The Best Performances of 2015

Posted by Kim and Sage

Sure, it’s 2016 now, but I’m still writing 2015 on my checks and I am still digesting all the great pop culture I took in over the past year, so we’re still allowed to talk about what blew us away in 2015.  We’ve already discussed our favorite moments on television for 2015 (find those posts here and here) and now it’s time to turn our attention to our favorite performances of the year. These are the characters who got under our skin. These are the actors who we would squeal in delight upon seeing their names in the credits. These are the performances that we’ll still be talking about when 2015 is but a distant twinkle in our eye. Who made the cut? Read on to find out! –Kim

1) Taraji P. Henson – Empire

On paper, Cookie Lyon was ALWAYS going to be an amazing character. While the story of Empire may be about her sons, it’s Cookie who has the redemption arc. She has the deep well of rage and the overwhelming to desire to take back what is rightfully hers and she has the razor-sharp wit to make every word that comes out of her mouth a catchphrase. Cookie was ALWAYS going to be great…but in the hands of Taraji P. Henson, Cookie Lyon became an instant icon. In every aspect of her performance, it is clear that Taraji has been waiting for Cookie her whole life. Watching Empire every week is like taking a masterclass in swagger. There is nothing more joyful to me than seeing an actor RELISH their role and Taraji does just that. It would be very easy to crossover into scenery chewing caricature with a character as LARGE as Cookie but Taraji never does. You always see the hint of vulnerability in her eyes behind the hurricane force bluster. Cookie is, after all, a woman who sacrificed everything for a man who turned out to be a shit. What’s not relatable about that? You tell ’em, Boo Boo Kitty. –Kim

2) Michelle Gomez – Doctor Who

When it comes to Doctor Who, I usually prefer that ingredients like classic, recurring villains are sprinkled in with a light hand. But Michelle Gomez’s “ba-na-naaaas!” interpretation of The Master, the Doctor’s long-haul BFF (Best Frenemy Forever) has me singing a different tune. The series 9 opening two-parter, “The Magician’s Apprentice”/”The Witch’s Familiar,” left me longing for Missy to take up residence in the TARDIS permanently. It’s to Michelle’s immense credit that much of the silly chatter following the Master’s change in gender died down soon after she sunk her teeth into the part. And sink her teeth in, she did. Michelle makes the Missy/Master her own with controlled mania and scathing one-liners. (“Murdering a Dalek. I’m a Time Lady; it’s our golf.”) I’m always, always happy to see her, even if the Doctor feels a little more conflicted. –Sage

3) Sam Heughan – Outlander

When his costars Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies scored Golden Globe nominations for their work on Outlander, I was FLABBERGASTED that Sam Heughan didn’t. Perhaps the Leading Actor in a Drama field was too crowded (the likely culprit) or perhaps the voting body was just threatened by the fact that someone THAT PRETTY could be a damn good actor too (less likely but still probable). Jamie Fraser is unabashedly the stuff of fantasy and the fact that Sam Heughan LOOKS like he just stepped out of the pages of a romance novel, with the muscles and the chiseled cheekbones and the ginger curls and the ACCENT, just amps up the fantasy factor even more. It would have been easy for Outlander to just rest on Sam’s looks and let him spout lines like “Does it ever stop? The wanting you?” or “I said I was a virgin, not a monk” and let us all swoon. But nope. Outlander is way better than that. Sam had already shown incredible depth as an actor in all of Jamie’s flashbacks (who DIDN’T recoil when he was flogged until he passed out?) but he took it to an entirely different level when Jamie was tortured by Black Jack Randall. His single tear STILL haunts me. –Kim

4) Matt DamonThe Martian

Matt has always been my favorite, okay? (He needs to double-down on checking that privilege, but I believe in him.) He’s my little Will Hunting, with the tight t-shirts and the “equations and shit.” He’s my shameless Owen, Jack’s fiercest (and straightest) competition for the open spot in the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, in the most outstanding episode of Will & Grace ever produced. And he’s my Jason Bourne, soon to return to the HQ spy franchise that doesn’t name its female characters after their own vaginas. He surprised me again in Ridley Scott’s The Martian as stranded astronaut/botanist Mark Watney. The Martian is Matt’s Castaway moment. He’s sans scene partner for the majority of the film. Even when he’s engaging with an actual person, it’s through some kind of device. And yet, Mark is flesh and blood to the audience, defined by his own determination and the humor he holds on to like a life preserver. The movie’s thesis is that any human life is worth preserving, even in the face of preposterous odds. But consider that his crew, the entire space program, and the whole planet may have rallied around Mark Watney just because Matt Damon made him such a deadass great guy. –Sage

