How I Met Your Mother
The Rehearsal Dinner

Episode Report Card
Ethan Alter: D+ | 114 USERS: B-
Lying Liars Who Lie

We open on a set that's not the Farhampton Inn for once, which means one of the cast members donated a chunk of his or her exorbitant salary to the production design team so they could finally stare at a different set of walls. These set of walls happen to belong to the security office in a Laser Tag arena, where Barney sits handcuffed to a pipe while a poured-into-a-gold-dress Robin (lookin' good, Cobie) harangues him and a bemused security guard and his equally bemused button-operated toy cow looks on at The Worst Couple in the Universe. "Why are you so mad?" Barney asks, helpfully setting his bride-to-be up for a massive info dump: Seems that her rehearsal dinner was supposed to start ten minutes ago, but then her fiancé went and caused a massive disturbance at this humble Laser Tag playland and he's being held in the backroom until the police can show up and haul his ass to jail. All in all, it's the biggest crime to rock Farhampton since some doofus broke into the local church to retrieve his car keys.

Why did Barney show up at this Laser Tag arena to cause a massive disturbance, you may ask? (Provided you actually care enough to ask, and we don't blame you at all if you don't.) Because he's been operating under the assumption that the sedate rehearsal dinner Robin had planned to have at the inn was just a front for a more lavish "surprise" dinner that would unfold at his favorite place on earth -- a place where young kids and overgrown adolescents run around shooting each other with laser guns. He himself had thrown out the idea several months ago, we're informed via flashback, only to have it shot down immediately by his pals, who had previously shot down Robin's big wedding idea -- getting married in Canada, a proposal that meets with a predictable round of Great White North-related insults.

Attentive viewers probably realized that the best way to endure this scene was to tune out the stale "Yo' Mama (Country)" gags going on in the foreground in favor of watching a background gag that showed two non-speaking extras getting hitched, getting pregnant, getting a college graduate and then dying -- or at least one of them did -- in the timespan it took our "heroes" to blame Canada. That joke was particularly apropos given that we feel like we've lived an entire lifetime waiting for this series to end.

Having indicated that she gave up her dream Canadian wedding in the spirit of compromise, Robin encourages Barney to do the same on his Laser Tag rehearsal dinner thing and he grudgingly does. (Oh, and Ted then hijacks the moment to announce that he intends to re-start his piano training so that he can serenade them at the dinner while dressed as Liberace and that's the last thing we're going to say about that, because it's too lame even for this show.) But he continues to suspect Robin of secretly planning that exact event anyway, because they're horrible people who think that pranking each other is a terrific foundation on which to build a lasting marriage. Lily insists that if Robin was secretly planning a Laser Tag-themed rehearsal dinner, she'd tell her Maid of Honor about it, allowing the writers to go to the "Lily is awful at keeping secrets" well once again. The real secret is that Alyson Hannigan must be getting bombed on set in order to play Drunk Lily. Nobody can be handed this kind of material week after week and not immediately want to fill their prop glasses with actual alcohol.

Back in the more recent present, Barney continues to rattle Robin and everyone else's cages about the supposed existence of this Laser Tag rehearsal dinner, before taking off for the local arena, explicitly defying his fiancée's increasingly annoyed (for good reason) requests that he STFU already. (Oh, and Lily then hijacks the moment to reveal that Marshall accepted that judgeship, which means Italy is off, and that's the last thing we're going to say about that, because it's not going to matter until Marshall finally shows up at the Farhampton Inn, which -- given that storyline's current pace -- should happen circa 2152.) Robin receives a call confirming his incarceration in the security office and takes off herself, bringing us fully into the present and the grand surprise, which turns out to be…

A Canadian-themed rehearsal dinner at the Farhampton ice rink! Complete with Maple Leaf flags, fake snow, an autographed picture of Wayne Gretzky, an Alan Thicke cameo (singing Crash Test Dummies, no less) and a host of people impersonating famous Canadian celebrities, like Dr. Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin. It would be sweet if it weren't just another example of how Barney will happily screw with Robin's head in the guise of "love" while she takes his trickery like the doormat she's unfortunately become. Now that the rehearsal dinner's over, she should rehearse her escape from the hell that will be life with Barney.

How I Met Your Mother




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