Sunday, May 01, 2016

Auditioning a Wedding Band

Ted (Josh Radnor): Lily, you're being a wee bit intense about this band thing.

Lily (Alyson Hannigan): Intense? I have a wedding to plan in nine weeks for 200 people! Even if a dinosaur should poke his head out of my butt and consume this coffee table, I need you to roll with it! OK?

Ted: Wow.

I have never been married, but most of my friends have been married — and I have had the experience of being around some of them when they were planning their weddings.

It wasn't pretty.

If you have never been subjected to that, you could get a pretty good idea what it is like if you have ever seen even one of the "Father of the Bride" movies — either the Spencer Tracy original or the Steve Martin remake.

Or you could watch the episode of How I Met Your Mother that first aired on this night in 2006. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) was working on the arrangements for her upcoming wedding to Marshall (Jason Segel) — and driving everyone around her crazy — in an episode titled "Best Prom Ever."

The episode began with the tale of how they had snagged the place where they wanted to have the ceremony, which was usually booked up, but it was briefly available in two months. Wedding preparations went into overdrive — if such a thing is possible.

Even when preparations aren't shifting into high gear, as they did in this episode, it seems there is always one detail that the happy couple — at least the bride (who may drag the groom with her just to have some company) — must freak out about. In Lily's case, it was the band. She didn't have one lined up.

Marshall said he had lined up the band that played at his law review party, but Lily wasn't familiar with the band. She didn't know if the band could play their song, a Violent Femmes piece called "Good Feeling," and said the band would have to audition. But Marshall said the band didn't audition. Besides, the date for the perfect place was only being held for a few days.

So Lily figured she could go listen to the band play sometime during the weekend. Marshall discovered, by checking the band's website, the band was playing at a prom in New Jersey. Lily decided she would go there and listen to the band play — but it turned out that she couldn't do that. Only high school students and their dates were allowed inside.

So Lily hatched a plan to sneak into the prom, and Robin (Cobie Smulders) volunteered to go with her. She never went to her own prom; she said she was always competing in Canadian national field hockey playoffs in the spring.

They opted not to bring any of the guys along, figuring that a large group would just raise suspicions so Ted (Josh Radnor) and Marshall decided to have a guys' night out. Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), after belittling them, told them to call him and they would meet up.

The girls dressed in their finest clothes — and Barney told them they would stick out like sore thumbs. "Have you seen how the kids are dressing these days, with the Ashlee and the Lindsay and the Paris?" he asked. "They all dress like strippers. It's so ho or go home."

So Lily and Robin tried to find slutty clothes to wear — and, as they searched the closets, Lily discovered the dress she had worn to her actual prom 10 years earlier.

And, in a flashback, the How I Met Your Mother audience first met Scooter (David Burtka), Lily's high–school boyfriend who was obsessed with her and made periodic appearances during the show's run as the guy Lily kept "on the hook." Eventually, he married her doppelganger, "Stripper Lily."

But on this night his character was merely a memory for Lily — and most of his appeal to Lily at the time appeared to be his modest resemblance to Kurt Cobain.

It had been on that night that Scooter and Lily had broken up. Scooter had resisted, but Lily insisted that there were things she still wanted to do before she settled down — travel, be an artist overseas, "maybe have a lesbian relationship." Scooter continued to obsess over Lily, going so far as to give up his dream of going to umpire school and work in the lunchroom at the school where Lily taught kindergarten.

(Kind of reminds me of my prom.)

But that was still in the future.

The subject of the future came up on the dance floor as Lily and Robin were honoring their promises of a dance to the two high school seniors who agreed to take them in to the prom. Lily, still feeling considerable stress over her wedding plans, asked her date what his plans were, then proceeded to tell him his plans would never come to pass because everything would be different than he imagined.

And Robin's date threw up on her when, after he asked her if he was getting lucky that night, she started to say, "You're a nice guy, but ..."

That led to a great exchange between Robin and Lily in the ladies' room.

"I can't believe I unloaded on a high school senior like that," Lily said.

"I can't believe a high school senior unloaded like that on me," Robin replied.

Then Robin asked Lily a question that How I Met Your Mother viewers would have considerable reason to recall in coming episodes: "Are you having second thoughts?"

And Lily acknowledged that, yes, she was. "But not about Marshall," Lily insisted. "About me." She said she kept thinking about the girl she had been at the time of her actual prom and wondering what happened to her.

I suppose that is the question most of us ask ourselves at some point. After all, the lives of few if any of the people from my senior class turned out the way they expected. I'm sure there are exceptions to that rule — but not many.

Robin pointed out that Lily could still travel and paint, just as she had hoped to do.

"And as far as your lesbian experience ..."

With that, Robin kissed Lily.

Back on the dance floor, Lily and Marshall agreed that the band was playing their song quite well and could be the band for their wedding.

By the way Burtka is Harris' real–life husband. Well, I know they are married now. Ten years ago, they may have been domestic partners, given the fact that homosexual marriage has only been legal in recent years.