You know what I did last night? I laughed at How I Met Your Mother. More than once. It's about damn time.
I don't know what to think of the generally positive reviews I've seen for this season of HIMYM, because I was thisclose to not watching anymore (okay, I would have given it at least until the end of the season). This decline in quality has been especially difficult for me since I've recommended it to a variety of other people -- and endured the inevitable scepticism given its neighbors at the tiffany network.
But I digress. This episode was pretty good & I hope it establishes the new direction of the show (by new, I mean original). Yes, there's still not knowing how to make Lily & Marshall amusing since they're riding the tip of the spear that is mature adulthood. Yes, there's the continuing (nearly) complete inattention to the Barney-Robin storyline (if I wanted plot inconsistency, I'd watch Heroes...oh wait, I do).
Now that the Stella storyline is no longer bringing everybody down, we can get back to the real funny. What stymied me the most about the Stella storyline is that Sarah Chalke is one of the funnier actresses out there...probably more laugh potential than anybody on the show save NPH. And what do they do with her? Nothing. They write her as a foil to Ted, which makes absolutely no sense. She doesn't have any sort of character *or even quirks* beyond representing a particular path for Ted to take -- ready-made family, move to NJ, etc. And she represents a path he doesn't even reject...is that supposed to be ironic? Tragic? I have no idea. The only thing that was decent about the entire storyline was Robin's speech about how romantic Ted was & how far removed from that his wedding/marriage felt, because she articulated a lot of what was lousy about this season.
In honor of this episode, though, let me cut a little slack to Josh Radnor, who plays Ted. As a pretty ordinary guy, it must have hurt a bit to watch that series of naked man poses intercut with naked NPH. And for a scene that didn't really even work.