SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, put something cold in your cupholder and watch last night’s How I Met Your Mother.
Maybe it was just out of a sense of loyalty to Garden State native Mrs. Tuned In (we danced to Jersey Girl at our wedding—the Tom Waits, not the Bruce version), but I thought the first half of last night’s HIMYM was one of the weakest I’d seen in some time. Robin’s lame anchor lines were less funny than usual. I saw the move-to-Jersey conflict coming the instant Ted said that Stella and her daughter were moving in with him in New York. And seriously: Jersey jokes are the oldest, lamest form of TV comedy, save for Uncle Milty in a dress.
Somewhere around Ted and Marshall’s trip to Priceco, however, the episode started to salvage itself. HIMYM is a better show than the kind that structure episodes around easy targets like Jersey jokes—and i say this as a Brooklyn resident—so it came into its own once it acknowledged the attraction of the big-box burbs, as well as their lameness. (Both, in fact, at the same time: “You live in New Jersey, you never have to hold a cup again!” and “I guess we’re New Jerseyans now! Oh, honey, look! Dog shirts!”) I still thought the episode was just all right overall—the Ted-and-Stella and Robin storylines resolved exactly as you’d have thought they would—but it had a fine moment with Marshall’s rant confessing his hatred of New York: “I’m like some huge monster that came up from the sea to destroy bodegas. … I’m too big for New York!”
Still, I found myself thinking as I watched: wow, I bet Alan Sepinwall will hate this episode. And I was right. Now I’m off to walk the streets of New York, where the pigeon poop tastes like tapioca. (Of course, tapioca tastes like pigeon poop.)