The Finest Callbacks, Sweetest Song Stylings and Most Precious Milioti-ness of "How Your Mother Met Me"

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The Finest Callbacks, Sweetest Song Stylings and Most Precious Milioti-ness of "How Your Mother Met Me"

By Courtney Enlow | TV Reviews | January 28, 2014 | Comments ()


Last night’s How I Met Your Mother was both expected and unexpected. As soon as we met the titular character, embodied most adorably by Cristin Milioti, I knew such an episode may be in the works, particularly as a spinoff impetus. What I didn’t expect was tears. All the tears.

We came in where we came in, the pilot episode—September 2005 and a game of “have you met Ted?” is afoot with a green-turtlenecked Canadian stranger. But that’s not the story we’re witnessing. The mother’s friend, Kelly (the weakest part of the episode for sure. If they intend to have her as part of the spinoff, they need to work on her.) arrives at MacLaren’s, but the west side (our) MacLaren’s, which is the wrong one in the Motherverse. It’s the mother’s 21st birthday—and a tragic one at that. In the first minutes of this episode, the Mother’s boyfriend passes away suddenly, leaving behind a birthday gift: a ukulele.

Three years later, on St. Patrick’s Day, she’s still processing this tragedy. But Kelly gets her out of the house where she doesn’t bump into Ted (but the human red herring does—a very nice nod to the “bump girl” conspiracy theorists). But she does bump into Mitch—high fives all around to everyone who audibly shouted “NAKED MAN!” at his arrival—and he comes to her apartment to find out that his “signature move” only works two out of three times, the number he shared with our gang in his eponymous episode.

Cut to the first day of economics class. The Mother meets her new roommate—Rachel Bilson’s Cindy—and discovers she’s accidentally in Architecture 101 (though she is a tad smitten by the professor and his terrible “mighty shellfish of me” joke—a fabulous callback to “Double Date” where Ted assured us that the first time the Mother heard that joke, she laughed). Oh, wait, nope, it’s Professor Mosby who’s in the wrong place as he dashes past her on the quad.

Then, the aftermath of Ted and Cindy’s date from “Girls Versus Suits.” Cindy actually having strong feelings for the mother is a nice button and much more palatable than jealousy. She’s clearly “got some stuff to figure out.” As Mother tells this story to a would-be suitor, we get yet another glimpse of Ted in the infamous green dress.

So totally even, Teddy Westside.

We get to see more of the bits we already knew, but were fun to see pay off. Her aforementioned breakfast song stylings (“One tasty English muffin…”), her war with the dreaded Darrin (Andrew Rannels), and more about how she and Ted are basically the same person (calligraphy set, driving gloves, “Ren-AY-sonce” and all). Then, one we didn’t know about—Louis, her boyfriend before Ted, proposes to her.

The scene where she goes outside to talk to Max, the deceased boyfriend from the first scene is quite possibly one of the most emotional for the entire series. (“I know you’re probably playing baseball with your dad…” is when the tears started for me, by the by.) I cannot express enough how hard Milioti sold this scene. If any Ted/Robin shippers remained, I can’t imagine anyone who wasn’t won over by the true champion of Ted’s heart. For a character we’ve only known a fraction of a season to make us feel so much in just one episode, that’s impressive. She blew me away. And, after turning down the proposal and checking into the Farhampton Inn (room six—wonder whose room is adjacent?) her ukulele rendition of “La Vie En Rose” (now available on iTunes / now downloading onto my iTunes) finished the job.

This, the show’s 200th episode, was more than a nice introduction to the woman we’ve been waiting nine years to meet. It was a payoff to nearly a decade of devoted viewership, one that has had more than its fair share of hits and misses. I might not be onboard with the spinoff. But I’m 100-percent onboard with the Mother. And I’m 100-percent onboard with this season.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • mzbitca

    The last episode really have cemented what I thought all a long. The gang and the show works so much better when everyone's occupying the same space. The last two years was so much just Ted's story with Robin, Lily's story with Marshal, etc etc. These last few episodes were great. The Lily Marshall fight and the pausing, Ted and Robin ganging up on truth speaking Barney. Lily doing what she does and run away when things get hard and scary, Marshall making impulsive Decisions and finally not getting the support he's always gotten from her (how many times did he impulsively quit a job?)

