How I Met Your Mother: “Band or DJ?”

Band or DJ?

Grade: B

Airdate: 1/14/13

After much debate with myself, I decided to give this episode of How I Met Your Mother a B. And — as much as I hate to admit it — I liked this episode, for the most part. It had some moments that had me thinking it was the old HIMYM. It even did something serious and took it seriously!

The episode picks up with Older Ted (Bob Saget) reminding us that Robin (Cobie Smulders, who was clearly sick during the filming of this episode) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) are engaged. The gang minus Barney are at the bar and joining through a strain of childish, not funny poop jokes — one reason the episode got a B. The poop is to confetti as weed is to sandwich analogy almost made up for it.

Ted (Josh Radnor) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) then square off for who gets to be Robin and Barney’s wedding planner. Their first disagreement: Lily wants a band, Ted wants a D.J. That turned into the theme of the episode and HIMYM, I applauded your sudden ability to write television again.

Robin tells them to hold off the planning because Barney has to ask her dad, Robin Sr., played by Ray Wise, permission to marry her. They go to a tacky NYC restaurant to meet Robin’s dad, who claims he is cool and fun now. But, he doesn’t give Barney permission and says he isn’t a real man because he has blonde hair.

Barney tries to prove he is a man to Robin Sr., which leads to lots and lots of Canada jokes. Robin tells the rest of the gang her dad keeps friend requesting her on Facebook. They warn her not to accept for all the regular, but always funny reasons. She eventually does and finds out her dad got married without telling her. She confronts her dad about it, tells him she is marrying Barney without his permission and he isn’t invited to the wedding. A black-haired Barney was standing behind Robin holding a bunny in that scene, but other than that is was serious. Old HIMYM, have you returned?

Lily and Ted are still going at it about the band or D.J. choice. Marshall (Jason Segel) thinks they are both being ridiculous, but Lily realizes there is a bigger issue and takes Ted up to the roof. Lily know he isn’t really happy about Robin getting engaged to Barney. Lily tells him he has to say it out loud, but she will say something worse first and admits that sometimes she wishes she wasn’t a mom. Ted then admits Robin should be with him and not Barney because he is the D.J., which is saver and more reliable than a band. I like that it was Lily, not Marshall, who took Ted to the roof. Lily has almost been a purely comic character for a while and she cried in this episode. There was a montage of all of Ted’s injuries in that scene, which was the second reason for the B.

Back in the tacky restaurant, Barney gets Robin Sr. to sort of apologize to Robin. Robin tells Ted that her dad has never apologized to her before and she decided to go with a band. But, Older Ted tells us he made a strong case for a D.J. that night.

The show then jumps four months into the future with Ted running into his ex-girlfriend Cindy, from season four, on the subway. Wow, the show remembered her and got the same actress. Cindy is there with her girlfriend, because she’s a lesbian, and they just had lunch with her former roommate, aka The Mother. Ted tells her the band just cancelled for the wedding and Cindy says her roommate’s band — she’s the bass player — could do it. Ted accepts. Older Ted tells us that if Robin hadn’t married Barney and they hadn’t gone with a band, he never would have met the mother.

That was a pretty good plot point, but clearly not how that originally was intended to happen. Cindy was dating Ted back in season four, when the show was still set on its five season course. The detail about her being gay and Ted’s chance encounter with her on the subway made it seem like there was a planned story arch for Cindy but the show let its popularity get the better of its storytelling.

Overall, this was a good episode. Does that mean anything about the next episode? No, I have learned from the past. It might seem that HIMYM is on a clear path with good writing that is finally getting us to a moment that should have happened three seasons ago, but it could return next week with terrible classic later seasons episode. But, I hope it doesn’t.

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