Saturday, December 19, 2015
On Dec. 19, I suppose many TV programs are still in Christmas mode — if they haven't been preempted by seasonal specials or movies that most of us have seen several times before.
But on this night 10 years ago, How I Met Your Mother was looking past Christmas and had turned its attention to New Year's Eve with an episode called "The Limo."
Ted (Josh Radnor) spent half of his Christmas bonus on a limo to take him and his friends to five different New Year's Eve parties. After sampling these parties, they would return to the one they all deemed the best to ring in 2006. That was Ted's plan for a magical New Year's Eve — but you know the old saying about the best–laid plans of mice and men.
One immediate hitch — Robin (Cobie Smulders) couldn't go along. She was meeting her new boyfriend for some New Year's Eve festivities. But when they stopped at Party #1, they picked up a girl Ted knew from work, and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) picked up Natalia, a girl from somewhere around the former Soviet Union who appeared to have been doing quite a bit of drinking — and they were still 2½ hours from midnight. So that seemed to balance out.
And, with the sounds of Barney's get–psyched mix CD ringing in their ears, the group was off.
At one point on their trek through New York, they thought they saw Moby, a popular recording artist of the day, and they invited him to ride with them, but it wasn't Moby. It was just someone who looked like Moby — and he had a gun.
They let him off as soon as possible and politely declined his invitation to join him at the party he was attending. And he left — with Barney's get–psyched CD — and forever became not–Moby in the lore of the group.
I guess the story of the episode was really about Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan), who got separated during the evening when Lily absolutely had to go home and take off her new shoes, but they promised each other they would find each other before midnight.
And they did, making that New Year's Eve the magical New Year's Eve Ted had been pursuing. What's more, Marshall had bumped into not–Moby and took the CD from him. He returned it to Barney.
If the Seinfeld show, which was popular a decade earlier, was a series about nothing, "The Limo" was probably the episode about nothing. It had no lesson to convey. In the end, the group rang in the new year drinking champagne in a traffic jam and agreed that just being together made theirs the best New Year's Eve party in New York.
I kind of looked at the episode as sort of a sitcom–sized version of the old road movies, not nearly as epic as "The Odyssey" or "Thelma and Louise" but filled with adventure.
And entertaining to the end.