But Ted has other plans—he needs to put some finishing touches on his refurbished house out in Westchester, and he wants Lily to see the final work. It is so good it is like Ryan Gosling’s house in The Notebook. Lily is truly amazed at what Ted accomplished (and we see the final den that we know and love from the year 2030) but she is even more shocked to see a for sale sign. When she asks Ted why he would put his beloved house on the market, he tells her that he will be moving to Chicago, a city perfect for him because it is like a Cleveland-y New York. Yes, apparently Ted has quietly made the arrangements to move to Chicago the day after the wedding…and Lily smells the poop. At first she thinks it is because he still hasn’t found ‘the one,’ but she quickly realizes it is actually because it will be too hard for him to stick around and see one of his best bros married to the woman he thought could have been the one.

When Ted fills Lily in on the missing locket from last week, Lily actually knows about the locket and even where it is. She recalls a hilariously drunk Robin (Cobie Smulders really does a great drunk) not long before Ted’s impending marriage to Stella in 2008. Past Robin was so upset that Ted was about to marry another woman, she dug up her ‘something old’ and wanted to hide it in her butt, like her grandmother did in war! But instead Lily placed it in a pencil box…that apparently Ted still has. Now Ted knows what to give Robin for her wedding, but we feel Lily’s concern that Ted is setting himself up for more heartbreak with that kind of gift.

One Ticket to Farhampton
It is two days before the wedding and everyone heads out in planes (Marshall), cars (Lily and Ted) and limos (Robin, Barney…and Ranjit!!) to Farhampton for the celebration weekend. This entire ending montage was fabulous, as each person expressed so much emotion in their facial expressions. Lots of potential new beginnings, secret news, and the fear and excitement that comes with those things.

But little does Ted know that on her way to the train station at that moment is his future wife, who we shall simply call Mother for now. We see boots and a guitar walk up to the ticket window. Then we see the yellow umbrella. And then we see a face. And she speaks! “One ticket to Farhampton, please!”

Eight years in the making. And it makes me a little sad to know this journey is coming to an end. But I am so glad that we didn’t get some big-name actress casting stunt. Going with a more obscure actress (Cristin Milioti) without ‘baggage’ was the right move in my book. This means we will get to know her just like Ted will. And I am excited for that…and for the final season.

P.S. If I was that actress—selected to play the long-awaited Mother—I don’t know how I would have kept that secret so well these past few months. Granted, I know the actress would be sued to kingdom come for telling people….but that would be one “mother”-f-ing secret 🙂 Also, here is a nice Q&A with Bays and Thomas about the Mother of all reveals.

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90210 Recap – We All Fall Down

Season 5, Episode 22
We All Fall Down

SERIES FINALE

And here we are. The very last episode of 90210. Ever. Between the original series and this absurd spin-off, a version of this show has been on the air “4ever”—which is exactly what the one-hour retrospective was called. It is safe for me to say that I have watched every single hour of both series; and the thing that made this spin-off work was that very early on it forgot it was a spin-off and became its own show. A ridiculous show, sure, but it knew what it was…and that made it fun. Plus, I want to thank the writers for giving me something to blog about every week—I have immensely enjoyed this opportunity be a snarky fan.

902104EVER
Just some quick comments on the hour-long retrospective + cast interviews that aired before the series finale: the cast and creative team told us, “we hope you were entertained.” I just want to say….heck yeah we were. It is not many shows that have their leading lady kill a homeless man in a hit-n-run, become a hooker, writer a dirty tell-all book, and still have her rock designer labels. Also, their comment that “by the second year of the show they got to be different because people stopped comparing them to the original series”…ummm yeah that is because we all quickly realized you were not even close to the quality of Beverly Hills 90210. But that’s OK, you were…you…and we loved you. Lastly, for the first time I happened to notice a producer credit I had never seen before…apparently Scott Weinger has been a 90210 producer for quite some time. In case you don’t recognize the name, how about I jog your memory: DJ Tanner’s boyfriend on Full House, or the voice of Aladdin. That’s right…apparently he has been a producer all this time. As Michelle Tanner would say, awwwww nuts—now I am really bummed this show is off the air. I love a good 90s TV connection!

And now on to my final 90210 recap! Deep breaths…

Damsel in distress. As crowds race away from the club, Annie, Dixon and Navid quickly realize that Ade is still trapped inside. Such a shocker considering she was standing right on the stage when everything collapsed. Word quickly spreads to the gang that one of their own is missing and—after some wardrobe changes (priorities people!)—everyone makes their way over to the danger zone. While most get busy setting up a hospitality suite triage center, Navid completely disobeys the first responders and strolls on into the building to find his beloved. He finds her super quickly and rushes under the fake debris to keep Ade company since her foot is trapped. Fortunately he did have the sense to bring his cell phone, so he is able to call his friends and alert the authorities. For once, one of this show’s product placements could have been helpful, since that cell phone service was impressive! The couple is told to stay put, as moving might cause a secondary collapse. That gives them just enough time to make out and decide that they belong together, like 4ever. Once they are finally rescued, they ride off into the sunset together, in an ambulance.

