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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 9.5 - The Poker Game





Welcome back to Season 9 of How I Met Your Mother, I hope - okay. I can't. I just can't. This season is CRAP. Existential hell to rival a drive through Saskatchewan, leaving the viewer trapped as surely as a slasher film character. Oh, the pain, the pain. I'm in until the bitter end, but let me tell you, it's a grudging review indeed.

Still want to read the review?

So we start at 6 PM Fri - OH HOLY FUCK.

Stop. Compose yourself.

- 6 PM Friday, 48 hours before the wedding. CFK opens her first beer of the evening. Marshall's going through Chicago with Daphne, where he wants to stop at a pizza place, giving a beautiful, romantic description of the delicious foodstuff, which makes me want pizza too. Damn, Jason Segel killed it. Daphne turns him down flat. Opening credits.

Barney's poker game continues, having eliminated Lily, Tim Gunn, and Marshpillow (Marshall's face via Skype on a body pillow). We are left with Ted, Ranjit, Robin, James, Billy Zabka - finally figured out how to spell it - and Barney. Ted talks about how much he loves giving wedding gifts, which annoys everyone and pisses off Lily. Apparently, Ted never got her anything for her wedding, so she and Marshall have been nursing a grudge about it for the past seven years. That is a totally reasonable and rational thing to do. Marshall drops hints, then dresses up as a wedding present for Halloween. They even held it over his head when he almost married Stella. Remember guys, the point of a wedding is to get excellent gifts, not celebrate with your friends or anything.

We leave Lily's bitchface to focus on James, who is bitter for his own reasons, mostly because of the impending divorce. He kills the mood and his future sister-in-law's good will pretty fast. She confronts Barney in the bathroom (where he is trying to hide his cheating ways) and asks him to tell James to STFU already. Right on, sister.

Lily calls Marshall about the tragedy of Ted getting Barney and Robin wedding gifts, and seriously, who the fuck cares? Unfortunately, Marshall's on board with the excessive bitching. Sigh. James keeps making awful comments. Robin points out that he's still wearing a wedding ring, which he says he uses to pick up dudes. She challenges him to take it off, making it a wager in the game. She of course wins. Wow, you coldhearted Canadian witch.

Ted tells Marshall that he did get them a gift, a coffee maker (which he hinted at broadly in a flashback scene), and they never sent him a thank you note. WAAHHH. Fortunately, we are diverted from this non-drama when Loretta bursts in accusing Robin of hurting her little boy. THANK YOU. She demands that Barney return the ring, saying that Stinsons stick up for each other, and promptly joins the game in her take-charge manner. Okay, this is kind of James' fault for gambling it in the first place, but FFS, they really should return it.

Ted continues with his tale of woe, informing Marshall that he got them the exact same model that was at their very favourite coffee house, and never even received a thank-you note. We get a tedious flashback of Ted's hints, which any viewer with a brain could have figured out. Ted then reveals that he dressed as a thank-you note for Halloween. Wait, wasn't he a hanging chad all this time to attract the Slutty Pumpkin, who is even in the background? Consistency, people, use it. Ted then wrote them a thank you note for the wrapping station gift (passive-aggressive gift-giving is just the BEST). Marshall is horrified, telling him that thank-you notes are a giant Thing for the Eriksens, and there's no way he could have missed it. Okay, this is ridiculous, it was years ago. You both need a slap.

Barney, tormented at having to choose between his wife and his brother, consults Lily and Ted. Robin, GIVE BACK THE FUCKING RING ALREADY. Unfortunately, Lily isn't on the same page, saying you always choose your wife. He agrees with her somewhat robotically and runs off. Ted takes this moment to bring up Giftgate. Lily assures him that she sent a thank you note, but to Stuart and Claudia, who were the actual givers. Oops. The plot thickens. I really don't care. Ted is forced to concede that he never gave a gift and runs off to make it right.

Barney suggests to Robin that they let Loretta win the ring back. She turns it down, and instead the entire poker game gets drunk and/or semi-naked. I am not making this up. God, these characters get stupider every week.

Okay, so we have this dumb poker game to win back people's rings, and Ranjit is hot for Barney's mom. Robin keeps winning, to Barney's dismay. She explains that the Stinsons always manage to work in the word "bluff" when they're bluffing, which creates horrible puns. He commands her as her bridegroom to win. Charming. Ted and Lily leave, Robin and Barney get into a huge fight. He even says they'll never have sex again - but works in "bluff" by accident. Damn! Anyway, Robin gives back the ring, and Barney begs her never to play strip poker with his mom again, because it's "all kinds of confusing".

