Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Bad Crazy': Is there a policewoman in the house?

Ted struggles to get rid of Jeanette, while Robin keeps a secret from Lily for a very long time

<p>Abby Elliott and Josh Radnor in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Abby Elliott and Josh Radnor in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I talk to the ghost of Marilyn Monroe's cat...

"P.S. I Love You" was going to be a hard act to follow, and "Bad Crazy" unsurprisingly was a drop-off from last week. But at the very least, it again felt structured like an episode of "HIMYM," using some of the show's familiar storytelling devices and following them all the way through to the end.

Both stories dealt with omitted details that transform our perception of what happened when they're fully revealed. The Robin/Lily story took that gimmick to its logical limit by having Robin take 17 years — without either of them noticeably aging — to tell the full story of that time she was left alone with Marvin. Mike Tyson's cameo was unexpected and funny,(*) and a case where the writers clearly thought through exactly how each scene would work whether the stranger was a maternal older woman or Iron Mike. Ted and Jeanette, meanwhile, revolved around information we didn't have until the end: that Ted had brought this on himself by giving mixed signals to his crazy/hot girlfriend.

(*) Albeit part of his unlikely transformation from feared ex-con to cuddly punchline. "Senator Mike Tyson"? Okie-doke. 

Of the two stories, Robin's was more successful because it was simpler, because the payoff was better, and because Ted's leaned much much too heavily on Marshall and Barney acting like oblivious jerks whenever the plot demanded it. And, yes, Barney can certainly be that at times, but last week, Marshall was the one leading the charge for Ted to kick Jeanette to the curb, and here he cared more about playing video games in the clubhouse than he did helping his buddy stay away from this nutbar. I'm also not sure I buy Lily's advice to Ted — other than as an excuse to keep Abby Elliott around a bit longer, and give Ted something to do between now and the wedding at season's end. But there were individual gags that worked, like Barney with the cuckoo clock, or the red boots finally being worn by a woman.

Not great, but acceptable, which would seem more impressive by season 8 standards if it wasn't airing a week after "P.S. I Love You."

Some other thoughts:

* First, terrible job by me last week when, in discussing Abby Elliott's background, I somehow failed to mention that she's the daughter of Chris Elliott. Ordinarily, I would hope for a Jeanette/Mickey scene, but "HIMYM" has a spotty track record with this sort of thing, like not putting John Cho and NPH together, or Jason Segel and Busy Philipps.

* Speaking of Busy, her appearance as part of the threesome from "Third Wheel" was one of many components in the montage of fun Ted dating moments, which also included, among others: Mandy Moore in the hot tub in "Wait For It," Ted and Lindsay Sloane on their second first date in "Double Date," the Victoria's Secret party from "The Yips," and Ted going nude in "The Naked Man."

* I'm curious about the origin of Ted and Marshall's "Departed" voices, which they busted out again last night as they screamed about Jeanette being "a cawwwwp." Is this something Segel and Radnor just do on set and the writers started putting it into episodes, or was it more random than that?

* Barney has a long history of buying expensive toys like the Boba Fett armor, but Marshall has a modestly-paying job, a new baby, debt, etc. Is he really going to go buy Donkey Kong and that other stuff?

* In addition to not aging, Future Lily lives in that brownstone with the bay window for a really long time. Can someone remind me how far off in the future any scene with Combover Marshall is, and whether they were meant to be living in the suburbs again at that point? Trying to figure whether this was another of season 8's continuity flubs or if my memory on this one is fuzzy.

What did everybody else think?

Alan-sepinwall-sm
Alan Sepinwall
Sr. Editor, What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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