Review: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ – ‘Band or DJ?’

Senior Television Writer
01.15.13 67 Comments

A review of last night’s “How I Met Your Mother” coming up just as soon as I give the rabbit a backstory…

Over the weekend, CBS president Nina Tassler said a ninth-season “HIMYM” renewal is very close, and at least implied that this decision would change the plans for the rest of this season, pushing the Mother reveal to the end of the series no matter how much longer it runs.

By giving a May 2013 date for Robin and Barney’s wedding – and showing that, regardless of Robin’s cold feet, she ultimately went through with it – “Band or DJ?” could be committing to the Mother by the end of this season, come what may. Or Bays and Thomas could dramatically slow down the storytelling, taking a season and a half to chronicle the period from the engagement to the wedding. We won’t know until we get there, but I think this is definitely a case of the creative team’s desire for secrecy becoming far more trouble than it’s worth. Once upon a time, the Rachel Bilson cameo and glimpse of the Mother’s left arm playing bass at the wedding reception might have been intriguing, or at least reassuring; now it just makes me wonder exactly when Future Ted will warn us “but we’ll get to that later.”

The rest of “Band or DJ?” was a mixed bag.

On the one hand, I appreciate those moments when the show sets the jokes aside for an emotional moment, and Radnor and Hannigan were very good together as Ted and Lily shared their darkest secrets; on the other, Ted having yenta’s remorse over his role in the engagement undid a lot of the great work the show did with him in the previous episode. It’s not that it’s implausible that he would still have feelings for Robin even after he declared that he was ready to let her go, but that from a characterization standpoint, it’s frustrating to watch him go in circles again and again. (On the plus side, I enjoyed the montage of Ted being beaten up over the years, mostly made up of clips from earlier seasons like Anne Dudek kicking him and Stella removing the tramp stamp.)

Meanwhile, the idea of Robin’s dad suddenly turning “fun” because of his unseen new wife didn’t entirely work, because we don’t know the guy nearly as well as we do Lily or Marshall’s parents. We know that he’s a cold guy who raised Robin as a boy, and Ray Wise brings some inherent menace to the role, but the idea of a character radically changing his personality works as a joke only if we’re very familiar with how he ordinarily behaves. Some isolated moments worked – Ray Wise saying “I can has cheezburger?” is pretty much inherently funny – but overall the beats (Barney dying his hair, Barney attempting to kill a bunny) fit the broader, less appealing comic style the show’s been using of late.

What did everybody else think?

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