How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, Episode 11
The premise of "Last Cigarette Ever" was lackluster at best. Since when does everyone in the HIMYM smoke? I can see Robin as a smoker. (Just see Season 2, Episode 18, "Moving Day," in which Robin enjoys a cigarette in the bathtub while her new live-in boyfriend Ted hangs out with Barney). I can even understand Lily as a smoker, too. (Season 2, Episode 21, "Something Borrowed," when Lily smokes to calm herself after all the disasters at her wedding). But Ted, Marshall, AND Barney as smokers?!!? No way.
I get that the writers expected viewers to be shocked, just like Future Ted's kids are as he reveals that each. and. every. one. of his friends - and himself - used to be part-time smokers. But it just felt like the writers were grasping at straws, just trying to find something to fill in an episode. We've had filler episodes before - like Season 4, Episode 2, "The Best Burger in New York" - but they were more entertaining (and believable and in line with who the characters were).
This a very, very, very far fall since last week's episode, The Window, which I thought was the best of the season so far. So, what's up Carter and Bays?!? Where's the creativity? Where's the crazy shenanigans that I've loved throughout pretty much every season? (Including this season, even when I haven't always agreed with the way the characters have been portrayed?)
For the most part, the writers have been consistent in the portrayal of the HIMYM gang. But, over the course of five seasons, it's not surprising that they occasionally need to change to characters over time - like Lily keeping Barney's secret love for Robin under wraps for months. But the premise and majority of last night's episode just left me annoyed. It seemed so out of the blue - and not in HIMYM's usual funny way.
To date, this is - by far - my worst review of HIMYM. Usually I show the love, and tons of it. But despite my vast criticisms (and groans while watching) there were a few glimmers of funny throughout the episode:
* Robin's storyline - yes, a storyline belonging to Robin and only Robin! - about an annoying co-anchor, Don, who pays no heed to the teleprompter and loves wearing tighty-whities around the set.
* Lily's manly smoker voice c/o Harvey Fierstein
* Marshall trying to get his old boss - remember Season 3, Episode 15 "Chain of Screaming"? - to remember him so he doesn't get fired, even if it means smoking.
* Marshall having a hard time dealing with the loss of McRib.
* The gang tuning in to Robin's show, finally, and calling in.
* Robin having a new love interest in Don. Yeah, yeah, I've always supported the Barney/Robin thing, but I'm interested to see this new dynamic play out. Here's hoping Don isn't as big of a jerk as he was portrayed last night.
* Marshall going back in time to beat-up on his 13-year-old self for lighting that first cigarette.
* In the last scene before the tag, Ted giving some hints as to what's in the gang's future by saying when they'll finally have their 'last cigarette.' (The only useful thing in the whole 'cigarette' storyline debacle, if you ask me).
Despite the overall lackluster episode, last night's HIMYM garned its highest ratings yet. For those of you who watched for the first time and wondered what all the hype is about after seeing this poor performance, I say STICK WITH IT. This is my first overall negative review of this show, and I'm hoping that the new year will bring plenty more legen-wait for it-dary episodes. There will be some more info about the Mother (I'm almost positive of it), and what's not to love about an upcoming musical number?
What did you think of "Last Cigarette Ever"? Was I too harsh in my assessment of the episode? What was your reaction when you found out they were all long-time smokers? Did you believe it? And what'd you think of Robin's new love interest, Don? Share your thoughts below!