How I Met Your Mother “46 Minutes” Review

I know that How I Met Your Mother has been building up the idea of Lily and Marshall moving out to the suburbs all season, but after watching the gang stick together through most of their twenties, it was still hard for me to really accept the fact that this group is growing up and -spatially speaking – growing apart.

This episode takes its title, “46 Minutes,” from the estimated duration of a train ride from their old haunt in the middle of Manhattan to their new digs out in Long Island. From my personal experience, a 46 minute commute is just outside of the range of casual spontaneity. Lily and Marshall were already going to be spending less time with Ted, Barney and Robin as their priorities shifted to care for their child. Now that they are permanently in suburbs, they’ll probably only make it back into the city for day trips, special occasions, or those rare nights when they’ve landed a sitter. The idea of Barney, Ted or Robin making plans to take that 46 minute ride out to spend a free evening in the suburbs doesn’t really fall into place with where their characters are right now.

Barney reacted to the devastating news by declaring himself leader of the group, complete with a hilarious “How I Met Your Barney” opening. It was the first indication that this would be an episode loaded with a kind of metahumor that we don’t normally get on How I Met Your Mother. After dragging Robin, Ted and Kevin back to the normal strip joint, Barney looked to quickly fill the void in the group with the nearest available people – Jasmine (aka. “Stripper-Lily” from season 5) and her Russian boyfriend/pimp. Of course, this required a retooling of the original “How I Met Your Barney” theme and we got a “How I Met Your Russian Mother” opening.

Tagging along for the night, Robin and Kevin had been playing “Early Relationship Chicken.” I was surprised that they were still playing this kind of relationship game this far into their relationship. I suppose it just highlighted how immature their relationship has been. They may be having sex now, but I still think they’re really awkward with one another. Kevin should be an expert on communication, but they don’t seem to be able to actually talk to one another as adults. Kevin is nice, and I’m sure Robin appreciates that he has no interest in her past, but everything about their relationship seems superficial even if it isn’t all about physical attraction.

Ted’s typical complaining led Barney to reprimand him with my new favorite Barney-burn of the season: “Ted, when they serve alcohol at a strip club, you’re not allowed to show your vagina,” and as the night progressed, Ted allowed himself to drink away his feelings. Truth be told, drunk Ted might be my favorite kind of Ted. He’s like the Drunken Master of laugh out loud comedy when he’s completely lacking social filter because of high levels of intoxication. That liquid courage turned the entire underground-poker-in-an-insane-asylum scene into comedy gold. His castigation of “Larry” for having too many strange attributes for a proper nickname and his impromptu performance of “We built chip-city… we built chip-city on all your dough” was drunk Ted at his absolute best.

While Ted, Robin and Barney were trying to cope with their abandonment issues, Marshall and Lily had been trying to cope with the overbearing presence of Lily’s father in their new home. Lily’s dad, Mickey, quickly went from a sweet grandpa-to-be to a crazed game master straight out of a horror flick. This story line was creepier and more mean spirited than I would have liked, but the silly self-shot night vision steadicam of Marshall stumbling around the house brought in some chuckles to lighten it up a bit.

Future-Ted’s final commentary mirrored a real life truth that most people experience with friendships that develop among twenty-somethings. Ted, Barney, Robin, Lily and Marshall might never be as intimately involved in one another’s lives as they had been in the past, but they will always hold a major place in one another’s hearts. Although they were already adults when they met, they still sort of grew up together and were there for one another during that unique period of adulthood that comes after college. That blip in adulthood is filled with little missteps and late night regrets because no one is held responsible for you and you’re not really responsible for anyone else yet. It will be interesting to see how How I Met Your Mother will keep their stories together as they all continue to grow up and out of that stage of their lives.