Fox // 2012 // 523 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jim Thomas // October 13th, 2012
When your show is predicated on a singular event: finding the one-armed man, getting off the desert island, or whatever, at some point, you have to shit or get off the pot. Until that happens, you get all twenty-four episodes on three discs in How I Met Your Mother: Season Seven.
* "The Best Man" -- While Barney (Neil Patrick Harris, Doogie Howser, M.D.) prepares for his wedding, he and Ted (Josh Radnor, Not Another Teen Movie) reminisce about Punchy's wedding.
* "The Naked Truth" -- Marshall (Jason Segel, The Muppets) gets an interview for his dream job with an environmental law firm, but worries that the offer might get pulled because of an online video.
* "Ducky Tie" -- Ted runs into his old girlfriend, Victoria (Ashley Williams, Good Morning, Miami), and tries to make amends. Marshall and Lily (Alyson Hannigan, American Pie) make a bet with Barney that could force Barney to wear Marshall's ducky tie...or let him touch Lily's boobs.
* "The Stinson Missile Crisis" -- Robin (Cobie Smulders, Marvel's The Avengers) undergoes court-mandated therapy after assaulting a woman. Ted gets too involved in Lily's pregnancy.
* "Field Trip" -- Ted takes his class on a field trip and Barney tags along. Marshall takes matters into his own hands when his boss (Martin Short, Three Amigos!) treads too carefully in making a huge settlement with a major company.
* "Mystery vs. History" -- The gang interferes in Ted's business when he won't gather information online about a woman he has asked out. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily decide not to find out their baby's sex, but are tempted while setting up the nursery.
* "Noretta" -- Kevin helps the gang realize that their partners remind them of one of their parents. Barney and Nora's planned romantic evening is ruined by a string of horrible events.
* "The Slutty Pumpkin Returns" -- Ted runs into "The Slutty Pumpkin" (Katie Holmes, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark), but after several dates starts to suspect that she is not "The One." Barney learns he is part Canadian and Lily has pregnancy brain.
* "Disaster Averted" -- While the gang reminisces about Hurricane Irene, Barney tries to cut a deal with Marshall and Lily to get out of wearing the Ducky Tie.
* "Tick Tick Tick..." -- Barney and Robin hide a deep secret from their partners. Ted, Lily and Marshall attend a concert.
* "The Rebound Girl" -- On Thanksgiving, Ted and Barney consider adopting a baby. Robin tries to discourage Marshall and Lily from moving to Long Island.
* "Symphony of Illumination" -- Robin receives some bad news and decides to hide it from the gang. Marshall is trapped on the roof of his house in the suburbs.
* "Tailgate" -- Marshall visits his father's grave to continue an old family tradition.
* "46 Minutes" -- Marshall and Lily move to Long Island and her father won't stop tormenting them. Barney declares himself "New Leader of the Gang" now that Lily is not around.
* "The Burning Beekeeper" -- Lily and Marshall throw a housewarming party; chaos ensues.
* "The Drunk Train" -- On a Valentine's Day trip to Vermont, Kevin and Robin talk about taking their relationship to the next level. Meanwhile, Barney realizes he has finally met his match.
* "No Pressure" -- Barney finds something private in Marshall and Lily's things. Conan O'Brien is a background extra in McLaren's.
* "Karma" -- Barney tries to convince Quinn (Becki Newton, Ugly Betty) to go out with him. Ted wonders what to do with the room vacated by Robin, who has moved out to the suburbs with help from Marshall and Lily.
* "The Broath" -- Barney and Quinn want to move in together, but Barney's friends don't like or trust Quinn and try to break them up.
* "Trilogy Time" -- Ted, Marshall, and Barney watch the original Star Wars trilogy and contemplate their lives three years into the future.
* "Now We're Even" -- Although Ted is happy living alone at his new apartment, Barney tries to convince him to go out every night. Lily has a naughty dream, but Marshall is not in it. Robin finally starts her stint as a news anchor at World Wide News.
* "Good Crazy" -- With Lily's due date approaching, Marshall accidentally takes a road trip with Barney.
* "The Magician's Code, Part 1" -- Marshall and Barney are still in Atlantic City when Lily goes into labor. While waiting for them to get back to the city, Ted and Robin try to keep Lily's mind occupied.
* "The Magician's Code, Part 2" -- Ted decides to contact Victoria. Barney and Quinn are arrested by airport security on their way to Hawaii.
Seven years ago, a little, an unassuming show appeared in the shadow of the spectacle of bad taste that is Two and a Half Men. How I Met Your Mother quickly gained a loyal audience because it was everything that its overbearing neighbor wasn't: Well-written. Charming. Intelligent. Funny. And, above all, unabashedly romantic. Whether it was Ted's romances with Robin and Victoria, or the college sweetheart goofiness of Marshall and Lily, we were hooked. Over the first few seasons, the show became, dare I say, LEGEN...DARY, with the Slutty Pumpkin, the blue French horn, the Bro Code, bouncing around in time, and mother of all that is holy, the gift that just keeps on giving: the Slap Bet. Through all this chaos ran a single thread -- the story Future Ted is telling his kids: How I Met Your Mother. Over seven years, we've had fake-outs, near-misses, called-off weddings, and all manner of rom-com mayhem.
Still, it has started grow a little stale; we're seeing some of the same ideas over and over again. Really, the first third of the season is little more than a desperate attempt to recapture the thrill of the first season by bringing back Victoria, Ted's great love from the first season. That sense of desperation only gets stronger with "The Slutty Pumpkin Returns." Hamstrung by a weak script and a woefully miscast Katie Holmes (seriously?), the episode's only real strength is that in retrospect, Holmes seems so much cooler, having kicked Tom to the curb. Even the return of the Slap Bet just seemed forced. There are wonderful moments scattered throughout (American Barney fighting Canadian Barney, a la Superman vs. Clark in the otherwise execrable Superman III, but there are no instant classics here.
The cast, on the other hand, is bringing it, rising above recycled material. And when they get their hands on something really good? "Symphony of Illumination" not only features some of the more original writing of the season, but it also has an inspired performance from Cobie Smulders. Sadly, the episode is hamstrung by an exceedingly lame B-plot with Marshall.
It's an enjoyable season, with some good laughs, but the basic problem is that the natural development of the characters is moving them away from one another, and the writers are coming up with increasingly contrived excuses to keep them together. I suppose another way to put it would be to say that all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.
Hey, that's catchy.
Technically the set is solid. Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the visuals are a step down from their original HD broadcast presentation. However, the Dolby 5.1 audio gets a surprising workout for a sitcom, mainly because of the large number of crowd scenes, with good ambient noise. Extras are sort of pro forma: a couple of commentaries, a couple of featurettes, and a gag reel.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 523 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Gag Reel
* Official Site