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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 9.11 - Bedtime Stories





Ted to the left of me, Barney to the right, here I am - stuck at the wedding with you! Yes I'm stuck at the wedding with you...and I'm trying to make up a review. It's so hard to keep a smile on your face - after half a season stuck in one place...

25 hours/11 episodes left. Marshall and Marvin have given up the rental car and are currently on a bus. Also, Marshall is speaking entirely in rhyme. Apparently, unless Marshall and Lily rhyme every second, the baby will never sleep. The opening credits play, and for some reason sound like they're from a music box.

Since Marvin is extremely fussy, Marshall has to keep up the rhyming. And entirely by coincidence, whenever he comes up short, one of the other passengers magically fills in. Personally, I'd have strangled him by now, but to each his own. Hey, if Marvin has to hear rhymes not only to fall asleep, but stay asleep, how the hell do Marshall and Lily survive? Do they sit next to him all night rhyming? Oh my god, I bet they do.

Fortunately, Marshall comes up with a story on the fly, called Mosby at Bat. It tells the story of Ted picking up a cute physics professor named Lisa. She has heard of his reputation and wants some tutoring - apparently her lectures are boring as crap. He accepts. When the gang hears about this, they are ecstatic (but still make several jokes at his expense). Barney wonders if this is actually a date, or a genuine work thing. He explains his new theory - "The International Date Line". No, not the time zone marker, but some kind of crazy plan to determine whether a date is successful or not (that is, whether you're likely to get some nookie, in Barney's perverted mind). Ted heads off for his date full of concern.

Lisa shows up with a lot of cleavage, encouraging Ted, but shakes his hand, which immediately dampens this encouragement. They go back and forth with this all evening. Finally, Lisa mentions that she played softball in college, which of course prompts Ted to think that she's a - gasp! - lesbian. For the benefit of his son, Marshall explains that we shouldn't indulge in such stereotypes. Good one, Eriksen. And he's right, because she mentions that she dated a Yankee, and I'm pretty sure there are no lovely ladies on that team. Ted wonders about her ex's identity all evening. Finally, it's too much and he demands she tell him.

She admits that she doesn't want to ruin the date, so she's happy to tell him that the guy was Derek Jeter - though her cell phone reveals a picture of Barney in a shirt that reads "Jeter". Just when he got his hopes up, Ted is crushed.

Just as Marvin falls asleep, the bus driver swerves, waking him up again. Marshall has to come up with a new story. The passengers complain that he's being too crass with his kid. (Future Ted, of course, admits that he has a point as the Mosby kids stare disapprovingly.) Marshall says he won't remember it anyway, and launches into a new story, "Robin Takes the Cake".

Robin, fresh off a breakup, is going through a slob phase and wanders around bakeries looking unkempt. Unfortunately, just at that moment her ex-boyfriend notices her. It's Simon! Yes, the slacker/former teen pop star played by James Van Der Beek has wandered down from Canada. Marshall struggles to rhyme something with this particular country, but the guy across the aisle saves him with a well-timed rap.

Simon tells Robin, in his broad Hoser accent that no Canadian actually has, that he lives in New York now. Seeing how cleaned up and successful he looks, Robin tries to flirt, but he shuts her down with the news that he's engaged. In fact, he's at the bakery to pick up his wedding cake. Robin sees red, and before you know it, she's at Ted's apartment with a stolen cake.

Ted is exasperated, but he can't do anything, because Robin's already started eating it. She manages to demolish half the cake single-handedly. Lily arrives to gawk at her cake-eating friend, which causes Robin to step back and look at herself with horror. How will she ever get out of this one?

Fortunately, Lily is built for pep talks, and she gives Robin a doozy. If she stops eating the cake and confesses all, Simon wins. And that can't happen. Instead, she should concentrate on becoming a cake-eating legend. And that's just what Robin does.