Such a relief. Naomi has difficulty sitting still. But she has even more trouble not doing something that gets her attention. So, in order to try to win back good PR vibes after taking the fall on the Japanese prince scandal, Naomi organizes the world’s fastest relief benefit concert. I mean seriously, she has thrown some quick parties before, but a charity concert with the Goo Goo Dolls in 3 hours flat is downright impressive. The girl should get some kind of entrepreneur award! And also, getting T-shirts made that fast is nothing to sneeze at. Her self-serving good deed almost backfires when, ironically, her relief concert actually blocks a rescue crew from stopping a gas leak temporarily. But things work out, yada yada. And Naomi is rewarded in unexpected ways: the sale of her prince-scandal news story actually convinces the young Japanese partier to get help in rehab, and now she is popular with the emperor. Jordan’s mother can no longer stand in the way of her son rushing into a relationship with Naomi…a girl who gets through life by winging it. And that is why we shall miss our favorite shallow-yet-sweet ringleader. Keep on throwing ridiculous parties, dressing in absurd costumes and being as self-focused as you are Naomi—it suits you well!

You have a right, to fight, to paaaartaaaay. Silver was a jerk for most of this season. But man does she get crapped on in these final few episodes. First her surrogate Michaela lost the baby last week, and now this week she gets confirmation from her doctor that she does have cancer. Was this really necessary, writers? Plus, she has to act in an awkward random scene with Michael Jackson’s son, Prince, who plays a survivor of the explosion. I am not even sure what Silver was planning on doing by stealing some pills from the ambulance…were they magic pills? Or was she just going to OD because of how awful her storyline was this final year? Either way, a pep talk from buddy Dixon convinces her that life is one challenge after another, and she just needs to keep fighting. Silver decides she is going to have surgery and fight cancer, and it looks like at least one friend (Dixon) will be there to support her. And, since Silver made up with Ade via cell phone while the later was still trapped, she can probably count on Ade as well…when Ade is not busy with her dogs, fireplace and Navid.

Happily ever after for dummies. Even though every character has hooked up with literally every other character, most of us have held a special place in our hearts for Annie and Liam. For me, this is because those two have equal intelligence, or lack thereof. Separately, their stupidity is annoying, but together it is almost charming. Neither one can admit to the other that they still have feelings. It takes literally every other character to push them in the right direction before it is too late (i.e. each of them moving across the globe for a fresh start). Might I just say here that I would HATE to be the travel agent for this group. Finally, surfer stepmom Sydney can’t even stand it and literally shoves Annie’s book into Liam’s hands, telling him to read the end. Apparently the end is quite a happily every after, with “Leo” rescuing “Annabel” on his motorcycle. So Liam jumps on his bike and races down the runway, barely catching the private plane. He proposes to Annie, she says yes, and the gang rejoices via cell phone text messages.

In closing, I may rag on these writers (a lot) but I know in my 90210-heart that this finale was just no where near up to their best level. And I realize that is because they were not notified that they were cancelled until they were about to shoot this episode. Most of the cast has given interviews about how bummed they were with the hasty wrap-up and quickly re-written finale in an attempt to close the series at the last minute. I have to say—when this cast complains about the crappy writing, you know it is a legit concern. I wish this episode had not felt so rushed and random (more so than usual), but we will always have memories of better times.

Thanks for following me on this 90210 journey.

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90210 Recap – Scandal Royale

Season 5, Episode 21
Scandal Royale

The penultimate episode delivered some serious goods. Tonight’s new episode, “Scandal Royale,” brought us the absurdity and convenient plot twists that we have come to know and love…and that will make saying farewell to this show that much more difficult next week.

Gangnam style. OK, that’s not really a fair sub-title of mine for the Naomi storyline, since she must deal with the partying ways of a Japanese Prince Harry, and Gangnum style is Korean. But this is 90210 and we shouldn’t think too much about what is real or makes sense. Yes, Naomi is still obsessed with Jordan and doesn’t understand why he is avoiding her. Shockingly—it only took five seasons—Annie actually puts the pieces together and realizes that Jordan must have broken up with Naomi only because his mother made it her ‘payment’ for getting Mark to go free from his drug charges last week. This makes Naomi more determined than ever since the last time she was determined to get on Sheryl’s good graces so that she can date Jordan. This week, that means coming to the aid of Jordan’s sis Elizabeth, who is having difficulty keeping a very high Japanese prince and his “royal scepter” under wraps in their hotel. Things get worse for the girls when the prince overdoses on pills and has to be removed very publically to get his stomach pumped. Mother Sheryl is none-too-pleased and once again blames Naomi for not having the sense to call her. But then, at a press conference, Naomi takes the full heat as the “drug whore of Beverly Hills” in order to save Elizabeth’s name. Sheryl is rather impressed at Naomi’s guts and determination, but that still doesn’t mean she has the permission to date her son. But Naomi handles it like champ—and shows that even she can put another before herself. She says she simply wants Jordan to be able to live his old life, at his old job that made him happy—and not be at the whim of his mother. Naomi may come to regret this decision before all is said and done, as the paparazzi seem rather obsessed over this stupid story. I guess nothing has happened with Lindsay Lohan in a while.

