And we’re baaaaack. Did we want to be? Meh. But we’ve made a commitment to this, so here we are!
As you may have surmised, this is our post about the second season of How I Met Your Mother, recently consumed as part of our rewatching the entire series to determine whether it’s actually any good.
In our last post, we talked a lot about our overall thoughts of the show, how we wondered whether those perceptions will stay the same, and what we came away with after rewatching the first season. There will be . . . less of that in this one haha. Mostly complaining about Lily.
Let’s dive in!
So, I’m starting us off here. We’re eschewing the formatting of the last post because we don’t have as many thoughts this time around, so it’s just gonna be a block of me and then a block of Super Hubs.
Not a lot happens in this season. Marshall and Lily are broken up and then get back together (and married). Ted and Robin are together and then break up. Barney is . . . Barney. So what is there to talk about?
How about the fact that the Marshall and Lily story is absolute crap!
There’s so much wrong with their arc in this season, and I can’t handle it. I’ll get to the big issue in a second, but I want to point out what I feel is an egregious error!
In the second episode of the season, Barney is “teaching Marshall how to live,” i.e., helping him get chicks. But every time Marshall talks to a woman, Barney ends up going home with her. At the end of the episode, after Lily reveals herself to be back in New York, Marshall sends her into the bar to accuse Lily of giving her chlamydia in order to turn off the women he’d just snaked from Marshall. (Important information: Earlier in the episode, we find out that Lily came back because she hated San Francisco and being away from Marshall.)
Cut to the nineteenth episode of this season, which is mostly about Marshall’s bachelor party. Barney keeps referring to himself as Marshall’s best man, which Ted and Marshall always instantly shoot down. Then, when the gang is all together again, Lily reveals that the reason she came back to NYC is because, after Barney fled the bar in the middle of one of Marshall’s “I miss Lily” soliloquies, he actually flew to San Francisco to tell her that she needs to return home.
But here’s the problem. He says, “I can’t keep stealing girls from Marshall.” Implying that he was stealing the women on purpose as a stalling tactic for women Lily had returned to New York. BUUUUUUUT, if you’ll recall, Lily was already back in New York during the episode where we see Marshall and Barney going out to meet women. She was shown hesitating outside the bar at the end of this season’s first episode, when Marshall was finally coming out of his depression. It’s not until the second episode that he is deemed fit to start meeting women again, and the entirety of the non-Marshall-and-Barney part of the episode is Robin and Ted trying to help Lily as she searches for a new apartment and reveals how much she missed Marshall.
LITERALLY WHAT, HIMYM WRITERS?!?!?!?! How could you possibly be this lazy? Did you think we wouldn’t remember? Did you think no one would care? Did you honestly not remember the very timeline you yourselves had set?!
It’s honestly so upsetting to me. It fills me with rage to think about even now, days removed from this rewatch and years removed from the original sting of betrayal.
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That’s just the tip of the mishandled iceberg, though. The reasoning behind Lily leaving, which is shown to us as “She decided they needed to figure out who they are outside of their relationship,” would be sensible if it were actually given any real space to develop. But instead, we’re shown that absolutely every experience she had in San Francisco was awful—begging the question “Why did she need Barney to drag her back if she was having such a terrible time?” GOD that whole thing is such shitty writing!—and instead of looking for a new opportunity that would help her do the kind of self-searching she’d claimed was her goal, she just pouted and got sad about screwing things up with Marshall.
So she comes back to New York and thinks she can just say “Hey, everything without you was the worst, so can we get back together?” Considering she’d left him pre-altar to find herself, did she really think that was going to be enough for him to want to take her back? Thus, I feel Marshall was pretty justified in saying that he agreed with her about their needing time apart to figure out how to be real people outside of their relationship.
But here’s where it loses me again. They really should have come up with some rules for this. Lily’s system of “I’m just going off to San Francisco, not telling you when I’m changing my phone number, not telling you that my credit card was stolen (because that’s information that could’ve been relevant and became relevant in that first episode)” clearly didn’t work out for her, and Marshall’s system of “I’m going to reject you because your rejection made me think, but then I’m going to act pissy around you” doesn’t work for them either. They really needed to set the proper boundaries for what, exactly, “finding themselves” meant.
