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Thursday, 25 of February of 2021

How I Met Your Mother – “The Wedding Bride”

The ‘but’ is that there’s always a ‘but.’

[insert my intro from last week’s 30 Rock here].

It’s like the shows that I used to really love finally heard my complaints and decided to shape up for their last two episodes. Well, kind of shape up anyway. I mean, it’s hard to binge on mediocre to downright awful episodes and then shimmy into that suit or wedding dress that is the season finale. And it’s question that I think we all need to grapple with, regardless of the show we’re watching: Does a good run up to the season finale (and hopefully a good season finale) make up for a lousy season, or at the very least, grant a stay of execution for that show from your schedule for the next season?

I’m not sure how I’d answer that question (though I have thought about it a fair bit recently). I know the most recent victim of this for me has been House, though I sporadically went back to it during this season, up until “Wilson” aired. Not only has I found the past season fairly frustratingly bad, but I felt that the show had overplayed the trope of “It being in House’s head in some way” during their finales.

This year, HIMYM and 30 Rock have been decidedly bad. 30 Rock has suffered from considerable backlash this year, not just as a show but through Tina Fey herself. HIMYM, on the other hand, has never been as wildly popular or noticeable to achieve a backlash, except among us regular viewers (Barney/Robin relationship, Ted’s inconsistent depictions this year). It’s a bit ironic that both shows seem to save themselves with episodes centered around weddings, on film or with the characters themselves.

“The Wedding Bride” has a number of things that the show does well, including representing  metaphors in particular ways. In this case, it’s the rather obvious idea of emotional baggage that people carry with them. Not an entirely new concept to address, but the way to show represents that baggage, as actual suitcases or trunks with what the baggage is written on it, is the kind of smart thing that the show hasn’t done a great deal of this season. They felt very much like the signs Looney Tunes character would hold up every now and then, to comment on the situation, and those things always made me laugh, so perhaps I have a slight bias here.

I agree that The Wedding Bride really couldn’t have taken off like it was said to (no romantic comedy will ever become the 5th highest grossing movie of all time (unless you consider Shrek 2 a romantic comedy…)), but I feel that the point of its broadness was based in the “Ted is a douche” arc that has been running through much of this season. Indeed, compared to Jed Moseley, Ted Mosby’s just kind of an bumbling, aimless fool, not a douche. I can’t help but think that this is an attempt by the show to somehow drive home Ted’s self-acknowledgement of his behavior, but to do so would imply that I agree that A) Ted is a douche (which I don’t think is true) and B) that the show has consistently depicted Ted as being a douche.

Putting aside point A, since I recognize myself in Ted and don’t think of myself a douche (snobby and annoying, sure, but not douchey), point B is a significantly more complicated issue. Ted’s arc this season has been all over the place, and his representation (snobby/pretentious, douchey, inconsiderate, gay) has been equally scattershot. To suddenly tie all of this behavior to him still grappling with Stella leaving him at the alter, with a single line at the end of up the episode when it feels like that it hasn’t been an issue at all this season, is still a remarkably lazy writing move, even in an episode I otherwise really enjoyed.

So much like the result from last week’s 30 Rock, I’m now cautiously optimistic about the season finale. We’ll see if the finale commits me for another season, or if I can ditch my HIMYM baggage.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • I’ll spare the harping about the episode not addressing Robin hanging out with everyone again. I’m tired of beating dead horses at this point.
  • “His high school mascot was a hug.” The Marshall’s too nice B-plot was amusing, but ultimately a kind of fluffy bit of work that didn’t go anywhere. That said, Jason Segel can sell pretty much anything and I’ll laugh.
  • Pretty sure that the music during the wedding scene (and also the running scene) in The Wedding Bride were from Love Actually. I’d feel bad about knowing that, but I actually own Love Actually on DVD. So. Yeah.
  • I’m also biased for Judy Greer, though I admit to not being sure if that was her or not for about half the episode. She looked a little weird, right? Maybe it was the long hair.
  • Also think I saw that someone’s baggage in that last scene read “Cubs Fan.” Those people do have issues.


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