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How I Met Your Mother, “Baby Talk” (6.06)

“I got this.” – Robin Scherbatsky

Typically, I don’t tackle How I Met Your Mother for The Signal, but “Baby Talk” came out of left field to catch my attention for one specific reason. That reason, and more thoughts on the episode (written by Joe Kelly and directed by HIMYM in-house director Pamela Fryman) after the jump…

That felt just like coming home.

I expected “Baby Talk” to be a pretty nothing episode; the description didn’t fill me with glee, after all, and there were no fancy guest stars like there have been in episodes past.

But the thing about How I Met Your Mother at its best is that it doesn’t need guest stars: my favourite episode of season one, “The Duel”, contained one guest star (who was very funny, but not a ‘name’) and was mostly an interplay between its fantastic cast. And the plot of the episode also doesn’t need to blow you away; the gang going to the Empire State Building with Robin’s little sister doesn’t sound like an amazing episode until you watch “First Time in New York”.

And, out of nowhere, “Baby Talk” was the first episode in two years to feel like vintage How I Met Your Mother.

We’ve got continuity callbacks, from the handsy third-grader to Stewart and Claudia’s horrifying marriage. We’ve got classic Barney, with the challenge to use little boy talk to pick up a girl, and the ensuing Barney bimbo, this time the only girl in the world to try and sell “Who’s your mommy?”. We’ve got priceless bits such as Marshall imagining his teenage daughter first making out with, then marrying, a mostly-plastic Future Barney Stinson. There’s even the looking at common things in a new light, such as the girls finally coming out and saying that “Who’s your daddy?” is really goddamn creepy.

And the most important thing: Robin Scherbatsky is back. No, not the other character Cobie Smulders has been playing for the past two years, who didn’t resemble Robin in the slightest, but actual Robin. The Robin who, when asked to take care of the scary woman in Barney’s apartment, just grabs a sword and goes to deal with the problem. In fact, all the characters felt less like caricatures than they have in a while. Even sweet, country-at-heart Marshall got frustrated at his parents’ fumbling with the webcam, and Barney got to be both his most over-the-top and his most real, between pursuing women as a five year old and his rousing speech to Robin as to her awesomeness.

The jokes were also funnier, more in-spirit with the show, and more plentiful in this ep. The running “not what it sounds like”, Esther, cowboy Ted, and Marshall’s repeated visions of the future. And the tone of Marshall and Lily’s plot felt much more season two or three than anything since.

These things probably have their roots in the writer, Joe Kelly. Though Kelly wrote his first episode in season three, after the show had left its prime, his credits work almost as a ‘best of’ list for the past few seasons: “The Bracket” (3.14), “The Naked Man” (4.09), “Murtaugh” (4.19), “The Window” (5.10) and now “Baby Talk” (6.06). All of the above adhere closely to the show’s original tone and style, and are among the best the last few seasons have to offer.  Congrats to Joe Kelly; his is a name I’ll remember.

Though the show could go fall back into its bad patterns and weaker habits next week, I have to say I was deeply gladdened to, if only for twenty minutes, hang out with the show at a level it hasn’t seen in years. Here’s hoping it sticks.

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Comments
3 Responses to “How I Met Your Mother, “Baby Talk” (6.06)”
  1. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. Thanks for sharing information about How I Met Your Mother: Baby Talk (Season 6, Episode 6)

  2. don says:

    whos the crazy chic ? i thought it was penelope cruz

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  1. […] to be trashing the show, isn’t necessarily contradicting the positive reviews I gave, say, “Baby Talk” (6.06) earlier this season. In the moment, I enjoyed the episode, as I have most episodes from the […]



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