How I Met Your Mother-The Broken Code-Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Radnor

How I Met Your Mother returns to the pattern of nearly good yet far from great episodes. “The Broken Code” was supposed to be a big deal, but something about Ted and Barney’s confrontation was off.  The night wasn’t a complete waste—a Tim Gunn cameo is never a bad thing—but there was definite room for improvement.

The Players:

  • Director: Pamela Fryman
  • Writer: Matthew Kuhn
  • Cast: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Cristin Milioti, Bob Saget, Marshall Manesh, Tim Gunn, Melissa Tang, Ellen D. Williams, Robert Belushi, Di Koob, Cate Scott Campbell

Episode Title: “The Broken Code”

Ted and Barney settle things bro style while Robin helps Lily pick up chicks.

The Good:

  •  She-Woman Chick Haters: Lily and Robin have always been two of the greatest things about HIMYM. Throwing them together to find Robin some female friends was practically an embarrassment of riches. Robin’s ruined bachelorette party wasn’t due to Lily’s ineptitude, but to Robin’s lack of girlfriends. She attacks any weakness in other females, and yet is completely oblivious to things that drive other women away. Remember ladies, if you have that mystical metabolism that allows you to eat whatever whenever, keep it to yourself. Both are qualities Cobie Smulders plays with ease. It’s like the way Alyson Hannigan shines while nagging Robin into meeting a new girl then immediately going crazy on a bystander when her friendship’s threatened. 

The So-So:

  • The Code: The very obvious conflict between bros over Ted’s affection for Barney’s fianceé was dragged out even more.  First, Barney pretended to be cool with Ted’s weak explanation for holding Robin’s hand in the rain. Then Ted’s guilt blinded him to Barney’s anger while the groom forced his best man to do several menial tasks before stripping him of the title and giving it to Billy Zabka. They needed Marshall to decide whether The Bro Code had been broken. But even after he ruled it a violation and sentenced Ted to holding Barney’s hand on the beach, Barney found a way to understand. Or he did for half a second until Ted admitted to still liking Robin. He swore a broath to bury the feeling Ohio style, but that was far too much back and forth for the conclusion anyone could see coming a mile off.

The Bad:

  • Marsh Pillow 2.No: The writers keep finding new and interesting ways to distract us from Jason Segel’s absence.  But that doesn’t mean it’s working. It might have felt like Marshall had a major presence in the episode, but that was due to strategically placed snippets of his digital image. His role as the deciding bro in Ted and Barney’s dispute gave weight to his presence. That along with his comedic relief at the start and close of the show. Unfortunately, that would never be enough to make up for the full Marshall Erikson experience. 

The Quotable:

  • Lily: “I hope Marshall gets here for the rehearsal dinner. (Thank you Linus.) He’s somewhere in Wisconsin in a rental car.” Ted: “Hertz?” Lily: “I mean it hurts a little but I’m not gonna cry about it, hey!”
  • “Holding hands is like the fourth grade equivalent of banging.”—Barney
  • “Ugh, that girl with the bangs? Any chick that does that to her hair is going through a big life change that I don’t want to hear about. Next time grow your bangs long enough to cover your mouth. Ah, pass.”—Robin
  • “Ugh, comfortable shoes? What are you, filibustering later? It’s after 5 p.m., put on some heels. Ah, pass.”—Robin
  • Robin: “I don’t know what to say!” Lily: “Just be yourself; say something nice.” Robin: “Which one? I can’t do both.”
  • “Excuse me; I’ve got a Boston brewin’, if you know what I mean.”—Robin


“The Broken Code” continues in the HIMYM tradition of being a letdown without sinking to the ranks of complete disappointment. There were pockets of success, like Robin and Lily’s scenes, as well as the Marshall and Lily’s frozen open and his standoff with Ranjit. As much as we love when the writers breathe new life into an old joke, another parody of Weekend at Bernie’s after last season’s “Weekend at Barney’s” was overkill. Let’s hope next week’s poker game has better results.

Rating: 7/10

How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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