HIMYM: Night at the Museum

KT felt sorry for the triceratops skeleton that lost a rib.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER:  6.08 “Natural History”

I know some of you have been unimpressed by HIMYM’s “new and improved” sixth season (and I’ll let the recent lack of blogging speak for my feelings on the matter), but to me, this episode showed that the show still has plenty of life in it.

Don’t get me wrong:  I certainly haven’t hated any of the recent episodes.  But this was the first one in a while in which I enjoyed all of the plot lines.  I think that’s important:  even if something amazing is going on with one character, when two others are making  you cringe, that’s a net “meh.”

I think it’s also worth noting that all three plots this week moved continually forward.  No lengthy “yes I will—wait, no I won’t” deliberations, no “oh, never mind” resets at the end.

That’s not to say it was a serious episode — despite everyone’s formalwear, there’s plenty of behavior that’s anything but formal.  Robin and Barney spend half of it daring each other to touch things they shouldn’t and Ted uses the dome’s acoustics to whisper dirty words worthy of a six-year-old.

But the writing is solid enough that even the stupid stuff leads to something, and every detail pays off later on.  There’s the easy punchline of Ted whispering silly words, and there’s the even easier comedy of repeating the gag.  But we’re also given an emotional payoff when the same feature allows Zoey to overhear Ted’s conversation with her husband and change her mind about how to react to him.

All three storylines do that, to an extent.  Barney’s wild story of knocking down the blue whale not only turns out to be true (not that much of a surprise), but it leads directly to the realization that the Uncle Jerry who used to visit when he was a kid was actually his real dad.  I’m sure we’ll go looking for him before too long.

The payoff for Marshall and Lily is a little more distant.  Lily spends the episode coming to terms with the fact that Marshall is not the same person he was in college.  We’ve seen a lot of episodes that have dealt with growing up and changing and looking back — some fabulous (“Arrividerci, Fiero”), some less so (going to Chicago for pizza) — and I think the end of this episode put this storyline in the former category.  Putting College Marshall (and then, dun dun dun, Corporate Marshall) into a museum exhibit was a great way to express the sense of seeing a big change in someone over time.  Plus it made great use of the episode’s special setting.

All three storylines did that, come to think of it, from the Marshall exhibits to the bugged Bug Room to the dome’s acoustics to the exploits of Barney and Robin (and her gorgeous blue dress).  That makes me happy, partly because it gives the episode a sense of unity, but also because I just think it’s awesome that they set an episode at a natural history museum (dork, dork, dork).

I haven’t been writing about this show every week recently, but I understand that next week will see the reappearance of everyone’s favorite Canadian pop star… so I assure you, I’ll be here!

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2 thoughts on “HIMYM: Night at the Museum

  1. While I liked this episode, too (Robin’s “He’s STUFFED!” cackle had me gigling.) what annoyed me about the Marshall/Lily storlyine was that she was a direct factor in his taking the job in the first place! *shakes fist*

  2. Yes! I also adored the way Robin strutted around in her “fur cape.” And it would have been totally warranted if Marshall had reminded Lily that he’d only taken the GNB job to pay off HER enormous credit card debts. But maybe it would have been beneath the belt for him to throw that in her face.

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