Time out. Apparently it has been two days since Michaela ran off. Silver and Dixon have been busy pacing and checking their phones. Meanwhile, Navid and Ade have been busy getting busy. When they finally check their messages and get word of the missing momma, they rush to help—and to hilariously admit that they banged in Silver’s bed. When Ade offers to perform in Michaela’s place to help Dixon’s reputation as a manager, Silver immediately calls Ade out on being her old, manipulative and cheating self. Remember high school? Remember Javier? While Silver does raise a good point, I am just so over Silver these days that I don’t think she has the right to trash talk anyone. Unfortunately for Adrianna, Navid does kinda sorta listen to Silver’s remarks a little too closely and he begins to doubt the motives of his on-again-off-again-on-again girlfriend. As time is running out to find Michaela, Teddy arrives in town because Dixon called him. And I continue to be amazed by how quickly these kids jet-set. More on that in a few (ahem, Liam…ahem, Annie). Dixon, Silver and Teddy eventually track Michaela down in a shady bar, which doesn’t seem like a good place for a pregnant girl. But that’s just it: it turns out that at Michaela’s last doctor’s appointment (which she went to alone thanks to Silver and Dixon’s bickering) the doctor found no baby heartbeat. So Michaela ran away to gather her thoughts and emotions. Obviously Silver is devastated, but the news does finally begin to mend the rift between herself and Teddy. He is there is comfort her and apologize for not letting her carry the baby. And she realizes that she has made this baby sabotage every single relationship in her life. Not only does Silver need to deal with the news that she will not be a mother, but her doctor has called her in for further cancer testing. It’s times like this that you wish she had a sister who lived in the main house and who was a guidance counselor. Oh, wait…[Kelly Taylor can you hear us?]

Boy meets world. Annie and Liam are both obsessed with getting a “fresh start” on life. Hmmmm, I am pretty sure most people would trade places to have the wealthy lifestyles you both currently enjoy. Any people who can up and decide to move to opposite sides of the world in a matter of days sure know how to live large. Liam is still convinced that he needs to run away to Australia with his new “love” Sydney, while Annie prepares to embark on a worldwide book tour and end with a permanent stay in Paris. Ummm I thought you were dreading meeting up with dear ole’ mom due to the hooker thing? But the real question I have is how either of them can even pretend to move permanently with one piece of luggage. I digress. It is clear that both Annie and Liam are trying to move on from each other because they still harbor feelings. And the only thing Liam claims is holding him back is selling the bar to Annie so that he can cut all ties with L.A. While Annie agrees to buy it, she clearly wishes things could be different. Liam only begins to realize his feelings after a visit from Mr. Matthews of Boy Meets World, who just so happens to be “Old Salty” (the man Liam bought the bar from a few years back). It seems Old Salty never fully signed off on the paper work. Yeah, I am sure that never came up before during the bar fire or insurance claims or anything. Old Salty reminds Liam of who and what is special in life, just as Liam has rediscovered Annie’s engagement ring in his ‘box o’ crap’ under the bar. Liam and Sydney still stop by the concert with his one duffle bag for Australia in tow—because when moving around the world there is totes time for random music but not enough time to stop by your house for a bag. Liam sets his bag down near the backstage fireworks just so we can definitely know that shit is about to go down. After a brief and awkward exchange with Annie, he and Sydney leave (but forget the bag) and Liam lies that he can’t sell the bar just yet because he couldn’t track down Old Salty.

Fall out. Stories and people collide at the infamous concert where Fall Out Boy performs and the winner of the contest is supposed to sing. If we thought that Liam lugging his bright yellow duffle bag around was absurd, that doesn’t even compare to one of Campbell’s society bros bringing a small camp grill so they could “cook brats”…at an indoor concert? Oh this is gunna be one heck of a fire—fireworks pyrotechnics, a mysterious yellow duffle bag, AND campfire gear! Really writers? Couldn’t you have also shown people walking in playing with matches, and someone spraying heavy aerosol hairspray too? I am surprised that the venue marquee didn’t just say “Deadly fire scheduled for tonight: all idiots welcome!” Just before things go very, very wrong, Dixon and Navid realize that they were way too harsh on Adrianna because she didn’t conspire to steal Michaela’s song—she was the one who wrote Michaela’s song! But as Navid heads toward the stage while Ade sings, and Annie tells her brother, ‘yo bye, I am moving to Paris for good,’ the stage begins to spark and collapse onto itself. CUT TO BLACK.

And so we get our one last true 90210 cliffhanger. Fun challenge for a mega fan: someone should watch both the original Beverly Hills series and this series and count the number of fires these 90210 kids have survived. I did get one nagging cliffhanger resolved: the writers finally reminded me that Liam does still own the bar, despite Navid operating a club in there and Naomi running a restaurant. I guess they were just paying rent to Liam! Ahhh, mystery solved!

And then there was one.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – Something Old

Season 8, Episode 23
Something Old

It was basically an impossible task of following a stellar episode like last week’s legendary “Bro Mitzvah,” so tonight’s penultimate “Something Old” didn’t pack the same kind of comedic punch. But it certainly set the ball rolling for a big finale: will Marshall and Lily really move to Italy for a year? Will Barney and Robin actually make it down the aisle? And will Ted finally have verbal or physical contact with the mother at the reception?

