How I Met Your Mother "Band or DJ" Review: Everything's Falling Into Place

By Bill Kuchman

Jan 15, 2013

How I Met Your Mother S08E13: "Band or DJ?"

How I Met Your Mother is back. Oh, and How I Met Your Mother is BACK.

After leaving us with the image of Barney and Robin getting engaged before taking a few weeks off for the holidays, HIMYM didn’t allow itself to slide back into the slump it'd been stuck in for much of the early part of Season 8. I don’t know if I have to the power to declare that HIMYM has rediscovered its rhythm again, but I’m going to do it anyway. HIMYM is back.

Leading up to the pre-Christmas Barney-Robin engagement episode, an episode that many HIMYM fans now consider one of the best in the show’s long history, there were already signs that the show had once again found its way. The dumbing-down of Lily and Marshall had dissipated, and "The Final Page" went so far as to reveal that many of HIMYM’s Season 8 missteps or inconsistencies were really part of Barney’s complicated plan to propose to Robin.

The only thing we we've been missing is Ted having the chance to share in his friends’ happiness. He may have achieved a lot in his career at an early age (he's the youngest architect to ever design a building that became part of the New York City skyline), but he's still alone. Yeah, he has his friends, but he isn’t any closer to finding the one. Giving up Robin to Barney seemed especially hard for Ted, and "Band or DJ?" drove that point home.

While Barney and Robin dealt with more pressing matters (more on that later, kids), Ted and Lily engaged in a battle over the fate of their friends’ upcoming nuptials. While Ted had already selected a date (May 25, 2013... more on that later too, kids), Barney and Robin hadn’t yet decided on reception music and, as you may've guessed from the episode title, were faced with the decision of whether to go with a band or a DJ. Lily was doing everything in her power to hire the band that she and Marshall had wanted at their wedding to play at Barney and Robin's, but she hit a roadblock when she discovered that the group was already booked for May 25. It turned out that Ted, in his drive to secure a DJ for the event, had secured Lily’s band for the same date, in order to prevent them from playing at Barney and Robin’s wedding.

Ted’s impassioned protest speech against having bands at your wedding revealed his true feelings regarding Robin and Barney's engagement. Though he began by harmlessly pointing out the cons of hiring a band, Ted soon found himself insisting that bands can’t be trusted. That they’ll sleep with every girl in New York City. And that Robin deserves better than some crappy, unreliable band. The idea of not being with Robin had finally started to sink in.

Lily pulled Ted up to the building’s roof, where she confronted him about not being happy that Barney and Robin were engaged. Through a voiceover, Ted walked us through all the times in his life he had been hurt. The time he got hit in the nuts at summer camp. The time he fell off a chair in MacLaren’s. The time Barney punched him in the nose. The time he was attacked by a goat in his apartment. The time he had a butterfly tramp stamp removed by laser. And finally, the time Robin told Ted she didn’t love him. The text message from Barney informing Ted that Robin had said yes to Barney's proposal hurt Ted more than all of those other things put together, he told us. Since first meeting Robin at MacLaren’s almost nine years ago, there was always a part of Ted that believed he would someday end up with her. That she would come around to the idea of marriage. That she would warm up to having kids. And a single text message shattered all of that for Ted. One of his best friends was going to marry the woman he had long been in love with.

Of course, Ted couldn’t say all of this to Lily. He couldn’t go on record as not being happy for his friends. So Lily offered Ted the chance to not be the worst person on the roof at that moment. In a moment of extreme openness, Lily told Ted that there were times when she wished she wasn’t a mom. There were times when she wished she could pack a bag and sneak away in the middle of the night. After taking care of kids all day at school, Lily came home to do the same thing with Marvin. Her life wasn’t about her own dreams anymore.

“Robin shouldn’t be with Barney. She should be with me,” Ted said to Lily in what I’m guessing is the only time he’ll ever say that to anyone. As we saw later on, Ted was back to being the honorable friend, sitting with Robin at the MacLaren’s bar, telling her he was happy for her and Barney. I guess Ted will never really let Robin go, obviously ignoring Victoria’s repeated warning, but if what HIMYM showed us next was any indication, Ted won’t let his feelings toward Robin keep him from finding the one.

At a point later in time, Ted ran into Cindy—a former student/woman he dated/roommate of the Mother—and her wife on the subway. It turned out that Barney and Robin did go with a band for their wedding, but the band canceled at the last minute. So it was a good thing that Cindy and her wife, Casey, ran into Ted that day, because Cindy’s ex-roommate (yup, that roommate) was a member of the best wedding band in the tri-state area, and that a previously scheduled gig for May 25 had just so happened to fall through, making them free to play Barney and Robin's big day.

