‘How I Met Your Mother’ – ‘Blitzgiving’: Aw, man!

Senior Television Writer
11.23.10 63 Comments

A review of last night’s “How I Met Your Mother” coming up just as soon as Zeppelin reunites at my cousin Ira’s bar mitzvah…

Okay, going back to “Natural History,” that’s two very vintage-feeling “HIMYM” episodes sandwiched around a funny-but-slight one in “Glitter,” and all of a sudden I’m feeling much better about the state of season six. We might slip back to episodes like “Canning Randy” later, but right now, the show seems to have rediscovered what it is.

“Blitzgiving” was a step up from the recent Slapsgiving episodes; while those had their moments, they were pretty clearly living off of our nostalgia for “Slap Bet,” where this was the show coming up with a fun new idea. And if you want to cast someone who both plausibly fits in with the gang and is believable as someone who’s cursed, who else are you going to get but Jorge Garcia? The end of “Lost” is still so close that they had to throw in a couple of thinly-veiled references – the Michael Giacchino-ish strings as the curse passed on to Ted, or Steve saying, “I was on that island for what seems like eternity. I’m gonna enjoy things on the other side.” – but not too many, and The Blitz worked as a character on his own, and someone I felt bad for when the curse reverted to him at the end.(*)

(*) And the real genius of The Curse of The Blitz is that it explains why we’ve never seen poor Steve before, and why we likely won’t see him again for a long time, if ever: the adventures the gang has every week by definition qualify as the sort of thing that would only happen when The Blitz wasn’t present.

The idea of The Blitz forced the writers to get creative with the sorts of things that the curse’s victim might have to miss, from the skateboarding dog to Ted having a Ferris Bueller moment in the Thanksgiving parade. And I liked how long it took for them to explain Robin’s KISS makeup (frankly, I’d have been fine with that one never being explained, ala the pineapple).

The one part of the episode that was iffy revolved around Zoey. When she last appeared in “Natural History,” I pointed out several reasons why I assumed she wasn’t The Mother, and many of you reminded me of a much more definitive one: Future Ted says he met The Mother at that wedding (which may or may not be Punchy’s) and we already know how he met Zoey. So she’s not it. And that’s fine. I don’t need every storyline involving Ted and an attractive woman to require underlying “Is she or isn’t she?” tension; if anything, some of Ted’s previous relationships suffered from the writers leaning too hard on The Mother crutch.

The problem is that, in the absence of that tension, we haven’t been given any reason to care about the two of them. Zoey is a fairly insufferable character, not that funny, and though her two most recent episodes have tried to make her more sympathetic, she’s still a bored trophy wife lashing out at Ted because she’s unhappy with her own life. We’ll see if she fits in better now that she and Ted have allegedly become friends, but right now I mostly look at Jennifer Morrison and wonder what she’s doing on the show.

But the parts of the episodes around Zoey were so funny and clever and warm – including some more of Neil Patrick Harris’ never-not-funny petulant little boy act – that I had a very happy Blitzgiving, all in all.

What did everybody else think?

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