Tuned In

HIMYM Watch: A Suitable Boy

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Spoilers for last night’s How I Met Your Mother after the jump:

Last night was How I Met Your Mother‘s 100th episode, one that promised Ted would come closer to meeting The Mother than ever. And boy, did he! I hear that in the 200th episode, he gets to see her other foot.

I shouldn’t complain too much about the show’s interminable teasing over the identity of The Mother, because she’s really incidental to the show at this point. When the story doesn’t focus on her, I forget that she has anything to do with the series at all. It’s just about the characters, their various permutations and how they can make me laugh.

But by so determinedly stretching out the mystery, while pretty much making it clear that they have no intention of resolving it, it becomes a not-very entertaining game. We know how this works; when Ted ID’ed Mom’s school bus in the living room, I called out loud to Mrs. Tuned In that Cindy was her roommate, and you probably did too. Just as, on Lost, I don’t believe a character is dead until they sever the head and burn the body, I will not believe anyone is the Mother until Bob Saget says something like, “And kids, that woman—THAT one, right there, played by the actress Rachel Bilsson—was Your Mother!”

(Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing the show simply forget the Mother for a season or so, then just introduce her, out of nowhere, in the middle of an ordinary midseason episode—blammo! like a hit job. Note: specific reference redacted to avoid gratuitous spoiler for unrelated show… but you get the point.)

That said, while HIMYM has a Lost-lite format, it isn’t really Lost, and the 100th episode was also an example of how the real heart of the show is the five characters (give or take) playing off one another. I could have taken or left the subplot about Barney going suitless for sex—and even NPH’s musical number could have used a little Joss Whedon song-doctoring. But the Greek-chorus interplay among Lily, Marshall and Robin over the supposedly hot bartender was killing me:

“Compared to that woman, I’m a big bag of three-day-old garbage.”

“Hell, yeah I’m gay. Gay for you.”

“It’s situational hotness!”

As you might expect from a 100th episode, this one seemed to particularly work at offering something for everyone. Here’s to the next 100.