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Desperation Day – Season 6 Episode 16 Discussion

“My dad was driving. He was like some sort of superhero who could just see into the darkness, and now he’s just gone, and its pitch black, and I can’t see where I’m going. I can’t see anything!” – Marshall

Tonight I was a little busy, but rather than leave you waiting I had not one but two friends review Desperation Day! The first is my friend Amanda who is a extremely avid fan of both HIMYM and beawesomeinstead.com. The second you may know from twitter as @Ryan_Schwartz, very funny guy. From my read of what they have written they both kick my ass… maybe I should protect my job more! Make sure to thank them as their efforts are awesome. High V!

Desperation Day

Motherly Music

  • Good to Sea by Pinback (Amazon link) – plays at closing of the episode as Barney had his first day on Valentines DayGood to Sea - Autumn of the Seraphs (Bonus Track Version)


@Ryan_Schwartz Words of Awesome

Tonight’s “How I Met Your Mother” had all the elements of a classic episode: a “historically” bogus depiction brought to you by the imagination of Barney Stinson dating back to Ancient Rome, Ted dealing with the struggles of a new relationship, and most of all, heart. But the real message being conveyed in this episode was the struggle that comes with moving on. It was by no means a sitcom-y episode, but nevertheless was one of the funniest episodes we have seen this season.

Ted and Zoey:  

The past couple of seasons, fans of the show have had a love/hate relationship with Ted, who went from hopeless romantic to being a total douche following the abrupt end to his relationship with Stella when she stood him up at the alter. In last season’s “Robot vs. Wrestlers”, Ted finally came to the realization of how big of a douche he could be, and such an episode was needed to move his character along and bring him back to being “relationship Ted”, a character we all knew and loved. Tonight’s episode picked up where the last one left off: the camera’s pan in, and Ted and the newly-single Zoey are still sharing their first kiss as a couple. Right off the bat, Ted assures her that they don’t have to take things any faster than she feels comfortable with, but when Zoey invites Ted over to “bake cookies”, Lily, Robin, and Barney suspect a booty call. It turns out that “baking cookies” was indeed a classy way to invite Ted over for such a call of the booty, but when Ted appears at her door with an overnight bag and his “British morning shoes”, Zoey freaks, and asks Ted to leave; things are moving faster for both of them in this relationship then they originally expected. The next morning, Zoey pays Ted a visit, and assures him that she is totally committed to their relationship, and would love to spend a quite Valentine’s Day with him enjoying a home cooked meal. Ted, feeling the pressure to make his first Valentine’s Day with Zoey special, flees to Minnesota to “help Marshall with his mother”. We’ll get back to this shortly…

Marshall:
Marshall has been in Minnesota since his father’s funeral where he has stayed to tend to his mother as she deals with the loss of her husband. The problem? He shows no signs of being ready to return to New York anytime soon! When Lily pays him a surprise visit, she is flabbergasted to discover that it is Marshall who is still deeply grieving the loss of his father, and his mother is the one now tending to his every need, such as getting his chocolate milk with his swirly straw or hydrating her son with Sunny D (because orange juice just won’t cut it). Marshall has regressed, and Mrs. Eriksen is worried for her son, who has begun to act like a teenager again. Nevertheless, she wants him gone, and it’s up to Lily to get him home in time for Valentine’s Day, and ready to cuddle up under a warm blanket on their couch to celebrate the holiday by “watching the Predator use his heat vision to stalk helpless prey”. Oh yeah… about that… it turns out Marshall’s brothers had taped over his copy of “Sleepless in Seattle” years earlier with the movie “Predator”, and every Valentine’s Day, Marshall and Lily watch “Predator” as part of their V-Day tradition.
    When Ted shows up in Minnesota at the Eriksen doorstep, it only reinforces Marshall’s energy into staying put in his childhood home, and it is at this point that Lily gives Marshall an ultimatum: come home with me and enjoy Valentine’s Day together, or stay in Minnesota and celebrate without her. Marshall chooses the latter. But after a pep talk with Ted where he tells his friend that hiding from Zoey in Minnesota is a means of escaping reality, Marshall comes to the realization that he is doing just what Ted is, and finally decides to return home to New York to Lily, while Ted returns to New York to plan that home cooked meal for Zoey on Valentine’s Day.

Robin, Barney, and Nora:

    “Desperation Day… it’s a thing” – Barney

    It’s February 13th, and for Barney, that means we have gotten to his favorite made-up holiday of the calendar year: Desperation Day… a holiday where he is free to bang any desperate woman without a date for Valentine’s Day before 11:59pm, for which anything after 11:59 would be considered a Valentine’s Day date.

    “This is Barney, a high-functioning sociopath and my ex!” – Robin

    Robin decides to spend the eve of Valentine’s Day with two female coworkers, also single, wearing purple to protest the greeting card businesses and various conglomerates who promote reds and pinks in celebration of Valentine’s Day. A third coworker, Nora, arrives late and in yellow, and immediately catches Barney’s eye. While one would suspect that any women who was clueless about laser tag would never win the Barnicle’s heart, this girl is different, and the first girl we’ve seen Barney seem interested in other than Robin, who later withdraws her invitation to join Barney for the infamous Poughkeepsie laser tag tournament and instead invites Nora to join Barney. Robin, whose two other lonely coworkers bailed on her on Valentine’s Eve to hook-up with two white Urkels, doesn’t seem sad about spending Valentine’s Day alone, and even seems happy for Barney who is now taking interest in another woman. While this episode might greatly upset the “Robin” fans, we get to see a side of Robin we haven’t seen since before her relationship with Ted: a content, independent woman. It’ll be interesting to see how long Nora sticks around for, and where the writers take this story.

