Here's my How I Met Your Mother defense: I know it's on CBS and it's a senior citizen in sitcom years, but it’s still really innovative in how it tells stories. And it’s still funny most of the time. And it has never stopped being afraid to be weird. And sometimes the overtures and bleeding heart plots are earned and make you feel a fair amount of the feelings. And it’s the last season probably; at least the writing staff is treating it as such. Besides, in a flashforward to 2015 we saw Ted with his infant child and he was wearing a wedding ring and there are no backsies, so that whole Mother stuff is going to happen really soon, whether the show lasts 20 years so Jason Segel can finally finish building his army of muppet robots or not.
Then again, a scene in last night's season premiere reminded me that I understand the haters too sometimes.
"Farhampton" opened with Ted Mosby waiting for a train. It had been 10 hours since Robin and Barney's wedding and he was recounting to some old woman what had happened earlier. Barney and Robin were both freaking out about marrying one another, and when Robin made a comment about climbing out the window and sliding down the drainpipe to freedom it triggered Saget Ted to voiceover about what the hell she was talking about, so suddenly we were watching a memory within a memory. This wasn't even two minutes in and it was getting all Inceptiony in here.
Fortunately we hung out on the May day in 2012 from the season finale for the majority of the rest of the episode. Marshall and Lily, delirious and sleep deprived because their newborn Marvin was a newborn and was a big fan of crying and vomiting and just generally not giving a damn about nothin', were very difficult to talk to. This was unfortunate, because once Quinn asked Robin and Lily to be her bridesmaids for her wedding to Barney (because she claimed her stripper friends would insist on the dresses not having a front, which is interesting because I assumed strippers would occasionally like to wear clothing, like maybe for five minutes a day but I guess I was wrong and now I will never assume ever again because the feeling of being wrong is awful) Robin needed friends to talk to to say how weird that would be. Of course, she could have simply talked to Barney first, but she did that second after Marshall and Lily, and that's when Barney revealed that he never told Quinn that they dated, and went as far as photoshopping all of the pictures of the two of them together.
That had to have hurt, even if it was from a man who technically is a sociopath. Of course Marshall and Lily inadvertently spilled the season five relationship beans to Quinn, but in a well written drawn out manner that played with the expected comedic timing. They were *really* tripping from a lack of sleep.
Quinn gave Barney one minute to explain himself, and Stinson proceeded to recap the entire history of the show as a timer on the bottom left of the screen counted down the minute. All you need to know is that he referred to Ted as lame a bunch of times and said he's bad at closing (half truth), claimed that Robin went to Brazil after her break-up with Ted instead of Argentina (just odd), and completely downplayed the significance of Ted getting the tramp stamp (met Stella and Tony who gave him his current profession, The Mother was in a classroom with him once.) Quinn apparently has not been a fan of the show's previous seven seasons and was all ready to get out of her engagement until Robin said she had a boyfriend. At MacLaren's she showed off the Nick that first appeared in season six as Robin's crush, and as she kept rubbing his abs in public ("I don't mean to be crude, but I want to spend all day licking his abs."), Quinn was satisfied that she was over the Barnacle. Later Barney passed Robin a key to a storage room, where she discovered a whole box of original Barney/Robin luv photos. Poor chicken legged Nick just can't catch a break.
Meanwhile, Ted insisted that Victoria leave Klaus a note, explaining why she had decided not to go through with the wedding. Ted was a mess after Stella left him at the altar, and apparently somehow he would have been even worse off without the note she left. After Victoria came up with something more to Ted's liking than her first draft of "There is no easy way to tell you why I wont be marrying you to today. Have a great summer", Ted negotiated his way past a very intimidating and very stereotypically German sister of Klaus', courtesy of Barney seducing her over the phone. Ted successfully left the note, but also left the car keys. Upon returning, he ran into a booking it outta here Klaus, who resembled Thomas Lennon. Lennon unsurprisingly managed a good German accent while saying he had just come from Victoria's room to leave a note of his own. That must have been some relationship. Ted stealthily climbed up the dreaded drainpipe, sprinkled water on Klaus' note to simulate tears, took Victoria's note back, got the car keys and fled. But before he could drive Victoria to wherever it was they were going to go and continue to not tell her that Klaus left a note himself, he told her he'd be right back and went to find Klaus at the train station to ask why he left Victoria. I'm guessing because she doesn't ask enough questions. In a strange speech peppered with nonsense German words, Lennon attempted to say as poetically and charming as possible that Victoria was a pretty cool chick and all, but he can do better.