5) Bill Hader – Trainwreck

God, I want to live in a world where the Adam Scotts and the Joel McHales and the Bill Haders are our romantic leads ALL THE TIME. I was so glad I was surrounded by girlfriends on either side of me when we saw Trainwreck in theatres because I made dying animal noises every time Bill Hader’s Aaron Conners was onscreen.  I had always been a fan of Bill’s (Stefon for LYFE) but his performance in Trainwreck made me see him in an entirely new light. Aaron is devastatingly sexy yet adorably awkward. He’s confident but not afraid to make himself vulnerable. He watches Downton Abbey with LeBron James. He sees through Amy’s bullshit and is not afraid to call her on it. He’s so REAL it almost hurts. But the best thing about him is that he says what he WANTS, for God’s sake.  There are no pretenses with him. Observe and imagine my very vocal reaction to this exchange…

AARON: Off the record, do you want to go grab some dinner?
AMY: Yeah, Aaron I think you are so great. But I’m a writer, I’m your writer and you’re my subject. From now on we need to keep it professional. You know?
AARON: No. I think we really like each other and we should start dating.
AMY: No. I’m saying– I’m confused. Am I not communicating this right?
AARON: No, I hear you. I’m saying I disagree. Do you like me?
AMY: Yes.
AARON: I really like you, so we should be a couple. 

DREAM MAN. May 2016 bring us ALL the Romantic Leading Men like Aaron Conners. The world will be a better place. –Kim

6) Krysten Ritter – Jessica Jones

Nothing about Jessica Jones is comfortable. There are no reminders that everything’s going to be okay, and even the people you want to trust can be turned against you in as little time it takes Kilgrave to grind out a few words. Krysten Ritter stands in the middle of that fire, leather jacket collar turned up against the flames and defiance dialed to 11. And even when she’s scared out of her mind and second-guessing her every action, she makes you want to stand there with her. I can’t imagine anyone but Krysten in this part; the rest of the ensemble is fearsomely well-cast and the writing and directing are tops, but this performance is the lynchpin. Krysten does Jessica justice, not just as a sloppy recluse turned low-key superhero, but as a rape survivor and a real, live, functioning adult dealing with mental health issues. One season in, and she’s already an icon. –Sage

7) Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin

I can’t emphasize enough what a treasure both Gina Rodriguez and Jane the Virgin are. JTV swept the Feelies for a reason and it’s not just because Jaime Camil plugged us, though it certainly helped. (Thanks for the love, Ro!) It swept because Jane the Virgin is the most heartfelt, warm, outrageous, and FUNNY show on TV right now. It has helped fill the giant hole that Parks and Recreation left in my heart. Jane the Virgin would absolutely not work without the terrific performances of its cast and Gina’s Jane is the anchor. Her performance is one of the most fully realized on television right now and I feel sorry for anyone who HASN’T experienced it. Jane is spirited and Jane is funny and Jane is strong and Jane is brave. Gina breathes such LIFE into her from the sparkle in her eyes to her delightful cackle to her gleeful dance moves. But she also brings a beautiful vulnerability to the role (please to see the above gif). Gina can go from laughing to having tears in her eyes in a matter of seconds and she takes the viewers on that journey with her. You root for Jane and you want her to succeed in all areas of her life. It’s all just real and warm and I want Jane/Gina to be my best friend. If she’s not nominated for an Emmy this year, I’ll be leading the riots. –Kim

8) Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road

I love Mad Max: Fury Road so much? Like, a straight-up action movie has never meant so much to me, a connoisseur of Hugh Grant rom-coms and corseted literary adaptations. But then again, no other action movie has given me Charlize Theron sporting a buzz cut and a metal arm, driving the getaway “car” for a harem of freed sex slaves. The movie treats Imperator Furiosa like it would any male hero, except when it doesn’t. She’s stoic and dogged, and has no problem barking out orders to Max. But this fight is personal for her in a way that she knows it can’t be for him. I’d love to see Charlize get an Oscar nomination for this, actually, in the hopes of creating more Amazonian warrior roles for women in the future. (Please.) But I suppose I can settle for seeing Mad Max on the top of so many critics’ end-of-year lists and some fierce Furiosa cosplays at Comic Con. –Sage

