Weighing Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan against each other is fairly easy, at least in terms of their characters and storylines on “How I Met Your Mother” where they play married couple Marshall and Lily Erickson. Intentional or not, it’s clear that one actor always comes out on top while the other more often than not gets the Dead To Me look from dedicated viewers. While NPH gets the award nominations and ceremony hosting duties, Jason Segel is HIMYM’s worst-kept secret weapon for both comedy and pathos — the guy is simply too talented and has too much range to be bottled up for long. His sitcom wife is no slouch either department, but Alyson Hannigan is most often relegated to the rote contrasting of her inherent cuteness (which, let’s just be honest, gets less cute every year) with crass lines, occasional gruff delivery, and “edgy” catchphrases. She’s given so few quality lines or story arcs that even a horde of loyal fans, won during her stint as Buffy’s most powerful vampire slaying sidekick on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” find Lily Aldrin-Erickson the least compelling character in the ensemble. Probably even more so than Douchey Ted.
But even counting Willow, Segel still seems to have the more radass track record. He was also the MVP on both of Judd Apatow’s prematurely cancelled TV series, “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared,” he helped define the Bromance with co-starr Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man, and he wrote and starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the unlikely movie career launchpad for Russel Brand (boo) and Mila Kunis (yay). That last one led directly to Segel writing, starring, and producing the most promising looking Muppet movie in decades, while Hannigan is sadly forced to return to the American Pie bakery that first capitalized on her sweet n’ sour persona. Based on the newest trailers for both The Muppets and American Reunion, I’d say Mrs. Erickson is still trailing behind her fictional husband. Which is funny, because in HIMYM canon, Lily is the Settler Marshall is the Reacher, but in real life, those roles are obviously reversed; no matter what my fellow Whedonites might protest to the contrary. Watch the trailers for both films below, and judge for yourself.
The Muppets (official, non-parody trailer):
American Reunion (red band, moderately NSFW trailer):
And, no, the tonal difference between the movies/trailers is not lost on me. Debating the various meanings of “maturity” aside, both The Muppets and American Reunion are attempting to appeal to similar nostalgic tendencies in their prospective audiences. Though the final bathroom moment in Reunion is fairly charming, all things considered, only one trailer succeeds in capturing the supposed excitement on display in each, while the other just makes you feel embarrassed for everyone involved. Sort of like the difference between gags written for Marshall on “How I Met Your Mother” and those written for Lily. See? It all comes full circle
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force and tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar. He really hopes American Reunion doesn’t suck as hard as Stifler’s mom — Alyson Hannigan deserves better than that.