A flashforward to the wedding revealed two things. The first is that the Mother is the wedding band's bass player, and it was during the father-bride dance that Ted first noticed her. Of course, HIMYM only showed us a hand. The second is that the wedding does happen. There’s a group of HIMYM fans out there that's posed the theory that all the photos of Robin in her wedding dressed have proved there will indeed be a wedding day. However, those same fans have also suggested that either Robin or Barney would bail on the wedding, allowing Robin to still wind up with Ted. Now that we’ve seen part of the happy wedding reception, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Barney and Robin DO go through with the wedding.

While this scene did answer a few questions about the Mother, it also raised some new ones. In the season premiere, we saw Ted at the Farhampton train station, his hand wrapped in a bandage, as the Mother arrived by taxi. She even had her bass with her. If Ted left the wedding to go to the train station, why was the Mother arriving by train? That episode made it appear as if she was just arriving; if she and Ted had been at the reception together, why did they go to the train station separately? Was this a planned rendezvous? Does the bandage on Ted’s hand play into their situation?

There are also HIMYM fans who've put their faith in the idea that the Mother is Barney’s half-sister. Like Barney, the half-sister would have Jerry as her father, but unlike Jerry’s younger son, Barney wouldn’t have met this sister yet. All we know is that she’s in college. If Ted dated Cindy while she was in college, and if Cindy’s roommate is the Mother, the pieces kind of seemed to fall into place. Would Barney’s half-sister be expected to be in the band at his wedding though? It could happen, but I doubt the HIMYM writers are going to go with a plan that the internet thinks it's already figured out.

Speaking of Barney, I promised to discuss the more pressing matters that he and Robin were dealing with in this episode. Believing that the act wasn’t necessary in the modern world, Barney had never bothered to ask Robin’s dad for permission to marry his daughter—something that Robin wasn’t happy with. Despite her rocky relationship with her father, Robin still wanted her fiance to go through with the traditional courtesy.

I always enjoyed Robin’s dad’s appearances more when The Young and the Restless’s Eric Braeden was playing Robin Sr., but thanks to a dispute with HIMYM, Victor Newman isn’t around anymore to show displeasure in his daughter’s life. Instead, we now have Ray Wise as Robin Sr., and while he still plays the character as a scary borderline sociopath, it’s just not the same. Oh, well. This isn’t a battle I’m going to win.

With Robin's dad now living in New York City, he met Barney and Robin at Pizzazzy, his favorite restaurant. It turns out that a lot has changed in Robin Sr.’s life. He’s dating a dental hygienist named Carol, he likes to wear Hawaiian shirts, and he’s a big Jimmy Buffett fan. In his words, he’s fun now. Unfortunately, a fun Robin Sr. is still a terrifying Robin Sr. Unhappy with Barney not killing a family of bears as tribute and the fact that Robin wanted to marry a blond man, Robin Sr. turned down Barney’s request.

Barney wasn’t going to give up, though. When Robin came home to their apartment, she found a dark-haired Barney on the verge of shooting Fluffernutter the bunny, all to impress her dad. This was it for Robin. As she had just discovered through Facebook that her dad had gotten married to Carol without ever telling Robin, she revealed that she and Barney were already engaged and that if Robin Sr. couldn’t invite her to his wedding, Robin Sr. wasn’t invited to hers.

But Barney wasn’t done giving up. Even though Robin's dad scared the crap out of him, Barney convinced him to apologize to Robin, something that he'd never done. Even though Robin Sr. could only promise his daughter a dance to "Cheeseburger in Paradise" as sung by Carol, the wedding flashforward showed a very happy daughter and father dancing together.

I also promised to come back to the date Robin and Barney had settled on for their wedding. May 25, 2013. As HIMYM usually matches its episodes up with the real calendar, I have no problem assuming that the wedding episode will air sometime around May 25. That date is a Saturday, so I’m guessing that May 20 will be the date of the actual episode, making it very likely that Robin and Barney’s wedding will happen in the season finale. With the kind-of-shocking news over the holidays that HIMYM will likely return for a ninth season, here’s how I think things will play out. The wedding will be the season finale, and with the Mother playing bass in the wedding band, I can’t imagine that the show won’t finally show us her face. Even if Ted doesn’t know she’s the Mother, we will. This will allow HIMYM to use its ninth and probably final season to prove to us exactly why the Mother was worth almost a decade of storytelling on Ted’s part. We know why Marshall and Lily belong together. And we know why Barney and Robin belong together. Now HIMYM needs to tell us why Ted and the Mother belong together. That will be the journey the show’s ninth season takes us on.


– Lily in response to Ted’s parenting advice: “And here we were, just watering him and facing him toward the sunlight.”

