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Illustration for article titled iHow I Met Your Mother/i: Woooo!
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Illustration for article titled iHow I Met Your Mother/i: Woooo!

Last week there was a disagreement in the comments about my statement that "Not A Father's Day" wasn't "transcendent." I meant that the particular episode didn't knock me for a loop with some kind of revelation about the overall story, or even about the relationships between the characters. And luckily, here comes another episode that illustrates the concept, actually even more so. "Woooo!" is about friendship, but it's not about the mother. It only moves the plot forward slightly, by giving Ted a big job and putting him in the same workplace with Barney and Marshall. Yet it's a delightful example of what the show can do so well even when it refrains from satisfying our deeper desires.

Plus, as a settled old married lady and a major Cobie Smulders fan, I really enjoy hanging out with Robin in the A-story for a change. She's worried that Lily is spending too much time with fellow teacher Jillian (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), affecting the dynamics of their friendship. But when she tags along with Lily to the Giddy-Up, a cowboy-themed bar where Jillian and her posse hang out, both of them discover that they've hit a dangerous pocket of woo girls — single partiers who do fluorescent shots, drink painfully sweet cocktails, and thrust their fists into the air with a piercing shout of "woooo!" at the slightest provocation. Lily's ready to write off the possibilities of that set of acquaintances, but then discovers that Robin has donned a straw cowboy hat and is wooing right along with them.

Over on the male side, Barney has an idea to break Ted out of his funk and simultaneously prove that he, not Marshall, is Ted's best friend. Goliath National Bank is building a downtown headquarters, and Barney gets Ted a slot to pitch a design. But when Swedish architecture collective Sven (three androgynous Europeans in black unitards) tempts Barney with a fire-breathing T. Rex design, he votes against Ted in order to have an office in the dinosaur's head (and a prime viewing location for the strip club in the GNB "N").

There's enough solid script structure in the dual meditations on being a good friend to let us know that the folks running HIMYM haven't lost the plot. But the heart of the episode is in its crackerjack comic timing, especially its joy in conceptual running gags. As Barney defends the woo girls to Lily and Robin, pontificating (in a speech every bit as impassioned as his patriotic architecture pitch to Bilson) that upon their slim shoulders rests the fate of the souvenir shot glass, body glitter, stretch Hummer limo rental, and tiny cowboy hat industries, the Seuss-like repetition of the syllable "oo" first becomes a theme. Then when Lily confronts Robin about becoming a woo girl, they practically play catch with the vowel. Both the big moments and the little ones tick over like clockwork. When Barney tells Ted that the search committee has reconsidered and given him the job, he goes overboard in the big moment, confessing that the committee "really cares about you and wants you to be happy." But just as wonderful is Barney's sudden, brief burst of excitement when Marshall mentions that as a co-worker, Ted can be on the "conference call" where they go to the roof and drink beer. "Ooo, youcantotallybeontheconferencecall!" he exults, in a moment of enthusiasm as infectious as a girly "woo!"

Grade: A-

Stray observations:

- I hate to give it that minus. I really do. But I'm starting to get really peeved about computer-generated effects where they don't need to be. The T. Rex building was annoyingly unreal. And those pigeons at the end — why? The pigeon wrangler is too expensive? What the swarm of killer bees on My Name Is Earl, the pesky mosquito on House, the completely unnecessary digital enhancements to every commercial that features melted cheese, and now this … well, that minus has been building up all week, my friends.

- It's not the New York Public Library. It's the new public library in York, North Dakota, where they have two sections: fishin' and non-fishin'.

- Still hoping that Jillian wasn't really a woo girl, Robin suggests that "maybe she's only a cultural woo," observing just the high holidays: Mardi Gras and Spring Break.

- "All you would hear would be silence. And 'Brown-Eyed Girl.'"

- I can sympathize with Lily. I've never been able to call my female friends skanks and whores convincingly.

- Why I Love Robin, Part 379: Her pained look after Marshall decodes her vague story about the yeast infection in the cold open.

- "Long story short — events transpired."

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