Bromance
Robin’s harsh father (the wonderful Ray Wise) is in town for the upcoming festivities and he plans some bonding time with his future son-in-law. It seems that Mr. S. has really taken to the idea of welcoming Barney to the family, since it is no understatement to say he has always wanted a son. Robin and her sister are just “OK.” What better activity to do then some laser tag? Mr. S ditches his daughter in Central Park to get competitive with the B-Dawg. And it is certainly not lost on us, or Robin, that these two men are actually quite similar in their manipulative and emotionally unavailable ways. As Barney and Mr. S. each recruit teams of children to take each other down, they realize their mutual respect. But it is this similarity that feeds some of Robin’s own concerns as she goes a little crazy in Central Park.

Digging up the past
Why is Robin in Central Park going a bit crazy? It is because we witnessed another young Robin-as-a-total-tomboy flashback when her dad first took her to NYC as a child. On that fateful trip (which was totally better than having to survive in the Canadian wilderness by herself the year before) Robin had buried a small box with her locket inside, telling herself that one day she would move to NYC and find a sophisticated man to marry—and she would find the locket as her ‘something old.’ After digging many, many holes around the carousel in the park—and scaring a few too many people into thinking she was a feral person trying to pee—an increasingly stressed Robin calls her fiancé for help. When Barney brushes her off because he is busy building a laser tag army, Robin’s next call is to Ted, who is on his way to an interview about a new building.

Packing up the past
Ted had spent most of his day with Lily and Marshall. They called him in as reinforcement for determining what to pack for Italy versus what should go outside in the infamous “Triangle”…the spot on the curb where items disappear in mere magical moments. Of course Ted fancies himself quite the packing pro, whereas most of Spain considers him “El Gonso con la Riñonera” (i.e. the dork with the fanny pack). As Ted makes some questionable judgment calls on a triangle that should go to Italy, an Italy book that should go into the Triangle, and some costumes Marshall and Lily use in kinky ways, he gets absurdly obsessed with his and Marshall’s ratty old bean bag chair. Ted absolutely insists that they take it to Italy, to the point where Marshall and Lily have to send him on a fool’s errand to buy them nifty ‘belt satchels’ just to get rid of him. But when Ted discovers their trickery, he confesses why he cares so much about the bean bag: it was their very first piece of furniture in NYC and he is worried that his bond with Marshall and Lily will suffer without a constant reminder of their history together. Of course Marshall and Lily reassure Ted that their friendship doesn’t need a crappy chair.

And so Ted heads off for his interview, but the worrisome call from Robin makes him detour to the park. As Robin herself points out, does it mean something that her own fiancé did not show but Ted did? Robin is all of a sudden quite concerned with meanings and signs. She thinks that not being able to find the locket is a bad omen about her marriage and she isn’t sure if either of them is ready. This is very out-of-character behavior for our skeptical Robin, which only goes to show that she really is on the verge of a breakdown. Ted recognizes this and actually offers up the traditional Robin point of view: maybe his insistence on “signs” all these years was the wrong approach to life. He encourages her to just view the empty locket box as nothing more; and when the rain starts pouring to not attribute it to the heavens rejecting her marriage. But we leave them holding hands in the rain, staring at each other.

The ultimate triangle
At this point—since we know Ted and Robin will not end up together—I am hoping they do not kiss or hook up one last time. There has certainly been enough ‘incest’ in the three-way love triangle that is Barney-Robin-Ted. But it does look like there is to be one last confrontation of the emotional history between these characters.

Are you ready for the season finale? Do you think we will get a scene where we see Ted talk to the mother but still don’t actually SEE the mother?

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90210 Recap – You Can’t Win ‘Em All

Season 5, Episode 20 
You Can’t Win ‘Em All

We are getting down to the wire, and tonight on 90210 we learned “You Can’t Win ‘Em All.” In other words, you win some, you lose some…which on this show means that sometimes you get your brother free from jail, and sometimes he has to move to Vermont. Plus, Naomi wears her 9,0210th costume on this series.

