Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How I Met Your Swag

So, putting the ratings business behind us, the good folks over at TV Squad were kind enough to lift back the vail of TV publicity and show us a How I Met Your Mother goodie that came with a recent press kit in support of the Season 2 DVD. They are the proud owners of none other than a Talking Barney Bobblehead. Complete with three catch phrases which TV Squad so kindly shares with us. Go check it out and feel free to start pestering CBS into mass marketing them instead of just sending them to press folks. Or hope one ends up on eBay.

Ratings News for 9/24

Overnight ratings aren't very good. HIMYM finished third behind Dancing with the Stars and the debut of Chuck. They were close with Chuck, which is good, but overall its down from last season. Monday is getting increasingly competitive and hopefully that will give the show some leeway. All of CBS's returning shows took a hit compared to last season, but HIMYM's dip was the steepest.

Still more "Wait for It" responses

LOTS of talk about the season premiere out on the blogosphere. Here are some of the links I've found:

Matthew Gilbert reviews it at Boston.com's Viewer Discretion blog where he misses the Ted/Robin pairing.

Rodyssey's Odyssey enjoyed the hell out of it.

angel_grace was not disappointed.

Maggie at TiFaux thought the premiere was excellent.

Cootiehog declares it the awesomest opener yet.

doctorpop loved the last 30 seconds.

InvalidCookies loves the characters and is looking forward to another season with them.

My DVR Rules My Life
loves that the show has resolved Ted/Robin and loves the realistic and relatable way the characters are presented.

nonconformity93 thought the premiere was amazing.

Confusion Never Stops
is also missing Ted/Robin but thought the premiere was great.

Tall at stuff that concerns us was a bit underwhelmed and thought the show was trying too hard.

Jeanius doesn't think the show has lost steam.

Pop.nography is glad to have their favorite show back.

South Dakota Dark missing hanging out the gang as he declares it TV's most welcoming comedy.

Katey at Cinema Blend still finds the show fresh and unexpectedly funny as she lists her favorite 5 moments from the show.

Gordon recaps it at TV Fodder.

Amanda in Real Life found it as funny as ever.

Doctor the Blog thinks the show has been in decline since season 1 and was not amused by the Cadillac or Mandy Moore product placement.

It Happened Last Night recaps it over at zap2it.

Jump the Shark wanted more laughs, but t hought the show was pretty good.

What's Alan Watching gives the show a tramp stamp of approval.

I'm sure I missed plenty of others, so feel free to share in the Comments.

Have you met these other sites?

How I Met Your Mother joins the Television Without Pity family as Omar G writes a "Weecap" of the premiere.

Joel Keller over at TV Squad offers his thoughts.

TV Genie
is in on the fun, as well.

Justin blogs the premiere at Have You Met Ted?

As always, be sure to go to CBS.com, scroll all the way down and click on Feedback to tell CBS that you loved the show.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Recap - Wait for it (0301)

So, a new season and I'm reopening my blog to see how far I manage to take my grand plans. Nothing too elaborate yet, just trying to add to the growing HIMYM community. No fancasts, but you can get that elsewhere. No awesome forums, but you can get that elsewhere. No recaps from the fine folks at the Bravo Network, but you get the picture. I'm just trying to do my thing, and respect all the good folks who got here first. So, with that self-serving introduction, lets review the season 3 premiere, "Wait for It".

What with Cadillac bringing you CBS and Nissan bringing you NBC, it seems automakers are bringing us a lot of TV tonight. Or at least TV involving Lyndsy Fonseca. Someone check if they sponsor Desperate Housewives.

Speaking of Lyndsy, we get right into things with a shot of the Ted's kids. It looks like a pretty obvious reuse of their doubtlessly voluminous footage of Luke and Leia looking bored and bewildered. The audience is quickly confused those as Future Ted Sagets that we already know the short version of how he met their mother. (We did?) You know, the story about the yellow umbrella? (the what?) But before he reminds them of the story they know and we don't, he Sagets on to drive home the premise of the show for anyone joining us. This is the story of how Ted became the person he needed to be in order to meet their mom. Welcome new viewers! Try not to let Saget scare you.

