A quick review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I get the naming rights to that lollipop bin...

After the disaster that was "Twelve Horny Women," "Lobster Crawl" couldn't help but be an improvement. On the plus side, Ted trying to live out his fatherhood fantasies through Marvin was a good emotional payoff to what had that point been a very goofy story (the minute Lily stayed in the living room to keep complaining about not seeing Marvin crawl rather than going into the bedroom is when I threw up my hands). And the Bro Bib (and Lily's obsession with it) is among Barney's better inventions of late.

On the other hand, much of the episode was built around the Barney/Robin relationship, and, as I've said, the show long since extinguished my interest in whatever the outcome of that is. Too much dithering back and forth, so that I wasn't invested either in the emotional stuff about Barney trying to grow up (albeit with the help of Patrice, one of the most cartoonish "HIMYM" characters ever) or in the more comic material like Robin having a Homer Simpson-esque debate with her brain (which, like Homer's brain, eventually bails on a losing argument).


Also, the show's sense of institutional history — long a strength even in the more problematic periods — has really gone away this season. We know from "Girls vs. Suits," for instance, that Marshall only has eyes for Lily, and yet here he gets turned on by Robin flirting with Brandi. (Though at least Lily's interest in Robin was an old thread they remembered to pick up.) The lobster analogy was there to set up the Robin/Barney conflict, yet there's a much more direct, pre-existing parallel — albeit one that would have prevented the show from putting Cobie Smulders into allergy makeup — in how she reacted to finding out she was infertile. And even the Bro Bib story started off with an "I'm getting too old for this shirt" joke, which either necessitated some kind of direct callback to season 4's "Murtaugh," or else should have been dropped.

What did everybody else think?