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Laugh Tracks: ABC celebrates moms

CBS goes through a bar menu of emotions on Monday night and a lesson in cliquey espionage on Thursday. FOX gets a little flirty and a little too honest on Tuesday night. ABC celebrates mothers and adds some new vocabulary to their own personal dictionary on Wednesday. And NBC Thursday goes western with a Lost guest star, learns about sexism and rivalry, has one season finale and two to-be-continueds, and celebrates a wedding. All in all, big week.

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Date Posted: May 9, 2011

By Amy Van Veen (Staff Writer) – Email

Barney and Marshall drink through their problems on How I Met Your Mother

CBS goes through a bar menu of emotions on Monday night and a lesson in cliquey espionage on Thursday. FOX gets a little flirty and a little too honest on Tuesday night. ABC celebrates mothers and adds some new vocabulary to their own personal dictionary on Wednesday. And NBC Thursday goes western with a Lost guest star, learns about sexism and rivalry, has one season finale and two to-be-continueds, and celebrates a wedding. All in all, big week.

War hit HIMYM last Monday night with an all-new episode. Marshall’s old boss, who he thought he left on good terms with him, has been giving all of Marshall’s potential employers a horrible reference saying, “We fired him when we caught him clubbing a seal in his office with an even cuter seal.” Zooey takes advantage of Marshall’s hatred of GNB and gets him to join her pro-Arcadian team. This then pushes Barney to start a war, and Marshall retaliates and this goes on. Lily and Robin, meanwhile, have been having their own war with a crazy table walker byer who wants to steal their booth. “Mojito? No sit, ho!” All comes crashing together when Marshall and Barney’s fight turns physical and Carl kicks them all out of the bar. The solution? Robin and Lily need to get Barney and Marshall to Oprah out their feelings aided by honesty juice, aka alcohol, but since each alcohol creates a different effect, which would be optimal? Cue flashbacks to their different reactions to different drinks, including Barney’s red wine drunk, which gives him depressing clarity, and absinthe, which turns Robin into a floating hallucinatory drunk. In the Teddy Westside side of things, he and Zooey are going away for their first weekend together, only to have it turn into an Arcadian fight that leads Ted to switch their vacation destination from Martha’s Vineyard to the creepy room of the Arcadian where when Zooey taps the bed in invitation, “dust just flew out of that comforter in the shape of a skull.” Barney and Marshall, on the drunker side of things, are working their way through the strategic bar list care of Robin and Lily. First gin to start a fight, then whisky to make them emotionally vulnerable and honest, then daiquiris to get up and have fun, then the girls order them brandy, the best conclusion drink, but the boys opt for tequila and they vanish. Moral of the story? “Kids. Don’t drink tequila.” The magic calm down drink? Beer, thanks to Carl who lifted the ban. Oh and in the Arcadian, things get real o’clock, too, until the cockamouse makes its triumphant return and Zooey admits defeat. This episode is what HIMYM is all about: twisting the conventional sitcom formula and making each episode something special, while at the same time keeping it consistent with the voice of the preceding series.  

And then there was Mad Love. I gave this show a chance because Judy Greer was to play an ensemble character, but I just can’t decide if they’re trying too hard or not trying hard enough. The reactions between characters are neither funny nor realistic. The laugh track is distracting because the viewers aren’t actually responding with laughter, and it feels like they have nothing new to bring to the table. The ending at least had a twist with a divorce on the horizon, but they’re treading water, barely able to keep their heads up.

The Chances came back in a flirtatious way on Tuesday night’s Raising Hope. When Jimmy finds a praying mantis while mowing the lawn, he goes to tell his dad, who he finds shirtless whilst cleaning the pool. In his father’s defence, being topless as the lawn and pool guy is part of the lawn and pool guy business; “people want a little eye candy,” all kinds of people apparently. This news prompts Jimmy to try to beat Sabrina at flirting with Barney for slacking off in a Snuggie instead of gutting a bunch of trout. The news also prompts Sylvia to encourage Virginia to flirt her way to a free scone with the waiter, Gary Barista. Except that poor little Gary never gets female attention and calls on Virginia’s cleaning services, awaiting her in his bed covered in rose petals. When he eventually stalks her, Burt confronts him and flirts his way to peaceful understanding with his wife’s stalker after Virginia suggests looking on “Greg’s list” for a woman to follow. In the end, everyone decides flirting is best left to the professionals and Virginia retires. However, Burt’s flirting feels weird and dirty with the female homeowners now that he’s mentioned it, so he passes the torch onto the next generation. “Remember. All you’re selling is the dream.” Oh and Gary Barista is played by HIMYM’s not-Moby, for all those cross-network fans.

On Traffic Light, things get personal and taboo for Adam and Callie, suspicious and malicious for Mike and Lisa, and goofed up for Ethan. Adam’s boss gives him a few different article choices for the next issue of Bloke. He can (a) work his way to rock-hard abs and write about it, (b) play a video game while Kevin tasers him and write about it or (c) do a review on a book titled Sextasy. He opts for the last one since it involves the least amount of work and the least amount of electric voltage running through his body. However, things get super awkward when the food delivery guy notices Callie finding the book in Adam’s bag. She asks Lisa for some help in the situation, and they both agree she should jump on board. It seems fairly harmless until Adam meets her old gym coach, Coach Saunders, who inspired some of the events that transpired between them. Lisa’s interactions with her man are less intimate and more petty when she gets them both a GPS app for their phones. However, her great idea turns on her when Mike finds out about her secret milkshake stops on the way home and prevents her from getting her fix. They both up the ante because neither of them wants to lose the moral high ground, but they eventually work it out because they’re married and have no choice. Meanwhile, in the single paramedic world, Ethan’s organ deliveries take a backseat to a beautiful flight attendant he accidentally poisoned with oyster gumbo. His mistake leaves poor Ramon, the man who gives him the organ at the airport, with a heart in his hand at the movie theatre where Lisa and Mike have worked out their problems and are making out. Poor Ramon. You thought it was a cheeseburger.

Next: Better without Better With You, hipsters are the Zombie apocalypse, and more!

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