Because guess what. THEY FOUND NOTHING. Absolutely nothing about these two characters changes while they’re apart. There’s one episode where Lily goes around trying on different careers and hobbies like hats—absolutely something she could’ve and should’ve done in San Francisco—before she ultimately goes back to teaching kindergarten. And that’s it. They come back together in the same kind of emotional and mental headspace they’d been in before they broke up. I guess *maybe* they’ve briefly switched roles in the relationship because where before Marshall was the one who obsessed over Lily, she had gone nuts over trying to get Marshall back (to the point of stalking the girl who he was going on a date with). But no other lasting (or interesting) changes are made.
So why make us go through all this? It was clear from the way Future Ted talked about Marshall and Lily in the first season that they were each other’s end game, so there was no way they were going to come out of this season WITHOUT being back together. That much was obvious. But why have us go through the turmoil of a break-up if there’s no lessons learned? Nothing to say “Hey, we grew as people and realized that at the end of the day, we absolutely choose to be together because we love each other, not because we fell into this and got complacent.” They may be the best couple to be given space on this show, but this was a horrible misstep on the writers’ part, and I can’t forgive them for it.
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The only good thing to come out of this season was the introduction to Robin Sparkles and the initiation of the Slap Bet. I love a good long-running gag, and I feel like this show is one of the reasons behind that.
Oh. And Wayne Brady as Barney’s brother. I love that.
Take it away, hon.
Super Hubs O’Clock
I agree with everything that was said above. Marshall and Lily’s story was a major disappointment. But there’s something else we need to talk about. Something that bothers me even more.
There’s an episode – I’m not going to bother looking up the number – where Barney’s aforementioned brother convinces the others that they’re being boring couples and that they should come out to clubs with him and Barney. When they do, Robin and Lily are inevitably hit on in disgusting ways by disgusting men. Ted and Marshall dismiss their complaints in the most condescending way possible. It bothers me. Sorry to any of our readers out there who are driven to rage by the “feminist agenda” (which… what the hell are you doing here?) but jesus, this whole thing was annoying. Yeah, at the end they learn their lesson because gay guys hit on them (long story), but they don’t have to deal with comments anywhere near as disgusting as the ladies. And it happens to them once; Robin and Lily have to deal with it all the time. So eff off, Ted and Marshall, but mostly Ted. Because Ted would TOTALLY be a Men’s Rights activist at the drop of a hat.
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Anyway, Nikkie left out one highlight of this season: Bryan Cranston as Ted’s oafish boss. He designs a skyscraper that looks like a dick. Then his wife leaves him. That’s all you need to know! He’s great, as he is always great.
And…that’s about all I have to say about this season. Not a lot happens, and it’s not very memorable. NPH is a treasure, Ted’s a bore, Lily’s poorly written, Robin’s woefully lacking in personality, and Marshall is petty. That about sums it up.
Go listen to “Let’s Go to the Mall” and you’ll be all caught up.
What’s that you say? “Super Hubs, that was barely anything. You normally never shut up. What’s going on?” Well to that I say “Shut up! I’m not a machine.” And I also say, “I dunno…there’s just not much to say about this season. I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time. Probably.” I seem to remember Season 3 being a good one. I guess we’ll find out!
So there you have it. We had minimal thoughts on this season because the season offered up minimal things. With Ted being attached to Robin all season, there was really no advancement within the whole “This is a story all about how I met your mother and then waited a few years after her death to ask your permission to start banging my ex again” frame. We just saw him being in a relationship that was surprisingly flat for all the build-up it got and had plenty of foreshadowing (beyond the reveal from the first episode of season 1) that it wasn’t going to last. It was . . . a lot more meh than we remembered. Still laughs because the first half of this series is definitely the funniest, but story-wise, there is really a lot to be desired here.
We’ll see you soon with what will hopefully be a much happier post!
May your next TV binge be legen—wait for it,
Nikkie and Super Hubs