Now, I may not write that much about How I Met Your Mother anymore, but it isn't because I don't love the show and wonder about it on a regular basis. For instance, there I was watching tonight's episode and Barney was sick and his new would-be girlfriend, Nora, was there nursing him back to health.
That's all well and good, I have no problem with a girl doing everything she can to help nurse Barney back to health (even aiding him in his use of a neti pot which did make me wonder whether HIMYM's writers have been watching Cougar Town). I just have a problem with the fact that Nora was taking on this task in lieu of a second date. Imagine yourself in that situation for a moment. Here, let's do it together…
You're due to go out with someone you're just, maybe, starting a relationship with. That poor soul is looking a little ill when they show up at the restaurant. Do you a) have the date anyway; b) offer to postpone until they're feeling better; or c) go back to this person you don't know's apartment, hold their head as they vomit, point out the correct use of a pot that you shove down your nostril so that water can run from one side of your brain to the other, and generally hang out at this half-comatose person who you don't know's place?
Those would be the basic options, and I just don't feel like "c" is the greatest choice. I know that I've been off the market for years, but that doesn't seem like SOP in this day and age. Surely options "a" and "b" above are better (as, potentially is the non-basic choice, "d," which amounts to saying that you're going to postpone and then never seeing the person ever again). Isn't going to the home of someone you don't really know kind of wrong and more than a little stupid?
It seems as though the point of the whole thing was to really humanize Barney, to get us to see Barney more as a person rather than just a legendarily awesome joke machine. I think we probably got that already when he was in his relationship with Robin, didn't we? He was a pretty good boyfriend at that time, wasn't he? Yes, I can see the need to expand Barney's decent-guy attitude past his only providing it to someone he's known for a long time and on to women he doesn't know as well, but I don't think that the interlude at his apartment accomplished that. No, the apartment interlude was there because it was funny.
Okay, funny is good, no one can fault the funny, but I'm not a fan of humor getting wedged into a more serious story simply because the show is a sitcom. There was a whole lot of other funny going on tonight (Lily hitting Barney, the doctor hitting Barney, Scooby… although they did miss a Scooby Snack joke) that we didn't really need the trip to Barney's apartment.
I would like to see Barney in a serious long-term relationship. I don't think that his being in one necessarily hurts the character or destroys the humor of the series. Neil Patrick Harris has done a fantastic job with Barney through the years, the character needs to grow and change (kind of like real people), and I see no reason why NPH can't be equally successful bringing a slightly more grown-up version of the character to us on a weekly basis. I just want to see it all gel in a slightly more sensible manner (and I kind of wish that Barney had gone into the café at the end of the episode). Plus, come on, going back to the apartment of a guy you don't know, even if the guy is a friend of a friend, is major stupidity (Major Stupidity).
Article first published as How I Met Your Mother: Is Barney Growing up? on Blogcritics.