CBS sitcoms had a good night last night, with both The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother bending their traditional styles a little: Big Bang went with a more Penny-focused episode that included slightly more emotion and warmth than usual, while HIMYM went in the other direction, with more gags and a little less sentimentality than it often has. While I wouldn’t want either show to make these changes permanent really, these episodes were both terrific.
BBT: I’m really into the developing affection between Penny and Sheldon. I don’t want them to get together or anything, but for a show that’s obsessed with people being set in their ways, it was nice to see a little break from that – especially from Penny, who’s had less to do than any other character.
HIMYM: The unmentioned transfer of power from Lily being the Slap Bet Commissioner to Robin being the…I don’t know, officiant of Ted and Barney’s “gentlemen’s agreement (huzzah!)” brought out something I love about this show. One of HIMYM’s most important strengths is that we can credibly believe that the characters do and say things we haven’t seen – that we’re only witness to segments of the characters’ lives.
Minuses: Deja vu
BBT: The Guys Are Horndogs / Women Have Breasts set-up has been done to death on this show.
HIMYM: There was some well-worn territory here. Didn’t we already know that Marshall is a crazy-intense competitor after Lily watched him play BaskIceball? Haven’t we known Ted to be prematurely geezerish? Also, boo, not enough Robin.
Points of reference
BBT: Sheldon’s “impression” of Admiral Ackbar was just him “It’s a trap!” Amazing.
HIMYM: The extended Lethal Weapon riff – the episode was called “Murtaugh,” after the classic character who’s “too old for this [stuff]” – was a classic example of the show’s pop-infused exploration of adulthood. (And the hilarious Teen Wolf segments didn’t hurt, either.)
The best moments
Wolowitz screaming “girl fight!”:
And Barney gagging while trying to do a beer bong:
What’d you think, PopWatchers?