There were a lot of heavy storylines throughout the first half of this season’s How I Met Your Mother. The return seems like it will continue with that trend, but it surprisingly turned into a lighthearted episode that rang in the new year in a grand way.
“Tailgate” opens with Marshall deciding to go to Minnesota to visit the gravesite of his father. Instead of mourning, he has arrived to tailgate for the Vikings-Bears NFL game. First off, it’s amazing how topical the HIMYM writers are, since that exact game was played the Sunday prior to the episode. That’s one aspect of the show I always respected, and I hope they continue to weave up-to-date pop culture events into episodes.
The tradition is a touching moment, but the truly great moment is having Marshall narrate the episode. This follows a week where Robin narrated her own episode. These were both great chances to expand on the formula that has worked so well over the years. However, I don’t feel that this should become a reoccurring trend, but it should instead be used sparingly.
Each of the plots serves as a different example why HIMYM is one of the best shows on television. Again, the writers chose to use Marshall and Lily as the sentimental plot, but keep the others as a zany counterbalance. Though Marshall gets to narrate the majority of the story, it’s Lily who gets the spotlight. She finally tells her father that she is expecting, but he hangs up upon hearing the news. She’s heartbroken, and Marshall is heartbroken for her. As an audience there is no emotion we should feel but a somber one. As the episode progresses the feeling grows and grows, but fortunately you should shed a tear of happiness in the end.
Robin’s plot features the return of Sandy Rivers. He drunkenly calls her, which leads to Kevin suggesting she get on the air to broadcast the New Year’s Eve celebration herself. And while it’s revealed that this was a turning point in her career, there is still something dragging her down. I can’t be the only one growing weary of Kevin. Kal Penn has done a great job as a reoccurring guest star, but I feel it’s time to wean him off and shift Robin’s storylines to something more substantial. It is possible that he could become a permanent fixture like Mike was to Phoebe on Friends, but I hope that doesn’t happen.
Let’s turn to Barney and Ted. It’s been a while since they had an adventure together, but this episode changed that. Remember when they wanted to open a bar a few seasons back? Well, they did! Puzzles opened in Ted’s apartment on New Year’s Eve due to the duo being fed up with overpriced drinks and MacLaren’s. The misadventures of them managing a bar are too precious to spoil for you. My favorite moment was when their logo, a play on Cheers, was revealed.
How I Met Your Mother was the first major sitcom to return from hiatus, and it didn’t disappoint. If every other show is just as strong, it’s easy to say 2012 will be the year television returns to glory.