Last night’s How I Met Your Mother broached a new topic, without saying the word. In one way or another, “The Stamp Tramp” focused on growth for all the characters.  So how will watching them mature prepare viewers for changes to come?

The Players:

Episode Title: “The Stamp Tramp”

Robin brokers a deal for Barney to return to the strip club circuit. Marshall arranges for a down-on-his-luck buddy to interview at the law firm. Too bad he has to do damage control when things don’t go as planned.

The Good:

  • The Decision: Earlier episodes that pointed jabs at LeBron James were lackluster. Fortunately, the parody of his frequently lampooned decision special made up for it.  Ted—the resident Ohio native—even served as the last Cleveland Cavilers holdout; the guy who still thinks the Cavs can exist without James. Meanwhile, Barney and Robin’s plot gave us what we want most: Robin as head “bromigo” and a drunken kiss. Somehow Robin getting kicked out of a strip club for getting too hands on feels right. Their return to coupledom will be a slow burn.  Luckily, it’s worth it to hear lines like, “I’m taking my talents to Mouth Beach.”
  • Reality Bites: Ted’s journey to self-realization took a step further. Through his quest to dispel his label as the Piggy Back Stamper, he discovered his true college nature. He was a dork. While his stamp of approval from Lily might have seemed like the aim, the meaning was a little deeper. Teddy Westside has always had delusions of grandeur; injecting a little reality will ready him for his true love in May.
  • The Stamp Tramp: Cheers to the writers for throwing us a curveball. No one saw Brad’s double cross coming. His betrayal added some levity to Marshall’s plot; it was practically unbelievable that someone could fail so awesomely at an interview, even in TV land.  It may seem silly, but the treachery might teach Marshall to save his  approval for when it counts. The prospect of watching Joe Manganiello drive that point home, while battling Marshmallow in court over the coming weeks is exciting. Plus, watching Marshall learn what it felt like to be a living ghost was one of the best gags of the night.

The Quotable:

  • “Leave the wounded behind.”
  • “Jersey? Long Island? Why would I go to a third world nation to get my nob wobbled.”
  • “I didn’t say you were fat, I said that dress makes you look fat. Idiot.”
  • “Maybe if you stood on that pot of gold you have at the end of your rainbow”

Overall:

This week How I Met Your Mother did an excellent job of weaving every character into a relevant role.  Each plot was entertaining, and showed growth.  As the gang assimilates more with the drama of the real world, these milestones are crucial.  Thank goodness their accomplishments are hilarious to boot.

Rating: 9/10

How I Met Your Mother airs Monday nights at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.

What did you think of this episode?