Final thoughts:
A fantastic episode tonight! It truly felt like a classic episode of the series we have all grown to love, moving at a perfectly sound pace towards a great season end. We have eight episodes left this season, and whether we end this season with a wedding as seen in “Big Days”, and whether at this wedding we meet the infamous mother really doesn’t matter to me at this point. Season 6 has turned out to be one of the show’s strongest seasons, with a plethora of character growth and advancing storylines that are moving this show in a direction we haven’t seen since early on in season 4. I was glad to see that the writers gave closure to Marshall’s storyline, and I was happy to see that they recognized that Ted would have some fears entering into his first real relationship with a woman in two years. This episode gets close to a perfect score in my book!

Favorite Moments:

  • “Private Booty reporting for duty!” – Lily
  • Barney’s telling of the origin of Desperation Day. Never will I forget the tale of Saint Desperatious!
  • “High V!”
  • “There’s only one thing you can’t do…” – Barney discussing the rules of Desperation Day
  • “Please say widows!” – Robin
  • Lily’s neurosis reached a whole new level in Marshall’s absence. The creation of Marshpillow might have the Barnicle himself reevaluate what the highest level attainable on the Hot/Crazy scale can be!
  • Marshall’s Gameboy
  • Ted’s slippers or “British Morning Socks”
  • “You like her… you think she smells like rain!” – Barney
  • “We’re men. Mom, leave the crust on!” – Marshall

Amanda’s Amazing Ponderings

Moments of Awesomeness:

  • Roman Barney, Ted and Robin. Hilarious.
  • Marshall’s mom wanting Marshall gone. "You have to get him out of here!" I love that woman.
  • Barney finding a partner for laser tag. Love Nora!
  • Marshall and his dad having a conversation in the car. Beautiful scene.

Legendary Lines:

Lily: "Private Booty reporting for duty!"

Ted: "That’s actually true!" Barney: "Wait! There’s more!" Ted: "This won’t be."

Roman Barney: "She’s an X!" Roman Ted:"High V!"

Lily: "I call him Marshpillow…and he calls me nothing. Because he’s a pillow."

Barney talking to the gymnast: "And she sticks the landing!"

Ted: "They are actually British morning socks." Zoe: "Don’t get in your own way."

Marshall: "We are men, Ted….Mom! Leave the crust on!"

Nora (playing laser tag): "You will be avenged!"

Ah How I Met Your Mother. First I’ll say that although I love almost every episode, the melodramatics of this season have started to get a little old with me. I know they said they wanted to get away from being "sitcom-y," but let’s face it, it is a sitcom! And sometimes I need HIMYM to be a little comedic getaway for 30 minutes. I was so glad to see that "Desperation Day" fell back into the old HIMYM.

So the Ted and Zoe thing. I like Zoe as a character and as an actress. I don’t know where they are going with it but I’m certainly not one of those people out there that think she is the mother. But we are spending an awful lot of time on Ted and Zoe’s relationship. Other than Stella or Robin we haven’t seen this much of one of Ted’s "dubious conquests" (Victoria was around for a while but not as long as Zoe right?). What does that mean for the show’s ultimate "meeting the mother" story line? Only time will tell I guess. I enjoyed the Ted/Zoe plot on this episode. It wasn’t too heavy and showed Ted’s pretentious side (What are British morning socks??), which is always nice. And it might just be me, but I see in Zoe Ted’s equal when it comes to the freaking-out-about-a-relationship thing. Any girl that can move too fast for Ted? Quite an accomplishment.

From Ted finding his equal we parallel to Barney finding his! I loved the Barney/Robin plot, or Desperation Day. I was just wondering the other day when we would see Barney and Valentine’s Day working together in some way to exhort women. But instead of hooking up with a random girl, we see Barney actually connecting with Nora, one of Robin’s friends. And I loved her accent. But that’s beside the point. We have been moving towards Barney having an actual relationship with a girl for quite some time now. Could this be it? Could Nora be the person that settles Barney down? And that of course leads to the question, is it Barney and Nora’s wedding where Ted meets the mother? But maybe that’s getting the cart before the horse. It’s nice to wonder though right?

And finally we had a lovely Marshall and Lily storyline. Marshall is still in Minnesota "helping his mom." When Lily shows up there to bring him home and he is playing a Gameboy I knew automatically where the story was headed (Marshall wasn’t helping his mom, he was hiding from the reality of his dad’s death). It was fun to see Marshall regressing into his teenage years, plus the shout-out to Gameboy and Super Nintendo took me back. I was wondering how they were going to tie up the Marshall’s dad plot line and I think they found a great way of doing it. The moment when Marshall is telling Ted about his dad driving at night in the snow was a fine bit of acting by Jason Segel and one of my favorite moments from the show. Plus Marshpillow was hilarious! A lot of shows out there talk about married life like a sexless void of redundancy, but Lily and Marshall’s relationship is so different from that and I love it!

All in all, a great episode I think. Got back to some HIMYM normalcy and away from the dramatic. What did you guys think?