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Urban HIMYMs: “The Bracket” — The Ball is Tipped… Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Posted by Yostal in Bracketology, Gen X&Y, How I Met Your Mother, Television, The Bad One, Things too long to read, TV, TV shows, Urban HIMYMs, Yostal.
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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to my season’s worth of recaps for How I Met Your Mother. Welcome, once more, to Urban HIMYMs.

You have to hand it to Carter and Bays.  They know that, at their core, sports are a deep rooted part of American life.  Tonight’s episode fuses sport with the thrill of the hunt and ends up being one of the funniest episodes of the season.  Ladies and gentlemen, The Bracket.

And away we go…

We open with a scene of Ted and Marshall breaking down the NCAA men’s basketball bracket on a portable chalkboard.  “Big board = big luck.”  I do like that in the glimpses I gathered, it looks like the art department sat down with a projected bracket from ESPN or some such and filled it in.  We can see UNC, Memphis, UCLA and Texas as #1 seeds, and in a dream world somewhere, Virginia Tech’s bubble did not burst.  (The board, as I can tell, has North Carolina winning the East Regional, and Wisconsin beating Vanderbilt in the South.  UCLA in the West, and Duke winning the Midwest.  Well, you can’t win them all.)  Lily thinks the board looks familiar, and well, that’s because Ted and Marshall “appropriated it” from her classroom.  Wish I had a portable chalkboard.  I would so put the Frozen Four bracket on there.  It turns out that every year, Marshall and Ted go in on this big money pool in Staten Island that, from the duffel bag goodness, sounds like it might have mob ties.  Or not, maybe it’s just being run by a gym bag syndicate.  Lily wonders why they put up with their perpetual loserdom in this realm, but Ted defends it, this year, they have an unbeatable scientifically based, well researched system.  Ted, we all have that dream.  And every year, it blows up by 3:00 PM EDT on Thursday.  And Barney makes that official, saying “Your team just lost.”  Based on last week, I am going to presume this bracket included Ohio State.  Never pick with your heart Ted.

But Barney’s having problems of his own.  Something strange is happening.  Down at the hardware store in an effort to pick up women, Barney’s return with a sturdier ladder for the charming redheaded woman upon whom he was hitting is met with a nice slap.  The same thing happened at the pet store. Pet store, Marshall queries, but Ted nails the reason and Barney thanks him for reading his blog.  This knowledge earns a disapproving look towards Ted from Robin, but Ted defends himself as being really bored at work.  Been there, done that, have the internet firewall.  But it’s the same thing at the pet store, Barney steps away for a moment and returns to a slap.  (It’s worth noting, I think after the slap, the parrot in the pet store says “awkward” which would be a nice touch, but  I could just be hearing things.)  Barney then notes that the same thing also happened at the museum and the entire gang raises their hand and Horshacks in an attempt to guess the reason.  In a wonderfully executed comedy triple, Lily and Marshall both make excellent guesses, but Robin nails it: Gradually going blind and trying to soak up all the beauty in the world before the darkness descends.  Robin is quite pleased with herself, much to Marshall and Lily’s frustration.  It’s a small but excellent moment of self pride.  But yes, the same thing again, he walks away, and returns to a slap.  (A side note, NPH’s eye movement when pretending to have failing vision is another subtle touch as well.)  Barney wonders why this keeps happening and Lily posits that it is, perhaps, that he is not as good a liar as he thinks he is, but then Barney counters with the fact that if that were true, he would be in prison for perjury.  But he doesn’t want to talk about work.  This can only lead me to believe that Barney is secretly in the employ of the city of Detroit.  Something weird is going on…

It gets weirder.  With just the two of them at the bar together, Barney steps away from Lily for a moment trying to remember Alan Alda when Lily reports that in the time he was gone, she was approached by a mystery woman who fervently tried to warn her away from Barney.  Lily didn’t get a name, but she had blonde hair, boobs, kinda trashy…Barney asks if she had a dead look in her eyes, with an aura of self loathing and despair, and after Lily replies in the affirmative, Barney is frustrated, for that’s all of them.  Barney then begins to run through the list of potential snubs it could have been who is trying to ruin his life.  After seeing several dozen women flash by, including a Czech-born former Secretary of State, Barney realizes he’s in over his head.

