Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yuletide TV Day 22: How I Met Your Mother

Series: How I Met Your Mother

Episode: S7E12 "Symphony of Illumination"

Original airdate: December 5, 2011

Santa? Nope

Other holidays mentioned: None

Availability: Netflix 

Unique Christmas Story:
HIMYM has a number of Christmas episodes to choose from, some much more in the spirit of the season than "Symphony of  Illumination," but I chose this episode because it is one of the best representations of what the show has become in its later seasons: a mediocre system that still manages to rock its loyal viewers with emotional episodes like this one.

"Symphony of Illumination" begins by pulling the rug out from under viewers. Instead of the normal Bob Saget overtones introducing the episode, we hear Robin Scherbatsky talking to her two kids. Wait? What? Robin has kids? Something that has never even been remotely foreshadowed before in the series? Bold move HIMYM.

Robin's narration calls into another interesting question about the series. For six seasons, every episode has been narrated by future Ted, but why not let someone else take the reigns for an episode? Scrubs did it all the time. Sure JD narrated most of the episodes inside his head, but every now and then he would pass it off and let someone else do the heavy lifting for an episode. But the fact that HIMYM never did it before makes it stick all the more.

The episode begins with Robin thinking she is pregnant, but things quickly turn when she discovers not only is she not pregnant, but she is unable to ever have kids. 

During soe Christmas or another I'm everyone has had the experience where they didn;t end up getting what they wanted, but "Symphony" turns that idea on its head. Robin has always said she has never anted kids, but not wanting to, and not being able to are two different things. Robin has always been established as a very independent character. she's strong willed and makes her own decisions, so if one day she decided she did want kids, it wouldn;t go against the grain of her character. However, while Robin has never been a control freak, having something like decision to have children be taken out of her control puts her off balance. 

She decides not to tell any of her friends because she knows they will overreact. HIMYM is famous for it's codewords, and Robin decides to substitute not being able to become a pole-vaulter for her inability to have a child. 

Despite ebing told she cannot have kids, Robin continues to talk to her future kids sitting on the couch listening to her story. She reveals Barney is their father, and all the while as a viewer you are left to think that this story will have a happy ending. If not being able to have a child has become a bit overused as a plot device, why not subvert that by reversing the decision?

But, alas, not all holiday stories have a happy ending, and even though Robin still has not shared her grief with her friends by the end of this episode, she knows they are there to support her no matter what.

Unique Christmas Message:
Our true friends are the ones that will set up holiday light display in our apartment set to ACDC.

Christmas, Christmas, 60's, cigarettes...

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