Continue reading

The Top 20 Television Moments of 2014 – Part Two

Posted by Kim and Sage

When we posted our first ten moments of the year at the end of last week, one of our favorite commenters (you know who you are) said that she expected to see the How I Met Your Mother finale on the second half of the list.  “Absolutely not,” I countered.  Sure, the HIMYM finale has made a lot of other end-of-the-year lists, but for us, memorable does NOT equal best.  The HIMYM finale is memorable for all the wrong reasons.  It’s memorable for the rage it unleashes (I can’t begin to count the number of extremely heated debates I’ve had about that episode this year) and that rage does not have a place on our year-end countdown.  Am I still sad about the major death on The Good Wife?  Obviously.  Do I still talk about that death in all sorts of passionate “THAT WAS AMAZING TELEVISION” kind of terms?  YES.

That right there is the Head Over Feels definition of “Top Moment”, folks.

Looking at our 20 picks, I’m extremely proud at the breadth of television we’ve covered this year and our choices for the best of the best.  We’ve got comedies, dramas (both soapy and Comic Booky), reality shows, awards shows, and “news/talk” shows represented.  We MAY have a television problem.  It’s a problem we love to have.

— Kim

11) “Why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone?” – How To Get Away With Murder

Must See TV is but a distant, childhood memory. (Maybe because NBC doesn’t know how to treasure its comedies anymore, hmmm?) Thursday nights now belong to Shondaland.

One of the buzziest new series of the season, How to Get Away with Murder has a showrunner in Peter Nowalk and is overseen by drama queen Shonda Rhimes. Not a carbon copy of Grey’s or Scandal, HTGAWM quickly established itself as its own thing: a gothic mash-up of ’90s procedurals, primetime soaps and dark comedy, with the incomparable Viola Davis leading a cast of young unknowns.

Annalise Keating is fascinating. We’re a full half-season into the life of the show and still no closer to figuring out the law professor’s motivations than we were in the first minutes of the pilot. Viola plays Keating’s deep vulnerability to perfection, but any show of emotion is eventually revealed as another tool of manipulation. Does she feel anything? Or is she smart enough to know not to?

The focus of this pilot season has been the apparent murder of Keating’s husband Sam. Ever the doting spouse at university cocktail parties, Sam – like Annalise – isn’t what he seems. He was mixed up with a student, whose body ended up bloated and floating in a water tower. Already revealed as a cheater, could Sam be a murderer too? I honestly doubt that Annalise didn’t a) already know her husband was messing around, or b) cared one bit that he did. When would she have time? Between desk sex sessions with her giant cop boyfriend? No. This is a shakedown, my friends. Annalise always gets her man.

It’s the most striking scene in a show designed to fuel water cooler conversation. Annalise sits at her vanity and peels away the day. She wipes off all vestiges of the beauty standards imposed on women – on black women – and it’s not a dainty business. She uses pressure, rubbing the make-up away like she’s angry at herself for putting it on in the first place. She’s taking turpentine to a masterpiece she just finished painting. But when she confronts her suspect – a man she’s shared a bed with for years – she’s not going to do it as star defense attorney Annalise or molder of young minds Annalise. She’s going to do it as the bare canvas onto which she paints those identities.

And that LINE. Funny, shocking, emasculating. This is HTGAWM in nine simple words. And may the series bring us several more moments as indelible as this.

–Sage

12) Don and Peggy have a dance – Mad Men

Reminder to all the awards bodies out there: Mad Men did indeed air episodes in 2014 and they were EXQUISITE so SHAME ON YOU for completely ignoring them in awards season.  Did the division of the 14 episode season into 2 “mini seasons” probably mess with the notorious slow-burn pace of a typical Mad Men season?  Absolutely.  Just when it felt like it was getting started the “season” was over!  Does that mean that the episodes are any less in quality?  Absolutely not.  “The Strategy” will surely stand in the pantheon of fantastic Mad Men episodes alongside “The Suitcase” and “The Other Woman”.  It was a beautiful episode, from Joanie turning down Bob Benson’s marriage of convenience (“I want love.  And I’d rather die hoping that happens than make some arrangement.”) to the way Pete longs for the family that he so carelessly threw away to the way Peggy and Don are at each other’s throats over the pitch to Burger Chef.  What transitions the episode from good to GREAT is the scene with Peggy and Don in her office as Peggy finally cracks the pitch.  Just like Don knew she would.

Peggy: Does this family exist anymore? Are there people who eat dinner and smile at each other instead of watching TV? Did you ever do that with your family?
Don: I don’t remember.
Peggy: What the hell do I know about being a mom? I just turned 30, Don.
Don: Shit. When?
Peggy: A couple of weeks ago.
Don: It doesn’t matter.
Peggy: I kept it a secret as long as I could. Now I’m one of those women lying about her age. I hate them.
Don: I worry about a lot of things, but I don’t worry about you.
Peggy: What do you have to worry about?
Don: That I never did anything, and that I don’t have anyone.
Peggy: I was in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania. I looked in the window of so many station wagons. What did I do wrong?
Don: You’re doing great.

PEGGY OLSON.  I have always loved her but I related to her SO much in this moment.  It was a rough season for Peggy.  She is still a woman trying to make her way in a man’s world (remember Pete thinks saying “She’s as good as any woman in the field” is a compliment) and she’s a woman wrestling with the life choices she’s made that have led her down an “untraditional” path.  Should she have gone another way?  Would she have been happy going the married and kids route?  She knows that she would not have…but she also knows that she is alone and that’s a daily struggle for her.

The Don and Peggy relationship has always been the core of Mad Men.  They are so alike, those two.  It’s why Don is so hard on her.  He sees her potential for greatness and her potential to surpass him, which both excites and terrifies him.  It’s often WHY he struggles to praise her because she’s making the same choices he has made (identity theft aside) and he knows how it’s turned out for him.  He wants more for his Peggy.  He sees her self-doubt and he offers her comfort in the only way he knows how…with a smile of pride and a dance.

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way…

The song choice may have been a bit on the nose, but in reality, there is no better song for these two lost souls to share a fleeting moment of connection and comfort over.  The next day will be back to business as usual.  Another pitch.  Another meeting.  They’ll probably be back at each other’s throats soon enough.  But for that moment…in that dance…they know that they can do it their own way and not have to be alone.  It’s beautiful.

— Kim

13) Amy Poehler wins The Pudding

The worst part of being nominated for any award is that despite your best efforts, you start to want the pudding. You spend weeks thinking about how it doesn’t matter and it’s all just an honor and then seconds before the name of the winner is announced everything inside you screams…”GIMME THAT PUDDING!!”

In Yes Please, Amy P. details the backstage machinations of all the plans she and her fellow nominees have concocted to get their minds off what she calls “the pudding.” And they’re all wonderful – the faux beauty pageant, Dog President, play-swapping speeches with JLD. But in 2014, the pudding finally went where it had needed to go for a long, long time. Amy Poehler won the Golden Globe.

It’s not special because anyone should give a shit about awards or that anyone is under the illusion that they always go to the right people. What was special about Amy’s win is that is that it was FOR Parks. I don’t mean that the nomination was for her work on Parks, I mean that this was an award for the entire show. One of the finest comedic ensembles on television in this decade or any other has been snubbed left and right for reasons that I can’t begin to understand. Amy, often the show’s sole nomination, has gone home empty-handed year after year. (Even the announcer sounds bewildered when he points out that this is her “first win.”)

So. When Amy’s name was FINALLY called and the Parks crew went ballistic, anyone could see that she was taking this one for the team. They stood and applauded and pointed at their girl. “Whoaaaa, Parks!” she shouted out to them, as I cried like a child. “The best cast in comedy and drama, as far as I’m concerned.” And the pudding was spread around, as it should be.

–Sage

14) Cristina and Meredith dance it out one last time – Grey’s Anatomy

Cristina: Wait, we’ll call each other at least twice a month and we’ll text each other all the time.
Meredith: I hate texting.
Cristina: TEXT ME! Don’t let Owen get all dark and twisty. Take care of him. And Alex, take care of Alex. He needs to be mocked at least once a day or he’ll be insufferable. Don’t get on any tiny little planes that can crash or stick your hand in a body cavity that has a bomb in it or offer your life to a gunman. Don’t do that. Don’t be a hero. You’re my person. I need you alive. You make me brave. Okay, now we dance it out.