Jailhouse Rock. Back from their quickie trip to NYC last week, Mark is in jail for the drug bust on his luggage—drugs that Annie’s ex (during her hooker days) planted to mess with her family. Don’t feel too bad, Mark, as your sisters mention, they all have police records in this family. The bumbling sisters race against the clock to help their bro, but they learn a thing or two in the process: apparently Mark has hid the fact that he is currently on probation for narcotics trafficking (of which he is totes innocent!) AND he has twin 11-year olds with his ex-wife. Wow, it’s amazing the info that comes out after a night in jail. Adding to Mark’s complications, his ex-wife wants to take a job in Vermont, but the only way Mark can prevent her from leaving the state with his kids is if he can prove he is an active dad. That may be difficult given he is about to miss their birthday party [and because this show literally just made up this back story about three seconds ago]. But never fear, Mark…Princess Naomi to the rescue! Yes, Naomi always has to hatch a plan that she considers to be genius (in this case, throwing a lavish birthday party she thinks is so good that the kids will, ummm, fail to notice that their dad didn’t show). She drags her famous pal Liam along to make a good impression and even dons a princess costume for some fun in a ball pit. Was it just me, or did these kids seem a little old for a princess/Discovery Zone party? When Liam sees what a terrible plan this is, he snatches the kids and takes them to see their father [in jail] and shockingly the kids have a good time with dad. The parent I am really now questioning is the ex-wife who leaves her kids with two strangers in costumes at a party with no other kids. Anyways, while Naomi has been busy with party plans, Annie has taken the lead on the legal front. She hires a hottie lawyer (who I am pretty sure used to be on Saved by the Bell: The New Class) but the lawyer says they really need access to the sealed court documents from Mark’s previous case. Getting that information is something that only Jordan can do through his manipulative mother. He is reluctant to ask for her help—because he knows it comes with strings attached—but when he sees how important Mark is to Naomi, he manages to get the information needed to set Mark free. Naomi is delighted, but then bummed to learn that Mark will have to move to Vermont anyways, to be with his kids. And, she will now lose Jordan as well because mommie dearest wants him to get back to NYC as repayment.

Everybody Hates Silver. It is kind of ironic…Silver doesn’t really need a baby given how she acts like a baby. And finally, FINALLY most of the others are tired of catering to her whines and whims. You know it is bad when she makes people like Ade and Michaela seem mature by contrast. In a surprise no one everyone sees coming, Michaela’s “amazing” song (written and submitted by Ade) gets chosen by the contest producers. But of course Silver is the one to pick up the call. She immediately starts packing Michaela’s bags, but not for the tour. Instead, Silver plans to send Michaela back to DC to finish out her pregnancy. As Silver and Dixon fight like toddlers over their little human puppet, Michaela gets increasingly angry. I would feel sorry for Michaela, except that I just want to slap her for being too dumb to know her own rights. From this point forward, things become even more of a mess as Dixon confronts Ade about screwing with their delicate situation by secretly submitting the song, and Ade accuses Dixon of not taking a stand against Silver to go after what HE wants. While all of these guys have gone about it in ridiculous ways, they all finally reach a similar conclusion that we have been waiting for: why has everyone let Silver call the only shots lately? In order to reassert themselves, Ade cements her relationship with Navid (who I am pretty sure Silver could care less about) but in doing so she strains her relationship with Michaela, who also liked Navid. Not only do Ade and Navid hook up, but they do it in Silver’s bed, which is pretty much the equivalent of your cat peeing on your things when he is angry and wants attention. As for Dixon, he FINALLY has the sense to take a good look at Silver’s surrogacy contract (and have a lawyer weigh in) and he realizes that—guess what—Michaela IS still a human being and can live and do what she wants, as long as she receives proper medical care. But it may be too late for both Dixon and Silver to makes their final pleas to Michaela, because they discover she (and her fetus) have run away.

Down Under. Oh yeah, Liam is all over the map in this episode, from appearing in children’s birthday parties to having a threesome with “LeoBelles” (i.e. fans of his character in Annie’s book). It is pretty par for the course that Liam has an identity crisis in each episode and questions his life choices. This time, when Sydney (the wicked stepmom) pops up to apologize and explain that she wants to hit reset on their relationship, he decides this is the perfect chance to move to Australia with the woman! And he wants Annie to buy the Offshore from him! Now, I couldn’t even remember who even owns the Offshore at this point, but Liam thinks it is him. And he thinks moving suddenly across the globe with a woman he barely knows is smart. OK, Liam, OK.

Stay tuned for next week, when we are down to the final two!

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – The Bro Mitzvah

Season 8, Episode 22
The Bro Mitzvah

How does one throw a bachelor party for Barney Stinson–a man who has spent a lifetime making every night legen-wait-for-it-dary? This is certainly a tall order, and Barney himself long ago (i.e. last year with Quinn) laid out the law that he expected to be followed for the holiest of Bro ceremonies: The Bro Mitzvah!

We all wondered how the gang would be able to throw a bachelor party worthy of Mr. Stinson, and it seemed to start off on the right foot: a kidnapping. Ted and Marshall grabbed Barney and pulled him into a van headed to Atlantic City, leaving Robin alone to deal with Barney’s mom at dinner. As soon as the guys arrived in AC, it quickly dawned on Barney that a low-budget hotel and life-threatening entertainment (a DVD of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth) just wasn’t up to his high expectations. And it quickly dawned on me that this version of a bachelor party was an elaborate set-up designed to fake out Barney. But little did I know the depths of their plotting.

Things went from disappointing to downright awkward for Barney, as first a clown showed up, then Lily bringing Ralph Macchio (i.e. the “wrong” Karate Kid since Barney always roots for the villain), and finally the stripper…none other than former fiancé Quinn. It was great to see Quinn again—by far she was the best significant other any of the single gang had dated over the years—but it certainly wasn’t great for Barney. He was forced to sit in the bathroom alone (with balloon hat) while Quinn did a naughty strip-tease for everyone but the bachelor. Meanwhile, Robin grew increasingly angry on her phone calls with Barney, suffering through a dinner that involved Barney’s mom explaining sex positions with napkin rings and breadsticks, and maybe a baguette.

