TV Recap: How I Met Your Mother: The Vicky Mendoza Diagonal
Whenever I tell people “Yeah, all the kids on How I Met Your Mother went to the same college I did!” no one ever believes me. “No TV characters could have gone to Wesleyan!” Well well well... tonight’s episode was thrilling for me not only because it was hilarious-- a nice change after last week’s disappointing outing--but was chock full of reference to my alma mater, and even had a shot of the library! (It was supposed to be a freshman dorm, but hey, if we want to pretend our freshman dorms are the most beautiful building on campus, that’s fine with me). Being so full of reminisces back to college, nothing really happened in the episode, but do we really watch HIMYM for plot? Nope. It’s the Barney one-liners that keep us coming back. Which reminds me...
1. “Think of me as Yoda. Only instead of being little and green, I wear suits and I’m awesome...Call me Broda.” Even though Barney didn’t go to college with Ted, Robin and Lily, he refuses to be let out of any reminiscing, and reminds everyone “This is great, all of us reminiscing about how we met me.” We’ve seen how he met Ted before but never saw the prologue (if you will), telling Ted at the urinal that he’s taking his deaf brother out for the first time since his mother died. Fall for that one? “Well, you must be an idiot,” Barney tells Ted. Later Barney meets Marshall and “Marshall Eriksen, from this moment on I make all your decisions for you.” But when Barney challenges Marshall to make out with the hottest girl in the bar--LIly, of course--Barney accepts Marshall as his personal savior until he figures out the ruse.
2. “Hi everyone, this is Blah Blah.” “Oh, just call me Blah.” Sometimes it’s annoying to be hearing the story from Ted’s children's’ point-of-view--we’ll never know if he rode the tricycle, after all--but times like these it’s hilarious. Ted brings a girl to the bar whose name he can’t remember, so he introduces her, and she introduces herself, as “Blah Blah.” At the end, when she storms out in a huff-- more on that in a minute--she announces “I design handbags! I am writing a memoir! I am a superstar! Someday you will see the name Blah Blah in lights!” Oh please, please, someone in charge of a movie theater marquee get started on putting Blah Blah in lights.
3. You have to see where she stands on the hot-crazy scale, “Also known as the Vicky Mendoza diagonal.” Barney’s theory is actually a pretty logical one: the crazier a girl is, the hotter she has to be. He brings this up because Ted met this new girl on the Internet, which makes Barney assume that she is “crazy, a hooker or a dude.” Blah Blah shows her crazy stripes early, assuming that Robin is trying to undermine her at every turn, from mentioning college to asking if her handbags are sold in the United States (they’re not, of course). It probably doesn’t help matters that Barney throws in the word “crazy” at every turn, and draws with his fingers (handily illustrated by a graph on the screen) her development on the “Vicky Mendoza diagonal.” By the end she’s dangerously close to “the Shelly Gillespie zone”--”She gained 20 pounds and tried to kill me with a brick.”
4. “I’m Too Much Tongue Guy” “And I’m Unreasonably Small Mouth Opening Girl” The main conflict that comes out of all the college reminiscing is Ted admitting to Blah Blah that he and Lily made out at a party during orientation week at the freshman dorm Hewitt (a real Wesleyan dorm! Go Cardinals!) Blah Blah, being totally crazy, insists on telling Lily, who in turn insists that she was making out with someone totally different. We get to see each of their memories their own ways, with Lily walking to Ted and Marshall’s room the next morning, Marshall and Lily walking in on Ted tearfully talking to his long-distance girlfriend, and of course, the makeout session itself. Awesome mid-90s clothes, and my favorite visual gag in HIMYM history, ensue.
5. My favorite visual gag in HIMYM history.When Ted first meets Marshall, Marshall is doing something “That many college students do... let’s say eating a sandwich,” Ted tells his kids. Marshall frantically puts out his “sandwich” when a hallmate warns him the dean is coming, and Marshall is convinced that Ted is, in fact, the dean, until he catches Ted giggling to himself and eating a “sandwich”--a quite large sandwich-- of his own. At the end of the episode we flash forward to their 20-year college reunion-- taking place in Wesleyan’s beautiful Olin Library-- and Marshall, Lily and Ted hang out by the vending machines “eating” a “sandwich” Marshall got off some kids. They remark that sandwiches are stronger than they used to be, and a giggling Ted wonders out loud “Where’s my wife!?!?” And yeah, if you haven’t figured out what it means to “eat” a “sandwich,” it’s been too long since you were in college.
6. My second-favorite visual gag in HIMYM history. At the end of the episode we learn that Ted and Blah Blah not only met online--they met playing World of Warcraft. We cut to two computer avatars, a big muscly robot and a hot chick, with the robot saying “We should go out for coffee sometime” and asking the hot chick what her name is. “My name’s Ted,” she says. Obvious, but rewarding.
All in all, this week was HIMYM back in fine form, banishing my fear that the third season would hit a slump. I’m still waiting for the big story arc of the season to kick in-- this episode had virtually no plot development, after all--but as long as they keep making episodes this entertaining, I’m hanging on anyway.
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