January 18th, 2011
03:08 PM ET
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.
About this blog
Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.