Sunday, March 19, 2017

Swearing a Broath

Barney (Neil Patrick Harris): You broke the broath.

Ted (Josh Radnor): How dare you? A broath is the most sacred bond between — OK, yeah, I did.

An oath is a solemn thing, whether you are promising to discharge your duties in office or tell the truth in court. Under lesser circumstances, I suppose, oaths are known by different names. On "How I Met Your Mother," they were dubbed "broaths" in the episode "The Broath" that first aired on this night in 2012.

As the episode began Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) swore Ted (Josh Radnor) to secrecy about a girl Barney had been dating. Barney, of course, was the one who came up with the term broath — a combination of "bro" and "oath." He talked Ted into putting on a brobe for the occasion.

Barney wanted the girl, named Quinn (Becki Newton), to meet his friends, but he was afraid they would judge her too harshly when they learned she was a stripper and that she had swindled Barney of a lot of money. Ted knew all this, and Barney wanted him to keep quiet, but he told the gang anyway.

In a get–acquainted dinner, Quinn mistreated Barney, and Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Ted began competing to sublet Quinn's apartment after she moved in with Barney. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) found evidence that Barney had plane tickets to Hawaii and reservations at a four–star hotel there. The gang was convinced that Quinn was after Barney's money and decided to stage an intervention — or, in How I Met Your Mother lingo, a "Quinntervention."

Quinn broke up with Barney in an awkward confrontation in front of the gang, who were overcome by guilt (even though Robin and Ted were still lusting for Quinn's apartment) and went to Barney's apartment to see if there was some way they could make it up to him.

Barney then swore them all to a broath that they would never interfere in his life again. To seal the deal Barney coerced the girls into sharing a kiss. Barney and Marshall (Jason Segel) kissed, too, although Barney never instructed them to do so. All he said was, "And now the gentlemen ..."

Anyway, then Quinn appeared, and it turned out everything — the theatrics at the get–acquainted dinner, provoking the competition between Ted and Robin for Quinn's apartment, the awkward fight at the "Quinntervention" — had been an elaborate plan by Barney and Quinn to prevent the gang from judging her.

It proved they were right for each other, and Barney's friends gave their heartfelt congratulations.

I thought it was an enjoyable kind of episode — the kind that always makes me think of a scene from Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" in which he and Diane Keaton were standing in a line to get movie tickets, and a patron behind them — a professor at Columbia — was talking about Marshall McLuhan. Allen walked over to a display in the lobby and pulled the real Marshall McLuhan out from behind it. McLuhan proceeded to dress down the patron, after which Allen looked at the camera and said, "Boy, if life were only like this."