How I Met Your Mother "Twelve Horny Women" Review: Courtroom Drama

How I Met Your Mother S08E08: "Twelve Horny Women"

Like Marshall discovering his next path in life, last night’s How I Met Your Mother seemed to finally remember what made the show’s core characters a group of friends we’ve now cared about for over seven years.

While Marshall retold the story of his day in court against Gruber Pharmaceutical in front of the New York State Judiciary Committee, Ted, Robin, Barney, and Lily tried to trump each other’s stories of their alleged wayward younger lives. HIMYM is always at its strongest when it focuses on two things: 1) allowing its characters to act like real friends, sharing dumb stories while trying to best each other with jokes and comebacks, and 2) keeping an eye on what comes next for this group, whether in their love lives, families, or careers. "Twelve Horny Women" managed to hit both of those notes, and it was a welcome improvement over last week’s episode.

After sputtering for the past few weeks (or even most of this season), Marshall’s story finally kicked in gear last night. Big Fudge has always had one of the more emotional arcs on HIMYM, from his engagement/breakup/marriage to Lily to becoming a lawyer to the heartbreaking death of his father to the birth of his son, so it's been hard to watch him become a one-note joke this season. Yeah, Marshall is now married with a baby, but we knew there was more to him.

Picking up where last week’s episode left off, Marshall found himself facing off in court against his former brunch bro, Brad (returning guest-star Joe Manganiello), in the biggest case of his career. Brad had betrayed Marshall and stolen Marshall's firm’s secrets against Gruber Pharmaceutical, which Brad then proceeded to use in court against Marshall. But after Brad put his courtroom plan into motion, I doubt he even needed the secrets he gained from Marshall; once Brad bent over to pick up his pen in front of that jury full of women (and a judge who was particularly interested in Brad), it looked like there was no way he could lose.

Brad had the jury eating out of his palms, talking about how his girlfriend had just broken up with him since he listened too much, offering the idea that the chemicals Gruber had dumped in Frog Lake were actually helping improve the sex lives of various animals (not that Brad knew anything about needing his sex life improved, ladies), and even showing an elaborately produced music video about how the only thing Frog Lake was polluted with was good times.

With things looking bleak, Marshall hit on the one brilliant idea he needed to win the case. Recalling a duckling that had contracted acute dermatitis from the lake's polluted water, Marshall asked Brad to remove his shirt in court—a move that the judge had no problem endorsing. Once Brad bared his chest, the jury could see that he too had come down with a case of acute dermatitis, becoming infected when he swam in Frog Lake to shoot the aforementioned video.

With victory sealed, Marshall prepared himself for a verdict that would force Gruber Pharmacuetical to pay $25 million to fix the damage the company had done to Frog Lake. When the judge awarded Marshall’s firm only $25,000, he was crushed; it wasn’t the environmental win that he had hoped for. The judge informed Marshall that he wasn’t going to ruin a good company just because a few birds and fish got sick.

Marshall was joined at MacLaren’s the next day by Brad, who showed up not to gloat about his courtroom victory, but instead to let Marshall know that after seeing Marshall in action, fighting for the environment, Brad had remembered why he became a lawyer. Brad was no longer going to represent the bad guys—he was going to bring his sexy-saxophone-playing, jury-wooing talents to Marshall’s firm. Still dejected, Marshall pointed out that no matter what they did as lawyers, judges like the one who awarded him only $25,000 would still be the ones controlling how much good they could do.

Throughout the episode, Marshall had dreamt of sitting next to a teenaged Marvin, fishing at Frog Lake and talking about how just one good deed could change the world. Marshall wanted his day in court to be that good deed, but after failing to win a huge settlement, he become disillusioned with the idea. What Brad would say next not only proved to Marshall that he was right that a good deed could change the world, it would also send Marshall on the next phase of his journey. With Brad and Marshall reunited as brunch bros, Brad planted the idea that Marshall should become a judge, a position where he actually could change the world.

That's why Marshall was sitting in front of the New York State Judiciary Committee. He was asking the judges to consider him for an opening on the bench. Marshall was ready to leave behind his time as a lawyer and move to the other side of the proceedings; now we know where Marshall’s story will take us as we wrap up this (probably) final season of HIMYM.

