Monday, December 5, 2011

How I Met Your Mother 7.12 - Symphony of Illumination




How I Met Your Mother 7.12 - Symphony of Illumination




Brief Summary

Robin freaks out when she thinks she might be pregnant, and is surprised when Barney is excited about it. As it turns out she's not actually pregnant, but instead can't have children at all. She keeps this secret to herself, and all of her friends try to cheer her up despite not knowing what's wrong. Meanwhile, Marshall is decorating for Christmas with the help of a teenage neighbor. Unfortunately his neighbor leaves him trapped on the roof while he throws a party in Marshall's house.

What I Liked and Disliked

I actually will start with what I hated about this episode right off the bat: the fact that the entire framing device of the episode turned out to be a fantasy.

We're presented with two cute teenagers sitting on a sofa, a boy and a girl, who look pretty much exactly like Barney and Robin. Robin is telling them the story of how she met their father, and decides to skip ahead to the part where she told him she was pregnant. When then go back to the bathroom scene where Barney reacts to Robin's news. Throughout the episode, she talks to the kids and describes the events that happened, even apologizing to them when she and Barney celebrate over the fact that she's not pregnant.

But then, towards the end of the episode, after Robin finds out she can't have children, she abruptly declares that she's glad the kids aren't real, and they fade away.

I'm sorry, but that has got to be the meanest thing this show has ever done to its audience. The tragedy of the fact that Robin can't have children as far as we know is upsetting, but it's even worse when they dangle a happy ending in our face and then snatch it away.

The only other things I liked about this episode were Barney's wanting to prevent Robin from drinking when he thought she was pregnant, and his reaction to the thought of having a baby. Ted being a good friend at the end was sweet, but I expected more interaction from Barney. They just had a freaking pregnancy scare, and although they both were happy about it being a false alarm, Barney truly does love Robin, and want children. You'd think there would have been a discussion in there somewhere. There was essentially no character development here.

Twists and Turns

The framing device with Robin and Barney's children is a fantasy.

Robin isn't pregnant, and Dr. Sonia told her she can't have children.

Observations

Although the end heavily implies that Robin never became a mom by using the metaphor "pole vaulter," it's vague enough that they could still change their mind about that. It doesn't really seem like they will, but it still has never been explicitely stated she never has kids.

I'm sure they're going to use this plot point as another wedge between Barney and Robin. Barney really wants children, Robin can't have them as far as we know. I'm sure he would rather be with her than have kids, but I could see her distancing herself from him because of that. However, my beef with Robin right now is it doesn't seem like she even wants to be with Barney at all.

And for all the pregnancy scare between the two, would it have killed them to have an actual conversation about it? This was a big, possibly life-changing event that almost happened, and never did they address what they would do if the pregnancy were real. The whole thing was played for laughs, up to and including the announcement that she wasn't pregnant. I feel like Barney, especially the Barney from two episodes ago who spilled his heart to Robin about how he wanted them to be together, would have wanted to discuss it. Instead, we're given a sweet scene between Ted and Robin where he tries to cheer her up, and Barney is nowhere to be found.

Overall

I'm pretty depressed with where the show has gone. There was no need for the cruel use of the cute Barney and Robin children, only to have the whole thing be ripped out from under us as a fantasy. That's the only part about this episode that incited any sort of emotional reaction from me. We're still at a point where I feel like Robin doesn't even want to be with Barney, and Barney wants to be with her unconditionally. (He was even okay with being friends with benefits.) How is that redeeming Robin's character for us?

2 comments:

  1. Randomly found this through TVLine. I myself just finished catching up on HIMYM. I think the show achieved what it set out to do, pulling on our emotions. Yes, it's cruel, but we as viewers are able to feel bad and sympathize with Robin. I'm a sucker for this kinda stuff, and ended up a bit teary. Despite the opinions and viewpoints, the writing/storytelling was unique and quite effective. I'm glad that the show has its serious moments like this, makes me remember why I love this show so much. Note: HIMYM is the first sitcom I ever got into :D

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  2. Oh yeah, I understand what they were trying to do, and it definitely did make me feel sad. I guess my argument is that Robin imagined the children after she knew she couldn't have them. She knew they weren't real, so it felt a little unfair that the audience were led to believe that they were. I would have felt bad for Robin either way. I do think it's an odd storyline that they chose to write for her, though.

    I am usually very appreciative of the serious moments, and I really do love the show. (This is the first sitcom I really got into, too! The mix of good storytelling, humor, and heart is awesome.) But although the episode itself was pretty solid and had its cute/funny moments, the way they set up that fantasy just rubbed me the wrong way. Beyond the children, it would have also served as confirmation that she and Barney work things out in the future. (Not that they won't, but after all the drama from the most recent episodes, a little assurance would have been nice!)

    Thanks for reading and discussing! :)

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