Two comedy episodes with inspired premises (even if both were given away in the promos), but trouble with endings. ...
The Marshall/Barney texting conspiracy on "HIMYM" worked very well, not only playing off their character traits but also off of Ted's. But don't you think that at some point Marshall and Barney are going to realize that they are best friends -- shared workplace, shared interests, shared bar?
The "or" dialogue was pushed just hard enough to get even more silly, and I smiled as I said "or" just before Ted did. And when the texting gag began to wear down, the introduction of Stan kept it going in a fresh way, and one that again played off Marshall and Barney, sentimentalists that they are. (I know Stan mentioned Pablo Neruda, but did I hear some Kahlil Gibran in there, too?) Interesting to see Robin play Mom to pranksters -- or is that Pranksmen? -- Marshall and Barney; it made sense, but I also wonder if it arose partly from Lily's absence, forcing Robin to hit notes both for herself and for Lily.
But here's the problem: When you keep building a joke like this, you have to have a good payoff. Granted that "HIMYM" goes against comic norms much of the time, a story that had moved along very well just fizzled. Even the Holli's-not-the-mother bit at the end felt anticlimactic because the texting story in the end wasn't served well. I've mentioned before that the good ending is something a lot of comedy has trouble with, especially sketch comedy. And "HIMYM" didn't hit the last mark tonight.
"Two and a Half Men" had a marginally better gag, with the Trans Am glued to Alan. Speaking of which, how was that for serendipitouos timing -- a multiple-Pontiac tribute on "Men" on the day that GM announces it is killing Pontiac? (See my post below for a bit on Pontiac and pop culture.)
Again, an inspire idea, with the return of Rose, but as a friend of Charlie's fiancee, and as a date for Alan. Rose has always been a good place for "Men" to go, and it worked well last night -- although, again, the promos gave away the premise and even one of the best jokes -- Rose in the car next to Alan's. Not the best moment, though. That was all Berta's. Conchata Ferrell can draw a laugh out of just sitting up a little straighter.
But, again, where was all this going? Rose's not liking the more assertive Alan made sense, and the glued Trans Am made sense. But, again, no great payoff. Maybe they're saving it for something later with Rose.