Last night's Thanksgiving episode of "How I Met Your Mother" — which was written by series co-creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, which should have alerted me right up top that it was probably going to contain a major plot development that would reverberate throughout the season — found Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) considering a move from Manhattan to Long Island, and Ted (Josh Radnor) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) musing about becoming bro-parents: adopting a baby together, while maintaining their platonic friendship. But it wasn't until the last moment of the episode that we understood what made Robin (Cobie Smulders) — who'd spent the half-hour attempting, with increasing hysteria, to dissuade Marshall and Lily from moving — the pivot point for these two stories. If you haven't seen the episode and don't want to be spoiled, do not watch this clip.
As you might expect, both I and my esteemed colleague Lindsay had some Innocent Questions about this episode.
1. Lindsay wants to know, is "How I Met Your Mother" trying to compress the entire Rachel Green storyline from the first eight seasons of "Friends" into Robin's arc since this season of "HIMYM" premiered? She's changing careers, she's talking about what a "mess" she is, and now she's accidentally pregnant by (it seems) the ex that (it seems) she'll never entirely get over? I mean, okay, if you're going to steal, steal from the best, but still. None of this is new!
2. Robin's conviction that she never wanted to get married, never mind have kids, was the whole reason she and Ted broke up in Season 2. So now just because she happens to get pregnant, is the show going to demand that we believe that Robin is going to abandon her entire life's plan to have this baby?
2a. By which I guess I mean, are the producers of "HIMYM" aware that there is a legal procedure available to pregnant women who don't want to have babies?
2b. And if they are aware, will Robin become the first sitcom character to terminate a pregnancy since...I guess I have to go all the way back to Maude (Bea Arthur)?
3. Where was Kevin (Kal Penn), Robin's boyfriend? I know couples don't always spend Thanksgiving together, but did anyone even mention him in the episode at all?
4. Another great question from Lindsay: Is the fact that Barney and Kevin, either of whom could, presumably, potentially have fathered Robin's baby, are different races going to lead to "hilarious" business around the baby's race, if she does have it?
4a. Or (Lindsay again) is Kevin going to turn out to have had a vasectomy? More "Maury"-worthy comedy!
5. Granted, we learned when Barney's brother James (Wayne Brady) was about to adopt that babies are Barney's Kryptonite, but still, the response of this raging womanizer to the loss of the only woman he's apparently ever loved is to get broody? I get that the point of that was for it to pay off with Robin's surprise announcement, but still, it barely scans with what we know of Barney's character.
6. If Robin does end up having this baby, then what are we to make of the fact that all the other times Old Ted (voice of Bob Saget) told his kids about Robin's child-free convictions, neither of them mentioned their "cousin Barnette" (or whatever)?
7. Has Ted ever been more extraneous?