Perhaps driving home the notion of introducing the show to new audiences, Ted suggests that this story begins... wait for it... here, as we jump back to the present (well, May) and Barney finishes his legendary. So, this is where it begins? What was season 1 and 2, then? Nevertheless, you have to appreciate that they do step right back into it with no previouslies to explain Barney's "...dary!" Until Barney says the full word for the folks just joining us. Again, hi new viewers! Seriously, don't be scared of the Saget.

Barney man crushes on Ted for having his wingman back while Ted continues to be Ted and is all wussy sensitive-dude about the whole thing and needing time to recover from Robin. FTed Sagets us into the the recovery flashforwards us through the flash backs to get us to the present or as close to the present as the show gets. Ted grows a break-up beard as Barney wants to pose as corrupt judges for a Long Island beauty contest. Ted paints the apartment while Barney proposes the finish line of woman's road race. Ted's doing well as Barney wants to get them "Cirque du so laid" but Ted's still being Ted as the gang enjoy liquid refreshment at McClaren's.
He just needs the proper inspiration, though, which Robin thoughtfully provides as she picks that moment to return from Argentina with Enrique Iglesias playing Guy-L, her evidently Kryptonian rebound. Which takes us to Ba-ba-bah-bah ba-ba-bah ba ba-bah ba-da-ba-da-ba-da-ba-da-bah.

No commercial, so I guess we're going to keep on keeping on. We're back to the old apartment as Barney and Marshall are gaming and Ted is ranting while progressively shaving off the break-up beard. He's doing it segments, so he maintains cohesive looks every time he re-emerges from the bathroom. For whatever its worth, I do the same exact thing and SO wish I could pull of the Chester A. Arthur that Ted's sporting when he first appears. The gang, of course, spend more time ragging on Ted's facial hair than actually giving him caring advice. As it should be.

Ted's all focused on Robin trying to "win" the break-up (and welcome to the set-up for tonight's episode, by the way) and Lily is incredulous. Which takes us to a flashback in a flash back as we return to McClaren's for their introductions to Guy-L and their inability to understand his name. Wikipedia thinks its spelt Gael, though I was thinking it was like Guile, the Street Fighter character after I stopped hearing his Kryptonian name Guy-L. Ted's stuck on "Gayle". Barney gets the rhyme scheme right and guesses Kyle. Marshall straight-up has Ted's back as he goes with "girl". Robin evidently was on the same page as me as she teaches them "Guy-L". This gives Super Rebound the chance to teach the gang about joy and the bringing of joy and generally be annoyingly perfect.

We flash-forward to a now be-mustached Ted who further develops Guy-L's character by establishing him as a masseuse and sending us back into the time-machine so Guy-L can continue teaching the gang the ways of Guy-L, which seem to include making love while wind-surfing. Barney's not buying that, though, as he seems to have a list of 33 vehicles in which one can have sex in or upon and windsurfboard's just not on it. We also learn that Barney's had sex in/on 31 of 33, needing only the Apollo 11 space capsule and a bobsled. I quickly wonder if the full list will be on Barney's Blog.

Ted has finally bearded down and is ready to hit the town with Barney while Marshall and Lily have a double date with Robin and Guy-L, who Lily is totally crushing on to Marshall's dismay. Lily attempts to talk down Guy-L by insisting that girl's never marry the incredibly hot guy which obviously saddens Marshall. While Lily badly covers for herself, Marshall insists that they are not to like "Male Gayle" for the sake of their friend Ted. They aren't even to make eye contact when he comes over for their double date.

