Last night was the Season 4 premiere of How I Met Your Mother, a show that used to be my favorite comedy, but that has since given way to 30 Rock. I was thoroughly bored with the Ted/Stella relationship, as though characters seem to have very little chemistry between them. I decided to tune back in this year mostly to see how the writers handle the Barney/Robin hookup. So far so good, as the season premiere, called “Do I Know You?” spent an equal amount of time on both couples.
Ted/Stella: The cliffhanger from last season was Ted’s proposal, with the finale ending before Stella gave her answer. Well, she says “yes”, but after some questioning from Marshall, Ted realizes that he doesn’t know Stella at all. He doesn’t know her hobbies, favorite color, or even the color of her eyes. This freaks him out a bit, so he starts quizzing her about her past to get at least a few answers. Ted also uses Star Wars as a litmus test for compatibility, saying that there’s no way he can spend the rest of his life with a woman who doesn’t like that movie. Stella watches it (for the first time) and hates it, but lies to Ted and says she likes it — with the idea being that she would make that sacrifice for him.
Barney/Robin: Barney confesses his true feelings about Robin to Lily, and engages her help in trying to get Robin to see him in a new way. Lily sets up a dinner for the whole group, but then bails out at the last minute, leaving Barney and Robin on their own. Barney tries being sensitive and “normal”, but that just serves to freak Robin out. He tells her that he has a nice side, which he exhibits the whole night. Robin is so impressed that she acts as Barney’s wing woman to hook him up with a hot waitress — right before Barney has a chance to tell her that he’s in love with her.
My Reaction: Barney and Robin are infinitely more interesting than Ted and Stella, and this episode confirms it. Whenever they cut to Ted and Stella, I kind of rolled my eyes and waited impatiently for the story to get to the good stuff again. Obviously, I would love to see Barney and Robin become a couple, but this is dangerous territory, as the writers could end up destroying both characters along the way. It will take a great deal of careful planning to make this storyline good and have it so that no matter what happens, they all remain friends afterward.
I forgot to mention in my summary the part about Robin mentioning a high-profile cable news job. I don’t read spoilers or anything, but I have a feeling that the job is going to be in another city. That’s the way these things always work out on shows. She’s going to apply, she and Barney will start their relationship, and then she’ll drop the bomb that she got the job — but it’s in Chicago or something. Then there will be the whole will-she-or-won’t-she move question, the whole will-he-or-won’t-he follow her question, etc. etc. All very cliché and tiresome, so I’m definitely apprehensive about where this storyline will go.
Overall, I thought this was a solid start to the season. I can’t wait to see what happens with Barney and Robin next week! As for Ted and Stella? Meh….