A review of tonight’s “How I Met Your Mother” coming up just as soon as you shred my Joey Buttafuoco pants…
Because the second Robin Sparkles episode was inevitably disappointing compared to “Slap Bet,” and because this season had been so frustrating up until last week’s more vintage “HIMYM” outing, I’d been bracing myself for a while for “Glitter” to make me sad about what the show had become.
Instead, the return of Robin’s teen pop alter ego turned out to be one of the season’s funnier (albeit silliest) episodes.
The actual emotional storylines didn’t work all that well. As a parent who has much less time for my friends (those with kids and without) these days, I could relate to the problem Lily and Robin were about to face. The problem is that it involved Lily at her most insufferable. I like Alyson Hannigan, but if you go back through Lily’s behavior over the years, she can be kind of a monster. (Heck, even last week’s Corporate Marshall vs. College Marshall subplot made a bunch of you point out that Marshall only took the corporate job to get out from under the massive debt Lily racked up with her secret shopping addiction.) There’s reorienting your life around babies (in theory and then in practice), and then there’s what Lily was doing in this episode, and it made me really dislike her and not feel particularly invested in the two friends reuniting.
Punchy, meanwhile, was a character who first appeared, appropriately enough, in “Sandcastles in the Sand.” Limited there to a 30-second flashback scene, he was funny; used here as the focus of an entire subplot, he grated quickly. Nor was that story helped by Ted reverting to his d-bag ways (see the rhyming couplet gag) after last week’s more human, likable Ted. Though I guess it’s not hard to see why these two were and remain friends.
But as for “Space Teens” itself? Very nice. Very funny. A very good combination of the show’s usual Canadian mockery (Robin’s natural accent will never not be funny) and Barney’s love of all things pornographic. Is it ridiculous that no one in Canada ever looked at that joystick scene, or Alan Thicke discussing the beaver’s love of wood, and saw the adult film connotations? Yes. Were those scenes – and the gang’s reaction to them – funny anyway? Absolutely. And those scenes, along with other bits of random humor like Marshall, Lily and Jessica Glitter interrupting their conversation to clap along with the organ cues, or Barney reciting what felt like every reality TV show kiss-off phrase ever, carried the episode over its iffy emotional beats.
As Jessica, Nicole Scherzinger didn’t show off some unexpected comic gifts, but she wisely wasn’t asked to do much more than mirror Cobie Smulders in the “Space Teens” clips, and then to duet with her on the catchy, half-sweet, half-dirty beaver song during another visit to the cartoon Canadian paradise that is The Hoser Hut. (Which, during the tag, randomly featured every kind of Canadian stereotype ever, including a Mountie, a hocky player and a guy in a grizzly bear suit.)
It wasn’t “Slap Bet,” no. But we’ve been waiting years for the show to recreate the perfect comedy storm of that episode, whether with slap-themed shows or Robin Sparkles reprises, and it hasn’t happened, nor is it going to. Outside of the life of John McClane, lightning doesn’t usually strike in the same place multiple times. But “Glitter” made me laugh a bunch, and sometimes that’s all I ask.
What did everybody else think?