‘How I Met Your Mother’ – ‘The Perfect Cocktail’: Drunk trialing

Senior Television Writer
05.03.11 55 Comments


 A review of last night’s “How I Met Your Mother” coming up just as soon as I get weirdly good at beat-boxing…

For the most part in this uneven “HIMYM” season, we’ve alternated between good and bad episodes. The degrees of goodness or badness may have varied, but individual episodes have tended to be all of a piece. “The Perfect Cocktail,” on the other hand, was an episode that shifted back and forth so rapidly between stuff I enjoyed and stuff that made me cringe that I wasn’t sure until the end whether I liked it.

Even that last scene was a mix of two different running gags from the episode, one of which had consistently worked (Barney’s guy with the disgusting photos), one of which hadn’t (Lily and Robin aggressively defending their booth from the other women). Fortunately, the last joke involved the photos, and not Lily randomly acting like she did with her Revertigo friend from “Sandcastles in the Sand,” and that closing note just nudged the episode into the positive column.

On the negative side of the ledger, more Zoey. This is a character the show has had nearly a full season to figure out what to do with, and nothing’s quite worked. The idea that she and Ted are heading for some kind of spectacularly ugly break-up could have potential, except that every interaction they’ve had – including their story this week – has been so fraught with tension and annoying bickering(*) that having it end very badly just seems inevitable. (Whereas if Slightly Future Ted had warned us of a bad break-up with a character whom Present Ted got along with splendidly, then I’d really want to see how it could happen.) As it is, I’ve just learned to tune out most of the stuff involving Jennifer Morrison, though I was at least amused to see the return of the cock-a-mouse from season 1’s “Matchmaker.”

(*) Ted’s relationship with Stella was also largely argument-driven (at least what we saw of it on-screen). I don’t mind the show spending time on Ted dating non-Mothers, but the last few long-term relationships have been fairly unpleasant to watch for reasons having nothing to do with their doomed status.

On the positive side, though, Lily and Robin’s attempt to identify the perfect combo of booze to end the Marshall/Barney feud was clever and fun and distinctly “HIMYM”-y, with a variety of strong cutaway gags, like Barney as Richard Dawson or Marshall smoking a cigarette and looking insane. But even there, the absinthe gag felt a bit too silly – or, at least, too silly to end that story on. I get that the feud is supposed to carry on at least for another episode, but it’s like the writers couldn’t think of an ending, threw up their hands and said, “Well, we’ll just have Robin and Lily float down the street together.”

What did everybody else think?

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