– Ted has a bigger wedding-planning binder than Lily. Classic Mosby. While Ted was going on about his plans for Barney and Robin’s wedding, I definitely got the impression that he was planning the wedding he dreamt of having with Robin.

– Ted describing Robin’s dad: “Dude’s stone-cold Slytherin.”

– Robin Sr. after discovering Facebook: “Are you familiar with memes? There’s a cat that says ‘I can haz cheezburger.’”

– Robin trying to figure out which Pizzazzy’s bathroom to use: “Well, I’m going to the room marked 'Spaghettis,' which I'm hoping is the ladies’ room. 'Meatballs' has to be men’s, right? I don’t know what the hell 'Calamaris' is...”

– Robin, a few minutes later, after resolving the restroom uncertainty: “It turns out “Spaghettis” are men. I saw a noodle.”

– Ted describing his mom’s Facebook habits: “He’s talking about my mom’s 2,000-word review of Fifty Shades of Grey, and fourteen of those words were ‘vulva.’”

– Marshall’s mom has pictures of him as a cheerleader? I highly doubt any of the Eriksen boys were cheerleaders. Because no one makes cheerleading outfits that would fit those giants. Not because they’re too manly to be cheerleaders.

– Robin Sr. in regards to Barney’s inability to shoot Fluffernutter the bunny: “I told you not to give him a name!”

– Barney pinning the blame on Fluffernutter after being frightened by Robin’s dad: “Oh no... Fluffernutter peed all over my pants.”

– I had no idea what Lily was talking about when she accused Marshall of wanting to pretend he was in The Departed. After listening to Marshall and Ted yell “Are you a caawwwppp?” in Boston accents, I now understand.

– We can now add “confetti” to HIMYM’s list of TV-friendly code words. That was one pretty awful confetti Marvin took all over Marshall.

– Casey to Ted: “Ted, do you believe in destiny?” Ted: “You really don’t know me, do you?”

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  • anon_0d14b4d5c565c17a477388935bb39975 Jan 25, 2013

    The way they showed the wedding reception, with no Barney in sight, may still mean that he bails. The scene we saw in this episode might be in the style of a movie end scene, where a bunch of dramatic things happen, but in the end the main character realizes that it was all for the best, and is happy anyway. I could easily see this go down that way: Barney bails, there's a ton of drama, Robin freaks out, but her dad steps up and for once manages to connect with her or something, and then in the end they decide to have their father-daughter dance anyway.

    On the other hand, if Robin had recently been left at the altar, Ted probably wouldn't be looking at other women. The wedding isn't that far from now, and it seems unlikely that his feelings toward Robin would change that drastically in just a few months when he's loved her for nine years.

    Also, leaving Barney out of shot in the wedding scene might be intentionally done by the writers, just to keep the speculation going on whether or not they'll go through with the wedding.

  • sduvoisin Jan 21, 2013

    Marshall as a cheerleader? I buy it. He's tall and probably could throw a little cheerleader high in the sky. Totally going to start saying confetti as the "s word" is my swear word of choice. I would've liked it if Ted had said, "I'm starting lose hope in the idea of destiny" rather than a cutesy response. Ted has been through a lot and I could get it if he was starting think maybe there isn't fate or destiny.

    Also is anyone else going to bring up the idea that Ted falling in love with a woman that he meets while at the wedding of the "one who got away" seems totally reboundish? Fine I'll say it and also he knows better than to trust Wedding Goggles (a phrase that Victoria brought to us). I mean I know he doesn't end up with Robin and things work out with the Mother BUT I don't know. I wouldn't let my best bro marry some chick that he picked up at a wedding especially when he's all crushing on a girl who just went off the market you know....

  • Edupinn Jan 17, 2013

    Another "meh" episode....

  • ZoranJovanovi Jan 16, 2013

    I am very sorry to say that HIMYM is dead in the water for a long time. And prolonging it in to 9th season ain't gonna help.

    Someone should put it out of misery.

  • blueboi Jan 16, 2013

    This was 6/10 episode. And I get it why. The previous episode was one of the best of the series and certainly the best of the season. I mean it had Ranjit peeing in a soda can and Barney (!) getting engaged.

    But this is Ted's story. It was always Ted's story and the writers', just as they did in the first two seasons, is going to make the last one and a half about Ted's.

    When i saw the last episode, I was amazed seeing how little everybody has actually grown up as a person in the last years, except Barney. Robin still has Daddy issues. Lily still wants to be an artist and Marshall still acts out movie scenes. And Ted, not one step ahead of the man who we saw at the bar 8 years ago. Wanted Robin then and wants Robin now.

