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How I Met Your Mother "The Pre-Nup" Review: We're Not Playing Around Anymore, Are We?

How I Met Your Mother S08E02: "The Pre-Nup"

Over the last seven seasons, How I Met Your Mother has developed a reputation for slow-playing its storytelling. Obviously the identity of Ted’s wife is a legitimate thing to drag out, but the show does tend to tread water on occasions, kind of like how Lost did until it had an end date. For the majority of "The Pre-Nup," I thought this episode was going to be one of those episodes. Well, those last five minutes sure proved me wrong.

This weeks events were was set into motion when Barney’s boss, Arthur Hobbs, convinced Barney that he needed to convince Quinn to sign a pre-nup before their wedding. Quinn balked at the ridiculousness of the pre-nup that Barney put together, which caused Ted, Marshall, and Nick to start suggesting agreements to their significant others. Victoria, Lily, and Robin didn’t take too kindly to this, and they put together their own pre-nup for Barney to sign. Up to this point, I was pretty lukewarm on the episode. As I mentioned before, it seemed like it was lagging.

After convincing us that the four couples had reconciled, HIMYM returned to Barney and Quinn. That's when the water-treading stopped: After spending a large portion of last season getting those two together, HIMYM wasted no time ripping them apart. While gazing upon the massive pre-nuptial agreement they'd assembled, Barney and Quinn realized that they didn’t actually trust each other. And with that, the Autumn of Break-ups claimed its first victims.

The episode then fast-forwarded to “a little bit down the road,” giving us a glimpse of Barney boasting to Arthur and his Goliath National Bank co-workers that his wedding was going to be legendary. Robin then waltzed in as Barney’s fiance, and the two left for lunch.

Wow, HIMYM. We’re not playing around anymore, are we? Sure, we haven’t met the actual mother yet, but over the course of the first two episodes of Season 8, we’ve seen Ted and Victoria officially get back together and watched Robin jump into a new relationship. We've confirmed that Barney will marry Robin, witnessed the break-up of Barney and Quinn, and now received an additional peek at Barney and Robin as a couple. In the past, that would've been, like, three seasons’ worth of HIMYM storytelling.

So should we mourn the end of Barney and Quinn as a couple? I kind of liked Quinn, but we always knew she wasn’t the one for Barney. For a character who was first introduced as Karma the Stripper, did we really expect her to be around for long? Becki Newton was a great addition to the HIMYM cast, and she played the character really well, especially during last season’s "The Broath," when we learned that Quinn was just as diabolical as Barney when it came to scheming. But this is how it has to be.

So which couple will break up next? Will it be Ted and Victoria? Ted is already doing Mosby-esque things in the relationship—like inviting Klaus, Victoria’s ex-fiance, to stay in their apartment. I actually said, “You moron!” out loud when he brought it up. Stop trying to be a hero, Ted. You don’t ask the guy whose girlfriend you stole to come live with you.

Or maybe Robin and Nick will be the next ones to split? Nick seems nice, but we know his relationship with Robin isn't going to end well. If Robin and Nick’s biggest issue is that Robin likes to watch herself on the news while they have sex, they seem in good (maybe not normal) shape. But if I had to guess, I’d say say Robin and Nick are the next to go. This is HIMYM — the story hinges on Ted, so the writers will save his Autumn of Break-ups incident for last.

We need to talk about the dynamic of this group as of this episode. I first sensed that something was weird when we saw Quinn talking to the other girls. Yeah, Quinn asked Robin and Lily to be her bridesmaids, but I just don’t think of Quinn as someone they would actually hang out with. The same feeling struck me when Nick showed up at MacLaren’s and sat down with Ted, Marshall, and Barney. I know this all makes sense for the sake of the plot, but some of these people just wouldn’t be hanging out in real life. Where did Nick come from? Wouldn’t he have his own group of friends?

The biggest issue I have, though, has to do with the fact that Victoria is hanging out with Robin. Victoria would never hang out with Robin. Ted cheated on Victoria with Robin. And now, all these years later, Victoria is going to let that slide? I don’t buy it. At the beginning of last season when HIMYM brought Victoria back, the show made a huge deal out of Victoria telling Ted that not only did she find it strange that he still hung out with Robin, she believed Robin was the reason all of Ted’s relationships had failed. So now that Victoria has returned once again and she and Ted are back together, why would she allow Ted to hang out with Robin, let alone hang out with Robin herself? “Hey, Robin’s destroyed all of your relationships, but now that we’re dating again, let’s be best friends with her.” I’d like to think Victoria is smarter than that. Although, based on the idiotic version of Klaus we saw in this episode, maybe Victoria doesn’t have the best taste in men...

Now that it’s full-speed ahead for HIMYM, what should we expect next? A few more break-ups? How will Barney and Robin reunite? Will Alan Thicke be involved?

Notes and quotes

– Now that I’m a complete Breaking Bad addict, seeing Bob Odenkirk as GNB’s Arthur Hobbs is kind of bizarre. Apparently Saul Goodman helps write pre-nups when he’s not teaching Walter White how to launder money.

– Arthur Hobbs talking to Barney about his divorce: “I even lost out with the kids. Full custody! I got full custody of the kids!” Barney: “Your kids are horrible.” Arthur: “The worst.”

– Arthur reading Barney’s version of the pre-nup to Quinn: “Ms. Garvey’s breasts must be enhanced every five years or 50,000 honka-honkas, which ever comes first.”

– Victoria’s hair is shorter. Did that distract anyone else?

– Lily to Marshall, regarding things she won’t let him do: “Marshall, you are not going on a Sasquatch hunt in Oregon with a bunch of loonies.”

– Bringing back Bill Fagerbakke as Marshall’s dad is a quick way to our hearts. Those episodes dealing with Marvin Eriksen are still rough viewings.

– Lily to Marshall: “Marshall, this morning you thought a ghost made your toast.”

– Nick to Robin after realizing that she was watching TV while they were having sex: “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it took 42 inches to keep you satisfied.”

– It’s interesting that Robin is the one watching TV in the bedroom, considering her objection to Ted putting his TV in the bedroom when he was going to move into her apartment back in Season 2. Is this an error, or does Robin just make an exception to this rule when the TV in question is showing her doing the news?

– Lily when the guys showed up at GNB: “What are you bitches doing here?” Marshall looking at baby Marvin: “Lily!” Lily: “Oh, he’s napping. It’s the only time I get to go blue.”

– Barney, after Quinn explained his shock collar: “Wait, I’m confused, if it’s not around my neck, where is the shock collar?” [The girls nod toward Barney’s nether regions.] Barney: “Oh, god...”

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Bill Kuchman
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