Ladies and gentlemen, opening credits.  Five minutes of episode, 35 minutes of writing time.  There was that much.  Commercials, including the University of Phoenix ad using “The Bleeding Heart Show” by The New Pornographers, which makes me want to take a class from there just for their use of kickin’ Canadian indie.

Back at the bar, Barney is lamenting his fate, and dismisses Lily’s notion that it’s karma, because she’s out because she’s stripping in Vegas.  Ted says that Barney should just check his list, which Barney dismisses, because he doesn’t keep a list.  No, he has a scrapbook.  (The Yostess approved.  Not for the promiscuity point, but from the scrapbooking perspective.)

Back at Barney’s apartment, Lily’s flip through the scrapbook draws dismissive clucks from Ms. Aldrin, but surprisingly vague approval from Robin.  After all, by sleeping with Barney, these girls bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting in to, I say let them crash!  Lily says she doesn’t recognize any of the women, aside from some minor celebrity, one government official, and what appears to be a national fast food chain mascot.  Hmm, I suppose they want us to think it’s this person, but my money is split evenly between this choice or this one.  Barney has no idea how he is going to narrow it down…

Until we see him explaining his bracket, the top 64 women he’s slept with, divided into four regions, Upper West Side, The Village, Brooklyn, and Midtown.  They’ll break it down scientifically, Lily refuses, until Barney offers 12 reasons.  After going through some of the means by which Barney did it (fake proposal girl, 12 hours to live girl, thought he was Jorge Posada girl, and you have my dead wife’s kidney girl are just some of the examples.)  What I love here is how they nail the friendly competition between friends, especially with Robin’s frustration with losing out on fake proposal girl.  I also love the very faux college fight song playing in the background.

They get down to the Final Four, and everyone is just done.  Having run several pop culture tournament on my blog, I can tell you, by the time you get down to the Final Four, everyone just wants the thing to be over.  Trust me.  Barney decides that he’ll figure it out among Meg, Anna, Kate, or Holly.

First up, Meg from the Upper West Side Regional, a chalk pick straight through.  Barney and Lily will look at her, see if it’s her, and then run like Hell.  But Lily, channeling her inner kindergarten teacher, tells Barney that she will not tell him which one it was until he apologizes to each of his Final Four.  Barney protests, but Lily insists.  Meg, it runs out, was the girl that Barney hooked up with an apartment that wasn’t his, where she was then arrested for trespassing, bit a cop, and did eight days in jail.  Barney is about to apologize, but Meg beats him to it.  Lily says she’s not the one.

Commercial

So it’s off to the Village Regional and sixth seeded Anna, who knocked off #3 seed Madeline Albright.  We hit a coffee shop.  This is the one that Barney told he was Ted Mosby, architect.  I’ll just let the blog www.tedmosbyisajerk.com take it from there.  Lily making a scrapbook of Barney’s Final Four is excellent as well.