Which allows FTed to come back and Sagat us forward to Robin and Guy-L's arrival with an uncomfortable Lily looking everywhere but at Guy-L. You've got to love Bob Saget's scorn whenever he says Guy-L in the narration. See new viewers. I told you not to fear him. Meanwhile, Robin has pulled Ted aside to give him the dreaded, "I just want to make sure you're okay with this," which really sets Ted off. He's a-ranting as he and Barney make it downstairs to McClaren's. Barney decides this would be a good time for some Stinson-brand motivation as he declares that he will top Robin's "10" by getting Ted a 12. And if not a 12, 2 6's. Or 3 4's. Worst case scenario, they go to Staten Island for 12 1's. As Barney wraps up his Magnolia style pep-talk, he realizes that Ted just does fine without "Have you met Ted?" because he's lip-locked with some faux-dangerous woman who's just entered the Bar. They release and we find out that one John Dorian's string of guest star ex's Mandy Moore is on the scene to play against type as Amy, the hyper-sexual tattoo'ed lady of danger. I'm not buying it.

Don't get me wrong, I actually like Mandy Moore. I don't know why, but I've always found her refreshingly unpretentious for some reason. She reminds me of that girl in high school you expect to hate but end up actually liking because she's actually way more genuine than you thought even thought you can't convince any of your friends to give her a shot because she really doesn't seem like someone you'd like. Besides, she was awesome in Saved! I guess it helps that her music really means nothing to me so I've only ever bothered to form an opinion of her as an actor. That said, she was a bit too self-consciously acting here. Its not awful, but it is a touch distracting. Still, I guess that's the point of stunt casting.

We come back from commercial to find Ted and Amy still a-kissing and Barney trying desperately to draw attention to himself. We quickly move back to the Old Apartment where the uncomfortable double-date is in full-swing. Indeed, its so uncomfortable they are talking it out which only makes it more uncomfortable after Marshall totally gives away Lily's crush which turns Lily into a 13 year old. Robin, though, is really just thinking about Ted until Guy-L gets her mind off him with a nice back massage. Marshall uses this as an excuse for some lawyering, but Guy-L is evidently fully accredited in Argentina with a laminated card and everything.

We move back to McClaren's as Barney finally gets Ted's attention and suggests they blow this Popsicle stand for Barney's pre-planned night of debauchery, complete with Barney's "spoiler alert" that the night will end at a place that is so after hours, its three days from now. What up? Ted's having none of this and insists that he's committed to macking with Amy, even if Barney had nothing to do with the hook-up. Barney and Amy banter for a bit until Ted ends up kissing her again.

MEANWHILE, Marshall plots his revenge on Guy-L by massaging his chicken with unwashed hands. The cad! Only, Guy-L has gotten the upper hand. Both of them, actually, as massaging out the ancient emotions of Lily. Marshall isn't buying Lily's story of building Guy-L up to tear him down, or her missing bra.

Back at McClaren's, FTed Sagets us up to speed as he's having fun, Amy's hooked Barney up with some random blonde, and they all steal some spirits. After some more Amy/Barney banter, Amy suggests they go back to her place. Barney's not interested in returning with "1994 Courtney Love" but is won over when she reveals she has a hot-tub. Cue the hot tub as Barney's chilling and drinking. Ted admires Amy's tats, but she hears "tits" and promptly boasts about them and offers Ted a feel. I'd have just assumed Ted didn't say tats, either, given how boring Moore's fake tattoos are. Once Ted corrects her (seriously, you're correcting her?), she suggests Ted get inked himself which sets off more Barney banter. Barney's blonde tries to deflect this by rather pointedly offering herself to Barney, but Barney is way more committed to the banter as Ted humor's Amy's tattoo suggestion. Things are cut short when we learn that this is not Amy's place or Amy's hot-tub when some kid finds them and prompts a quick escape as we learn that Amy used to nanny for them before getting fired. Barney notes that he wouldn't even let her watch his fake kids he pretends to have to score with single moms. With that, he tries to end the evening, but Ted's evidently been kissing Mandy Moore too long because he slips into full-on Zach Braff mode as he daydreams about Robin and Guy-L getting ready to make love while wind-surfing. Amusingly, the fantasy peters out as Ted tries to get a handle on the logistics that were bothering Barney earlier. Still the damage is done as drunk Ted resolves to get a tattoo much to Barney's dismay who proclaims this is going in his blog. As Ted drives off in a cab, Barney's wingman bond is broken though and he now takes up the random blonde's blunt offer of sex. Exit Barney.

