A quick review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as we toast to my femininity...

So Team "HIMYM" follows up the show's best episode in years with one that was... not so good.

I actually liked parts of "Stinson Missile Crisis" - or, at least, the idea of those parts. Robin narrating a story in the same maddening fashion as Future Ted - and to a listener(*) not made up of stock footage, and who can therefore object to the detours and random hints at future events(**) - seemed clever, as did the notion of Barney having a series of Bimbo Delivery Systems in need of shutting down. There's probably a good A-story there. The problem is that the show has been around so long and gotten so exaggerated that someone needs to spend some time each week scraping off the layers of schtick until the characters - even Barney - are just human enough for the comedy to work, and that wasn't quite the case here. I don't doubt that the Barney we've known all these years would have these kinds of systems in place, and a few (the robo-caller, Jack Fantastic) were close to amusing, but it all ultimately felt like too much, just as Robin turning into a complete wreck each time Barney displayed his romantic side to Nora.

(*) Kal Penn, in his triumphant return from the Obama administration, and the start of a multi-episode stint that I imagine is going to be a less nuanced take on the notion of therapist/patient transference than anything we saw on "In Treatment." 

(**) So now we can add Lily giving birth without Marshall being present to Marshall and Barney at the casino (though the two could be related) and Ted in the green dress as non-Mother or Bride-related danglers. I missing anything? 

Similarly, there was a moment in the otherwise cringe-inducing Ted/Marshall/Lily B-story that suggested a version from the show's earlier, less cartoonish days. Ted feeling left behind because his romantic life hasn't worked out as planned has been a theme of the character going back to the pilot, and has often led to good stories. This was not that. This was Ted as obliviously intrusive clown, and then an incredibly lame bit of homoerotic panic when the two dudes found themselves stuck at the birthing class without Lily.

If last week was a reminder of what the show used to be and can sometimes still be, "Stinson Missile Crisis" was mainly a reminder of the perils of sitcom old age. When you tell the same kinds of stories and jokes for 6 or 7 years, it becomes hard for them to not feel silly. This was one of those times.

What did everybody else think?