How I Met Your Mother

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Omar G: A- | Grade It Now!
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The Chain of Screaming
If you play videogames much, you might remember NBA Jam, where if you scored three baskets in a row, you were "On Fire!" and ran around the court in literal flames because you were just that badass. How I Met Your Mother is now officially on fire. It burninates me to a crisp.

The kids are on the couch in 2030 as SagetTed explains how great his life was in the spring of 2008. One of the kids is wearing way too much makeup for hanging around the house listening to dad's stories, but I won't say which one. SagetTed says that he and Stella had started dating, which I guess means she was receptive to a second date after all. We see Stella and Ted kissing on the street from that episode. We cut to the New York City skyline as SagetTed says that a big raise at work allowed him to buy something that he thought would be the envy of all his friends. On the street, Ted shows off his new blue sedan, which is not quite parked correctly against the curb right in front of MacLaren's, its blue ass sticking out and vulnerable to getting hit. "A new car!" Ted proclaims. Barney, who you'd think would be excited about "A new car!" given that his dad is Bob Barker, instead says with disapproval that Ted is never going to drive the thing. He says it's a stupid purchase and none of them will support it. Then, he suddenly announces, "Shotgun for eternity!" Robin and Barney argue about whether you can really call that. Barney calls being able to call things. Marshall shows up, wearing his suit, looking dazed and confused. "Beer," he says. Lily asks if he's all right. "Beer," he repeats, zombie-like, and points toward the bar.

Cut to the inside of MacLaren's. In the gang's favorite booth, Marshall is downing a pint. He moans weakly as he puts down the glass. Ted asks what happened. Marshall opens up an extended metaphor: he says he was always told that working at a law firm was like being in a war. I think I'm probably going to like this fake war a lot more than the fake one on Eli Stone. As Marshall is telling his story, we cut to the huge office building and then the inside of the firm where Marshall now works, Nicholson, Hewitt & West. Marshall says in voiceover that when you start, it's like getting out of boot camp. You're all full of piss and vinegar. Which I guess is handy if you're trying to put out a fire while simultaneously cleaning glass. Marshall and his equally fresh-faced and much tinier friend, meet up in the hallway and the friend, named Ferguson, says, "Dude, we're lawyers now!" "Totally!" Marshall agrees. They show off their new briefcases. Marshall's is empty. His buddy's briefcase is full of candy bars. They high-five briefcases. Cut to Marshall's small office, where a picture of Lily sits atop a large filing cabinet. Bar Marshall says that you work in the trenches with your buddy and develop camaraderie. We see Marshall busily writing while he talks on the phone. "Before too long," Bar Marshall says, "the shells start to fall. One of Marshall's bosses, Arthur, walks into the room. The episode is called "The Circle of Screaming" and I just now figured out why: it features Bob Odenkirk of Mr. Show, perhaps the finest comedic screamer of his generation. Seriously, the man can scream, "What the FUCK!?" like nobody else on this Earth. If there was an Emmy for screaming, dude would have to add an annex to his house to store his shiny shiny. Arthur and Marshall exchange hellos and we side-whoosh to the bar, where Marshall explains that the man is a senior partner and seems like a nice guy. But he's got a nickname: "Artillery Arthur." Very sweetly, Arthur asks how Marshall is doing and then asks if Ferguson is in yet. Marshall tells him Ferguson is right next door and Arthur tells him, "Have a good one, buddy," before exiting Marshall's office. "You tooooo!" Marshall calls back. Oh yes. This is gonna be awesome. Marshall suddenly hears screaming from the next room. Within the confines of network TV, it's not as florid as it could be, but Odenkirk still nails it. He yells to Ferguson that his report is crap. No, not crap: what would happen if crap could eat and then crap out crap. "Your report is the crap that crap craps!" Arthur yells. He says he'd be shocked if Ferguson lasted two more days. "SHOCKED!" he concludes. He slams a door and the picture of Lily in Marshall's office falls and breaks. "It was brutal," Marshall says at the bar. We side-whoosh back to the office. Ferguson appears in the doorway, shell-shocked. He can't believe what happened. He also can't believe that Arthur yelled at him on Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Ferguson's terrified daughter appears from behind him. Ha! Marshall waves.

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How I Met Your Mother

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