How I Met Your Mother “Tailgate” Review

After some of the heavy emotional stories that we got from How I Met Your Mother at the end of 2011, it was refreshing to open up 2012 with a mostly lighthearted New Year’s themed episode.

Marshall did most of the narrating in this episode which put his character in a position to be a central figure in two separate story-lines. I enjoyed the way both stories were told and we got to see Marshall’s character grow quite a bit from some relatively minor plot developments.

To mark the anniversary of his father’s passing, Marshall returned to his hometown to spend some “private time” with his dad, tailgating by his grave side. Although Marshall intended to fill his dad in on the recent New Year’s Eve events, he was constantly interrupted by his brothers and local townsfolk who were drawn to the grave by an open grill and the game playing on Marshall’s mini TV.

When his private dad time was interrupted by his siblings, his initial reaction was to be immature and protective of his tailgating idea but over the course of retelling his story and interacting with the people from his home town, Marshall matured right before our eyes. He realized that his father was incredible not only because of the selfless life he lived for Marshall, but because he was able to treat every person as a friend without any hesitation.

Marshall and Lily’s quibble over the “Enigma of the Mystical” was a little silly, but it fit in with their characters. Marshall wanted to instill in their child a sense of faith in the existence of Bigfoot, ghosts and aliens through bed time stories, while Lily was against the entire idea. I couldn’t get a solid read on what exactly they were parodying here. While they were mimicking a discussion that many parents might have about the role that they think faith should have in their child’s upbringing, the conversation took on an unusual tone for little bit that made it seem like they were not only mocking that style of conversation, but also poking a little fun at people who have faith in “something bigger” by having this argument be about werewolves and leprechauns.

Whatever the intention, I absolutely loved Marshall sneaking about the house and surprising Lily with his strange stories of the enigmatic. I know Lily said she couldn’t believe in anything “enigmatic” unless she saw it with her own two eyes, so I assume the ever mysterious Cockamouse must have slipped her mind. That’s a mystical and enigmatic creature if I’ve ever heard of one and personally, I think it would be a shame if Baby Eriksen-Aldrin never heard the tale of that legendary flying mouse-roach.

Meanwhile, Ted and Barney had finally found the motivation to make their long-time dream of owning a bar come true after getting ripped off at MacLaren’s on New Year’s Eve. They ignored the risks of liquor law violations and opened up a bar in their apartment which became a quick sensation. Over the course of the night, however, they learned that owning a bar was not as fun as they had imagined. To control the cost of damages, the drinks at “Puzzles” climbed from $2.00 to $49.99 and both Barney and Ted were ready to be out of the bar business permanently.

The best thing to come out of their misadventures in bar ownership was probably the “Puzzles” theme song they created. Ted’s not much of a singer, but the variations on the theme we heard tonight were hilarious.

Although she had a difficult New Year’s Eve chasing a drunk Sandy Rivers around New York City, Robin’s wild goose chase landed her in front of the camera again. She caught her big break in a way she never would have expected and we got a tiny glimpse into Robin’s future with a graphic showing that she was headlining the world news alongside Sandy Rivers.

Of all the characters in How I Met Your Mother, Robin was the only one who really highlighted how difficult 2011 was for her. It would seem that fate is finally turning in her favor and although the other characters weren’t specifically asking for a fresh start, I hope that 2012 brings equally optimistic stories for the rest of them as well.