Soon enough, people turn up to watch this feat, and it becomes a party, complete with keg. Robin looks utterly disgusting covered in all that icing, and I flashback to the Trunchbull and that kid in Matilda. By the final bite, she's exhausted, but Ted and Barney egg her on. Ted and Marshall even compare her to Cool Hand Luke and Rocky Balboa respectively. In triumph, Robin finishes the cake. Everyone cheers. However, Robin's not quite done yet. For an extra challenge, she's going to wash it down. Barney and Ted help her get into position, and she does the world's most epic keg stand. Marshall concludes the story by saying that instead of Robin getting dumped, she got her stomach pumped. Such a wonderful tale for children.

Speaking of which, Marvin has fallen asleep once more. Of course a honked horn wakes him up in seconds. Marshall has a soliloquy about how they missed the rehearsal dinner. It's truly tragic. To get his son back to sleep, he launches into the finale of his trifecta of inappropriate tales: "Barney Stinson, Player King of New York City."

Barney tries to pick up a hot blonde at MacLaren's, though Lily claims she's out of his league. Of course, the man takes this as a challenge. He is sure he will succeed, because he is Player King of New York City. Of course, this involves an origin story, which none of his friends want to hear. He tells it anyway.

After romancing a conquest one day, Barney leaves her apartment and realizes that he's lost...on the East Side. Horrors! Suddenly a sedan pulls up, and an intimidating man asks him to get in. His friends doubt this story, but Barney insists it's true (and hell, I believe him). The sedan takes him to the High Council of Players, all stereotypes of New York's boroughs and all played by Mr. Neil Patrick Harris himself. Apparently, Barney has transgressed by leaving his territory. This area belongs to Tuxedo Charlie, who is most indignant and also has a monocle. I'm loving NPH's different versions of what, essentially, amounts to a dozen Barneys.

Barney apologizes and tries to make peace. He cites all the favors he did for his bros, who are forced to give in. The player from the Bronx is outraged because Barney impersonated Jeter, which was his thing. It turns out many of Barney's plays have been cribbed from other members of the Council. They agree on his punishment - Barney offers the Bronx guy and Tuxedo Charlie each a girl from his territory. And they want Robin and Lily. Wait, wait, wait. Robin is a girl-bro and Lily's married. This is practically prostitution. They actually...wrote this?

Dumb plot aside, Lily and Robin think it's ridiculous and laugh it off. However, there's bad news - Barney already agreed to it. And then poisoned the Council to get out of it. By doing so, he seized control, and now reigns as Player King.

His friends think it's funny, but don't believe it. Marshall points out that since he forgot to call dibs, someone has already hit on the hot girl at the bar and his Kingly status is useless anyway. Barney is defeated, everyone has a good laugh at his expense, and all is well.

Marshall reflects on his carefree youth, and looking down at his baby son, comes to the conclusion that those days are over. At that moment, the bus gets a flat tire. Marvin wakes up - and he and his dad are stranded far from the wedding. A man complains that he'll never make it to Nantucket. Marshall can't touch that one. He enlists the help of his rapping seatmate again. Fortunately, some nearby fireworks cut them off before we can hear it.

The bus passengers watch the display as Marshall cuddles Marvin. He tells him that even though this trip's been a disaster, at least they'll have this moment together. They watch in awe as Ted narrates that it was Marvin's first memory. Awww.

The bus driver tells the passengers that the bus needs a part, so they'll be there for a while. The rhymes get increasingly awkward. But yes, Marshall is stuck - even this close, who knows if he'll make it to the wedding at all? His seatmate tells him that the Farhampton is only five miles away. The decision is set- Marshall decides he'll walk. With a baby. Ted foreshadows that this will go wrong in about a million ways. I guess we'll find out next week.

Next episode - laser tag rehearsal dinner? Only at Barney's wedding, folks.

This episode was pretty okay. It was obvious filler, but as this whole season was made up of filler, this was to be expected. The conceit worked fairly well. Some of the rhymes were dodgy, but I have to give them credit for lasting a whole episode. I also enjoyed the trifecta of stories, used occasionally on How I Met Your Mother and always good for at least one laugh. This was not quite a roll-in-the-aisles episode, but it was entertaining.

And might I add, it was really, really nice to leave that fucking hotel.

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