There was really no other way for Sandra Oh’s Cristina Yang to leave Grey’s Anatomy.  I sat through a good portion of the season ten finale, “Fear (of the unknown)” waiting for something absolutely horrible to happen to my beloved Cristina.  Shonda Rhimes DOES love to kill her characters, after all, especially on Grey’s Anatomy.  Thankfully, she had other plans for Cristina Yang.  Cristina Yang was going to ride off into the sunset…erm…Switzerland.  She was going to take her favorite student Smash Williams (honestly, I never learned his ACTUAL character name) to Switzerland with her so she could continue to teach him and extend her legacy.  She was going to change the face of cardiothoracic surgery and win all the awards now that she was free from GSMH.  She was going to do all of that…after dancing it out with her person one last time.

Cue me sobbing, especially since Cristina and Meredith danced to Tegan and Sara’s “Where Does the Good Go?” which was used prominently in the fourth episode of the series.  Grey’s has ALWAYS been good with the musical callbacks and the Twisted Sisters’ jubilant dancing was a perfect way to reflect on EVERYTHING they had been through together.  Ectopic Pregnancies and Dirty Mistressing.  Bombs in body cavities.  Near drownings.  Mass shoot-outs.  Plane crashes.  Marriages.  Divorces.  Births.  Career jealousy and competition.  Meredith and Cristina have been through it all together, and while their bond has been TESTED, it’s never been broken.  When someone is your person, they are your person for life.  OTP of the show.

Cristina’s absence has left a gaping hole on Grey’s Anatomy this season and I miss her terribly.  Yet, her influence is still felt in Meredith’s life, as every single action she’s taken this season goes back to this truth bomb her best friend dropped right before she left.

Cristina: I gotta go. You stay here. You are a gifted surgeon with an extraordinary mind. Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he’s not the sun. You are.

You can’t GET more OTP than that.  (And if Sandra Oh doesn’t come back for the eventual series finale, I will cry SO MUCH.)

— Kim

15) John Oliver Breaks the FCC – Last Week Tonight

We were predisposed to love Last Week Tonight, because John Oliver brought us such joy as a Daily Show correspondent, and also because he’s “got a real big penis and drinks lots of tea.”

But we couldn’t have predicted the impact the show would have, pretty much from the moment it hit HBO. With Colbert on his way out, surely there’d be room for more comedy news on our TVs. But what could have weekly report have over a daily one?

Simply this: because LWT doesn’t have the responsibility to recap a full day (or seven days) of the news cycle, it’s expertly developed its signature, long-form style. John and the writers hit on a piece of information, usually something that they can’t believe no one has forced us to fully understand before, and they report the daylights out of it. The result is sharp, hilarious, fully fleshed-out segments that have been known to end in a call to action. And John’s fans are ready to go to work.

The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.

The first time we saw the true power of LWT‘s ready-for-viral reports was when they shined a light on the proposed de-democratization of the interwebs. Net Neutrality is a terrifying prospect – essentially making the internet a pay-to-play situation and enabling hateful cable providers to hold companies seeking hosting hostage. No one seemed sufficiently freaked out by this, possibly because the language used to describe it was drier than an English sense of humor. LWT spend ten minutes laying it all out for us (we have an attention span when there are Taco Bell jokes), and then dropped the challenge. The FCC had opened its site for feedback on the proposition. Knowing that this was the job web trolls didn’t realize they had been training for all along, John called on the underworld network of internet commentors to rise up and fight. (“Good evening, monsters.”)

And fight they did. Viewers were driven to the site and responded in such a massive way that FCC.gov actually crashed. And Last Week Tonight moved on to further crusade for truth, justice, and sex-crazed space geckos everywhere.

–Sage

Continue Reading

We Know You Know We Know – Our Top 20 Episodes of Friends, Part One

Posted by Kim and Sage

On September 22, 1994, Ross Geller, while sitting in a coffee shop with his friends said, “I just want to be married again!” and then Rachel Green burst through the front doors in her wedding dress.  TWENTY YEARS AGO.

