So far, my biggest complaint with this season of How I Met Your Mother has been its focus on Barney and Robin’s relationship. Yes, I knew it was coming. The season is taking place during their wedding weekend after all, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. Thankfully, this episode stayed far away from anything about the future bride and groom. Unfortunately, it focused on the only thing more annoying – Barney’s immature outlook on his parents’ relationship.
Look, I get that Barney isn’t the most well-adjusted character on TV. He’s got a lot of problems. In small doses, those problems have been, and probably still can be, funny. Oh and heartwarming too, but that’s even rarer. When entire episodes are focused on some weird quirk that shows how Barney has failed to grow up, well, that’s more grating than anything else. He’s shown a lot of growth in the past two seasons, and the show is much better off when it stays consistent in terms of his growth as a person.
In this episode, both James’ dad and Barney’s dad arrive at the wedding. James’ dad is a welcome guest, especially considering the fact he’ll now be performing the ceremony. Barney’s also glad to see his dad, but his excitement turns to obsession with getting his parents back together after he sees his mom and his dad shake hands. He spends the rest of the episode trying to concoct a way to create the happy family he’s always wanted, all while trying to thwart James’ efforts to do the same thing.
Meanwhile, Ted is tasked with watching a signed photo of Wayne Gretzky for Barney, but comes out of the shower to find it covered in ink. Convinced his calligraphy supplies didn’t just spill, he decides to become Detective Mosby and find out who framed him for this heinous crime. He narrows it down to three subjects, and interrogates them until he’s finally able to figure out the one who’s guilty.
Away from the wedding, Marshall and Daphne are traveling across the country enjoying The Proclaimers, when suddenly Daphne’s mood sours, leading to a recap of all the things Marshall has done wrong in the recent moments of the trip. It turns out it wasn’t anything Marshall did that got her down, but rather the fact that her daughter is upset with her.
Both of the moments featuring Marshall and the moments featuring Ted are quite good in this episode. Unfortunately, they occupy far less time than the much worse Barney-focused plot. At this point, I’ve had enough of Barney’s shortcomings, especially when they’re blown up to unbelievable levels. Plenty of people have grown up with divorced parents, but I don’t think there are too many cases of people in their 30s trying to concoct Parent Trap styled schemes to reconstruct their family. Hopefully the writers will let Barney grow up and stay grown up for the rest of the season so that the show can focus on realistic, mature moments for him and Robin, which is not what we’ve seen recently.