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The Morning After: Wearin' o' the Green

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Vanessa Minillo, left, guests on a St. Paddy’s Day HIMYM. / Cliff Lipson/CBS

Shows returning from their strike hiatus all have similar challenges: to remind the viewers why they’re watching, and to remind them what they’re watching. Last night’s How I Met Your Mother succeeded on both levels. First, there was a character-driven A-plot and a solid B-plot. I’m always impressed with how Marshall and Lily can make being boring marrieds funny: “My hands smell weird. Smell this.” And I loved Marshall’s racist Confederate ghost cover story to distract Lily from the apartment’s slanty floors: “He seemed polite! He had courtly Southern manners!” (Incidentally, as the owner of a typical old Brooklyn house whose floors bow in the middle, I can vouch for the importance of strategic positioning during Hungry Hungry Hippos.)

But more important, it reminded you that you were watching a show about how the protagonist Met Your Mother. The earlier shows this season drifted off that storyline as it dealt with Ted’s recovery from Robin. With the re-introduction of that banana-yellow umbrella, in Ted’s hands by the end of the episode, “No Tomorrow” re-established the arc of the story for more casual viewers. And raised the possibility that Ted might actually find his kids’ mother sometime before they’re born.

Thoughts? Or would you prefer to share about Two and a Half Men?