How I Met Your Mother rarely deals with the type of somber subject matter that was the topic of last night’s “Last Words.” Oddly enough, though the final moments of last week’s episode that revealed that Marshall’s father had died of a heart attack left me teary-eyed, it was this week’s aftermath that sort of felt like a letdown. Sure, the gang was at a funeral, but that’s no reason for unfunny humor: Ted and Barney kept trying to make Marshall laugh with videos of people getting hit in the crotch, surprisingly to no avail.
There were certain touching moments when Lily bravely took Marshall’s mom’s punches (“that dress makes you look like a Kansas City whore”) to make her feel better and Robin’s attempts to help Marshall by being vice girl (“you’ve somehow crammed Tijuana into a purse”). Sadly the rest of the episode felt more forced than sincere, despite Alyson Hannigan’s very convincing waterworks, as Marshall delayed listening to his father’s final voicemail. I can appreciate a long-running sitcom trying to branch out and cover new territory. At the same time, I wish that HIMYM would return to its roots this season and finally re-center around Ted’s love life. However, judging by Barney’s phone call to his mom in last minutes of “Last Words,” it appears that the writers have chosen to pursue different story arc.