Thursday, January 06, 2011

I'm Not Ready For This

On a typical Monday night, I have my TV turned on and I'm tuned in to the local CBS affiliate. It used to be that I would hang out for the entire comedy line up that they had on Mondays. But these days, I limit myself to How I Met Your Mother, then I turn it off. The others just don't do much for me, especially now that Big Bang Theory is on a different night. It competes with Community, which I mentioned the other day is my current favorite sitcom, even better than How I Met Your Mother.

But I'm not writing to discuss what shows are better than others. This past Monday, I missed the new episode of HIMYM. I've been fighting a cold, so I felt the need to dose myself with the NyQuil and go to bed early. A trick I'm finding has various rewards. Anyway, since I had the day off yesterday, I decided to find the episode online. I have to say, it was one of the best episodes in a long time.

One of the major plot threads of the season involves the characters of Marshall and Lily. They've been married for the last few years and have decided it's time to get pregnant. So for the first half of the season, we've had stories dealing with their apparent lack of success. This episode, "Bad News," began with the couple in the doctor's office complaining about their inability to get the job done.

Throughout the episode, numbers were strategically placed in the background of scenes. Right off the bat, we saw the number 50. And the numbers counted down sequentially. After all these months of trying to get pregnant, one might assume that the numbers were counting down to an announcement of Lily finally being with child. But the title of the episode was "Bad News." The countdown was on and led to some pretty heartbreaking news.

At the end of the episode, once we had finally seen the number 1 on top of Lily's taxi, the writers dropped a bombshell. It wasn't that Lily and Marshall couldn't have kids. It was that Marshall's father had had a heart attack. He didn't make it.

Foreshadowing for this could arguably be seen through the episode, and the season as a whole. We've seen more of Marshall's dad in cameos this season than we have in past years. We had Marshall's parents fly in from Minnesota for a surprise visit, giving Marshall the opportunity to break the news that they might not be able to give them grandchildren. We had Marshall's dad pat his son on the back, letting him know that they didn't care about whether or not he could have kids, that they, as parents were proud of their son no matter what.

Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan may not be Emmy winning actors, but they nailed the final scene in this episode. As someone who has lost his father, I couldn't help but tear up when Lily broke the news to her husband. Marshall has made it clear that he shared everything with his father, like he was more of a best friend than a parent. So when he said, "I'm not ready for this," it was all the more heartbreaking. And, having been in those shoes, I can pretty safely say, no one ever really is.

The episode leading up to the sad ending wasn't all that special. There weren't any particularly hilarious jokes that renewed the show's place for me as the funniest show on TV. But the build up and the final delivery might have made it the best episode of the series. At least the best in a long while.


  1. I agree with everything you said here. I actually thought of you when I saw the episode yesterday (I DVR it since its usually on at the same time as Chuck), and when I saw the title of this blog, I knew what you would be talking about.
    I was trying to figure out what the point of the countdown was for the entire episode (and I didn't know the title), so I didn't see it coming until his dad didn't pick up the phone.
    So sad.
    But I would like to end this long comment on a happy note, so let me tell you about a dream I had the other night. I was one of the Greendale Community College Human Beings and part of the study group. There were a lot of funny moments and interactions with all of the gang, but my favorite part was when Abed and I staged a slow motion fight in which I was dressed as a ninja and he was dressed as a velociraptor.

  2. That sounds like the most awesome dream ever.

  3. ZacimusPrime (Zac Stein)January 6, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Abed is the most awesome character on Community, also that was a great episode of How I met your mother