Kate from the Midtown bracket, who looks to have been underseeded, like a Cinderella five seed there. This is the one that Barney told he was an evil twin “Larney”.  She immediately starts choking him.  But it’s not her either.  That leaves overall #1 seed Holly, from the Brooklyn regional. (P.S.: Oprah was a #15 seed in the Brooklyn regional.)  Barney was hoping it wasn’t Holly, as it turns out, he was camping with her, stole her truck, and left her to be attacked by a bear.  But no, it’s not her, her life turned around after that night, so none of the Final Four made it.  So Lily’s upset because Barney apologized to no one, but Robin points out that he’s trying to track down someone who is chasing him.  All he needs to do is go down to the bar, hit on someone, and see who ends up showing up.  Robin even offers to be the girl.  So here’s the plan: Lily will be positioned at the jukebox looking inconspicuous, which she does in her classic Lily manner, Ted and Marshall will be conversing in a booth (Marshall’s fake conversation is absolutely hilarious in its awkwardness), and Robin says she’ll come in looking hot as all Hell (which is a completely unnecessary statement Ms. Smulders, but you know, we appreciate that you bring it every night and twice on Monday.) Robin draws some immediate attention which she must turn away.  Barney will come over to talk to her, and make his move.  Robin is a little unnerved by Barney’s efforts at realism and wonders what Barney says to get these girls to sleep with him. Barney says he leans in and whispers this one thing in her ear.  Robin’s giggling while she laughs reveals that, yeah, she is a little turned on right now.  Barney makes his move to the bathroom and a blonde approaches Robin and begins chatting with her.  Ted, Marshall, and Barney consult the bracket, but she’s not on there.  Barney doesn’t even recognize her.  Barney approaches her and begins a very heartfelt apology to her, even realizing that at one point, he might have sold a woman for a Mercedes.  Barney is ashamed of the fact that he cannot remember her.  Lily is proud of his apologetic efforts, but tells her it’s not her.  It turns out that it’s Robin’s friend Sally from work.  But Lily thinks its a wonderful way to end her scrapbook, Barney’s redemption!  As the unmistakable horns begin to swell, a massive hat tip for “One Shining Moment” as we get a montage of the “tournament” and eventually Lily’s scrapbook.  We learn that eventually Barney did figure out who the mystery girl was, but more on that later.  ANOTHER CLUE!

Now, had they chosen to end the episode right there, it would have earned an A.  But no, after the final commercial, a little extra credit.  We cut to Barney’s apartment and one of the most recognizable television themes of the 1990s.  Yep, it turns out we get Barney sitting at his laptop as the strains of the Doogie Hoswer, MD theme play over him writing in his blog for March 21, 2008.  It’s perfect, even with the blue background and white text.  Just a wonderful coda that knocks it out of the park.

Another week, another fantastic episode.  A loving tribute to sports, to how sports bring us together, and how CBS brings us all together for three weeks at the end of March/beginning of April.  All we needed was Gus Johnson’s cackle as Barney made another score and Billy Packer criticizing Barney’s overselection of undeserving girls from mid-major conferences.  Next Monday will be the NCAA Final, so we may have to wait to weeks to see what happens next, but for now, well done!

Once again, I’d like to thank my pal Geoff (aka The Bad One) for his witty and insightful comments as I worked on this. And Jennifer (aka The Yostess) for putting up with me doing this.

So, that’s all I have for this week’s edition of Urban HIMYMs. With that, this is Yostal reminding you to just chill, ‘til the next episode.

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Comments»

1. MoL - Wednesday, April 2, 2008

That was great…especially the ending. I was about to change the channel when I heard the familiar sounds of the Doogie Howser Theme. To keep Ted’s Ohio-heritage alive, someone (him or Marshall) was wearing a Canton Bulldogs Shirt.

2. DougOLis - Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fantastic episode and epic recap.

Some Marshall gems this week:
“I have one. It’s called my marriage license. /high-five” – re: list of women he’s slept with

“I don’t know what to do with my hands; what do I normally do with my hands?” – while sitting at the table with Ted. Was Marshall stoned in a good portion of this episode? I remember some stuff during the picking of the tournament that was kind of stonerish too.

Ending with the Doogie blog was hilarioius; why don’t they use that for his theme on the website?

It was cool that they used 2 actual former catches of Barney in his final 4. The first being the chick that Barney banged in Lily and Marshall’s new apartment (if they owned it why was she arrested? I guess the deal probably wasn’t done at the time), and the second being the “Ted Moseby, architect” chick.

3. DougOLis - Wednesday, April 2, 2008

According to TV.com’s website there is supposed to be a new episode next week. Oddly enough, it’s called “The Simmons Report.” Is this another sporting nod to a certain sportswriter with a podcast called “The BS Report.”

4. The Bad One - Thursday, April 3, 2008

I don’t think you should be counting out Birdie in this one. I’m just sayin’.

Did you listen to the “Ted Mosby Is A Jerk” song all the way through? Wow.


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