'How I Met Your Mother' Review: Of Mermaids, Manatees and Murderers
'How I Met Your Mother' Review: Of Mermaids, Manatees and Murderers
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
I love The Little Mermaid more than just about anybody, but I wasn't as enamored of last night's How I Met Your Mother episode, "The Mermaid Theory," as delightfully full of fun costumes and some legitimately funny moments as it was.

Here's what happened, the funniest stuff that was said, and why "The Mermaid Theory" may be my least favorite episode of season 6 so far. Let's dive in:

Plot Points:
The gang split up into pairs for this episode, so let's tackle them two by two:

Ted and The Captain/Zoey: Lily tells Ted that it's dangerous for him to hang out with Zoey, a married woman, alone, so he makes an effort to befriend The Captain, despite his creepy murderer eyes. Zoey bails on their boat date, leaving Ted alone with The Captain at sea. Ted thinks he's going to get murdered, but instead he and The Captain bond, and his new "friendship" with Zoey officially enters the field of acceptable behavior.

Robin and Marshall: Inspired by Lily and Ted's discussion about whether married people can hang out with single friends of the opposite sex, Robin and Marshall decide to kick it solo. The night starts out awkwardly, and Marshall explains why: "The Mermaid Theory," which Barney made up to explain the phenomenon that a married man will always eventually become attracted to his single female friend if they spend enough time together. He likens it to the way that sailors, deprived for months at sea, saw manatees and imagined they were mermaids. It's a real stretch of a theory, and a sexist one at that, but we get to see Robin in a manatee suit as Marshall fights and finally overcomes his urge to see her as a mermaid.

Barney and Lily: Dad-Ted knows they were in a fight about something, but he can't seem to remember why ... something to do with The Mermaid Theory, and Barney calling Lily fat, and ... oh yeah, NOW he remembers: Lily was pregnant, and Barney deemed her a manatee again, until he revealed another layer to the theory: A pregnant manatee becomes a mermaid again when she starts breastfeeding. Yeah. But that's another story from another, future time.

What We Learned:

  • thecaptain-creepy.jpgWhy The Captain is so creepy (it's the murder-eyes), and how he feels about the Jonas Brothers: "He hates that he loves them."
  • Lily know a lot about "the rules" of married ladies hanging out with single dudes. Maybe a little too much.
  • Left alone, Robin and Marshall have three go-to discussion topics: Cold weather, sports and cold weather sports.
  • Neil Patrick Harris does a great pregnant woman impression:

  • barneypregnant.jpgAlso a pretty awesome sailor impression:

  • mermaidtheory.jpgAnd the funniest thing about "The Mermaid Theory" was watching Robin in a manatee suit try to pick up her glass:

robin-manatee.jpgBest of Barney:
"Who's the eye broccoli?"
"If a baby is aboard that train, it's headed straight back to manatee city. Where the grass ain't green and the girls ain't pretty."
Robin and Marshall Bonus:

"Right, Marsh-Madness?" "No doubt, Robocop!"
"A foxy fish babe singing "Part of Your World" to my pants."

The Verdict: Two out of five seashell bras. "The Mermaid Theory" was a familiar episode of How I Met Your Mother in a number of ways, some quite pleasing: The jumps in time (especially the magical balancing beer), Dad-Ted's memory lapses, Marshall's love of charts, Barney's elaborate dating theories were all fun callbacks to the show's lovable quirks and storytelling strengths. But the plots didn't link together as well as the episode seemed to think they did--and, in fact, "The Mermaid Theory" itself often came off as more forced and misogynist than funny. It just didn't make that much sense, and all the time devoted to whether Lily and Robin were "manatees," and how they could turn back and forth into "mermaids," took up the space where better jokes would typically reside in an episode like this. It just wasn't very funny. Add to that the story between Ted and The Captain (which, admittedly, I was predisposed to dislike, given my distaste for the character of Zoey) that moved along and ended far too predictably, and didn't go far enough with the whole "The Captain is secretly a murderer" idea. That could have been darkly hilarious, but, like a seasoned sailor on a perfectly clear day, we could see where the ship was headed from miles away. (Yikes, sorry. I'm not as good at the boat metaphors as How I Met Your Mother is. Which reminds me of my favorite part of the whole episode: The scenes of Marshall and Barney as old-timey sailors were pretty great, right?)

What did you think of "The Mermaid Theory"?

(Images courtesy of CBS)