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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 8.22 - The Bro Mitzvah






Tomorrow I am leaving Toronto forever, and tonight we had the accompanying goodbye party. As a result, this review may be a little less than coherent. Bear with me, and we shall journey through together. As HIMYM ends its penultimate season, let us join Barney as he partakes in the holy sacrament of matrimony. Naturally, this will include the bachelor party to end all bachelor parties.


Bob Saget-Ted begins by telling his kids that this is the story of how Barney’s life completely fell apart. Sounds encouraging. We cut to him six hours earlier telling Robin that his life is perfect. They’re apparently meeting with Barney’s mother, which should result in some interesting interactions. Robin entrusts him with the catering deposit, which he assures her he can keep hold of for a few blocks. Riiiight.

He heads out, and is instantly kidnapped. After affirming his allegiance to both sides of Korea at the same time, it’s revealed to be simply Ted and Marshall with a surprise bachelor party. Up with the opening credits.

Barney is thrilled with his kidnapping party. As the three smoke cigars, he extols their scheme, confiding that he was worried they wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Marshall and Ted point out that he’s been hinting at them for months, asking for a “bro mitzvah†while insisting that anything they plan will be “ordi – wait for it – nary.†He has every confidence that the guys will disappoint him. Ted and Marshall are about to prove him wrong. He comments that they have become “intermediate studentsâ€, giving them reluctant approval, and calls Robin to tell her what’s going on. Robin, for her part, is irritated that she’ll have to do dinner with Mother-in-Law alone. Barney graciously calls to cancel, saying that he’s mentoring an underprivileged child, but it’s too late – she’s already at the restaurant. This should be hilarious. With Barney’s mother knowing that her future daughter-in-law can’t stand the idea of dinner with her, Barney hangs up for the adventure of a lifetime.

Ted baits him by hinting at the Taj Mahal penthouse in Atlantic City, but it turns out that it’s only visible from their hotel room – barely. Stinson is not impressed.  Marshall and Ted thought it was best to keep him away from that one Chinese game he’s addicted to, and so they are distanced from the nightlife. Fortunately, during his previous engagement he mentioned his preferences for a “bro mitzvah†(complete with “bromulkes†and a “brodl†and a “brorah†written in “Hebroâ€), so they have it in line.

Unfortunately, Ted and Marshall have completely misinterpreted his wishes. They excitedly tell him that they’re going to watch Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth with an accompanying drinking game. They consider it the “mind-blowing entertainment†he specified all those months ago. We flash back to Barney presenting his list in faux-Hebrew writing. Okay, this is going from “homage†to “awkwardâ€, fast. Anyway, he wants a naked fire show or a naked contortionist or a naked magic show. T&M interpreted this as a balloon contortionist.

Fortunately, Robin interrupts the extreme lameness with an angry phone call. Apparently Barney has given the impression that his bride-to-be is a virgin. Oops. Considering Barney’s mom, you’d think she really wouldn’t care, but she at least uses the opportunity to get a few digs in at Robin. “What’s gotten into you? Nothing ever.†This includes a demonstration with a napkin ring and a baguette. Anyway, Robin is super pissed and demands that he come back. When the next bachelor party guest turns out to be Lily, that doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

One of Barney’s requests was an appearance from the Karate Kid, which Ted feels he has to explain to his kids. I don’t want to live in a world where children don’t know what that is. However, Lily presents Ralph Macchio in a suit. Barney flips out. He wants the Karate Kid, not some actor. He launches into an impassioned speech. Ralph takes it in good humor, and Ted and Marshall don’t get it. Ralph decides to stay, saying it will be “in- wait for it – credible.†When Ted points out the obvious similarities, Barney goes off on another angry rant. He is not like Ralph Macchio, and did they even get a stripper?

Ted and Marshall loudly protest that of course they got a stripper, what does he take them for, and present their contribution – a blonde “police officer†who is instantly revealed to be Barney’s ex-fiancee, Quinn. Way to boost the mood, guys.

Anyway, Quinn is pissed that he’s engaged to Robin so quickly, and Barney is outraged that the stripper wasn’t vetted. Quinn has gone downhill, with lots of financial troubles. Though he offers his sympathies, she still won’t strip for him. Ralph is outraged on everyone’s behalf and gets a tentative offer from Lily, which is promptly squashed by Marshall. Quinn also points out a resemblance between Barney and Ralph Macchio, which is not appreciated by guess who. Eventually they reach a compromise – she will strip for everyone except Barney, which kind of defeats the purpose of a bachelor party, but okay. She tantalizes him, driving him nuts, but Ted and Marshall do not leap into his defence.

Locked in the bathroom, Barney gets another phone call. Robin has had a horrible night with her mother-in-law, who has showed her “the seventeen basic sexual positionsâ€. When Robin finally gets frustrated and reveals that she’s not a virgin. At this revelation, Loretta sighs with relief and says they can “finally talk.†Uh-oh. Soon enough Loretta is drunk and brandishing breadsticks and napkin rings, talking about her fling with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Barney agrees to join her and breaks out of the bathroom, just missing Quinn’s act, which was apparently spectacular.

