‘How I Met Your Mother’ – ‘Canning Randy’: We’ve got another bleeder

Senior Television Writer
11.02.10 29 Comments

A quick review of last night’s “How I Met Your Mother” coming up just as soon as I go to the office Tu B’Shevat pajammie jam…

I like Will Forte. I think he was one of the few bright spots on what’s been a mostly dismal stretch of “SNL” the last few years. Even when his sketches weren’t funny, they tended to be memorably weird. But his first “HIMYM” appearance back in season three led to one of my least favorite episodes of that year. Randy felt too broad and artificial to fit into this world (even in a subplot where he was paired with Barney), and I was hoping not to see that character again. Then when I heard he was coming back, I hoped the writers had figured out how to use him better. Unfortunately, it was the same ol’ dumb, ridiculous Randy, and “Canning Randy” overall was one of the weakest episodes we’ve had in season six.

There were, as always, some small bright spots, like Barney dressed as Johnny Lawrence from “The Karate Kid” (a callback(*) to his theory that Johnny is the real hero of that movie), or the guys’ post-Halloween Walk of Shame-watching ritual, or Ted and Robin dueting on the car alarm, but all the stories seemed to operate on the same cartoon logic that allows Randy to exist in that world.

(*) Not all callbacks are funny. Stop trying to make “Where’s the poop?” happen, “HIMYM” writers. It somehow gets more annoying every time you try.

I was particularly bothered by the payoff to the Robin subplot, which sold her out as an excuse for a pretty cheap laugh. Robin starts the episode jealous of how much more popular Becky is, and how Becky is so at ease with having no integrity, and Robin’s response is to get herself cast in a commercial that’s destined to humiliate her? Maybe if there was some set-up about Robin having money troubles, or if Becky had starred in a similar commercial and somehow came out of it seeming sexy (as opposed to a boat show ad, where the whole point of her is to be sexy), it might possibly have worked. But as is? Lame. When people ask me what I mean when I call a joke on a sitcom “too sitcom-y,” this is what I mean: going for a mediocre laugh at the expense of plot logic, consistent characterization, etc.

Also, Myles McNutt on Twitter compared the GNB story to Veridian Dynamics on “Better Off Ted,” which only made me realize how much better the Veridian Dynamics ads were than the GNB commercial Barney was making. Sigh… I miss “Better Off Ted.”

What did everybody else think?

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