Enter, tattoo parlor as Ted designs his totally bitchin' Robin revenge tattoo with flame accents. This gives Amy some arson inspirations but Ted's not that drunk. He is drunk enough to black out on Legend... though and we flash forward to Ted waking up the next morning and frantically searching for a tattoo. He finds none and is relieved, but the viewers at home quick see that he's actually acquired a butterfly "tramp stamp" on his lower back. Commercial sign!

We come back as topless Ted saunters into the living room and brags about his night to Marshall and Lily who buy it until Ted turns around. They naturally immediately plot his comeuppance because nothing is better than the come-upping of Ted. They call Barney who comes over besuited but with no tie. Have we seen that before? Barney grumps about Ted as the newlyweds plot to get Ted to reveal his new ink to a breathlessly amused Barney. Barney slowly sets up the reveal, as he winds around talk of wings and cocoons in an elaborate plan to prompt Ted to say "butterfly" to the delight of all in attendance. This is a great example of the very natural way these characters make fun of each other. The shots of Marshall and Lily trying not to crack up during Barney's set-up were perfectly played. A well-placed back-slap reveals to Ted that something is amiss. Upon realizing he has been branded with "ass antlers", his black-out is lifted and we flash back so Saget can fill us in.

Back at the Tattoo parlor, Amy and Ted swap break-up stories as she bashes her wussy ex-boyfriend Steve. But she does think Ted and Robin can stay friends since she's still close with Steve, who we learn is the tattoo artist about the ink-up Ted. When he turns around and we see his "AMY" tattoo on his chest, its apparent that this isn't ending well for Ted. (FYI, the tattoo artist had a recurring role on HIMYM's old time-slot rival Kitchen Confidential)

We already knew this wasn't ending well for Ted, though, since its already the next morning. Ted searches for something to soothe his tramp stamp and comes upon some Spanish massage oil, giving Marshall and Lily the chance to flash back and explain how last night got "weird" for them, too. Marshall, it seems had fallen for Guy-L's charms as well. Still, their pain is now a distant memory what with Ted's tramp stamp. Ted sets off for Robin's.

Once he arrives (still in his PJ's, might I add) he is quick to lay some ground rules. No big speeches to win her back. No indie rock songs crescendoing as they kiss. No, Ted is just regretting the mature break-up in the face of Guy-L and wants to shout for a bit. He realizes, though, that he doesn't have much to shout about. Robin notices that he's shaved. She liked the beard, as did Ted who contemplates growing it back for the cold of the winter. By the way, Ted really did look good with the beard. Ted whines that Robin got over him so quickly, but Robin assures him that she didn't and just got together with Guy-L because she needed a rebound. Do note that while praising Guy-L, Ted works in a plug for tonight's sponsor, Cadillac. Nice work, Mosby. Basically, Ted's mostly annoyed at how perfect Guy-L was. Robin, though, knows just the right thing to say and reassures Ted that he has the bigger penis. No, not metaphorically.

Which really is all Ted needed to hear and we're back at McClaren's toasting his break-up victory. He may have a tramp-stamp, but he's the bigger man all the same. FTed is Sagating over this part as he claims ignorance to how he got over his jealousy of Guy-L. We're back in premise land, though, as FTed muses on his wild and crazy journey to meeting their mother and we see the outside of McClaren's as someone with a yellow umbrella walks on by.

OMG! We totally just saw the mom! Kinda. Except not really. But we now she will have a yellow umbrella so we have a replacement for the blue French horn in How I Met Your Mother iconography. Hooray!

So, the stunt casting never quite gelled, but the episode was still really about the interrelationships of our gang so I was amused. A solid episode all around that's left me eager for the season to come. Also eagerness inducing was the episode's parting shot as we see Marshall ominously calling Barney after-hours to direct him to the already revealed SlapCountdown.com. Yes, Slap #3 is coming and Marshall is keen on tormenting Barney with it. Great scene that showcases the great chemistry Jason Segal and Neil Patrick Harris have together. Even without sharing the screen, they communicated so much about how the characters relate to each other. Kudos!

That's all for this week. Stay tuned and see how much I bother to update this blog. Encourage me at your peril.