*Obligatory OH MY GOD I AM SO OLD moment*

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t love Friends.  It’s become a part of my DNA in the twenty years since its premiere.  I quote it in some capacity, be it a line, or saying something in Chandler-speak, on almost a daily basis.  I know I’m in a REALLY bad place if a repeat on Nick at Nite can’t make me laugh.  The mutual love Sage and I shared for this show became the very foundation of our friendship when our friend Angel looked at us and said, “You guys should team up for Friends trivia because you’re equally insane about it.”  It’s my ultimate comfort show and it seems to be the same thing for so many of our readers, as all of our character appreciation posts rank among the most viewed on this site.

What is so special about Friends is that it is both a very specific slice of its decade (it is SO 90’s I can’t get over it) yet it also remains timeless in its stories and its themes and its characters. There’s a reason why Friends trivia is packed every time we go (and have our asses handed to us because there are people out there more fanatical that us, if you can believe it): everyone sees a bit of themselves in this show, be it in the characters or the situations they get themselves into.  People will still be saying “Gum would be perfection” and “WE WERE ON A BREAK!!” when the fortieth anniversary rolls around.  It’s that timeless.

When I first broached the idea for this anniversary post to Sage, we both thought it would be an impossible task to narrow down our list to twenty (you all witness the bloodbath when it came to picking our X-Files episodes after all).  Turns out, it wasn’t that hard.  While there were several episodes that we were sad to leave out (“All The Thanksgivings”, “The Kips”, and “The Cheesecakes” were on that list), we were very much of the same mind when it came to the best episodes of Friends.  The best episodes ARE about the monumental and iconic moments of the series, but they are also the ones that fully utilized one of the best ensembles in TV history.  We felt very strongly that each of our twenty had to showcase the entire cast well because as Joey proved, these six characters are best when they are together.  So I’m not going to SAY that this list is the definitive one, but I’m going to strongly suggest it.

Screw it.  These are the best twenty episodes, end of story.  Deal with it.

— Kim

20) “The One with the Holiday Armadillo” (7 x10)

You’ve got plenty of Thanksgiving episodes ahead of you on this list, but “Holiday Armadillo” is the only Christmas-themed episode to sneak into our Top 20.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you’re probably familiar with my opinion on early-series Ross. I’ll leave that version be for now. This list is a celebration, not a lecture. Instead, I’ll talk about how much I adore him at this level. At this level and in this armadillo suit.

Ross’s determination both to teach his son a few things about Hanukkah and to make sure he has a fun Christmas sets Monica’s apartment as the stage of “the Easter Bunny’s funeral.” The wardrobe department outdid itself with Ross’s “weird, turtle-man” suit, the armadillo get-up he re-classifies as “Santa’s representative to the Southern states aaaaannnnd Mexico!” He’s at his best when he’s at his goofiest, and the show takes this opportunity to mix in a little farce. The Holiday Armadillo is joined by Chandler’s constipated-looking Santa Claus, who does his part to get Ben to pay attention to the story of “theeee Maccabees!” and then eventually by Superman, who is less helpful.

“The Armadillo was actually not so thrilled about that part!”

The B-plot is less cartoonish than the A, but a solid usage of all the apartment-switching that goes on these later seasons. Phoebe’s apartment is ready for Rachel to move into, but Phoebe feels insecure about their plans when she sees what a blast her future roomie is having at Joey’s. This very plotline is why I don’t understand the anti-Rachel/Joey camp when they contest that the show laid no groundwork for the pairing. It may not be romantic at this point, but Rachel and Joey are clearly bonding in a new way. Matt and Jen are a fun pair to watch and always were. (See: sailing on the Mr. Beaumont.) Their responses to Phoebe’s “gifts” are a delight, from Rachel’s cool-girl reaction to the tarantula to Joey’s panicked fall off the drum set to their A-for-effort duet of the one song they know.

Rachel Joey Tequila

Phoebe was panicking for nothing; of course Rachel wanted to go live with her girlfriend. But plans change when they arrive at a fully renovated one-bedroom. Even the contractors ship it, people.

–Sage

Best Line:

Phoebe: Monica and Chandler said that you were having so much fun here. And apparently no amount of drums or tarantulas is gonna change that.

Rachel: Phoebe?

Phoebe: Hm?

Rachel: Did you get all this stuff for Joey to try and drive me out of the apartment? Honey, if you wanted to do that, you might as well just gotten him a fish. You know how fish freak me out!

