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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

How I Met Your Mother: "Everything Must Go"

Illustration for article titled iHow I Met Your Mother/i: Everything Must Go
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Illustration for article titled iHow I Met Your Mother/i: Everything Must Go

I hate to say I told you so. But it turned out to be impossible to ameliorate the Britney factor the second time around. This clunky episode had few laughs and an overly earnest tone all around. And my God, when Marshall and Ted stood next to each other explaining the whole vet-buys-Lily's-paintings resolution, the magnitude of that double hair disaster was simply stunning.

Pity poor Neil Patrick Harris, having to submit his superb theatrical timing to Britney's line readings: "We're showing Ted how lame he is!" (And that's leaving aside her unconvincing attempts to make us believe that her character, Abby, actually thinks Ted's hair is awesome.) Alyson Hannigan, who had to carry the A story on her waifish shoulders, did her best. But there was not much emotional resonance to LIly and Marshall's attempt to raise money to fix their slanty floor. Lily takes offense at Marshall's skepticism that her paintings could fetch any significant sums, and Marshall puts all her designer clothes and accessories up for sale at lilyandmarshallselltheirstuff.com. (The good news: That's a real website to auction off show props, scripts, and wardrobe for the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. The better news: Ninety minutes after the show aired, I still couldn't get into the overloaded site.)

All three plotlines were attenuated and weak in "Everything Must Go." Barney caps his Coupled-Ted-Is-Lame bit by fake-proposing to Abby, who acts up a storm to show us that she believes it. Then he wriggles off the hook by telling her that their ridiculous plan worked and Ted wants her back. I've been avoiding the press releases, people; if this means that Britney appears in the finale next week, please do me the favor of not telling me. Let me have my hopes and dreams.

And in a C story that a better episode would have left behind after a two-second throwaway gag, Ted tries to prove that his red cowboy boots are a classic Western look that he can totally pull off, and not at all gay. First of all, nobody can pull those off except maybe the Naked Cowboy. And second of all, if anything represents the seconds-and-irregulars feel of this episode, it's Ted over-enunciating "Pulling … it … off," as if it were funny and not vaguely disturbing.

Finale next week. I need a little yellow umbrella action to keep me going over the long hot summer, people. I need a serious bounceback.

Grade: C-

Stray observations:

- As a frequently stressed-out parent, I believe I will adopt as a motto Lily's resigned description of her day at school: "Today I yelled at a little girl for painting a rainbow."

- I'm sure if I google it, I'll find out that GCWOK (gay couple without kids) is a real thing, and that HIMYM was doing its usual, infuriating over-emphasis of existing catchphrases. But I'm too depressed to google it.

- On the bright side, seeing Larry Wilmore (The Daily Show's Chief Black Correspondent) as the vet who rescues Lily's painting reminded me of how much I like Larry Wilmore on The Daily Show.

- Hey, wouldn't it have been great if Will Forte had played Abby?

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