How I Met Your Mother, "Mystery vs. History": it's a boy!

Quick Take: How I Met Your Mother, "Mystery vs. History"
"Last summer I dropped a deuce that actually looked like a number two!" - Lily 

Review: How I Met Your Mother, "Mystery vs. History"
(S0706) Because How I Met Your Mother is narrated by Future Ted (the voice of Bob Saget), the show is able to use him to provide commentary about life in modern-day America from a somewhat detached perspective. Sometimes that commentary is nostalgic, other times it takes the tone of,  "Look how ridiculous we were back then!" As a framing device, this technique isn't always one-hundred percent effective, but I think actually worked rather well in last night's "Mystery vs. History."

The episode begins with the gang engaging in a spirited argument about the most popular type of food. Is it pizza? Chinese? Hot-dogs? In today's day and age, with the ubiquitousness of smart phones and Wi-Fi, arguments such as this can be solved in seconds with a few finger taps on an iPhone screen. "And the barroom debate was dead..." Future Ted laments.

The opening scene sets up the theme of the episode's two major stories rather nicely. Through a series of related events, the gang learns that just because you can use technology to find out virtually anything, doesn't mean you always should.

Normally, when Ted (Josh Radnor) goes on a date with a young lady, Robin (Colbie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) will do Google research in order to determine whether or not she is a nutcase. And since this is Ted we are talking about, they are pretty much all nutcases. But when Ted meets the lovely Janet (Amber Stevens) at Maclaren's, he decides to do things differently this time around. He pledges to do absolutely no digging around online about her past. "If it's a choice between mystery and history, I want mystery," he says.

Despite Ted's protestations, Robin and Barney text him throughout his date with information about Janet. Eventually he caves and looks at his phone. None of the digging by Robin and Barney results in any dirt on Janet. According to the internet, she's Certified Fresh, not certifiably insane. The conclusion: Janet is "amazing". The revelation totally intimidates Ted, causing him to screw the date up to the point that she bails before the end of their meal.

Like Ted, Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) are also believers in the importance of mystery. When a letter from their doctor informing them of the gender of their baby arrives in the mail, they decide not to open it. Barney simply can't believe anyone would want something so major to remain a secret. He bitches and moans until Marshall gets fed up enough to hand the letter over to him, then proceeds to torture the parents-to-be with the information. Marshall throws the letter out the window before he and Lily can crack and decide to take a peek. But they end up seeing it anyway when Ted steps on it and accidentally brings the letter back into the apartment via the bottom of his sneaker. Surprise, it's a boy!

Marshall and Lily are thrilled, would they have been happier if the baby's sex was still a surprise? I don't know, it's hard to say. It's clear that Ted, on the other hand, would have been much happier not knowing anything about Janet. If he thought of her as a normal girl -- and not some supermodel Mother Theresa -- he might not have blown it.

Lingering thoughts on "Mystery vs. History":

  • Kal Penn has done a pretty admirable job ingratiating himself with the crew in such a short amount of time. I still have some issues with the character, but I think the writers made better use of Kevin this week. Although, by the end of the episode his constant diagnosing of mental illnesses wore a bit thin.
  • Texting your friends with a letter signifying the shape of your poo is the greatest bit ever. This joke alone makes "Mystery vs. History" worth the price of admission.
  • By Lucas High

    About the author

    Lucas High is a man on a mission. That mission: to watch television for a living. Drop him a line at, on Facebook and on Twitter at

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    1 Comment
    On: Saturday, October 22, 2011
    Stephanie said:

    You nailed it again as usual.  HIMYM has the perfect potty humor for my guys.  I have to admit that it's funny when the women get into it too.


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