Most shows don’t make a big deal out of reaching their 150th episode; you usually don’t see much in the way of special events until a show is lucky enough to reach the 200 mark. “How I Met Your Mother” is no exception; Carter Bays and Craig Thomas told us last week that the 150th would be more about fun and transition than anything else, and the gang at MacLaren’s did give us a lot of fun last night.
One problem: They weren’t all at MacLaren’s. Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) moved out to their seemingly ideal new family home in Long Island, leaving Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Ted (Josh Radnor) to contemplate life without them.
Everyone in their thirties goes through this; friends move to the ‘burbs, start families, and get involved in their own thing. Of course, without Lily there as a hectoring presence, the group feels rudderless, as we see from some funny takes on the opening credits: “How I Met Your Barney,” where Barn forces his remaining friends — and Kevin (Kal Penn) — to go to a strip club, and a more Russian-esque “HIMYM” opening, where the gang hangs out with Lily’s stripper doppelganger and her boyfriend. In both instances, the gang don’t look nearly as happy as they do in the original.
Meanwhile, back on Long Island (Barney’s aggrieved reaction to the move: “You can get spray tans here!”), Lily’s dad Mickey (Chris Elliott), who hasn’t left the house since finding out Lily was preggers, tries to keep himself there by not revealing to Marshall the quirks of his parents’ old house, which he knows like the back of his hand. This was Elliott at his creepy finest, guiding Marshall through the dark to the basement fuse box via a conveniently-placed intercom. An infra-red camera trained on Segel’s head made things even more horror-movie spine-tingling.
In the city, the rudderless gang continued on their misadventures, which got increasingly dangerous. The funniest part about that plot was the game of relationship chicken that Kevin and Robin were playing, agreeing to anything in order to not look like a stick in the mud to the other. Too bad Kevin lost those high-fives, but he’s got to realize that kissing Robin is much better. We still don’t buy the Kevin-Robin thing — the romantic chemistry between Penn and Smulders feels forced at best – but at least Penn is holding his own from a comedic standpoint with the a group that’s been playing off each other for seven years.
Seeing Ted guzzle vodka, saying things like “I won all your chippies!” to the rogues’ gallery at the underground poker game, and then lament how lonely he was lent the story some needed laughs. Otherwise, it would have just looked pathetic. And, even though Bays and Thomas told us that Marshall and Lily won’t be staying out on Strong Island very long, we’re heartened to know that the gang used their keys and found a way to recreate the MacLaren’s booth in the Eriksen/Aldrin family kitchen. Maybe we should give some of our friends a call and get together for some pancakes…
Watch the episode: