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HIMYM: Lobster Crawl..."But He's Her Lobster!"

Posted on the 13 December 2012 by Tvtree @EmmaGThomas
You know how sometimes something is really, really stupid but it makes you laugh anyway?
That describes last night's HIMYM in a nutshell.
"Lobster Crawl" (S8Ep9) opened with an exchange that was so ridiculous that I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or turn off my TV.
Since this season of "HIMYM" has been incredibly uneven (both in quality and in tone) I decided to bear with it.
I still can't decide if I'm pleased with that decision.
The episode opened with the gang (plus baby Marvin) hanging out at the bar.
Thank god that adorable baby was there, because we really needed him to get through the rest of the scene.
Barney spills some ketchup on his red tie and begins to have a verbal heart attack, spewing about how the tie died so young (and way too close to retirement) and essentially going on and on about the tie as if it were a close personal friend. If you've watched prior episodes you probably remember that this joke has been done before (with a suit) which may be one reason why it isn't terribly funny. When a show starts to recycle it's own jokes without purpose you know that it's near the end of it's tenure.
Robin, after her "huh" moment at the end of last week's episode (where she realized she might actually be interested in Barney the moment he said he was going to let her go and would stop bothering her) was acting like a complete fool. Using a "flirty" voice (I assume that's what Cobie Smulders was trying to do here), laughing like a twelve-year-old, and generally being a tad crazy. Lily filled her normal role of sane one (a role that was to be yanked away from her in the next ten minutes) and pulled Robin aside to confront her.
When Lily heard the story she told Robin it was just like the lobster incident all over again. See, apparently Robin's doctor told her she was super allergic to lobster and could never eat them again. So she immediately went out and ate a lot of lobster. Because when Robin's told she can't have something she really, really wants it.
So Robin had very little interest in lobster before she was told she could never, ever have it again and Robin had very little interest in Barney before...well, you see where this is going.
The interesting thing is that Lily compares Barney to the lobster, and Robin accepts that he's the lobster equivalent, but both of them are clearly wrong. If the past several episodes have shown us anything (and they haven't shown us a lot) it's that Robin really does still have feelings for Barney.
The subtle undertones that Cobie Smulders has been managing this season have been very impressive. Speaking of which, I didn't mean to belittle Smulders' acting ability re: the "flirty" voice. While I found it incredibly grating, I was very impressed with the level of commitment in her acting. She actually managed to make herself unattractive which is kind of hard to believe because have you seen her?
Moving on. Barney and Robin continue to have ridiculous exchanges which were, frankly, almost embarrassing to watch. Meanwhile, Marshall, Lily and Ted have a less important storyline that revolves around baby Marvin.
See, Marvin is temporarily childcare-less because Lily's dad is sick and so Ted volunteers. He's currently unemployed and everyone knows he loves kids so it's a win-win. Except that, being Ted, he completely oversteps and does things like buy Marvin a football jersey for a team that Marshall hates and take the baby to get his first photo taken with Santa without his parents. Lily goes briefly crazy (I told you she would) when she realizes that she missed Marvin crawling for the first time, but by the end of the episode the three of them are okay again (as we all knew they would be).
Meanwhile, Lily attempts to help Robin with her Barney situation. Robin admits that she wants to sleep with Barney one more time because if he's really her lobster* then she should treat him like she treated the lobster: have him one more time and then feel horrible about it and never want it again.
The rest of the episode is filled with Robin's version of Barney's playbook. (Is a show also considered almost over when it starts spoofing itself?) Much as in "The Playbook" (S5Ep8) each pick-up attempt is inter-cut with a story card telling us the title of the play. Here each of the cards are the title of a move that Robin uses to try and get Barney to sleep with her.
Of course, the one suggested by Lily involves using Lesbian taunts...'HIMYM' loves to throw in occasional references to Lily's attraction to Robin.
The lesbian taunt spectacularly backfires as Barney seems more interested in Robin's co-worker Brandi. He leaves with her to go and have sex on the weather set. Robin is upset, but not devastated. I think that her lack of interest in here is because Brandi is the type of woman Barney often has one-night stands with: attractive and not terribly smart.
Later that same night, perhaps because she's more upset with the Barney/Brandi hook-up than she originally let on, she goes to Barney's to seduce him. He opens his door and she opens her coat, revealing lingerie. He tells her he didn't sleep with Brandi and she looks relieved, but then she opens his door further and Patrice is sitting on the sofa.
Patrice has been presented throughout this season as a perfectly nice woman who is irritatingly cheerful and desperately wants to be best friends with Robin. She's also no where near as attractive as Robin (that is not supposed to be an insult toward Ellen Williams, because seriously, have you seen Cobie Smulders?).
Seeing Patrice sitting on Barney's couch and hearing Barney say that they're on a date clearly devastates Robin. Because she knows that if he does hook-up with Patrice it will be more than a one night stand...she clearly is not his typical type.
Barney is easily able to shrug off Robin in lingerie (another blow to her ego) and tells her that if she gets dressed she can come in and play cards with them. Basically giving Robin permission to be a third-wheel on his date.
Robin turns him down, incredibly embarrassed though she does a good job of not showing it, and walks away.
My hope is that the devastation that Robin so clearly feels serves as a catalyst for her to admit that she truly has feelings for Barney. It's not just that she needs to get him out of her system, she just needs him. In other words, she doesn't want to eat the lobster, she wants him to be her lobster.**

HIMYM airs on Mondays at 8/7C on CBS
*Ha! Just realized that this could almost be taken as a spoof of 'Friends'. Ross and Rachel were will they/won't they for years and Phoebe was insistent that they were each other's lobster. Here Barney is being compared to a lobster and we are again having a will they/won't they scenario forced down our throats.
**That sounded way dirtier than I intended.

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