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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

'How I Met Your Mother' Recap: "The Stamp Tramp"

The men of How I Met Your Mother are all nice, law abiding people, but they are definitely all flawed: Ted knows a lot of things about a lot of high brow subjects, but whenever he exhibits his knowledge he is an alienating, insufferable prick about it; Barney's childhood abandonment issues have led to a lifetime of overindulging on female flesh and crude, groan inducing sexual punnery; Marshall gives every human being the benefit of the doubt, even though he is a New York City resident, where it's a minor miracle that he doesn't get mugged every time he leaves the apartment.

Ted and Barney's issues are broader, and on the surface have a lot more jokes and stories to them, but those characteristics in recent seasons have led to a lot of anger from viewers that get angry at characters who do the same annoying crap over and over again when the humor becomes redundant. Marshall on the other hand is such a lovable guy that his biggest problem is that he's too nice. The jokes from Marshall have to come from the sweetest giant in the world going vis-a-vis with most of the universe and their selfish existences. "The Stamp Tramp" somehow addressed all of those flaws in three stories, and all of them were funny.

It would make sense that the group would make fun of Marshall for being the titular "stamp tramp", someone who consistently gives people and things Marshall Eriksen's Stamp of Approval to the point where it completely loses its value. Marshall is all of the youths that Louis C.K. talked about in one of his comedy specials that completely overuse the word "amazing." Marshall is that friend who gives half of the movies he sees on Netflix 5 stars. Marshall is Jimmy Fallon. This became an issue for Big Fudge when he ran into his old law school buddy Brad outside of Honeywell and Cootes. Last time we saw Brad he shared too much information with Robin about "being born a little different" below the belt, which confused a lot of people and the best bet is at that he has three testicles. Brad – superfluous testicles and all – was not looking so hot.

Brad claimed to had been out of work for two years and being "depresh", only having a sunny disposition thanks to the prospect of becoming a guy in a bratwurst costume. Marshall of course offered to get him an interview for a job at his environmental do-gooder law firm, but he's on thin ice with his jerk of a boss Honeywell (of Honeywell and Cootes, portrayed by Joe Lo Truglio) for strongly suggesting a food place that made Lo Truglio and the entire office vomit and go potty profusely. Brad ended up bombing the interview for claiming he was fired from a previous job because women don't have a sense of humor, farting (Lo Truglio did give him credit for the warning though), claiming to consult with psychics for work related decisions and, in the biggest sin of all, making a lot of fun of Lo Truglio's height. Brad insisted that Honeywell could not have been a center for the Holy Cross basketball team as he claimed, and scoffed at Lo Truglio's assertion that he was 6'1"."You're six foot one – if you stood on your pile of gold at the end of the rainbow" you're six one maybe if you stood on that pile of gold at the end of the rainbow." (The former The State star is officially listed as 5'7"). Brad did not get the job and Marshall was taken off the big case. But not fired, which in this economy I'd consider a win.

But Marshall wasn't optimistic. "Remember how i always wanted to know what it was like to be a ghost?" he asked Lily. "Well I don't want that anymore." Marshall was being completely ignored by his boss. Lily advised him to give his stamp on approval on something small, like a funny video. Ted provided one of his past self attempting to pierce his ear (we'll get to that later), which worked perfectly at the office (Honeywell was delighted at how much of a bleeder Ted seemed to be.) Then he brought in popcorn and claimed there's no way caramel and cheese should work, but it does. Amazingly, it did. Then Honeywell trusted him with asking if his deep V was working, which is of course "when you lie your ass off." "Sir, I think you can go even deeper." These tricks of Eriksen's got him back in favor, but really did a number on Lo Truglio's physical appearance.

In the courtroom, Brad revealed that he Keyser Soze'd Marshall and Honeywell's asses, and has been working on the opposing legal team for two years. Marshall's kindness taken advantage of. An angry Honeywell told Marshall that he had to win the case or he was fired, nodded to two random other lawyers and did a sweet little storm off with them. Saget Ted informed us that it the trial would "change the course of Marshall's career", and then said "but we'll get to that later", which are the six most SMH inducing words to say on this show.

Teddy Westside meanwhile was finally able to see some of the douchiness that what we all have seen over the last eight years. After being dubbed a "piggyback stamper" – who of course is someone who pretends to be a trendsetter when in fact they got the idea or info from someone else first – Ted spent the next twenty two minutes proving the group wrong, which always works. First he did what any reasonable person would do and showed off his old Dishwalla shirt.

