'HIMYM' juggles humor and tragedy
January 18th, 2011
03:08 PM ET

'HIMYM' juggles humor and tragedy

Dealing with death on a half-hour sitcom can be tricky.

To this day, the best example of this is "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust" (a little song, a little dance...), and a little more recently, "NewsRadio's" first episode following the death of cast member Phil Hartman, in which a lot of the cast's real emotions played a part.

Monday night's "How I Met Your Mother," following the heartbreaking loss of Marshall's father on the previous episode, took place in Minnesota on the day of the funeral. The result was one of the best episodes in six seasons.

None of Marshall's friends knew quite what to do for him. Finally, Ted and Barney tried to make Marshall laugh, with Ted eventually rolling on the floor from taking a knee to the groin: "So that's it, no discussion?"

Lily looks after Marshall's mother, awarding herself points for getting her to take a nap (even if it was after an angry tirade about Lily's tofu sushi bagels).

Funniest of all was Robin's role of carrying a purse full of vices... which got her in a bit of trouble after she got a 15-year-old drunk ("They grow them big out here!").

But the best balance of comedy and poignancy was Marshall's struggle to remember the last words his father said to him (and the rest of the gang, doing the same, as each of them got "lawyered").

He figured out that those last words featured advice to see "Crocodile Dundee III" (or "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles," for those keeping score of such things), since it "still holds up." That is, until Marshall found an unheard voice mail from his dad - which turned out to be a pocket dial.

Towards the end, when Marshall vented his frustration with God, Jason Segel and the rest of the cast delivered an extraordinary scene that didn't hold back.

And you just knew that there would be more to this episode - Barney is finally ready to meet his father.

What did you think of last night's show? Do you think it balanced comedy and tragedy well? Do you agree that "'Crocodile Dundee" movies will suddenly be a lot harder to find this week? And can you ever watch "Mary Poppins" the same way again? Share your thoughts on iReport or comment below.


soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Chris

    I saw this episode recently, coincidentally on the day a dear friend passed, and I thought it did a fantastic job of balancing the tragedy of Marshall losing his father and his friends' attempts to cheer him up. I liked Lily as Judy's helper, Robin as "Vice Girl", and Ted and Barney as the well-meaning stooges. Ultimately, I saw the episode as a good fit with the rest of the season, and a great reminder of what we're willing to do for our friends when they grieve, and what our friends are willing to do for us when we grieve.

    July 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mah

    This show is not for kids, and most kids would probably be bored to tears watching it anyway, so I wouldnt worry too much. But if you're worried about your children being exposed to human situations, maybe you better lock them up and never let them out ever again. Jesus!

    January 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ellen

    I cried my eyes out. My own father passed away 2 1/2 years ago. It was an incredibly touching episode. I applaud all the cast. I can appreciate their struggle with trying to find a way to be there for Marshall.

    January 19, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    I think the song was "5 Minutes Alone" by Pantera.

    January 18, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Raj

    does anyone know the song that played as the episode was coming to an end?

    January 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. katie g.

    @Virago – thank you for the common sense.

    January 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cheryl

    I was shocked at this episode. It is on at 8pm when kids are still watching TV. The language and situations are getting to be way too much for commercial television. This hsould be on at a later time.

    January 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Virago

      Or how's about you just make sure your kids don't watch it?

      January 18, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • MB in Austin

      This isn't a kid's show. Shouldn't the kids be doing homework, or playing or getting ready for bed, anyway? If you insist on letting your kids watch tv, there are lots of TV options marketed to kids, but this isn't one of them.

      Yes, I'm a parent. No, my kids don't watch primetime tv. Dad and I DVR and watch our shows when the kids are busy, out, or sleeping.

      January 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sunless

    get to that http://www.SUPERSONIC.US.COM

    January 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cheefsfury

    DONT THEY DO THAT EVERY EPISODE WHERE THEY JUGGLE THAT STUF CUZ I MEAN THEY ARE ALL FUNNY EXEPT TED AND WHEN TED IS ON THE SHOW IS PRETTY TRAGIC

    January 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |

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