How I Met Your Mother

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The Platinum Rule

September 2007. It was not quite October, yet certainly past August. July was growing but a distant memory. November was yet but a speck in October's grimy orange eye. We flash back to the season premiere's discovery that Ted has a tattoo, or as Barney called it, "A Tramp Stamp." Ah, good times.

The present day... We cut to an office with a sign that reads, "Dermatology & Tattoo Removal Clinic." The office is as generic as the sign. SagetTed tells his unseen children that too often we make decisions in life we're not prepared to deal with. We pan across the room where people with many, many tattoos are walking around presumably waiting to have half of their skin mass sanded off. One burly guy wearing a muscle shirt (if you're so ashamed of a tattoo, why wear a muscle shirt?) sits next to Present-Day Ted, crying. The tattoo on the bicep reads...what the hell does that say? "Rex & Evan Forever?" "Rasputin Forever?" "Reginald Denny Was Here...Forever?" Apparently, the studio audience is much more eagle-eyed than me, because they laugh at whatever it said. "Residuals Forever?" Ted sits reading a magazine and eyeing his fellow patients with suspicion. Some very annoying lilting music starts to play and doesn't stop until an eternity later.

The apartment. Ted shows off his lower-back butterfly tattoo and tells his friends to wish it goodbye because it's going to be gone soon. Lily asks how everyone's going to know that Ted is a stripper from Reno with daddy issues. From the way he strips and cries at the same time? Ted says that in ten surprisingly expensive sessions, Stella is going to zap that butterfly away. Should somebody call PETA? Ted says that Dr. Stella Zinman is the best in the business. And business is booming. On Ted's lower back. Ted announces that he's also going to a movie that night with Dr. Stella. Barney, protecting his suit with a huge white napkin on his neck (everyone's eating from Chinese food boxes), says, "What?!" Barney is not being very supportive. Barney, along with everyone else, grouses at Ted, asking why he would ask the doctor out. "Don't poop where you eat," Barney says. Especially not in one of these Chinese food boxes. Marshall and Lily chime in that if it's someone you can't avoid and whom you're paying... it's a bad idea. Barney de-napkins and stands, asking if Ted remembers the Golden Rule: "Love thy neighbor." Correcty-Ted says the Golden Rule is, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "It's from The Bible?" he says. Barney says he's worked out this whole thing, so just go with it. Ted smiles, bemused. Barney proposes The Platinum Rule, the rule above his made-up Golden Rule: "Never, ever, ever, ever love thy neighbor." Ted is ignoring this advice. Robin asks Ted to remember what happened between her and Curt at the TV station. Let me guess: has he been curt with you? Ha ha ha, oh mercy me. We do have fun around here. Marshall asks Ted to remember what happened between Lily, Marshall, and The Gerards across the hall. Barney asks Ted to remember what happened between Barney and Wendy the Waitress. Ted, adjusting his rapidly growing poof of hair in the mirror, has no time for these stories. Do we have time for this? Can we fit all three stories into 20 more minutes? Ted says he's out the door as soon as he's done with his hair. Barney says that gives them a solid half-hour. Lily, Marshall, and Robin force some laughs. Barney winds up for a long eight-part list to convince Ted not to go on his date. It begins with...

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How I Met Your Mother

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