19) “The One with Phoebe’s Wedding” (10 x 12)

Weddings gone awry is a classic trope that just about every sitcom has done and one that Friends visited three times over the course of its ten-year run (more on one of them later).  The final season of Friends spent a good chunk of its time tying up all the loose ends of the series, making sure all of our beloved gang (except for Joey because of that stupid spin-off. #neverforget) got to the places in their lives where we would be happy leaving them, knowing that they are okay.  What makes “Phoebe’s Wedding” so special is the way that the gang rallies around Phoebe (who more than any one of them, had relied on her friends as her family of choice) as she marries her perfect man in a ceremony that was traditional, yet so unique that it could ONLY be Phoebe’s wedding.  There are wonderful callbacks to previous moments in the series, from Monica being Phoebe’s Maid of Honor, just as the girls planned out when Rachel got to be Monica’s (“Yeah okay, you laugh now, but she’s gonna be yours.”) to Joey still being ordained so that he can step in when the blizzard prevents the minister from getting there (stepping up from his position of Phoebe’s dad, which don’t get me started on that scene, cause I will short-circuit my computer from all my tears).  I love how eventually the entire gang gets involved in the wedding, from Chandler walking Phoebe down the aisle (“Aren’t you cold?” “I don’t care, I’ll be my something blue!” “You look beautiful.” #cryingforever) to Ross escorting Rachel and Chappy in the procession.  Because even if it wasn’t how Phoebe and Mike intended, it wouldn’t have been right if all five of Phoebe’s best friends, who had been there with her through so much, hadn’t all be involved in the wedding.

Let’s discuss that perfect man, shall we?  While I always carried a secret torch for Joey and Phoebe (please, you did to), I recognized that it would be horribly clichéd if they ended up together.  Friends was better than that.  While Phoebe had some great suitors over the years (David, The Cop [till he shot a bird]), no man balanced out Phoebe Buffay like Mike Hannigan did.  On paper, you would have never thought that these two would work.  Mike was blue-blooded and a bit privileged (but with the soul of an artist) while Phoebe was daffy and free-spirited and had lived on the streets.  Yet they lit each other up.  Mike accepted everything about Phoebe at face value and embraced (and defended) her weirdness.  He became her anchor and she helped him embrace his own quirks.  He viewed every day with her as an adventure.  There could have been no man more worthy of her wonderfulness.

But the best part about the episode is how the wedding ended up taking place in front of Central Perk, this magical coffeehouse where Phoebe Buffay found her true family and became the person that Mike fell in love with.  Looking back, it couldn’t have taken place anywhere else.

— Kim

Best Line:

Phoebe: So there’s no one to walk me down the aisle and… well, I would just really love it if you would do it.

Joey: Seriously?

Phoebe: Yeah, you’ve… you know, sort of been like a dad to me. I mean, you’ve always, you know, looked out for me and shared your wisdom…

Joey: I am pretty wisdomous.

Phoebe: So… what do you say?

Joey: Are you kidding? Phoebe, I would be honored.

Phoebe: Oh, thank you. I hope… I hope you know how much you mean to me.

Joey: Listen, I hope…that you know…I don’t want you to see your father cry, GO TO YOUR ROOM!

18) “The One where Mr. Heckles Dies” (2 x 03)

I should no longer be surprised that Kim and I share a brain, but I was pleased to see that she also put this unassuming little season two episode on her shortlist. So much went down that year, particularly with Ross/Rachel and Monica/Richard; and there a lot of “event” episodes, some of which we’ll run into later. But “TOW Heckles Dies” stands out as a character study on Chandler Bing: insecure, dissatisfied, emotionally stunted.

I could have done with years more of Mr. Heckles weirding out the entire building. He made a big impact in a small amount of screentime, and it’s obligatory Friends fan behavior to yell “HECKLES!” when one sees Larry Hankin in anything else. But Friends killed him off to give Chandler his A-ha moment. Oprah would be proud.

Heckles goes to the lord with a broom in his hand, presumably in the process of sending a message to “Noisy Girl 1” and “Noisy Girl 2.” Then he sends them another, more inscrutable message. He leaves the contents of his entire apartment to Monica and Rachel. And while they sort out the remnants of his life, Chandler notices some striking parallels. Kooky hermits aren’t born that way. Heckles wasn’t always alone. He used to be the funniest guy in the room too. Chandler projects, assuming that Heckles alienated himself. And then Chandler decides that if he doesn’t stop rejecting the women he dates out of pickiness, he’ll eventually have to trade women in for snakes.

