With a premise so farfetched it might not fly in an episode of the cartoons and '80s flicks it references, "The Stinsons" still manages to be funny and warm enough to earn its thirty minutes. We'll get to those references in the full weecap, but for now, here's the skinny to tide you over.
Barney isn't interested in the three blondes drinking "bad decision juice" at the bar, so while he's away from the booth, the gang talks about how odd he's been acting, and they wonder if he's got a girlfriend. When he leaves the bar in a hurry, they follow him out of MacLaren's and tail him in a Ranjit-less cab, to a house that's not even in Manhattan. Lily cheerfully knocks on the door; Barney answers and they barge in, demanding to see her. And her -- that is she -- is Francis Conroy a.k.a. Ruth Fisher, and on HIMYM, she's Loretta -- Barney's mother. I know! I can't believe he has one, either. She feels like she knows the gang, because Barney goes on about them, every day when they talk. I know! Robin feels the same way we do and awws at him. Lily teases him about being a big old Mama's boy, when a pretty blonde walks down the stairs and BAM Barney introduces her as Betty… HIS WIFE! Soon a little boy runs up behind him and BAM he hops on Barney's back. Barney tells the gang this is Tyler. HIS SON! Yabba-Dabba-Doo!
Seven years ago, Loretta was on her deathbed. Since her only wish was for her sons not to wind up alone like she had been, Barney hired an actress, Margaret, to play his fiancée. Loretta then expressed regret that she wouldn't be around long enough to see her grandchildren, so "Betty" went off book and claimed to be pregnant. Loretta then had a no less than miraculous recovery. Rather than admit his fib, Barney remembered he lives in a sitcom and borrowed/babysat a neighbor's kid, but eventually he cast Grant to play the role of Tyler. Grant is already jaded with acting, so he and Robin commiserate about the difficulties of establishing oneself. Margaret's still enthusiastic about acting and she and Ted hit it off. While Loretta's out of the room, Ted realizes he's seen some of Margaret's work and confesses his interest in theater… wait, this is Ted -- the theatre, so Margaret gives him a list of acting essentials. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily have some alone time with Loretta and learn she was quite the…um…Barney in her day, and she tells them she wonders how Barney turned out to be so perfect. While trying to convince Barney to be honest with his mom, Lily comes a little too clean with Marshall about her feelings for his mother and let's just say the two of them don't make a convincing case for the truth.
After dinner, "Betty" goes off book again, and is caught by Loretta and the rest of the gang, making out with Ted in the kitchen. "Tyler" manages to cry and run out of the room impressing his formerly disappointed fake-dad. But Ted decides to work off the acting notes he's just gotten from Margaret and improvises, making matters worse.
Alone, in the living room, Barney finally confesses all to his mother and is stunned by her reaction. She's relieved. She can't stand "Betty" or "Tyler" or any of Barney's "fake friends." Ooops. Meanwhile, little Grant tries to make a move on Robin out on the front porch, in case we already forgot the earlier reminders that HIMYM is a sitcom. Back in the living room, Barney lets his mother know how promiscuous he is, and she lets him know he's not the only one. She makes him promise that if he ever does meet someone special, he won't be like her and run away from it -- that he'll take a shot at it. Just then, Robin enters to tell Barney their cab has arrived. Barney promises he'll try.
Margaret and Ted share one cab, while Barney, Robin, Marshall and Lily share another. Apparently six-year-old Tyler is going it alone on the mean streets, tonight. Lily fakes that she's talking to Marshall's mother Judy, on her cell, but she's really being coached on what to say by Margaret, from the other cab. Her faux attempt at reconciliation with his mom moves Marshall to tears and thus peace is restored in Dowistrepla. I'll cover the end tag in the weecap. See you tomorrow.
See the lingo we've learned from HIMYM. Come back tomorrow for Cindy's full weecap.
Ever since I learned this episode's title -- "The Stinsons" -- I've been earwormed with the theme music from The Simpsons, so I planned to call this one "Guy N. Cognito," but once I watched the opening scene, I couldn't get rid of my Beatles earworm, although it did get rid of that Simpsons earworm. Wait, it's back. Oh no, now they're dueling. Frak. Just thought I'd share.
The Fab Five are at MacLaren's, in their usual booth. Lily points out to Barney that there are "three blonde babies drinking bad decision juice" at the bar. I hope Zach adds "bad decision juice" to the HIMYM Lexicon. That's a good one. [Yeah, I need to update that thing with "Woo Girl," "Naked Man," "reading a magazine" and "possimpible." - Z] Marshall is impressed with his wife's scouting ability, but Barney's completely uninterested in the low-hanging fruit and says he has to get going. Lily's shocked. "Seriously? But they're blonde and drunk. Isn't that your type?" Right? Barney looks at Lily as if he's seeing a totally inaccurate picture of himself through badly damaged eyes. "Maybe I don't have a type, Lily. God, do you think the male mind is really that simplistic -- that we all have one favorite type?" Oh, oh, oh, I know guys who have two. Barney's not listening to me. He's too busy being self-righteous. He rises and sneers at Lily. "Geez." Then he leans in toward Ted and Marshall, "Asian with some boob." So, he's like the Brothers Winchester, then? Actually, I don't find that at all surprising -- at least Dean.
Barney takes off for the men's room before leaving, so the gang talks about how odd he's been acting lately. Ted saw him buying roses, despite his pledge never to buy anything living for a woman because it might remind her of babies. Robin's all, "What?" because she can't remember getting any roses and this week I'm firmly in the She's-Got-To-Know-Right? column. Marshall mentions that he overheard Barney on the phone at GNB, planning a brunch, a trip to the farmer's market, and then a hike. He ended the call with, "I love you, too." Marshall backed out of the office at the time, figuring Barney was just talking to some girl he wanted to nail, or Ted. Heh. Robin still looks perplexed, while Lily's eyes are wide with shock. She says, "Do you think it's possible that Barney Stinson has a girlfriend?"