After a season opener that put us just mere minutes away from meeting the titular mystery character, How I Met Your Mother launches into what may be one of Barney's boldest moves in a relationship to date: proposing a pre-nuptial agreement. Though there are certain to be standards that only Barney Stinson himself could come up with, the pieces of paper actually launch a number of battles between both the men and women in a number of relationships that the series has now set up. But, does this war among better halves make for some golden comedy moments or simply a dud to distract us from what's to come in the near future?
For weeks now, the creators have been teasing October as "Break-up month" though it ultimately seemed that was just an off-screen name that fans would have tossed around. Instead, Future Ted delivers the news right up front as "The Autumn of Break-Ups" while indicating that there is certainly romantic turmoil ahead in the weeks to follow. Alone it might have been just a nod at what we all know is inevitably coming for each of these couples, but on the other hand it delivers us with this opportunity to actually make a guessing game out of which duo will be the next to break up. It's that concept alone that gives the predictable outcomes new life and I absolutely love that element in a smart way to flip the scenario on its head.
From there, we have an interesting game afoot as Barney's pigheaded pre-nuptial agreement ultimately turns into the men vs. the women. The outrageous demands allow each couple to take a look at their partnerships while pointing out exactly what they would change with their significant other. And it's there we get our ultimate filler of the night as we dive in and out of experiences for every pairing.
Ultimately, each problem turns out to be actually quite funny and posses a certain charm to them that only certain characters can pull off. Robin's weird fetish in the bedroom comes off as weirdly hilarious while it's new boyfriend Nick's reaction to the confession that ultimately ties it together in a great little bow. I'd still like to see the series dive a bit more into what makes us believe that Nick and Robin could actually have some great chemistry, despite his introduction back in Season 6, but in what little scenes he did have alone Trucco actually stood well blending in with the guys of the gang. It's only if the writers decided to actually build upon that he may have more purpose than "the guy who is preventing Robin and Barney from falling in love".
Marshall and Lily's problem may be the best use of the parenting situation that we have seen thus far and proves that given the right amount of time this new lease on life can easily bring the laughs despite the last couple of attempts. Bringing back Marvin Sr. for a flashback is always great to see while the use of already laid out character developments with both husband and wife was a smart use of reasoning and acceptance.
Though Barney is just being Barney in his usual goofy and chauvinistic way, it's Ted's storyline that felt like the most bizarre left turn of all compared to last week's events. In last week's review, I praised Thomas Lennon's character of Klaus. Instead of being the incredibly wacky characters he always plays, Klaus was a man with a funny accent who served a purpose to the overarching story yet delivered a heartfelt explanation at the train station to Ted. His story wrapped up rather nicely and all that had to be done was really mention his existence through dialogue while letting by gones be by gones.
But of course we couldn't just go and do that.
Instead, somehow Klaus learns that Ted is now in fact Victoria's significant other in the time span between the wedding and now, Klaus has a bunch of horrible crap to him, he has nowhere else to turn and Ted decides to be the douchebag hero by letting Klaus stay in the guest room. Insert a recurring gag that Klaus is a horrible roommate while also playing the typical annoying foreign man in America, and we get exactly what we though to expect from Lennon's portrayal last week. Almost everything good that came out of Lennon's character in the premiere became predictable and tired this time around. Maybe it's just my unabashed love for Ashley Williams, but I in no way wanted Victoria and Ted to break-up this soon. Though it's fast approaching and we can't avoid it, I'd like to see more of the magic that made us fall in love with the duo back in Season 1 rather than this dull downer that actually kind of dragged down the episode a bit.
Speaking of guest stars, though, Bob Odenkirk's return as Arthur was a great one that may have turned the once screaming hard ass of a boss into a cool wingman for Barney throughout the legal proceedings while also having enough one-liners of his own to certainly deliver. Though the hitting on Lily part became just a bit too much after the fourth time, it's the fact that he still doesn't remember Marshall after all these years that remains just as funny as ever and provided a great nostalgic laugh in a half hour that was actually laced with plenty of nods to the past.
Then of course there is the ending. We knew it had to come eventually, but pulling the trigger two episodes in certainly feels a bit too soon. However, given the matter at hand it does feel like the right time given the matter at hand that the entire episode centers around and we get one of the break ups out of the way while two have yet to actually go through. What's said in the final moments are absolutely heartbreaking, but for some reason we don't dwell on the past too much as our newly single gang member has before in the past. Is that because the couple simply wasn't a right fit for each other or that it ending on mutual terms? I'm willing to bet that it's probably a little bit of both.
Overall, "The Pre-Nup" was a blast as the men and women paired up over the legal matter at hand while also finding great ways to stay fresh with jokes. Though it wasn't all fantastic, the chemistry between nearly everyone is phenomenal and allows us to half a half hour that thankfully delivers comedy while blending in a bit of the show's end game as well. After a season debut that was so focused on setting up the Mother's arrival, it was great to just sit back and laugh in an installment that hit nearly all the right spots.
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