Even though Ted and Marshall continually reminded Barney that they were checking things off of his Bro Mitzvah requirement list, the night continued to destruct for him. After being taunted by his in-wait-for-it-credible nemesis, Ralph Macchio, Barney turned the van toward the casino and dragged them all to his favorite (nonsensical) game of Chinese chance. After losing several rounds thanks to chickens and jelly-beans, Barney and the gang head back to NYC…minus Marshall who was lost as collateral. They pulled up to Barney’s place just in time to encounter an extremely pissed off Robin, who got even angrier at the sight of Quinn. Both ladies took turns throwing a ring in Barney’s face and storming off.

Clearly, as Barney slumped down on the stoop of his building, he considered this one of the worst nights of his life. And at that moment, the gang knew their Bro Mitzvah was a success! As we learned in flashbacks, Robin realized a few weeks ago that the only way to give Barney a memorable bachelor party that topped the many best nights of his life would be to give him the worst night of his life. So Robin plotted and choreographed the entire escapade, from conspiring with Quinn (who was happy to screw with her ex) to Ralph Macchio, to the Chinese casino entourage and even Barney’s mom. Yes, everyone was more than happy to run an epic play now known as The Barney. It was the perfect bookend to The Robin, when Barney messed with Robin to propose. Plus, there was one last awesome surprise in store for Mr. Stinson: the clown that had accompanied them the entire evening turned out to be none other than William Zabka—the true hero of The Karate Kid (in Barney’s twisted eyes, that is).

This episode worked well on many levels and provided bro-tastic laughs. When How I Met Your Mother is at its best, like tonight, it is because: it lets well-established character quirks really shine; it gives every person something good to do; we get exciting cameos and call-backs; and we get some sort of twist at the end. Think of how jam-packed this was…from Barney’s previously mentioned obsession of rooting for the so-called villain or his long-held weakness for the hilariously bizarre casino game of chance, to Lily’s flirty tendencies toward guys (and hot girls) and Ted and Marshall’s competitiveness over who would be valued more as mob collateral. This was an episode worthy of a Barney high-five. Mazel Brov!

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90210 Recap – The Empire State Strikes Back

Season 5, Episode 19
The Empire State Strikes Back

With only a handful of episodes left in the series, “The Empire State Strikes Back” was pretty weak. I expect more backstabbing and comedy, but instead we just got the usual idiocy and bitchiness…not nearly enough given how very little time we have left. We did learn that having private jets at your disposal does really make all the difference when it comes to travel.

New York State of Mind. For these girls to compare themselves to Sex and the City is sacrilegious. Author X Annie as Carrie Bradshaw? Don’t even. But the girls [+ Mark] decide to head to the big apple for a mini-getaway and to impress Jordan’s high-powered politico mother, Sheila. It seems that she is quite the tough cookie and a potential for the next Secretary of State. OK, that is strike two: this show should never be allowed to mention real-life significant television series OR meaningful political offices, ever.  Naomi worries that her family history—despite being wealthy—is just not good enough for mommy dearest and puts pressure on brother Mark to pretend like they are better than they are. One would think that Naomi would have learned that being herself and not putting on a fake act for the sake of a guy would have sunk in by now, but one would be wrong. Even though Mark steps up and auctions his own private cooking class to a horny lucky lady, Sheila knows Naomi’s true sordid back story and is not pleased. But when Naomi finally tells her off, it is Jordan who walks away most impressed. Apparently the best way to win Jordan’s heart is by standing up to his mother.

Access Hollywood. Annie’s main motivation for tagging along to NYC is so that she can officially reveal herself as the infamous Author X to Nancy O’Dell on live TV. But first she must come clean to her brother. Dixon doesn’t take the news that Annie prostituted herself to put him through expensive rehab quite so well (maybe she should have sent him to a cheaper facility in the Valley). When Dixon asks Liam for advice, he decides to show up to a random charity meeting at Patrick’s home and mingle with his wife, and then threaten Patrick to keep away from his sister. Patrick—or Paterson as he is known in Annie’s easily identifiable book—doesn’t want his wife to discover his secret life. Dixon pops over to NYC for the night [yup, it’s that convenient to go 3,000 miles] just to tell Annie that he supports her decision to come clean to the world about her past. So Annie does just that! The next thing you know, Patrick has hopped a plane all so that he could have a 5 second confrontation with her in the hotel lobby and express his rage that the whole world figured out that he is “Paterson” (and apparently cares this much about a stupid book). Now he is out for serious payback on little orphan Annie. Except what does he do? He puts cocaine in Mark’s duffle bag bound for the airport. Ummm OK. You know, it’s nonsensical actions like these that make me wish Annie and Patrick had made things work in their twisted relationship…they seem to fit together so well.