    And here's what I think.
    I think he gets Robin. I think she's the mother. She has to be. I think the mother is just somebody Ted imagining as his perfect woman.Ted may have finally learned life's not perfect. And anyways Marshall never lost a board game or a bet, if you know what I mean.

    And finally here's the clincher. I think Barney's gay. May be NPH being gay himself just makes it sound too good to be true.

    Or.... Or... Or ....... may be Robin and Barney get married and Ted get's the mother. The End.

  • petyBello Jan 19, 2013

    I'd rather Robin marries Barney and Ted gets the mother.

  • smarcos3 Jan 17, 2013

    I'm sorry but if you think that they haven't grown up by mentioning just one aspect of their lives that hasn't changed then I think no one in this world has grown up.. I think Robin will always have daddy issues but that's because her father is no the easiest person to get along with, but she has come around to the idea of marriage when she said "i never want to get married", she also got promoted in her job after many sucky ones, Lily still wants to be an artist but she's married now and has a baby after trying several times and Marshall now works to save the environment like he's always wanted.. and Ted well he's still alone and hurt about Robin but that's because they broke up for one simple reason, she didn't want to get married and have kids, so how do you think Ted feels when she is saying yes to all of that but to his best friend?, But he has achieved so many in his career aspect and we know he will meet the mother soon so all is right with the world..

  • blueboi Jan 17, 2013

    I think you did not see my point there. Life happened to them. But I am not talking about that. What I am talking about is that will they react to the same situations differently now if it were presented to them. I frankly think no, they won't, except may be Barney.
    Robin still cannot have kids. She is saying yes to a completely different prospect. Ted is and always was the better guy between him and Barney. But that is life. Its not fair. Robin chose Barney and that is why I believe she has not grown up. And Ted has not grown up cause he is still struggling to get his head around this idea.
    I think the show actually did want to show that no matter what we do or experience, our inner self is one inert stationary identity.

  • smarcos3 Jan 17, 2013

    I understand your point, I just don't agree with it, Robin still cannot have kids but that's because she's not able to, they showed us how heartbroken she was when she heard the news, that's because she grew up to the idea of maybe someday.. Ted is still struggling with this idea of Barney and Robin because well he explained it really well in the last episode, Barney has slept with half of new york and he thought that when Robin finally wanted to get married it would be with him.. And to the point that she chose Barney, I believe they are a perfect fit.. but anyways.. I respect you point we just have different views =)

  • blueboi Jan 18, 2013

    Thank you for taking the time to put an argument here. I see it as a different take on things on our part. :)

  • LorenzoMatter Jan 16, 2013

    Ted talks to his kids about "Aunt Robin" why would he call their mother aunt robin?! Makes no sense. So Barney and Robin get married and Ted marries the bass player (their mother). If you want a fairy tale Robin and Ted scenario I would suggest that in the future Ted and the mother have broken up and he's telling his kids how he met her and teaching them that sometimes life isn't perfect all the time and that's why he's now getting together with "Aunt Robin".

  • blueboi Jan 17, 2013

    You got a great point there sir.

  • tobsh Jan 16, 2013

    I'm sorry, who thought the Barney-Robin-Engagement episode was one of the series' best? It was better than some of the later episodes but not by a long shot as good as the earlier ones. Those used to make me laugh. Nowadays, all I think is that I'm watching a drama that's trying to lighten the mood by making a mediocre joke now and then.

  • mksystem74 Jan 16, 2013

    This was a great episode and seeing Rachel Bilson there gave me the chills. As I heard she plays an important role going forward I was trying to think of how. then ted is standing there talking to someone on the subway and I knew it was her.... It just had to be, and it was.

    So they gave us a tease as to how Ted meets the mother, but there's still story left to tell. I know they keep saying the mother won't be revealed until the final episode but I hope the plans change, we meet her at the end of this season and get one full year of US getting to know why she is the one for Ted.

    Oh yeah, confetti... that was great.

  • PlanojevicN Jan 16, 2013

    Did anyone notice that insanely hot guy that was behind Robin when she was talking to her dad in the last scene at the Pizzazzy's?

  • AmitBaloda Jan 16, 2013

    so ted is going to be the best man and the maid of honor in the same wedding...can mosby pull this off?

  • safi_z Jan 16, 2013

    He'll pull it off, but not unscathed. His hand will pay the price.

  • wingsabre Jan 16, 2013

    I have to completely agree about Robin's Dad. I love Ray Wise, he did a great job as the Devil in Reaper, and he's always good at playing a dark character, but I think Victor Newman is the better version of Robin's dad. He gives off that French-Canadian feel, and it would be much more hilarious to see him in a Hawaiian shirt.

  • Rolamb Jan 16, 2013

    Been a fan of him since Twin Peaks

  • Rolamb Jan 16, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

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