How I Met Your Mother Review: Bittersweet Symphony
This week's episode of How I Met Your Mother - "Symphony of Illumination" - had this Gentile thinking Christmas came early, but in the end I was left feeling like I had been Rickrolled instead of Mannheim Steamrolled.
While some parts of the episode were tough to swallow - like how my mom told me I had to finish my peas before I got pie - these served as key ingredients to a pretty tasty helping of the sitcom from Joe Kelly and gang.
What a tremendous performance from Cobie Smulders, treating us to equal amounts of humor and heartache. From the bathroom beat down to the "play it again Sam" egg nog for one on the park bench, she took us to the roof top of emotion... only to pull the ladder out from under us and send viewers crashing back down to Earth. I so wanted those to be her and Barney's kids. Robin has always brought out the best in the Barnacle and the prospect of her pregnancy sent him into a flurry of fatherly fuss with such adorable moments like when he freaked about giving her the wrong rocks glass.
Robin's seriousness at times did not upstage her humorous moments, though. We-B-Babies was the set for some of her funniest moments this season, from shooting herself in the head with Lily's registry gun to calling that baby "cute as crap." I did feel sorry for Barney, though, who missed a number of great joke opportunities with the whole pole vaulting story. I'm sure he would have interjected, saying he thought most Canadian women hoped they would meet a nice guy and settle down only after spending most of their twenties "vaulting poles."
Marshall's scenes out in East Meadow were pretty funny, what with Scott cranking he and Lily's stereo while "eating a sandwich" in their house. Kids these days are so tech savvy. Hats off to the little punk for thinking to ask Lily to send him pictures of her, ummm... hats. More importantly, however, all the father/son references were setting the stage for what will surely be an emotional Christmas for Marshall without his own father.
Ted, meanwhile, is one of the closest things Robin has to her own family in the States. His line about how she couldn't fire him because he was "union bitch" was one of the best quotes of the episode - but was overshadowed by the intense back and forth the two long time friends enjoyed. Ted realized in the end that actions speak louder than words, especially if those actions are timed up to ACDC's "Highway To Hell."
Robin has brought so much light into Ted's life it was fitting that in one of her darkest hours he was the one to illuminate her world. Just like Ted said to Robin, it's not How I Met Your Mother's job to cheer us up each week, but that doesn't mean its writers don't try. It's a fact of life and a darn good one. I couldn't give the episode five stars because I selfishly want to still see Barney and Robin end up together... and while that still might happen, and while I was happy to hear all the amazing things Robin goes on to do in life, the realization that she never will be a "pole vaulter" left me a bit sad.
I don't think I was the only one, right?