Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Awesome plus awesome cancels all the awesome out

The Rough Patch
How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, Episode 7

I knew it couldn't last, as much as I wanted it too, but I didn't expect it to end so quickly. After Barney gives away his porn, Ted realizes how unhappy the new couple is, and he tries concocting a plan to break up Barney & Robin in HIMYM's latest episode, "The Rough Patch."

While Ted admits he probably exaggerated how bad they got (remember Slapsgiving and Robin's 'older' boyfriend), Barney gains more than just a relationship gut (thanks to a fat suit) and Robin lets herself go, complete with pasty skin, zits, and not washing her hair. Unhappiness abounds when they're together. They even stop going on adventures, opting to stay in to watch a movie. "Legend - wait for it! - s of the Fall!" Barney proclaims.

Lily refuses to break them up - claiming to now be a matchmaker, even though she refuses to set-up Ted - and claims that the new couple has just hit a rough patch. But Ted and Marshall aren't convinced. Barney won't be Ted's wingman anymore, and he gorges on ribs, wiping BBQ sauce onto his suit shirt.

Ted and Marshall's plan seems fool-proof: make Robin think Barney is proposing. A misplaced engagement ring broke her and Ted up so it has to work again... right? Wrong. With both Robin and Barney playing a game of relationship chicken, with both too proud and "independent" to end it, they say 'why not?' to getting married. Lily's hand is forced. She's broken up plenty of Ted's relationships - most of which are recounted in The Front Porch episode - and she's ready for the challenge of Barney and Robin. One big fight won't cut it, Lily explains. Rather, they need to recreate four of their biggest fights:
  • The Battle of the Dirty Dishes: a highlight of which we saw in the Bagpipes episode
  • The Ex-Girlfriend Conflict: After Barney recognizes his ex-girlfriend Megan by her butt, he tries to get Robin to bend over for some comparison
  • The Star Wars Altercation: Robin teases Barney about the life-size Stormtrooper model in his apartment
  • The Canadian-American War: Barney takes it too far when he calls Neil Young an old woman

Lily explains how it'll all go down: While Robin and Barney are in their favorite diner, Alan Thicke will happen to come by, setting off the Canadian fight. Megan will join them just as a Stormtropper - which ends up just being a random robot because to Lily it's all the same - walks by. Then a busboy, carrying a load of dirty dishes, will also stroll by. If all goes as planned, it will be the fight to end all fights, ending in a breakup as well as Barney and Robin choking each other to the tune of "Murder Train."

Yet, things start to go awry outside in the stake-out station wagon. Alan Thicke doesn't have much time. The Stormtrooper is, well, a robot. The sausage pizza doesn't fit into the car's window - which provides plenty of double entendres. And, worst of all, Barney & Robin look out the window and the gang thinks they've been caught. They go ahead with the plan anyways, and are surprised to see it result in a sweet kiss near the diner's front door.

Little do they know that when Robin and Barney looked out the window, they really just saw their own reflection - and they didn't like what looked back at them. Seeing what they'd become finally woke them up to their unhappiness, and they decided to go back to being two friends.

After Robin finishes recounting their breakup - finished with that one sweet kiss - the gang asks how Barney is doing. Before she can respond, everyone gets a chill, and in walks Barney, looking as svelte as ever, drawing the attention of every woman in the bar, and he says, "Daddy's home."

While the episode was entertaining at moments, it felt like a cop-out to me, like the writers weren't sure how to handle Barney in a relationship so they ended it. It felt too rushed, and it was hard to imagine Barney letting himself go that quickly, even if that was kind of the point the writers were trying to make. I'm betting Robin and Barney will get together again, eventually, but until then, we'll get the womanizing Barney back. Let's just hope we keep some of the sweetness, too.

Before we wrap up, let's not forget what we learned in this episode. Alan Thicke reveals that him and Robin worked on a failed variety show together. Barney's reaction is just like of old. He leaves the girls behind at the bar and rushes off to find Robin's latest embarrassing video.

What did you think of the episode and the break-up? Will Barney return to the same womanizing guy he was before Robin? Will Ted ever have another date again? Will Lily play matchmaker again? What's next? Share your thoughts below!

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