Thank you thank you thank you, How I Met Your Mother is back! Or, as my roommate and I have been saying to each other for the last week, “OMG HIMYM!” The thing is, when you talk about this show a lot, you kind of have to abbreviate to HIMYM. It seems like so long since this show went on its summer hiatus, and I’ve spent that time watching genius comedies like 30 Rock and Flight of the Conchords, so I have to admit, I was a little worried that the bud might be off the HIMYM rose.

Good news: I was so wrong! This show remains as fresh and unexpectedly funny as the first time I randomly started watching it because there was nothing else to watch on Monday nights. And since Jason Segel had such a great role this summer in Knocked Up, and Neil Patrick Harris got nominated for an Emmy, I’m really hoping some more viewers will finally discover this show. I have to admit, when I first agreed to do these recaps, I was hoping to unite the HIMYM fans out there, and possibly convince some other people who think they’re too urbane for a CBS comedy that HIMYM is actually worth it. As a young New Yorker who identifies with the young New Yorkers on the show (even though they have much nicer apartments), I promise it’s better than Friends and more New York than Seinfeld.

Not that any of you actually reading this recap needed to hear that. Stealing a format from my editor Kelly, until I possibly find one I like better, I’m going to hash out the five best moments of the episode I’ve been waiting for for so (so!) long

1. Enrique Iglesias and Mandy Moore: I read on IMDB this morning that they would both have guest roles, but I had no idea they would show up so soon! I’ve never cared much about Enrique Iglesias one way or another, but he was hilarious in just the right understated way as Robin’s boyfriend, an Argentinean massage therapist named Gael who she picked up on vacation in Argentina over the summer. He appropriately let the regular players shine, while managing to be quietly funny in his own, not to mention smokin' hot.

And as for Mandy Moore, my crush on her grows bigger every time I see her . She was great as the rock chick who somehow convinces Ted to get a butterfly tattoo on his lower back ( a “tramp stamp” or “Panamanian license plate” as Barney calls it), not to mention making out with Ted ferociously at the bar. Also, she is not nearly as skinny as the other “hot” women on the show, and for that we should all be grateful.

2. Everyone falling in love with Gael as he sings to them: It’s too bad Mandy Moore didn’t get to sing, but Enrique Iglesias does pretty well, especially getting Marshall to have a crush on him: “I think i just got over being chubby in the ninth grade... I am beautiful!” Really, I just want a massage now.

3. Ted’s constant assertion “I win this breakup.”: Because that’s actually how it works, no matter how much you want to be the bigger man. Hooking up with a girl who’s totally wrong for him makes perfect sense for Ted-- he never really has known exactly what he wanted-- and it really is logical that Robin could snag a hot Argentinean. I'm not sure whether Ted being "bigger" than Gael actually means he wins, but nonetheless, the tattoo he got has to knock him down a few notches.With Barney as his wingman, though, Ted really had no good excuse to let the butterfly tramp stamp happen to him--harsh revenge from Amy's ex-boyfriend, Steve. Barney, get on it!

4. The final voice-over, for once.: Usually Bob Saget’s voice-over, while appealing to my deep-rooted love of nostalgia, adds very little to the show by way of intrigue or plot development. As the show ended, though, Ted wrapped up the episode by explaining that it was the beginning of something new for him, “a crazy time unlike everything that came before.” What better way to make us all intrigued as to what’s coming next? I’m hoping it means more girls like Mandy Moore, since Ted definitely needs a dose adventure before he settles down with “your mother.” And can’t we all imagine what will happen if Barney actually gets to be Ted’s proper wingman? I can only hope that “Shot Through the Heart” by Bon Jovi will get played as many times as possible.

5. The final scene and the return of the Slap Bet: For the uninitiated, the Slap Bet began when Marshall and Barney made a bet over the dark secret in Robin’s past (Marshall bet on a past marriage, Barney on a life as a porn star; truth was, she was a teen pop star.) As Barney’s punishment, he could choose 10 slaps right then or five slaps to be doled out on Marshall’s whim, whenever he wanted. Marshall has used two already, and at the end of this episode he calls Barney and directs him to a website. www.slapcountdown.com. (it’s a real site!) The Slap Bet is one of the things that makes HIMYM so genius, a running joke that only pops up at select intervals, rewarding the loyal viewers while remaining funny for everyone else (Marshall smelling his hand in anticipation of the slap was excellent). And just for the record, November 19 is 55 days, 22 hours, 28 minutes and 7 seconds from now (as of this writing). Start looking forward to that episode!

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