Saturday, October 17, 2015

Holding On to Your Youth

Older Ted (Bob Saget): So, kids, would you like to hear the story about the time I went deaf?

Luke (David Henrie): Why does he even ask?

Penny (Lyndsy Fonseca): I know. He's just gonna tell us, anyway.

Older Ted: I sure am.

On this day in 2005, How I Met Your Mother was still a new TV program trying to carve out its niche. The characters were still evolving, but enough was known about them by this point that certain running jokes were in the viewers' minds already.

The viewers already knew that Barney was always in the mood.

And the episode that aired on this night 10 years ago — the series' fifth ever — focused on that eternal tug–o–war between one's carefree youth and the adult world that (ostensibly) demands that one act in a reserved and responsible manner.

In this episode, Robin (Cobie Smulders), who was always pleased when her work as an early morning news anchor provided her with a perk of some kind, had been invited to the hottest — and very exclusive — new night club in town (called "Okay")by its owner, who happened to go to Robin's gym and was a fan of her work. Ted (Josh Radnor) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) were in for joining Robin, but they both laughed when Robin suggested including Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) as well. Marshall and Lily, with their wedding coming up, were trying to be more grown up in their activities.

They had been signing up for book clubs, cooking classes, and they were planning a winetasting party for a few other couples.

At the techno club, the music was so loud that no one could carry on a conversation. When he discovered that particular fact, Ted thought he would have some fun and started saying thoroughly absurd things to his blind date, such as "I'm from outer space!" and "I got thrown out of SeaWorld for humping a dolphin!"

But then the music stopped briefly and the dance club was completely silent — except for Ted shouting, "I'm wetting my pants!"

And that was it for his date.

Meanwhile, Marshall had made his escape from the party back at the apartment, climbing through the bathroom window and hailing a cab. His destination — the techno club.

After awhile, Lily began to wonder what was wrong with Marshall. When she went to the bathroom to investigate, she found it empty with the bathroom window open. So she, too, made her escape and followed Marshall to the techno club.

There she found Robin sitting on the curb. Through a mixup, she had ended up outside the club and her named had been marked off the list because she had gone in earlier, and a different guy was now in charge of letting people in.

Anyway, Lily and Marshall kind of rediscovered their youth on the dance floor that night — and concluded that it isn't a bad thing to hang on to the person you were even as you seek to broaden your horizons.

I thought it was a good episode. It underscored some important things about the characters and their relationships to each other.

I guess most people, at one time or another, have a yearning for another time and another place in their lives — when and where they think they were happy, whether they really were or not. I know I have had that feeling several times in my life, frequently at my low points when just about anything seemed good by comparison.

In the case of Marshall and Lily, they were torn between a desire to be grown up and a desire to remain young. Inevitably, I suppose those characters would have to concede that time has the last say — which doesn't seem like a bad theme for a reunion somewhere down the line — so, if one wants to recapture one's youth, it seems the best time to do so is while one is still young — or reasonably so. Right?