‘How I Met Your Mother’ – ‘Noretta’: Dare to be stupid

Senior Television Writer
10.24.11 66 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “How I Met Your Mother” coming up just as soon as my dentist alters my suit while doing my taxes…

There are episodes of “HIMYM” that don’t work for me in spite of an interesting central idea because the execution wasn’t good. And then there are ones that don’t work for me because the idea is so problematic that it would take world-class execution to pull off. I can’t decide which of these two phenomena “Noretta” is an example of. Is it just inherently creepy to make incest into a running gag – and one that features Barney, Marshall and Lily all on the verge of making out with the actors(*) who have played their parents – or is it that there probably is a funny way to deal with the notion Kevin suggests about how we’re drawn to people like our parents? Either way, super-mega uncomfortable. Barney’s explanation for how he was able to get around the mental block with Nora was particularly squicky, but none of it seemed like a good idea.

(*) And on top of the weird incest runner, this is how Marshall’s dad returns to the series? The guy Marshall spent almost all of last year mourning? The guy whose absence from his life still comes up on the show? We bring Bill Fagerbakke back so Marshall can be grossed out by the idea of having to make out with his dear, departed father? If the show wanted to go truly dark and weird, they could have done a whole bit about how Marshall was glad to see the guy again, even if it was a hallucination in Lily’s pajamas.   

The B-story, with Kevin getting irked by how much time and attention Robin gives Ted, at least gets points for dealing with the ongoing weirdness of Robin and Ted living together, and for any and all Weird Al jokes – up to and including Weird Al convincingly playing his 1985 self in the tag.(**) Oh, and for not being wall-to-wall visual incest jokes.

(**) Though that may just be me envying Ted for getting through to Al, where my own postcard suggesting a Madonna parody called “Dress You Up in My Clothes” never accomplished anything.  

What did everybody else think? I would not be surprised at all to find that some found Lily trying to kiss Chris Elliott hilarious; I’m just curious what the breakdown will be between “funny” and “ugh.”

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