A phone rings, and Lily gets out from under the room service cart (where she was totally not eavesdropping) to answer it. Marshall says Ted totally got them the coffee maker, Lily says it was Claudia and Stuart, they hate Ted again, and Robin puts an end to it by saying she was with Ted when he bought the damn thing. Oh, Robin, it's your wedding, why are you dealing with these petty morons? Ranjit announces that Stuart and Claudia have checked in, Billy Zabka pops out of the couch (?), and they run out to get to the bottom of things. (Hey, why are S&C invited to this wedding? Are they really Barney and Robin's friends? Then again, life seems pretty restricted outside of the Group of Five, so I guess you take what you can get.)

Under duress, Stuart admits that he took Ted's gift and wrote their names on the card. Jerks. Lily is properly upset and calls him a weasel. Claudia doesn't know, though, and it saved their marriage for some reason, so Lily generously does not make a stink about it. Though she's a little confused when she figures out Stuart is still philandering.

Barney and James reconcile, with James telling his brother not to let marriage change who he is. However, in discussing their gym habits, Barney realizes that James is kind of a selfish jerk. See, marriage is about being a team, not self-centered and stuff, which is actually a pretty huge realization for Barney. He tells Robin he will always have her back. Awww. Oh, and he also disowns his brother and mom, but whatever, smoochy smoochy.

...yeah, that happened.

Robin goes into a panic attack at the thought, rightly guessing that the wedding weekend is ruined, and so is a good deal of their marriage.

Ted and Marshall apologize for the Great Gift Goofup, going into great elaboration about it. Ted says that he's going to send one more gift, and Marshall shouts at him to send it back - until a guy pulls up and it's revealed to be the pizza of his dreams. They start to cry. Everyone's friends again! Except Stuart, I guess.

Tag scene: Robin tries to smooth things over with her mother-in-law by giving back her blouse. Loretta responds by declaring war on Robin. Excellent. I'd almost get excited if I wasn't worried that this hotel was getting increasingly Hitchcockian.

Next week: The priest cancels the wedding (huh?) because - get this - Robin and Barney stole Marshall and Lily's "how we met" story. Well, I've got news for you, Ted will soon be able to top that. I think I'll need a freakin' case of liquor to get through this one.

Okay, for the love of God. This is getting increasingly stupid. The gift plot was awful. Some of the Robin/Barney/James stuff was interesting, but damn, when did everyone get so mean-spirited? Well, that was uninspired. I guess tomorrow (or rather next Monday) is another day. Thanks for reading!

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  • Posts

    • sndral


      41 minutes ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

      I’ve never liked Jessa. I thought she was smug since day one. But she seems to still have a relationship with Jinger and Jill. Even if they aren’t as close as they used to be. However Jill and Jinger are both very forgiving by nature. I bet they haven’t even brought up the topic of how they got shit from jb but Jessa didn’t. 

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    • thoughtful


      1 hour ago, Black Aliss said:

      I hate to think how he might go off on people speaking a language other than English within his hearing.

      I don't think he'd say anything negative to them or within their earshot - he's too much of a coward.

      Based on past experience, I'd say he might attempt to sound inclusive while clearly being uncomfortable, as he does when discussing the multicultural church he visited in Chicago.

      He might joke about how he could learn their language if you gave him 20 years, as he does at the Navajo churches.

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      • Upvote 2
    • JermajestyDuggar


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      This is what would make me upset. Her sisters have had their relationship with their dad blown up in their faces for making such choices, and now Jessa reaps the benefits. I have to say, if I was one of her sisters, my relationship with her would shift. 

      I’ve never liked Jessa. I thought she was smug since day one. But she seems to still have a relationship with Jinger and Jill. Even if they aren’t as close as they used to be. However Jill and Jinger are both very forgiving by nature. I bet they haven’t even brought up the topic of how they got shit from jb but Jessa didn’t. 

      • Upvote 3
    • viii


      1 hour ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

      She’s wearing a tank top and pants because her sisters bared the brunt of JB’s anger. They paved the way for her and I bet she’s never even acknowledged it with them. 

      This is what would make me upset. Her sisters have had their relationship with their dad blown up in their faces for making such choices, and now Jessa reaps the benefits. I have to say, if I was one of her sisters, my relationship with her would shift. 

      • I Agree 1

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