I’m a Slave to You. It continues to amaze me how this show can take characters who used to be remotely decent (ahem, Navid) and turn them into such absurd and horrid people. Silver is on the same trajectory this season…first as a whiney and obnoxious girl whose only obsession was having a baby (never mind the fact that she does nothing else with her life, like work, go to school, or figure out a way she will raise a child while living in an upscale garage) to now acting like having a surrogate is the same thing as having a slave. Why on earth Michaela agreed to even be Silver’s surrogate is beyond me, but I am pretty sure that just because a surrogate agrees to carry a baby to term and stay generally healthy doesn’t mean that the biological mom can dictate every life decision. Michaela practically has to have a permission slip signed to go to the bathroom. Master Silver is ‘kind’ enough to agree that Michaela can enter a song in a competition, but secretly she only agrees because she doesn’t think Michaela will have a shot in hell at winning. On the one hand, I agree that Michaela doesn’t have talent; on the other hand, Silver is such a bitch. While ‘the Master’ is away eating pizza in NYC with her new boy toy, Mark, Michaela stays behind to crank out an original song and gets help from the master lyricist that is Adrianna. HA. But it turns out that Ade really enjoys writing (who knew she could write?) and Michaela really thinks they have a hit. When Silver hears this masterpiece and then forbids her servant surrogate from entering the song, Ade goes ahead and submits it anyway. I kind of thought that Ade would just rerecord the song with her own singing, but surprisingly she didn’t. But I don’t think we will be at a loss for drama between Ade and Michaela—who are now both into Navid. And certainly the Ade-Silver feud will heat up!

Wipe Out. Over at the beach, Liam and Navid decide to get down to business on their custom surfboard company for serious surfer chicks. Oh, is that still happening? Liam has selected a young girl named Cassie McCoy to be their spokesperson, as she is between sponsors. Conveniently, she hangs around CU with her college boyfriend. You know what else is convenient? Apparently CU lets random people who aren’t even students [or who are former students who got in trouble for a massive cheating ring] throw last-minute concerts in the Student Union. Yes, Cassie will only agree to be their surfer-celeb endorsement IF Liam and Navid can arrange a concert with this week’s musical guest, Olly Murs. They manage to pull it off and Cassie is totes stoked. But then when news breaks around-the-world that Liam is actually “Leo” from Annie’s sordid book, Cassie’s momager refuses to let her work with him. Sorry dude, life’s a beach.

That leaves us with only three episodes to go before we say goodbye to 90210 one last time.

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90210 Recap – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Call Girl

Season 5, Episode 18
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Call Girl

When 90210 says “previously on” they are not joking around: the recap reel showed scenes from way back when Annie was a high-class call-girl. But of course that is all relevant now that Annie has published a “50 Shades” tell-all type book. Things climax quickly for Annie and fellow-90210ers now that we are down to just a small handful of episodes for this absurdly enjoyable series.

Author X-rated. Yes, Annie’s poorly written book has somehow become a best-selling sensation, but she is still insistent on staying anonymous. Hmmm perhaps she should not have posed for her own book cover (naked backside, but still). Annie’s plans to lay low are foiled when Naomi gets a sweet gig from her new love interest, Jordan. He wants her to throw an awesome book party for Undressed and Naomi wants to show him how she can work her thang. But because she is still getting over her divorce and reluctant to enter a new relationship, she decides her best approach is to really wow Jordan with the party and get the mysterious Author X to out herself. She even requests Annie’s help! It takes Silver (and later during a book reading Liam) mere seconds to realize “Annabel” in Undressed is Annie. And, as Liam finally points out, her ridiculous name parallels like “Annabel” having a thing for motorcycle-riding loner “Leo” don’t help her anonymous wish. At the sexy masquerade party, Naomi keeps her eye out for a potential Author X but only ends up making a fool out of herself by believing that Jordan’s secretive sister is the woman behind the book. While Jordan and sister Elizabeth do seem to be hiding something, Annie finally comes clean to Naomi about her prostitution past. She also takes Naomi’s advice to heart and decides to tell the world who she is—embrace her dark past to be truly free. Unfortunately, Liam doesn’t really feel the same way and is super pissed that Annie wrote about him. And based on the ending, it seems former lover Patrick is none too pleased when he shows up at her door. But certainly the best line of the night went to Silver for this diddy: “You wrote a book about being a hooker?! But congratulations!”

That’s what friends are for. We knew from the last episode that crazy Ade was thisclose to rearing her ugly head, again. While Ade told Silver she was “OK” with Silver and Mark’s hook-up, that was most definitely not the case. The understatement of the year was Silver explaining to Mark that the last time she and Ade fought over a guy, things went down a really dark path. Uhhh yeah they did, like swapping prescription medications for bipolar disease? So Silver breaks things off with a bummed out Mark, but he won’t take things lying down…well except he offers to get down with Ade. Yep, he calls Ade over to play a serious game of friendship chicken. Mark starts undressing and gives Ade her chance to sleep with him to ‘get back at Silver’ and get her angry revenge out, so that he and Silver can move on with their own relationship. But Ade can’t go through with being a bad friend. Just when Mark thinks he has solved the girls’ problem, Ade confronts Silver and tells her ‘friend’ that Silver didn’t consider her feelings the way Ade herself had, so their friendship is over.

