Why was Ted hugging everyone in sight two weeks ago? It wasn't because he met Stella under a yellow umbrella. (Songwriters of the Gay Nineties, there's a lyric you can have for free.) It was because he met Tony under a yellow umbrella. (Nope, just doesn't have the same ring to it.) Remember how Tony tried to soothe his conscience over stealing Stella away from Ted by arranging for Ted to get various jobs? One of which was a professorship at Columbia?
"And as you know, your mother was in that class. But that story's just beginning."
Tonight's season finale was the end of Ted Mosby, Architect, and the beginning of Ted Mosby, Lecturer. (Both have that "ect" sound!) Ted's thirty-one and he has no prospects. He's just been fired by the two Texans who wanted him to design a rib restaurant in the shape of a cowboy hat. And a goat has put him in the hospital. Why not take a leap and see what the view is like from that other rooftop, the one where the decking is greener and the hot tub is toastier?
Even though the mother didn't appear -- except maybe in a long shot of the rows of students in Professor Mosby's class (Empire State Building 101, if the visual aid is any indication) -- I'm well satisfied with this huge life change for Ted as an advancement of the masterplot. I was even a little bit moved at Lily's goatcentric life lesson: "It's just a washcloth. Why do you even want it?" And while the leaping montage had nothing on "Glad Girls" two weeks ago, it was still kinda beautiful. Probably because I'm a huge coward and would never take any such leaps, metaphorical or phorical, even with a gun to my head.
But what about the other plotline we (okay, I) really care about? Did Barney and Robin get anywhere? Well, not exactly. The episode opens with Barney asking Ted if he can buy that suit that Ted once wanted but that turned out not to fit him so well. Ted answers, "Tell the suit how you feel." "The suit is Robin," Barney explains, and when Ted indicates he's following that, Barney gives him a kind hug: "You are now, because I explained it to you." But Robin witnesses the whole exchange and tells Lily and Marshall about it, thereby releasing Lily from her eight-month vow of silence over the Barney-loves-Robin secret. How to let Barney down easy? Mosby him. "She could Mosby the crap out of him!" enthuses Marshall. So before Barney can declare himself, Robin declares herself -- and instantly evaporates Barney's case of the cupids. Until Lily tells Barney that it was all a ploy, and then they're back! How are we going to get these two crazy kids together? Looks like Barney might have to go through a few more existential changes before he's ready to meet Robin halfway.
So that's our finale -- an excellent (although not transcendent) half hour of television. And that's it for this season -- a terrific season of one of the best comedies of this young century, if I do say so myself. In a few weeks I'll be timewarping back to the nineties for the NewsRadio TV Club Classic blog. Join me for Season 3, two episodes a week, on Tuesdays starting June 2.
- "Hat buildings don't design themselves."
- Nice callback, HIMYM. "I can make that jump" appeared in the montage of five-word phrases every man says in "Three Days of Snow."
- "For the last time, I am not Linda Knievel, and I will ever be Linda Knievel!"
- "And not just any girl but ... eeehhhh?"
- "Why are you so afraid of giving this a chance?" "Because I'm scared of how much I like you." "Whoa, this is a bad idea." "You're right, this is a mistake." "Yes -- no." "I love you." "Let's be friends." "Okay, friends then." "I love you." "Let's get married." "No, you're smothering me." "Okay, forget it." "GAAA!" "GAAA!"