The rest of the gang was on hand for Marshall’s big day in court, which inspired everyone to try to trump each other’s stories about youthful transgressions that ended in encounters with the law. We were treated to flashbacks of a gothic Lily, strolling the streets of New York City, scaring other kids away and forcing Scooter, her former boyfriend, to drink and slap cops. Barney claimed to have had multiple run-ins with the law, and he was even recognized by a bailiff at the courthouse. Ted recalled having his mugshot taken and calling the photographer “princess.” And best of all, Robin shared a story about her time as a Canadian teenage pop star. Yes, Robin Sparkles allegedly had some dark days, throwing loud parties and hurling TVs out hotel room windows.

Well, not quite. One by one, these stories came undone. Ted’s "mugshot" was really just a photo taken at the Shaker Heights Renaissance Fair by an actual princess. The bailiff knew Barney from his time as the youngest member of the Magicians Enthusiasts Club, where Barney found acceptance even though he had remarkably small hands. Robin’s hotel story stemmed from the time she received an award for being the nicest, most well-behaved hotel guest ever. Not quite badasses. Except Lily, who at the end of the episode was seen strolling through New York City once again, while kids dashed out of her way.

"Twelve Horny Women" was an enjoyable episode with the HIMYM gang, calling back to the days when these guys were fun to hang out with. As I said at the beginning of this season, what's made the show great is the way the relationships between Ted, Robin, Marshall, Lily, and Barney could be the experiences any of us have had with our own friends. It was nice to see these friends once again.

Oh, and the series apparently isn’t ready to stop teasing us about Barney and Robin getting back together. After the relationship roller coaster of the past few episodes, Barney told Robin he was done trying to win her over. He was finally ready to move on... which of course meant that Robin realized SHE wasn’t.



NOTES & QUOTES


Saved By the Bell’s Mr. Belding, Dennis Haskins, was one of the judges on the New York State Judiciary Committee. I guess that means his role as a Cool Whip test kitchen chef on Mad Men is over...

– Marshall to Brad before their trial: “I’ve still got some tricks up my sleeve that you know nothing about.” Brad: “Really?” Marshall: “No.”

– Ted would be the one to call everyone in sick to work. He was right about Barney’s ailment, too. If you’re going to fake hemorrhoids, you gotta fake massive hemorrhoids.

– Lily on her days as a badass: “I was like John Gotti in a training bra.”

HIMYM always does a great job of keeping the look of its characters consistent in flashbacks, Lily especially. She’s probably the character whose appearance has changed the most over the years, and this week the show nicely drew from her goth days.

– Goth Lily to Scooter: “You look okay. Wanna hang out?” Scooter: “My mom says I’m only allowed three friends.” Lily: “Your mom don’t make the rules no more, Scooter.” Scooter: “My name is Jeff.” Lily: “Not no more, Scooter.”

– It's funny that Lily was the one to force Scooter into being her boyfriend, considering that Scooter eventually became obsessed with Lily, even showing up at her wedding, where he was booted by Brad.

HIMYM has an interesting bit of relationship roulette going on between its actors and characters. Lily’s former boyfriend, Scooter, is played by David Burtka, who is Neil Patrick Harris’s husband. Meanwhile, Robin’s co-anchor who once tried to sleep with her, Sandy Waters, is played by Alexis Denisof, who is Alyson Hannigan’s husband. Should we be surprised when Cobie Smulder’s husband, Saturday Night Live’s Taran Killam, shows up to play the infamous mother herself?

– Ted pointing to kids in trouble at the courthouse: “Wanna know what I looked like at 15? There it is.” Robin: “I don’t get it—that guy wasn’t masturbating.”

– Robin describing the dark days of Robin Sparkles: “Three hours later, I was arrested drunk, naked, and driving a zamboni.”

– Brad to the judge: “Objection, your honor, on grounds this is redonk.”

Comments (23)
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That was Mr. Belding! I tried to confirm it but couldn't find any info. It was one of the best episodes of the season. I agree with you Bill it was HIMYM at it's best.
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A funny take on court process, this was not. Considering the trial was meant to be the 'trial of Marshall's life', it really was ridiculous. Not to mention it made last weeks episode completely pointless, since Brad didn't use any of this insider knowledge. And the jury full of woman... Seriously, the episode just went for cheap, shallow jokes.

