Britney's coming back next week, and all of us who care about the show are already dreading it. (What are the chances that the team can minimize her collateral damage for a full hour?) But as if to prospectively make up for Brit's return, HIMYM gave us Will Forte this week. And in the guest star MVP voting for this season, he wins in a landslide. If we can keep Will Forte in our hearts, true believers, we can weather even the crassest publicity storm.
Tonight's episode was all about movin' on. Barney tries to hook up with a new bro, but his long list of candidates turns out to be otherwise occupied: having a daughter, already committed to a bro, playing Cranium and watching 27 Dresses. So Barney goes with Plan Z: Randy from his office, a confirmed Barney disciple with a few shortcomings in the social department.
Meanwhile Ted is anxious to move his relationship with Stella to the next level, but he's intimidated when he finds out that she hasn't had sex since 2003. ("The world was first learning about SARS," Marshall observes.) They're on for a romantic night at a hotel in the city when Stella finds out that Ted told her secret to his friends. A brief (apparently 24 hour) pause in the foreplay ensues before Stella comes to her senses, gets over her trust issues, and invites him home to meet her daughter. (Awww.) And then have that sex. (Oooo.)
So much for the A story! Because all the awesomeness was concentrated in the B story. From "goodbye, Geraldine Ferrar-bro" to "Haley, you are a fat ugly whore," Will Forte redefines sitcom funny by giving us a hapless nerd with no governor on his language center. The secret to the portrayal is Forte's utter vulnerability and refusal to resort to stereotypes. I do not expect to laugh any harder at the television in 2008 than I did when Forte explains, blood streaming from his nose, "This happens every time I get an erection."
And although back in the A story the HIMYM team is getting Ted more deeply involved with Stella (again, they doth protest way too much for her to be the mother), "Rebound Bro" was -- shocker -- all about the rebound bro. Will, you made us forget about Britney for half an hour. It's a gift we'll always cherish.
- Marshall and Lily's sexual appetites are so darn cute. Marshall, recalling Martin Luther King Day sex: "We honored that dude big time." Lily, imagining a drought one-fifth the length of Stella's: "I'd be selling it on the street for a nickel."
- Ted was a bit too ... settled for me this episode. When he gets all moony for a girl, he turns on a kind of "aren't I witty" charm that I find forced. That being said, his plan to lower expectations through potato skins was quite amusing. (Or perhaps I enjoyed it because of the many, many potato skins I ate at the 1982 World's Fair, when they were the most popular appetizer in the land.)
- "What's your absolute favorite thing about koala bears?" "Their .. meeeaat ... is delicious."
- Thin Cobie week, but three good moments: (1) Believing that Barney may have had more sex with her than she had with Barney. (2) Pointing out that it'll be pretty hard to have sex with Nell Carter now that she's dead. (3) Not being sure that Barney doesn't have video of their hookup.
- Barney on getting drinks thrown in his face: "You'll get used to it. And when you do, free drink!"