We've had the Lemon Law, the Crazy/Hot scale and tonight we got Barney's Platinum Rule. According to Barney, if the Golden Rule is “Love thy neighbor” (it isn't, but Barney wants you just to go with it) then the Platinum Rule is “Do not love
thy neighbor.” The platinum rule, if broken, contains eight different steps until its final and devastating conclusion. How I Met Your Mother
used its expert handle on time again tonight, jumping back and forth between four separate time periods. No other show on television even attempts such things, let alone executes them with the precision of How I Met Your Mother
. Ted lets everyone know that he's going out on a date with Stella, the lady doctor who will be removing the tattoo on his lower back (or, in How I Met Your Mother
parlance, Ted's “Panama City license plate”). Barney tells him not to, and explains why using his Platinum Rule and examples from his, Robin's and Marshall/Lily's past to back up his argument against breaking the Platinum Rule.
The episode went through the eight steps in order, using old-timey title cards for each, and that was the structure for the episode. Simple in theory, but every step contained leaps between four different stories taking place in four different time periods. I have to give points to the writers for their ambition. Comedy structure on television hasn't changed much at all over the years. Seinfeld
did its best to splinter every story, then bring everything back together in each episode's closing moments. That structure, because of what we've seen from Curb Your Enthusiasm
, has to be attributed to the genius of Larry David
's use of cause and unintended effect storytelling. How I Met Your Mother
goes a different route, one less reliant on surprises at the climax (though it doesn't shy away from it and goes down that road every now and then).
got a lot of love for its “backwards” episode, that started/ended with Sue Ellen Mischke's wedding in India, but How I Met Your Mother
similarly plays with time in nearly every episode. The show does not get nearly enough credit for what it does. I keep comparing How I Met Your Mother
because, though not as consistently hilarious, is the most willing live-action network comedy since Seinfeld
to buck decades of tried and true sitcom formula to suit its weekly needs.
That being said, tonight's episode wasn't one of the season's best. It was a little lacking in the laughs, but a mediocre episode of How I Met Your Mother
is still better than any other network sitcom (again, The Office
is not a sitcom), so I can't complain.
Funniest Quote of the Night:
“Oh yeah, you want to antique the crap out of them.” - from the increasingly funny Robin.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)