Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ted and the "perfect" girl

The Window
How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, Episode 10

Ted finally finds a window of opportunity, and the gang tries to help him catch the "perfect" girl. Meanwhile, Barney takes a bet, and Marshall (again) tries to come to terms with the corporate life he's created for himself.

At the beginning of "The Window," Ted dashes out the door of McLaren's after receiving a phone call from an older woman saying the window is open. According to Ted (and Marshall & Lily), Maggie is the perfect girl - which is a problem because every guy who meets her thinks so, too. When she's finally single for a minute - in the 12 years Ted has known her, our hero races over to her apartment and asks her on a date before she can run into any other guy, postmen included.

The problem? When Ted arrives early for his date, Robins reminds him about the class he's supposed to teach that night. Maggie refuses to sit in, so Ted charges Marshall & Lily with watching over her to make sure that no guy comes in contact with her, even if it's just on the walk from the bathroom to the booth.

But Marshall and Lily don't stay long. Marshall has been sorting through some things his mother sent him. He pulls out a pair of denim overalls, which, naturally, leads to Barney challenging himself to get laid while wearing them. Marshall also pulls out a letter his 15-year-old self wrote his 30-year-old self. Despite some ridiculous goals - including growing out his rat-tail and legally changing his name to 'Vanilla Thunder' - his teenage goals affect him, and he runs away from the table, claiming he needs to take care of something at work.

Lily leaves Maggie in the care of Robin. Her turn babysitting is immediately threatened when Maggie's co-worker, Jim, starts chatting her up. Trying absolutely everything to get Jim's attention, Robin manages to make herself Jim's date to a erotic canine art gallery - which means Robin can leave Maggie with only one person... Barney.

Naturally, this frightens Ted. He had been trying to wrap up his class early, but to his dismay (and to his delight) everyone wanted to hear what he had to say about bridges. When he accidentally writes what's on his mind - MAGGIE - on the board, he tries to play it off as an acronym, but the classroom doesn't buy it. They start asking questions of his love life, focusing on: are you really ready for a serious relationship?

With no time to answer the question, he runs back to the bar. After Maggie calls Barney's overalls cute, Barney informs Ted that he has 10-minutes before the window closes again. Running down the street, Ted yells, "I hate Barney Stinson!" to which an unseen female yells, "Me too!" Classic.

Ted arrives at the bar just in time to run into Jim, who managed to escape Robin's clutches. Barney, too, throws his name into the hat, telling them that after he gets Maggie, the window will open again in 10 minutes. The guys fight about how long they've loved her, until they notice she's disappeared.

Robin sent her off in a cab, so she could escape the greedy guy vultures. Ted gives a lofty speech, so in character for him, and concedes that Maggie deserves to be single for a little while.... and then, as expected with his character, too, he bolts out the door, racing to Maggie's apartment, pushing Jim and Barney away in the process.

But they're too late. She ran into her childhood sweetheart and old next door neighbor, which prompts Ted to say that it was the second best romantic story he's ever heard. Despite the window with Maggie closing forever, Ted finally realizes he really is ready for a serious relationship... which begs the question, when has he not be? Yeah, he's gone through some rough patches in the past year, but he was always, always, always on the lookout for a serious relationship. If he hadn't been, why didn't he just throw in the relationship towel like Robin did, which is one of those things people do "Before They Meet the Love of Their Lives"'?

I understand why the writers let Ted have this realization... we're about to get a lot more of Ted's story... but it's disappointing that his conclusion is something that he's wanted all along.

As for Marshall, his story ended with attempting to prove to himself that he could still accomplish something on his list: slam dunk a basketball. Fail. Even after Lily lowers the hoop a foot. But, luckily for Marshall, Lily is there to remind him that he's successful and he's done things his 15-year-old self never dreamed of.

While I love seeing this side of Marshall and Lily - rather than Lily and her 'you're dead to me' stare, this storyline has somewhat been done before. Marshall's unhappiness with selling-out even led him to quitting his job in a previous episode. At least, he's learned not to do that again, I suppose.

Before wrapping up, let's not forget the tag: Marshall sits in McLaren's and writes a letter to his 60-year-old self. In it, he asks for proof of time travel on December 7th at exactly 8:29pm. Marshall looks around the bar, nothing happens, and then... Lily brings over a plate of free hot wings that someone returned because they were too hot. Miracle!

The camera pans over and we're treated to an older Marshall who is being served by Wendy the waitress, who's apparently returned as part of the supporting cast.

Despite my critiques of the storyline, this was by far my favorite of the season so far. The whole gang had a role to play. Barney's plot was simple and classic Barney - even with the shudder-inducing moment that he goes to sleep with the old lady, Maggie's neighbor who had earlier called Ted, just so he can get out of the overalls.

Overall (hah, you know they cover everything), "The Window" led to plenty of laughs, and here's hoping that HIMYM is back on track for the rest of the season.

What did you think of Ted's pursuit of Maggie? Do you think Marshall will ever 'save the world'? What happened to Robin and her totally horrible - but funny - tactics of getting Jim's attention? And, will Barney ever change? Share your comments below!

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