If you're the kind of person that prefers that a TV show never acknowledge its existence as a TV show, then this episode wasn't for you. But if you enjoy when a show subverts its own format in a humorous way, then Monday's "How I Met Your Mother" was hilarious.
There were three stories going on: one with Ted and The Captain, one with Marshall and Robin and one with Barney and Lily. And while the first two were fairly traditional "HIMYM" fare, complete with one of Barney's insane theories about men and women, the latter was the ultimate inside joke for fans of the show.
See, as it turned out, future Ted (voiced, as always, by Bob Sagat) couldn't remember the details of what happened between Barney and Lily, leading to a convoluted story where the details kept changing. That could have been horrible, except future Ted kept acknowledging it, leading to this line, said to his two future kids: "I'm officially admitting defeat. I will never remember this story. I'm sorry for wasting your time."
Fans of the show have long recognized that one of the many unbelievable elements of the show is that future Ted remembers so many events from 20-25 years in his past in uncanny detail, so to see that lampshaded in such an obvious way was pretty funny. Then, in true "How I Met Your Mother" fashion, they even brought it all back, tying Ted's scatterbrained story in with Lily's future pregnancy and Barney's idiotic Mermaid Theory.
Aside from the tongue-in-cheek subversion of their own conventions, this "How I Met Your Mother" was solid thanks to the appearance of Kyle McLachlan as "The Captain." I've really missed him on "Desperate Housewives" this season, and on "How I Met Your Mother", he seems to be playing a caricature of Orson, and it's definitely working, at least in small doses. Speaking of small doses, there was less Zoey this week, which worked better for the show as a whole.
Oh, and I can't wait to hear the beginning of that "Ted in a dress" story.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.