Innocent until proven guilty. Back over in boring land, Liam and Navid enact the next phase of their plan to expose Campbell and his society douche bags as the leaders of the university cheating ring. Since Liam is sleeping with Campbell’s young stepmom, Sydney, she seems oddly interested in helping frame Campbell herself. They arrange for the econ professor to give a new exam and also convince Campbell and his buddies to cheat again, this time using a good old-fashioned water bottle with formulas written on it. Honestly, all of these guys—including Navid—deserve to be kicked out of school for being so stupid. Navid can’t even hide his smugness when they are caught, until he realizes that he is STILL guilty from cheating the first time. This is America’s future, folks. So now lots of boys are angry, and even Liam is pissed because he learns that Sydney was only using him to screw with her stepson because she wants his inheritance. We. Don’t. Care.

High-school musical chairs. The relationship drama continues, with Mark actually expressing what we are all thinking: why do all these people act like high-schoolers who can’t have a simple face-to-face conversation? Well, I guess because this is 90210. Dixon seeks advice from his newly discovered bro about whether he should date Michaela. But when Dixon finally tells the preggo surrogate that he is into her, she lets him down. Apparently Michaela only likes Dixon as a friend, but she does still have the hots for Navid whom she first met (Really? Are these crazy pregnancy hormones talking?). Well, we may have another love triangle on our hands, as a bummed out Ade and Navid commiserate over their ‘terrible’ lives by making out. So, I guess we really are back in high school, when these two dated.

Only four episodes to go.

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How I Met Your Mother Recap – Romeward Bound

Season 8, Episode 21
Romeward Bound

Tonight’s new How I Met Your Mother aired despite the tragic events in Boston today. But it was a nice change of pace to have something light on the television. “Romeward Bound” found Lily considering an intriguing job offer and Barney and Ted considering how to get a hot girl to remove her coat.

Captain America
Apparently Lily has been making a pretty good name for herself as the Captain’s art consultant. So good that he wants her to move to Rome for a year to be his art consultant over in Italy. Lily heads to the bar, where all great decisions must be made. When she tries to call Marshall, he sounds so busy at his dream environmental law job that she immediately rejects the Captain’s offer—she can’t bear to ask Marshall to uproot his life for this.

I must pause at this point to say that the highlight of this episode was certainly the various imaginations of Lily + Marshall in Rome. Filled with every possible Italian stereotype and cliché, Lily worries that her bored Italian house-husband would quickly strike up romance with a sultry Italian woman at a café. Well, after he got tired of Italy’s version of The Price Is Right. I give Jason Segel props for his pitch-perfect cheesiness.

It’s Getting Hot in Here
…So take off all your clothes coat! As Barney and Ted chill at MacLaren’s, Ted notices a girl from his yoga class at the bar [of course Ted takes yoga]. Ted remembers her quite well since he almost once asked her out, but then was too blown away by her “redonkulous” body. Unfortunately, her body is presently hidden by a massive coat that she doesn’t have intention of removing, even after Barney slips Carl $100 to crank up the heat. When Robin arrives and actually knows the mysterious hottie, Barney thinks that perhaps his super cool fiancé is down for the prized threesome belt. But it turns out that this girl also happens to be Barney and Robin’s wedding planner, Liddy.

Just when we think that Robin and Barney will get into their weekly argument over whether Barney still focuses too much on other women, Robin actually shows us her wingwoman spirit and agrees that she wants to see what is under the coat. Barney argues that only a dude who is totally taken and smitten can get away with asking another woman to ‘remove’ an article of clothing. Since Marshall is not available, Robin wonders why Barney cannot pull it off, since he is off the market too. Barney carefully and barely gets the words out and is surprised when it results in success! Her body IS redonkulous. And Barney is pleased with his commitment to Robin. But he and Ted do share a rather awkward and foreboding moment in which Ted warns Barney not to take so much advantage of Robin being a ‘cool fiance’ who is down with Barney’s antics. Time will tell if that conversation amounts to future trouble in paradise.

House Hunters International
Back to the big decision on deck, Lily heads over to Marshalls’ office since he is so busy. But it turns out that “working on a big case” and “a lot on my plate” are code for drinking a case of beer and polishing off a plate of burgers respectively. Yes, it seems that since Marshall’s firm won that big case—but with a teeny tiny settlement—business has taken a beating. With no staff and a boss hiding out in a bunker, Lily sees that Marshall’s job is not the barrier to moving like she thought. Marshall goes to the Captain and convinces him to re-offer the Italy job. Then it is Lily’s turn to freak out and imagine her Italian life as a big fat failure.

Of course godfather Marshall is super supportive of his wife. With one simple sentence in Italian, “Come on, bro, don’t Bogart all the Funions,” he is masterfully able to give Lily the pep talk she needs to take this leap and live an adventure.

Since the odds are slim that we will spend all of the final season with Ted, Robin and Barney in NYC and Lily and Marshall in Rome, how do we think these plans will implode? Can we at least get a spoof of a House Hunters International episode in which Marshall and Lily try to find the perfect flat in Rome for their young family? Don’t forget to complain about paint color you guys…and how tiny the kitchens are…and no open floor plans.

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