Outraged and frustrated, Barney decides to call it a night. As only one of the two or three bachelor parties he expects to have in his lifetime, Ted and Marshall have let him down. He offers everyone a ride back to the city, during which the clown (don’t ask) calls shotgun via miming.

On the way back, Barney complains about his horrible bachelor party. Ralph Macchio throws another “incr-wait for it! –edibleâ€. The clown points out the resemblance, grabbing Barney’s ire. Ralph taunts Barney about having a bachelor party near Atlantic City and not even gambling. In a fit of rage, Barney turns around, driving Lily into Ralph’s lap.

Upon arriving at a casino, Barney turns onto his gamble of choice, which Ted fast forwards through for the sake of the children. He ends up winning three hundred dollars, losing five thousand, and possibly securing a chicken. Quinn taunts him. Barney wants to leave, but holds his ground, hoping to start the bachelor party of a lifetime. After a quick consultation in Mandarin, the game is back on. He goes for one last lucky shot – and loses eighty thousand dollars. Brilliant. Ted tries to be comforting and fails.

On the drive back, Lily flirts with Ralph some more, which creeps him out. This leads to the discovery that Marshall is missing. Turns out Barney gambled him away. Lily is outraged, Barney swears he can save him once he gets some money. Ralph Macchio and Ted both chew him out. As they reach Barney’s apartment, Ted insists that a bachelor party is about friends and a good time, but Barney only cares about a good time, so he’s done. He leaves the car and Barney runs after him. However, Robin confronts him with details of the horrible evening with Loretta. It seems like Barney can’t do anything right. She’s super pissed, Quinn is demanding money, and suddenly a rivalry pops up. Robin thinks he’s been cheating, decides it’s unforgivable, and declares the engagement off. Shit. Quinn picks up Robin’s ring from the ground and throws it at him, commenting that she “never got to do thatâ€. Barney is lost.

However, as Robin turns the corner, she suddenly smiles – and calls Ted to tell him that they’re right on schedule. Huh? Could there be other plans afoot? Soon enough Quinn appears, just as psyched as the rest of them. Bob Saget-Ted explains to his children that they had planned the ruse when they were stuck on ideas. Marshall had asked what to do for a guy who makes every night the best night of his life – to which Robin said “Give him the worst night of his life.†Bingo.

The music from the Playbook appears, with a title card reading “The Barney.†Every aspect of the party has been planned out to be the worst possible, with Quinn enthusiastically joining in to get back at her ex. The gambling and the loss is part of the plan, with the entire Chinese game rigged – including gambling away Marshall. This has set up a rivalry between Ted and Marshall, who compete with their own versions of “Ted Unchained†vs. “Marshall Unchained.†When Barney picks Marshall, Ted gets the most adorable scowl on his face. Even Loretta has been recruited to make it look like Robin is having a horrible time. Loretta reveals that she knew all along that Robin wasn’t a virgin, but “a dirty hoebag just like me.†Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law are going to get along just fine. Ted wonders if the scheme was too mean. Everyone bursts into laughter. For a final touch, Marshall proposes getting his hand cut off by the guys running Barney’s game.

Robin nixes this. Instead, Marshall shows up pretending he’s about to be executed (and Ted pretends the mobsters totally want him instead). Barney has to save his friend – or else.  He offers money. Unfortunately, the mobster brings down his cleaver, and blood spurts from Marshall’s sleeve. Barney faints, which is the picture for this recap. The mobsters drag him back into the building, where he is met by the Bro Mitzvah poster, and Robin, Quinn and Loretta screaming “Surprise!â€. Robin explains that they gave him everything he wanted in a bachelor party without him realizing it. (Is the bride even supposed to be involved with the bachelor party? Whatever, it’s Robin.) Barney is horrified that she would pretend to break up with him/have Marshall killed/lose all his money, and finds it really twisted – which he loves. Greatest bachelor party ever, and Ralph Macchio keeps hitting on Lily, though she claims it’s part of the act. The way she licks her hand after would attest to other ideas.

Barney thanks his friends for their efforts. His Bro Mitzvah has been unforgettable. Everyone wishes him “Mazel Brov!â€.  However, he points out, he missed one thing on the list – Ralph Macchio is not the Karate Kid. “I couldn’t agree with you more,†the clown says, and steps forward to reveal that he is the Karate Kid himself. After much persistence, they persuaded William Zabka to be there. Barney immediately launches into a hug. The party is complete, and the end credits come up.

Classic? Nah. Wacky? Definitely. Heartfelt? Of course. It’s all we want HIMYM to be, and tonight’s episode provided some of the fun we’re been longing for. A nice reappearance from Quinn and Loretta, and several funny jokes related to the show’s continuity. Now all we have to do is get Barney and Robin married, whereupon Ted will meet the mother. Hopefully it will be as fun as this episode.

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