A quick review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I dress like a Duluth streetwalker...

"The Over-Correction" found "HIMYM" trapped between the smart, honest show it used to be and the cartoonish show it is now that's willing to sell out any character or emotion in search of a laugh.

I think there's a good episode in Robin struggling to accept that Barney has started to mature while he's with another woman (though the show already did this to an extent with Nora). The problem is that it's Patrice, who exists only for that horrible running gag where Robin shrieks at her — which has never been funny and always makes me like Robin less. And nearly every part of "The Over-Correction" was pitched at that incredibly broad level, whether it was cutaway gags (Marshall as a stand-up comic, Ted somehow dating a convict in the handful of episodes between when Victoria dumped him and he dated Robin) that felt more appropriate for "Family Guy" than "HIMYM," or a gambit from Barney's playbook that felt pretty despicable even for Barney. And for that matter, this is another instance where a flash-forward designed to entice us winds up getting in the way of the present. We know Barney and Robin wind up engaged to be married sometime within the next 12 episodes(*), so Patrice, again, doesn't exist as a person, but simply an obstacle that we already know won't last very long.

(*) We are reportedly getting close to the point where Bays & Thomas need to know whether this will be the final season or not, and Deadline has suggested that Jason Segel may be the one holding up negotiations for a ninth season. I've said it before and I'll say it again: a ninth season is palatable only if they stick to the plan for this season, introduce the Mother by the finale, and then do something else next year, whether it's stories set in the present with the Mother as a part of the gang, or the idea Thomas once suggested where they'd tell 22 individual stories set in the margins of old "HIMYM" continuity. If they decide to push the Farhampton wedding to the end of next season, I think that might finally be an excuse to cut the cord.  

The other subplots — Marshall and Lily's freak-out over their parents hooking up, and Ted's indignation that no one ever returns any of the stuff they borrow from him — weren't especially funny, either (and brought back one of my least favorite Ted running gags, involving his obsession with those red cowboy boots), but at least it involved the characters mostly behaving like themselves.

What did everybody else think?