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"HIMYM," "Men"

By admin Published: March 18, 2008

Toast
A toast to your return, gentlemen!

I don't know if it was to make room for that "Tropic Thunder" trailer or what, but CBS and my DVR were not in sync last night ...

Although I had the recorder set for "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men," "HIMYM" obviously started before the 8:30 mark, since the playback began with opening scene already in progress. And had I not gotten "HIMYM" I would have missed the first minute or two of "Men" following it. I don't usually mind the networks playing their don't-change-the-channel games with early starts and overruns as long as the DVR has gotten the correct information, but it obviously did not have it last night. And I won't rule out Time Warner missing it, since I am on the verge of another rant about the current situation. (In my Monday notebook, I grumped about the channel realignment. But I'm also fuming about the glitches in their new DVRs. ...)

Anyway, the two new episodes, our first in months, were a welcome return. I wouldn't rank any among the best by either show. And "HIMYM" especially seemed rusty in spots; the sloping apartment didn't work as well as I would have hoped, and it feels as if the show has spun the Ted-changing-character card before. Still, I can't get the word "bro-pocalypse" out of my head, and the sheer glee of Barney in action is always a delight.

"Men," meanwhile, was at its best in the running bit about Jake hating what Charlie liked on TV, although Alan's attempts to dump his latest girlfriend had some good spots. Not in the script so much -- we knew this would end badly for Alan -- as in the way Jon Cryer so adeptly plays desperate anxiety.

And even as the two episodes seem less good as I think about them (although you should never think too much about comedy), I can't get over how happy I was to have them back. This is where we really feel the effects of the writers strike -- not in missing things while they're gone, a feeling that could be put aside, but in the relief felt when they at last return. That tells us that the collective shrugging during the strike was just a defensive mechanism. And now, inside, we're all starting to go, YAY YAY YAY.

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