Good evening, Mr. Stinson. Your assignment this week: Synergize with fellow CBS property Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. This blog will self-destruct in five ... four ...
If I said tonight's episode had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? The task of getting a plug in for perhaps the sleaziest yearly special on the Tiffany Network challenged our heroes, but they provided a zippy bit of cross-promotion in an episode that, thankfully, included only one scene of models at a technoriffic fashion show after-party. The surrounding storyline involves Barney finding out that he did not "rock the world" of the promiscuous older woman to whom he lost his virginity, thus calling into question the entire confident gigolo persona on which he's built his successful woman-chasing career. Meanwhile, in what my It's Always Sunny-fixated brain cannot help but conceptualize as "The Gang Joins A Gym," the gang joins a gym.
Once again we confirm that it's all about pacing for this show. Keep it fast, encourage Ted to underplay, get some good reaction shots of Marshall, and you've got all the ingredients of a solid episode. The setup for the gym-joining (so adorably sitcommy!) is provided when Ted gets winded running to his bedroom to get money for the pizza guy. That funny bit of business leads to Marshall's confused relationship with his drill sergeant of a trainer, the muscular gymrat who's going to "stretch Lily out," and best of all, Robin's excitement over just letting herself go and not caring about her clothes or makeup while she's working out. (Nothing in the episode indicated to me that she was working out at Curves, so I don't know how she got that impression.)
The A-story about Barney's sexual yips was a bit too on the nose for my taste -- Barney is a dish best served on the side rather than as the main course -- but his 1998 hippie-liberal virgin flashbacks (what a combination!) are worth the somewhat cartoony tone to the whole plotline. Also earning its keep: the series of gags in which Rhonda "Man-Maker" French slips some double-entendres past the kids, only to meet her match with the Chinese delivery boy. (Let me suggest, "I put hot mustard on that egg roll, if you know what I mean.")
Not a classic -- no eventual-mother mythology, for one thing -- but we do find out that in the future, people won't be as focused on gyms. And after a week, they never went to the gym again. Good news, people.
- Robin continues to make me oh so happy, whether she's fashion-forward or dressed, as Lily puts it, like "a lesbian prison guard." Neglecting your personal appearance is hilarious!
- Because Barney has the yips throughout most of the episode, we don't get overloaded (so to speak) with references to his sexual prowess, so the line about the "growing" investment is extra-special good.
- Saving-himself-for-marriage Barney, confused about how to have sex: "What do ya ... where do ya .. how do ya ...?"
- The point-of-view shot is the kind of one-camera innovation that always bothers me in this three-camera format, but Marshall's sit-up cam, with its framing of Lily's progressively more ridiculous stretching routines, is better than most.
- Watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show featuring Heidi Klum, Tuesday night December 4, right here on CBS!