How I Met Your Mother has been alluding subtly to the eventual end of the group’s addiction-like codependence for quite some time now. As Future Ted states at the end of this week’s episode, “46 Minutes” changes like seeing your friends less frequently are just part of life. “46 Minutes” tackles this, sending Marshall and Lily out to Long Island for their first night in their new home. Ted and Barney each overreact in their own ways, while Robin and Kevin spend the night trying to prove to one another how much fun they are. And so it begins. Tonight’s 150th episode of How I Met Your Mother started the the physical and geographic dissolution of some of our favorite friends on television.
And that’s also the message of the most brilliant bits of “46 Minutes” — the two reimagined title sequences, one with Barney humming over the theme and asserting himself the new leader of the gang, and one with the Russian stripped and her massive boyfriend-pimp as New Lily and New Marshall. (Especially good is the image of Stripper Lily diving toward Robin’s face with her tongue out; Robin’s look of sheer disgust references both the internal logic of the fantasy, and Original Lily’s ongoing sexual attraction to Robin.)
Over at their new house, Lily and Marshall are dealing with her father, Mickey, who is making up for his long absence by being helpful in all the worst ways. Eventually, Marshall snaps and asks him to leave. He feels guilty, but both he and Lily think he’s right. They might just come to regret that point of view. Back in the city, Barney suggests going to a strip club. A lonely Ted is all for it, and Robin and Kevin say yes only because they don’t want to say no in front of each other.
Watch How I Met Your Mother – 46 Minutes Online
HIMYM S07E14: 46 Minutes
The night just gets weirder and weirder from there. Kevin and Robin suffer through an awkward lap dance where $20s go flying; Ted and Barney meet Stripper Lily’s boyfriend—a large over-bearing Russian dude whom they declare “New Marshall”; and Ted gets really drunk thinking that Marshall has abandoned their friendship. With their New Lily and New Marshall—and a new hilarious Russian version of the show’s theme song—Ted, Barney, Robin and Kevin head out with their new gang to an underground high-stakes poker game where Ted wins big. I love a drunk Ted—from dancing on a poll exclaiming, “I’m a stripper!!!” to singing about his winnings to the Russian mafia, “We built chip city!”
And so the new group leader, Barney, suggest going to the strip club. Although they can’t forget about Lily and Marshall there, because Stripper Lily is back! Or, as Barney calls her, Better Lily, and she’s brought her behemoth boyfriend, Better Marshall. Except things suddenly going downhill like crazy. The HIMYM “new gang” go with Better Lily and Marshall to a poker game in a mostly abandoned insane asylum, where a very drunk Ted builds a New York skyline out of poker chips. Better Marshall helps the gang escape, and it’s off to a slaughterhouse for a party—where Marshmellow and Lilypad’s better halves prove they’re just con artists, and steal $200 from each of them.
Meanwhile, Ted, Barney, Robin, and Kevin are having a tough time dealing with the absence of Marshall and Lily. Things turn around when Barney realizes that with the married couple gone, he can finally realize his single-guy dreams. When he suggests taking the gang to a strip club, Robin and Kevin can’t say no, as they’re locked in Early Relationship Chicken: Despite thoughts to the contrary, each must agree to any ridiculous activity so as not to seem boring. Barney takes everybody to a club, where they encounter Lily’s Russian stripper doppleganger Jasmine and her boyfriend. They quickly become New Lily and New Marshall. Barney attempts to incorporate them into the group by tagging along for their plans–first to an underground poker game at a (mostly) abandoned insane asylum, then to a fake party with a ridiculous cover charge. The escapade proves to the gang that they really do miss the real Marshall and Lily, so they take the train up to Long Island. How long is the ride? You guessed it… 46 minutes.
I enjoyed the idea of Mickey’s domino setup on the ping-pong table in the shape of Barbara Eden, and enjoyed even more the abrupt end of the domino tumbling sound when Mickey hit the intercom switch (“That’s the sound of Barbara Eden never banging me!”) only to resume when he turns it back half a minute later. But there weren’t enough absurdities in Mickey’s little game to make the cruelty funny, and his eventual transformation to Marshall’s sensei in the ways of the basement didn’t have enough invention to overcome its predictability.
Unsurprisingly, all the angst over Marshall and Lily leaving was mostly needless. But it looks like the gang might be moving away from something else that’s been a hallmark of the series since the first episode- MacLaren’s. Don’t panic, I doubt we’ll be seeing fewer bar scenes anytime soon. But it will happen. Everybody is growing up, and we’re already seeing evidence of that fact. Does that mean we might actually see the Mother soon? No, probably not. They’ve dragged that out this long; they’ll drag it out some more.
“46 Minutes” had funny A and B-stories, but more importantly for the show’s growth, it began to address how difficult it will be for these characters to experience some life-changing events. Ted, Barney and Robin were right—it is a big deal that Lily and Marshall have officially moved and soon their baby will be here. Their friendship will have to evolve and there won’t be as much time spent in their beloved booth at MacLaren’s. But as Future Ted points out, it doesn’t matter if the booth is in Marshall and Lily’s kitchen—as long as they are together. It will be a big adjustment for us all…because our little gang is growing up. And on that note…
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