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HIMYM Watch: Daddy's Home!

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

I’ve been giving How I Met Your Mother some tough love for the past couple of weeks, since the show dispensed with the Barney-Robin relationship with the most jarring, non-character-based about-face short of “It was all a dream.” But the simple fact remains: watching a man get slapped across the face, as hard as possible, is still very, very funny. (Also children! Children slapping other children, and the elderly! I am a man of simple pleasures.)

It was much easier to enjoy Barney out of the context of the dating scene, which last week just focused attention on the abruptness of HIMYM’s do-over, and see him confined to the Slap Throne, trying to talk his way out of a whacking by driving a wedge between Robin and Ted. Hearing him manipulate Robin into fighting Ted for the slap by saying she wanted a man to protect her was basically like watching Neil Patrick Harris play Benjamin Linus, and it was a pleasure.

The A-plot, with Lily nursing her grievance against her dad (Chris Elliott, looking a bit like Jonathan Ames), didn’t do as much for me—the show has been going the irrational-Lily route too often, and the string of people becoming “dead to” Lily was one of those extended jokes that didn’t get funnier with repetition.

But it was nice to see Alyson Hannigan reprise the Evil Willow eyes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Not to mention seeing Chris Elliott reprise the grown-man-living-with-his-parents theme from one of my favorite sitcoms of all time, Get a Life. Anyone else enjoy this stroll down memory lane, with slaps?