Those HIMYM devotees who have worried this season has favored drama at the expense of belly-laughs are probably breathing much easier (and grinning wider) after last night’s episode.
Following December’s Robin-narrated detour, 2030 Ted was back from the future to narrate a story about Uncle Marshall recounting a tale to his late father's headstone (a deceptively dark opener for an otherwise lighthearted episode).
Getting over the mind-twisting fact that last night's episode was a flashback within a flashback from the future (my post-New Year's brain is reeling!) was easy enough given the bounty of choice one-liners. Speaking to Marvin Sr.’s stone slab, Marshall informed his deceased father that “The most appropriate way to honor your memory today... is to get blasted and watch the Vikings make the Bears their furry little bitches! Go Vikes!!”
Reality check: The real-life Minnesota Vikings decided to prove the HIMYM writers wrong and choke during their New Year’s Day game against the Chicago Bears.
As for what Marshall wanted to tell his dad, we learned that he had to twist Lily's arm just to get her to tell her own father that she's "with child" (to say the least, at this point). But when Lily called her father (the dependably hilarious Chris Elliott) to share the joyous news, he simply responded, "Great, thanks," and hung up. Apparently, working a board game convention is already enough excitement for some people.
Meanwhile, things were less desperate for Barney and Ted, unless you consider a cover charge at MacLaren's to be tragedy on par with decades of shoddy fathering (which to be fair, Barney probably does). Stung by the $100 price tag for a New Year’s Eve at their favorite watering hole, Ted and Barney decided to resuscitate their long-dormant idea of opening a bar.
As you may recall from the 2009 episode entitled "Three Days of Snow," Barney and Ted once plotted opening a bar called "Puzzles." "Why Puzzles? That's the puzzle!" Barney explained, which is a circular line of reasoning that's rather genius in a Stinson sort of way, even if Aristotle wouldn't approve.
Ted and Barney even collaborated on a theme song for Puzzles, a ditty suspiciously close to the Cheers theme that finds Barney declaring his intentions to use their bar “to bang chicks in Ted’s room.” Ted, for his part, hoped Puzzles will end up closer to an early 20th century Parisian salon, the kind of place where like-minded intellectuals discuss James Joyce and smoke Sherlock Holmes-styled pipes. Unsurprisingly, Barney got a whole lot closer to his goal, even if Ted did sport the pipe.
As for Robin, she was hardly given a moment to dwell on her recent infertility shock. With the anchor Sandy Rivers (returning guest star and Buffy vet Alexis Denisof) thoroughly soused, Robin was called in to deal with the situation.
Rivers was supposed to ring in 2012 Dick Clark-style, but with liquor oozing from his pores, it turned out he was too busy relieving himself on the Times Square JumboTron to bother with television. He only sobered up long enough to try to rope Robin into a three-way, and in the next scene, a perfectly droll Cobie Smulders informed him that his attempted Ménage à trois began and ended ignominiously alone... in a hallway.
NEXT: Robin takes hold of her journalistic destiny