“There is a word in German: Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz. And the closest translation would be…'Lifelong Treasure of Destiny.' And Victoria is wunderbar, but she is not my Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz. She is my Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand, you know? It means…'the thing that is almost the thing that you want…but it’s not quite.' Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz is not something that develops over time. It is something that happens instantaneously.It courses through you like the water of a river after a storm…filling you and emptying you all at once. You feel it throughout your body…in your hands…in your heart…in your stomach…in your skin…Have you ever felt this way about someone? If you have to think about it, you have not felt it. Everyone does eventually. You just never know when or where."
As he was saying that we saw Lily and Marshall with their newborn and Barney looking out a taxi window thinking about Robin and Robin smiled at the undoctored photos that Barney secretly kept, which was sweet and everything but their love wasn't "instantaneous." And Klaus was just feeding Theodore Evelyn Mosby fantasy garbage about having to absolutely positively know in your heart immediately that a woman is THE ONE, but when he was head over heels in love with Robin the very first time he had laid eyes on her seven years ago and that didn't work out, and that is not how the real world works, and he is only getting older, and you should maybe get to know someone before you think about marrying them, and Santa Claus isn't real, and if he was he'd be loooong dead by now. Sometimes the passionate soliloquies and luv lessons don't land, and this was one of them, German accent be damned. And how dare we be teased of a show where Ted Mosby is revealed to be a pathetic Walter Mitty descendent that ruins his life by dreaming it all away. Wouldn't that be an amazing reveal? It'd be really sad, but amazing television, and it can still be funny.
But suddenly it was CRANK UP THE BAND OF HORSES O'CLOCK as we were hurdled back forward to the Farhampton station in the year "a little ways down the road…" with Ted and the old woman, still waiting for their train. A cab pulled up. A cab driver gave back some change and reminded someone that their guitar was in the trunk. The license plate was 2W86D!!! A bass guitar case was taken out. A person had legs and knew how to operate them and walked down the platform. Yellow umbrella.
It was The Mother, sans face! Bays and Thomas confirmed that it is the time and place when they first meet. I thought it was at the wedding, but apparently they never said specifically he’d meet her at the wedding. Okay fine. Guess it isn’t absolutely positively Barney’s half sister anymore, which sucks because it was an incredible theory where Ted’s kids would literally have an Uncle Barney and Aunt Robin. We shouldn’t assume anything anymore. That cute cat of yours? Don't turn your fucking back man. Do we even know if the Mother is a woman? If she has a face?
There is going to be a lot of plot and relationship bloodbath in the next few episodes, which should keep things busy. For now, the decent laughs in "Farhampton" and the new mythology information should keep the curmudgeons happy. It wasn't Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz with the season premiere, but it wasn't out of the realm of wunderbar to see the old gang again.
Things to Say Before Telling the Grizzly Bear He is No Longer Welcome to the Wedding
"Of course you feel it in your Schlauchmachendejungen. Pardon my French."
“There is no easy way to tell you why I wont be marrying you to today. Have a great summer. “ – Victoria’s first draft
“’Sweet’? Are you still in love with this jerk?”
“You filthy, disgusting man. But yes, I will do this to myself at your instruction. Let me find a broom closet.”
“I’m a mess I threw up in the coat room I blamed a small child.”
Things to Ponder While Wondering If Anyone Will Ever Have That Damn Champagne
Will they bother to explain how Robin reconnected with Nick? Will we feel like children if they do?
Why is Ted’s right hand bandaged after the Barney/Robin wedding?
Did being an enthusiastic student in Calligraphy class (“Your prints are in.” “Yes!”) lead to Ted’s gender neutral or feminine handwriting?
Did Barney’s 52 second encapsulation of the series remind you of Hurley’s recapping of everything the survivors went through on Lostthat one time?
Okay but why did Barney say Robin went to Brazil when she went to Argentina? Unacceptable. This is like the outrigger shooter mystery all over again (another damn Lost reference. Ugh.)
Farhampton as far as I can tell isn't a real town, even though they nailed it with the rusted white LIRR signage.
Roger Cormier is not to blame for the lamb grease stains.