The humanization of Barney continues. How I Met Your Mother loves to sledgehammer sitcom conventions to bits, and tonight’s episode (“The Goat”) defied one of the greatest: the resolution of conflict between main characters. In a typical sitcom, a serious disagreement between main characters who are usually friends is almost always resolved in the same episode – rarely is something serious left to linger from week to week. Even rarer still is the lack of a resolution between people who aren’t former lovers. Currently, Ted and Barney have a serious issue at hand on How I Met Your Mother – the show dealt with it expertly, wringing the perfect amount of comedy and drama out of a delicate situation. In the end, the writers didn’t fall prey to the “forgive and forget” climax that so many others lazily take. Nothing is resolved, only more conflict offered.
Barney and Robin agree to never tell anyone about their tryst. We know that this will not and cannot be the case, and the rest of the friends slowly learn about it as the episode goes along. The meat of the episode is spent on Barney trying to rationalize his actions. He brings in Marshall as a lawyer in an attempt to find a loophole in the ages old “Bro Code” of which Barney possesses an actual physical copy of. If Barney can find a loophole, he believes this will absolve him. When no loophole is found, Barney asks Marshall to find a code that Ted has broken. When Ted is found to be utterly faithful to The Code, Barney resorts to the ultimate in desperate measures: a surprise trip to Vegas. You see, it’s Ted’s 30th birthday. Lilly and Marshall have organized a surprise party on the rooftop. Barney picks up Ted from work in a limo and, instead of taking him to the party (that Ted knows about), Barney insists on the trip to Vegas. Ted wants to go back to the apartment, and tells Barney the news: he knows about him and Robin.
Ted is pissed off and breaks up (in a man way) with Barney, gets out of the limo and cabs it back to his surprise party. End of episode.
It sounds like it could be an hour-long drama, right? There was constant hilarity throughout, from Robin and Barney’s morning-after conversation to the examples of Ted’s pattern of upholding The Bro Code. There have been funnier episodes, but I laughed throughout. More importantly, the story was forwarded in an non-insulting manner. Bays and Thomas treat their characters not like caricatures, but real people. You get the feeling that with cancellation a real possibility, the writers wanted the option of finishing the stories they wanted told. I have no doubt that Barney and Ted will once again be friends, but I also have confidence that Ted will need to see significant, detectable-to-the-audience changes in Barney first. My gut tells me that Barney and Robin as a potential couple will be explored in upcoming episodes, as will Ted’s feelings towards that couple.
I’m still not sure if the Goat Story was a clever feint or a cop out. Also, one of my favorite parts of any episode is when we get to see the machinations of Barney’s job. Why are we thinking about going to war with Portugal and what are we putting in their drinking water?
Top 5 Quotes of the Episode:
“Right Click, Save As…”
“Guess who nailed the chick from Metro News 1?”
“Stella makes this one look like a filthy bag of garbage.”
“I calleth dibs on that wench.”
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)