Shake shake shake, shake shake shake ...
This was one of those episodes where you realize how much the cast does to sell the material.
I'll start with the way Sarah Chalke is making a case for being part of this or any other show show if and when "Scrubs" ends, because she's just plain good. She almost carried off Stella's ridiculous rethinking of her anger at Ted -- come on, Stella had every right to be mad at him. '
Similarly, Will Forte did as much as could possibly be done with a really badly written portrait of a Barney wingman wannabe. I mean, how many times have we seen the stepping-aside-to-be-giddy thing? (My personal favorite is Laura Linney's in "Love Actually.") But Forte almost made it work with his verve and varied movements. I said almost.
Finally, there was Jason Segel's reading of the items about the last time Stella had sex. The items went nowhere -- the "Da Vinci Code" line was a lousy payoff -- but Segel's Marshall had a cheerfulness about them that made me smile. (And any time Marshall and Lily talk about their sex lives, they make it sound so convincing that, even on sitting at home, they make me uncomfortable.)
Episode as a whole? Ho hum. The Barney-Ted estrangement just reminds us what an ensemble piece the show is, and separating the players is bad for biz. Robin had nothing to do. The Ted-Stella story wasn't well told. Quite a disappointment. Between "HIMYM" and "Two and a Half Men," I count on a couple of big laughs on a Monday; I need them to ease the burden of listening to the judges on "Dancing With the Stars." This week, they weren't really there.