After several weeks' worth of mythology-advancing episodes, How I Met Your Mother is taking a breather from the tough stuff, instead opting for episodes like last week’s ode to Robin Sparkles and Canada (which was one of the show’s best episodes ever) and this week’s journey through Crazyville, population Ted and Jeanette. If I were a betting man, I'd wager that we’ve arrived at the Season 8 episodes that were originally designed to slow down the story as HIMYM’s writers awaited a verdict on whether or not the series would end this year. The massive information downloads we got a few episodes ago—that the Mother is the bass player in Robin and Barney’s wedding band, and not Barney’s half-sister—I’m pretty sure we got those pieces of the story just in case the show had to wrap everything up by May. But now that Season 9 is confirmed, the show can pause and figure out where it’s going next.
That’s the long way of me trying to say that tonight's episode "Bad Crazy," didn’t lead to any earth-shattering revelations or inspire any game-changing new theories about how and when we'll meet the Mother. "Bad Crazy" was HIMYM humor at its best, though, with the gang just hanging out and ragging on each other (usually ragging on Ted).
Jeanette—Ted’s final girlfriend before he meets the Mother—is crazy. The gang realizes this, and Ted does too. And even though Ted doesn’t mind a little crazy at this point, Jeanette is full-on bonkers. She throws remote controls at TVs. She threatens hockey refs with death before games even begin. Unfortunately for Ted, he’s never been good at initiating break-ups. When Barney and Marshall let Jeanette into Ted’s apartment after he broke up with her, she locked herself in Ted’s room, and in typical Ted fashion, he didn’t quite end things, leaving the poor (crazy) girl with false hope that they were still together.
When the group pointed out to Ted that he had led Jeanette on, and Lily told him that he could use a crazy relationship at the moment, Ted returned to his room and fully embraced Jeanette’s insanity.
It’s a shame that Abby Elliott will only be around for a few episodes. I always thought she was underutilized on Saturday Night Live, and she was great in Jeanette’s few scenes, effortlessly flipping between sweet-talking Ted to screaming obscenities at a television. While her time on HIMYM is limited, I hope this leads to something bigger for her. I also hope that the show finds a reason to put Jeanette and Lily’s dad in a scene together, since Abby Elliott is the daughter of Chris Elliott, the actor who portrays Mickey. As we saw last week with Bob Saget acknowledging Dave Coulier’s Full House reference, HIMYM isn’t afraid to wink at the world beyond the show.
While Ted was dealing with Jeanette's home invasion, Robin had her own adventure with baby Marvin. It turns out that during the first eight months of Marvin’s life, Robin never held him. We’ve always known that Robin is a bit squeamish around kids, but future Ted told us that she would one day warm up to them. It looked like Robin would have her chance when Lily left the baby with her so she could chase down a bus and retrieve Marvin’s favorite binky, but as HIMYM would show us through a series of hilarious flashforwards, Robin didn’t quite take advantage of the opportunity. We got a peek at Robin and Lily meeting to drink wine and catch up at four-, 12-, 14-, 16- and 17-year intervals, and in each instance, Robin revealed a new secret about the day Lily left her alone with Marvin. Long story short, Robin let a nice older woman hold Marvin to quiet him down, allowed Marvin to roll into the street in his stroller, brought him to a strip club to get him out of the cold, and finally left him alone with the woman while making a bathroom visit. Oh, and one more thing: It wasn’t actually an older woman. It was Mike Tyson, or Senator Mike Tyson, as 2030 Lily would refer to him.
Did anyone get a look at Robin’s left hand during those flashforwards? The show seemed to keep it hidden, and I’m not sure if that was on purpose or just how things worked out. I’m fully of the belief that Robin and Barney will go through with their wedding, but seeing a ring would've been a good way to settle once and for all whether they got married and were still married anywhere between four and 17 years in the future.
There are eight more episodes left in Season 8, meaning we’re two thirds of the way through. Will HIMYM slow-play the final few episodes before finally revealing the Mother in the season finale? How long will Jeanette stick around before Ted finally manages to break up with her? He’s going to need a date to Robin and Barney’s wedding, right?
NOTES & QUOTES
– Barney summarizing why Ted had to break up with Jeanette: “Cray-Cray gotta go bye-bye before you get stab-stabbed.”
– Since Ted is the only member of the group who hasn't been in a relationship lately, Barney and Marshall have been using his apartment to stash items their significant others don’t want in their own homes. These items include a vintage video game machine, a Boba Fett suit, a cotton candy machine, a moped, a horse, and a canoe that was somehow carried at both ends by Barney.
– Speaking of the Boba Fett suit, is there any chance Disney/Lucasfilm will consider Josh Radnor to play the infamous bounty hunter in the alleged spin-off Star Wars movie? He probably wouldn’t be allowed to bring one of the swords from the apartment with him, though.
– After Superstorm Sandy, Ted stocked his bedroom with a ton of food and survivalist items, making it possible for Jeanette to hunker down there and possibly never leave. When Marshall and Barney mocked Ted for making those preparations, he pointed out the hypocrisy in what his friends were saying: “If this disaster had been a superstorm instead of a hot lunatic, you'd all be begging to eat my freeze-dried protein paste and crap in my biohazard bucket.”
– Upon learning that Jeanette was actually a police officer (thus allowing her to intercept Ted's 911 call), Ted and Marshall launched into what’s probably my favorite new joke of season so far: Ted and Marshall playing The Departed, a game that is pretty much just the two of them yelling “ARE YOU A CAWWWP” at one another in awful Boston accents. Unfortunately, Ted did not know that Jeanette was a cawwwp.
– Lily upon learning the secrets of Robin’s day with Marvin: “You took my infant son to a strip club?” Robin: “It was just topless.”
– I’m pretty sure Marvin was playing with a tassel while at the strip club. A baby has to entertain himself somehow, I guess.
– Barney: “What do I do for a living? There are some questions that we’re not meant to know the answers to.”
– While wearing Ted’s red cowboy boots, Jeanette demanded to know why they were in Ted’s bedroom: “Did Lily leave these boots here or was it some other bitch?” Oh, that’s right—Jeanette thinks Ted is secretly in love with Lily.