My expectations were pretty high for this episode. I mean, I love Neil Patrick Harris, but I feel like they just didn't give the How I Met Your Mother star enough good material to work with. When he had a decent bit, he ran with it and made it sparkle. Because that Today show sketch had about gotten on my last damned nerve, until he showed up in aerobic wear. And I can't stand that one-upping Penelope character, but he handled her well (and it didn't hurt that Liza (!) showed up there too... though i would have preferred that Liza be in the Broadway sketch, where it would have made sense and she could have sung more). But NPH's shining moment had to be during his opening monologue where he referred back to how he was almost on the show once before, back in his Doogie Howser days, but he lost out to the Wonder Years' Fred Savage. Awesome.
This slyly delivered speech just rolled off his tongue with such ease that there had to be more than a little bit of truth to it. And the way he slipped in details about hanging out with his girlfriend at the time and how that was a long time ago, was a subtle and funny way of addressing gay issues without making out with guys in every sketch (like some people... Paul Rudd). Though I was mildly annoyed that the writing staff saw fit to interrupt this monologue with the stupid Entourage guys doing lame How I Met Your Mother cracks. Even if it did mean more Mark Wahlberg parodying. It's a long way to go for a "Say hello to your mother" joke. So 2008.
Other good stuff:
The saving Broadway sketch, where NPH plays Mark from Rent. He's got that patented Mark whine down pat. Good stuff, especially for Broadway junkies (like me!)
The digital short, which was a fully orchestrated version of the Doogie Howser theme song.
The double named people skit, with NPH yelling at Daniel-Day Lewis to get out. Nice. I want to start using my middle name (Lynn) so I can be on this program. I've always avoided it, since I think it makes me sound like a porn star, but I would do it for Neil.
Frost vs. Other People --- not as inspired as Harris vs. Savage, but it was kinda clever (briefly) and NPH really got into character.
And while the sketch went on WAY too long, Neil as an air traffic controller with insanely long nails was mildly of amusing. If they'd made it stop about 4 minutes earlier.
If you missed it, here are some clips from the episode.
Neil's monologue (where he's all bitter about Fred Savage)
Liza and Neil filled Penelope sketch
Save Broadway! (My personal favorite!)
What did you think? I kind of thought the non-NPH sketches were snooze-worthy (even the news). Did you think NPH held his own? Deserved better material? Sound off below.
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