They did the "tell me all your thoughts on God" song called "Counting Blue Cars" that you probably heard a lot in 1995-96, then later on Pop Up Video. The internet insists they wrote and recorded other songs, but I think that's an Anonymous prank. Anyway, Ted claimed he got "everyone" into the band – the band that is only known for one song. After repeatedly saying the college all heard Dr. X's "beloved" radio show play the song to cement Dishwalla's popularity forever, Lily forced Ted's hand by pointing out that technically Dr. X deserves the stamp and not him. Ted admitted, finally, after all these years, to being the ridiculously pretentious college DJ Dr. X. This reveal resulted in the rare but always welcome planned, sarcastic three person spit take. The only problem with that scene is that it might mean the end of any Dr. X references, which was unequivocally the most amusing and enjoyable running gag about Mr. Mosby's misguided forays into grandiosity.

Ted then dug up his freshman video diaries, which Lily immediately pointed out he must had started doing when seeing Winona Ryder in Reality Bites. Upon putting in the first VHS tape (the Eriksen's still have their VCR), we heard college Lily tell Ted about this new band Dishwalla. Ted proceeded to watch hours and hours of footage of himself doing dumb things like put on a beret and piercing his own ear.

Finally the man was able to see some truth about himself, but then he was redeemed when the tape showed Ted telling Marshall after his third date with Lily that Marshall should stick with it and try to spend as much time with her as possible. Lily saw it and pointed out that maybe if it wasn't for that speech from the Dishwalla years that maybe a marriage and a baby wouldn't have happened. It was sweet, but I kind of was hoping that Ted would cry himself to sleep for a few nights to his own stupidity.

And then there was Barney, who still was feeling the effects of the Quinn breakup, this time having to find a new strip club after seven wonderful years at the Lusty Leopard. Thankfully, this storyline didn't devolve into sophomoric garbage but instead became a cute play on sports and the art of free agency. Robin dived right into the opportunity to be Barney's agent and did her best to get the man the most incentives from clubs that wanted his fat wallet. The strip clubs involved included the Billy Beane approved Stripermetrics, the horny octogenarian gentleman's club a.k.a. Golden Oldies, Big Box, Fur Coat et al. Robin accepted a hilariously dated form of bling in a necklace with a simple big dollar sign on it as a bribe from Golden Oldies to try to get Barney to sign on with them and their hip dysplaxia suffering strippers, but Stinson knew something was wrong. Those Golden Oldies play dirty and are kind of creepy. For one thing, that Golden better be just a play on their age. Also, just look at the guy.

Ultimately, in a dated but acceptable and amusing play on LeBron James' The Decision special (poor Ted noticed the parallel. His quiet claims that the Cavaliers are doing just fine evoked pity), Barney chose to take his talents to Mouth Beach. After, Robin apologized and the two went to a strip club, got drunk, and on their walk back kissed. Robin said they couldn't do that because he abandoned his hometown to go for an easy championship it's too soon in the season and walked away, leaving Barney all alone to probably throw up on the sidewalk. Sure, he may be close to winning it all, but is it worth possibly losing all respect from the people that made him who he is?

Things to Say While Talking to Your Cousin Who Works at the 'Beaver Dam'

"You're the Lebron James of strip clubs. Actually, you're probably tied with LeBron James of that one."

"Waiting for my astrologist to weigh in, but he's kind of flaky. You know, Cancer. Should be back after he's done with chemo."

"I'm nervous bro. I couldn't even get my leg through that bratwurst outfit."

Brad: "I got fired from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for telling inappropriate jokes. I mean, get a sense of humor, LaShawda. You know how they are."
Marshall:"'They' meaning Bed, Bath, and Beyond employees, right?"
Brad: "Nah. Women."
Marshall, to Honeywell: "That still could've been worse."

Things to Ponder While Waiting for Dr. Berkowitz

Barney took Ted and Robin to a strip club on Thanksgiving seven years ago in "Belly Full of Turkey", but I don't remember it being the Lusty Leopard. Could Barney have possibly cheated?

Why would Robin chew gum and drink scotch at the same time?

Did you first hear of Dishwalla on the Empire Records soundtrack?

As always Neil Patrick Harris did a great job, but Paul Rudd and Steve Carell still get the nod for the best Decision parody, no?

Can you imagine having hours of video footage of your life almost half of your lifetime ago? You'd kill yourself right?

Why does Barney's impression of Ted sound like a good/bad Keanu?

Is it asking too much for a Dr. X approved Spotify playlist? A man can't live on Benji's Cool Times Summer Jamz Mix alone.

Roger Cormier likes any movie with Richard Dreyfuss in it.

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