Weddings are never easy, but How I Met You Mother proves they can get better/worse when Barney Stinson’s involved. “The Rehearsal Dinner” was the kind of spectacle we expect from the Barnacle, mixed with the disappointment this season’s taught us to anticipate.
- Director: Pamela Fryman
- Writer: Chuck Tatham
- Cast: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Cristin Milioti, Bob Saget, Wayne Brady, Alan Thicke, Patrick Hancock, Lawrence Larson, Jeff Kueppers, Victoria Boa
Episode Title: “The Rehearsal Dinner”
Barney is convinced Robin is planning a laser tag rehearsal dinner while Lily sours when Ted breaks a promise.
- Old and New: The Canada hate never gets old—it’s Canada after all—but finding a way for Barney to express something other than disgust with the northern nation was a surprise. One of Lily’s catchphrases, “Bastardo,” sounded odd coming from Ted’s lips, but watching him use it to calm her was slightly satisfying.
- Way Back There: Planting Easter eggs in the background of scenes was the primary form of entertainment for the episode. The family that grew from the parents engagement to the child’s graduation during the gang’s Canada hate-a-thon was more of a device to show how much time had passed than a joke. Luckily, the background at the skating rink was much more entertaining. The Drunk Aunt Wig Hockey Game was giggle-inducing, but seeing Ted glide by playing the piano on ice in full Liberace regalia was the kind of laugh that deserved a bigger spotlight.
- Once: The song Alan Thicke and James serenaded the party with nearly made the lack of shock in this episode’s so called surprise. We’d love to know which of the gang wrote it because the lyrics were worth a second listen. Still, hearing a ballad about how Barney and Robin both swore they’d never get married was easily bested by the shot of James’s Victor/Victoria style Mountie/Robin Sparkles costume. Even though we only saw it for a second we’d love to live in that moment. Ted’s night as Liberace was so wonderful that even though it was spoiled in the promos, it retained its amusement. Seeing Ted hit the ice face first after two months of skating lessons is just funnier when he’s in a white sequin, lace, and feather-covered ensemble.
- Semi-Surprise: So Barney was arrested at the laser tag arena where he assumed Robin was throwing a rehearsal dinner. Only he was actually surprising Robin with a Canadian themed ice skating rehearsal to make her happy and finally throw 1/4th of his ancestors a bone. Problem is you can’t hinge an entire episode on the reveal of one very obvious fake out. The reason Robin’s heavily mentioned party was so amazing is because it was a complete shock to all. The night ended with a quasi-heartwarming revelation for the betrothed, but it seemed to be another in a long line of Barney-and-Robin-will-try-to-conform-but-ultimately-do-marriage-differently thing.
- Marshall Madness: It’s painful to continue to mention this, but yet again Marshall’s contribution has scaled back to window dressing. As usual he made appearances in flashbacks and nothing more. Since he mentioned that he missed the rehearsal dinner last week we knew this might happen. Meanwhile, it’s been so long since Lily found out Marshall took the judge job it’s easy to forget no one else knew. We’re nearly done caring about how it unfolds. Do they really think they can drag this out?
- “I still have 12,000 buttons that say, ‘The only pole I care about is in my pants.’”—Barney
“The Rehearsal Dinner” had a few good slices of show hidden throughout the night. More LeBron hate from Ted and Barney’s many bad ideas (gluten free edible panties and single malt scotch tape just to name a few) added spice to this otherwise drawn out episode. Much like Robin’s intense craving for bacon-wrapped figs, we’d like to be fed what we’ve been pining for: episodes that make sense.
How I Met Your Mother airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.
What did you think of the episode?