Perhaps I'm just too accustomed to Boston Legal, which did courtroom humour RIGHT
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frankly it's one of the lamest episodes of a sitcom I've seen in years, didn't laugh a single time during the whole crap but I still love the show so it pains to point that out, in other words, totally disagree with the review, sorry :(
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Wasn't Taran Killam in this episode? I mean I know he's been on before and all, but I feel like I saw him in this episode or the one before... Also wondering about the whole Scooter/Jeff/Bill situation.
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off course he is there. He pees on the conference table in the chain of screaming episode.
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I have never noticed that David Burtka is Scooter ... Now that you mention it my world exploded.LOL.
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Lily as Omar from The Wire was great
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I have to deduct points from the recap from not catching the Wire reference. Lily as Omar Little. LOL.
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– It's funny that Lily was the one to force Scooter into being her boyfriend, considering that Scooter eventually became obsessed with Lily, even showing up at her wedding, where he was booted by Brad

...where his name was Bill not Jeff
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Am i the only one who wanted Lilly to say she was a bad ass at band camp?
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I'm glad they kept Joe on a retainer, he actually has some comedic chops
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The court case was ridicilous for sure. But, for me, in a funny way. First, I was annoyed about why would any woman behave like that, but, because it was so silly ie. clearly a joke, I just enjoyed Joe Manganiello shirtless. That said, I liked the episode, it's been too long since an episode wasn't just about relationship, and I'm happy that Marshall has a proper goal again. I hope this is the last season of HIMYM, it's running out of good ideas. I'd rather see this show finishing with some respect rather than a forced cancellation.
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I know this show is all about creating ridiculous situations and it's pretty good doing so but the trial was just too much for me . Complete nonsense , there was nothing funny or interesting about " Marshall's most important case ever " . Rest of the episode was ok . It seems that Robin will have to fight for Barney . Marshall wanting to become a judge seems a correct character development , I just didn't like the way it was handle
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I really disliked this episode. The "trial" was unwatchably stupid, painfully so, it was utter nonsense and totally took me out of the moment. Marshall's decision to become a judge didn't even follow the logic of the show - he wants to fight for the important things, yet now he wants to be impartial and have his hands tied by the law? And all the "badass" stories were silliness that went nowhere, except Lily who looked horrible in goth white makeup (if ever you wanted to highlight the passage of time, kids, just put that stuff on when you're in your 30s), and it in no way furthered the final season plotline. But like QBE_64 below, I found that the way the "trial" writing went was so amateurish and unbelievable on any level, not to mention unfunny, that it was the chief element taking me out of the episode. That said, Robin called driving a Zamboni while drunk "ZUI" which was pretty funny.
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Judges ARE bound by the law... but they also have the power to help change laws by setting precedence. Such as, where a decision is murky they look back to precedence and it's up to the judge to decide how the decision should be made. By making their decision, there is now precedence for that specific scenario on the books.

Likewise, as we saw here, it was the Judge that should have kept things on track. Any normal judge would have probably held 'the bro' in contempt at some of the stuff he was doing.
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Precedence is not just making things up, it's a wise yet closely-scrutinized interpretation of existing law. One that can be easily overturned if it's not ruled properly.
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Yeah, I'm fairly certain admitting that your biased agenda to take down the corporations to a panel of admission judges will not result in your judgeship being awarded.
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But did he want to "take down corporations" or did he want to "ensure the laws are upheld, for both people AND corporations." It wasn't that he just didn't like what the company did to the lake, but that it was illegal. The problem is the judge didn't care about that, he didn't want to hurt a company's bottom line for doing something illegal because the illegal thing was no big deal in his eyes (some birds got a rash).
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I loved this episode. I am in the field of law myself, so I appreciated the courtroom humour. Sure that would never happen in real life, but it was more of a parody and in my opinion a pretty funny one. Very Good Episode.
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Taran Killam already played Blauman in some earlier episodes of HIMYM, so all of the husbands of the married stars have already appeared on the show.
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I know it's a comedy, but that court case was ridiculous. But in an unfunny way. Kind of ruined the episode for me. I did watch it right after watching Sunday's Good Wife though. hmmm... maybe my own fault.
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Pretty good reference to The Wire when they recall Lily's former (and even current) badassery.
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I'm not the only one who see the reference.
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