  • annie

    I've rewatched this episode twice already and still might due again. Cute and adorable but not too precious or shallow. Not just a perfect girl but perfect for Ted (and also very nearly too good for him). Loved how not forced the tie-ins were and love Milioti. Figures my fave ep of HIMYM in a long time just barely spotlights any of the main cast.

  • Leland Eidson

    I don't know why but the english muffin song had me in stitches.

  • annie

    I think it means you are a Ted. Sorry.

  • csb

    The callbacks and cameos this season have been immense. I'm still waiting for Patrice and Sandy and the staff at WWN, though I'm expecting them to be wedding guests on the big day. (Assuming that someone finally asked Patrice.)

    The episode got heavy in places (Max, to be specific) but I thought it was all done very well.

  • Repo

    This really fleshed her out. She is exactly like Ted, with his sense of humor and quirks galore.

    Except I hate Ted. So, yeah. I'm just ready for this to be over.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    I would say that she is just like Ted, except without the Douchiness. For the Mother, all the quirks and humor is sweeter and just nice, where in Ted it comes off as annoying. Maybe it is because we have known Ted too long, and eventually the Mother will overwear her welcome also, but I like her. I can also see how Ted could fall hard for her. Enjoying the season so far.

  • NateMan

    Yeah, but with only half a season left, we won't have time to get sick of her!

  • L.O.V.E.

    They should have cut the wedding weekend to the second half of the season and used the first half to show how The Mother "met" Ted and intertwined their paths. this show is 10 times better with Rachel Bilson.

  • stella

    To be fair, everything is better with Rachael Bilson

  • Martin Holterman

    They can't afford Rachel Bilson, especially since she already has a show of her own. (Or, to be precise, they can't afford her in combination with the regular cast members.)

  • narfna

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't the spinoff going to follow completely different characters? I think we're pretty much done with the Mosby/Mother gang when HIMYM ends.

  • You are absolutely right. I've clearly ignored all information about the spinoff in an effort to pretend it doesn't exist. Although Emily Spivey is intriguing.

  • narfna

    Emily Spivey? Hmmm. I didn't know she was involved. I sort of liked Up All Night at first, but I ended up giving up on it. Her involvement probably won't get me to watch it.

    I'm ignoring info about it as well but I somehow managed to soak up that previous info.

  • mairimba

    MY DVR IS AN A**HOLE! It skipped a whole segment of the episode. And part of that was Ted in the green dress. Now I have to watch it on online. BAH!

  • Buellie413

    So far this season has only been slightly successful for me-most of the episodes I've enjoyed have featured Milioti, I find Robin to be unbearable in almost every scene and I hated every second of Marshall's story-line until he arrived at the Inn.

    BUT. THIS EPISODE. They nailed the casting of the mother so hard. She was equal parts luminous, adorable, heartbreaking, and dorky. I love her. I want her to sing breakfast songs to ME.

  • I don't know what it says about me that I've loved Robin more the bitchier and crazier she's become but so be it.

  • Buellie413

    Probably that you eat ribs in your sleep.

    I've come to find that a lot of sitcom characters I enjoy have a rib problem.

  • PerpetualIntern


  • Buellie413


  • Mrs. Julien

    I howl with laughter every time she does that. It's like when Miss Piggy erupts in sudden and blinding violence.

  • janetfaust

    I loved the episode and there were a lot of tears for me too. When she sang - Niagara Falls. It's the girl who can't let herself fall in love, and the guy who can't NOT fall in love, and it's beautiful.

    Somehow it offsets the super cuteness of how many quirks they have in common (not really a huge complaint just a thought in the back of my mind).

  • For real - I was practically sobbing after her lovely song.

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