Chandler: “If I’m gonna be an old, lonely man, I’m gonna need a thing, you know, a hook, like that guy on the subway who eats his own face. So I figure I’ll be Crazy Man with a Snake, y’know. Crazy Snake Man. And I’ll get more snakes, call them my babies, kids will walk past my place, they will run. ‘Run away from Crazy Snake Man,’ they’ll shout!”

Though Crazy Man With A Snake would have been a better Friends spin-off than Joey, this was not to be. As his girls counsel him, Chandler isn’t in any danger of ending up alone. He wants too badly NOT to be.

The rest of “Heckles Dies” consists of conflict between other Friends. Rachel and Monica clash over ownership of their apartment when Rachel wants to bring some of their dead neighbor’s kitschy aesthetic into Apartment 20. (“Is this tacky or what? We have to have this.”) And Phoebe delights in infuriating Ross by proclaiming her disbelief in evolution (“It’s a nice story, I just think it’s a little too easy.”) and later, gravity. (“I don’t know, lately I get the feeling that I’m not so much being pulled down as I am being pushed.”) She knows exactly what she’s doing and Ross is just begging to be knocked off his high horse. He thinks of himself as someone practical and grounded, but Ross is definitely not as in control of his emotions as she is. (“Is there blood coming out of my ears?”) And Bravo, Lisa Kudrow, because you can practically see the evil gleam in Phoebe’s eyes when she knowingly exploits that.

–Sage

Best Line:

Rachel: Hey, Chandler. Monica broke my seashell lamp.

Chandler: NEAT. I’m gonna die alone.

Rachel: …Okay, you win.

17) “The One with All the Resolutions” (5 x 11)

When we first started putting this post together, much like we did with The X-Files and The Office, Sage and I independently made lists of episodes we would consider, exchanged them, and then pulled out all the ones we had listed in common (FORTY EPISODES #mindmeld) and then submitted episodes that we would fight for.  “The One With The Resolutions” was on my list, and I was SO HAPPY when I got a text message from Sage during her rewatch saying “Yeah, I am with you one ‘Resolutions'”.

The premise of the episode is simple: the gang makes their New Year’s Resolutions (“JUST THE ONE DIVORCE IN ’99!!!”…which is hilarious considering the events of the season finale in Vegas).  These resolutions vary in degrees of difficulty.  Chandler vows not to make fun of his friends for a week.  Rachel promises not to gossip.  Ross vows to try something new every day.  Joey decides to learn guitar.  Phoebe decides to become a pilot.  And once and for all proving that I am Monica and she is me, Monica promises to start taking more pictures of the gang.  Where “TOW All the Resolutions” succeeds is in the execution of just how hard it is for the gang to keep their resolutions (“Hornswaggle? Oh, this must be killing you!”).  Phoebe, much to Chandler’s chagrin and torment, is a terrible guitar teacher, from her “no strings policy” to her names for guitar chords (“Now, I don’t know the actual names of the chords but umm, I-I-I made up names for the way my hand looks while I’m doing them. So then, this is Bear Claw. Okay, umm, Turkey Leg and Old Lady.”).  Rachel finds out about Monica and Chandler and then can’t tell anyone without breaking her no gossip rule (“All right, how about I go over there and I will walk into Chandler’s bedroom and I will see that thing that I think that I know is actually the thing that I think that I know!”).  However, the shining moment of the episode comes from Ross and his Leather Pants.

I said it in my Ross Appreciation Post and I’ll say it again here: David Schwimmer never got enough credit for his brilliance as a physical comedian AND for the way he would use his voice to convey sheer and utter horror (I often wonder if they ACTUALLY put him in pants that were too small for him in this scene or if he was just ACTING like they wouldn’t come up.  Thoughts?).    Our favorite Ross is an unhinged Ross, and the way David builds Ross’ panic in this scene is fantastic.  If you don’t have tears rolling down your face by the time Ross dejectedly comes out of the bathroom, clutching his balled up leather pants over his junk, you may want to reexamine your sense of comedy.  Ross gets himself in ridiculous situations as the series progresses…the teeth bleaching, the spray tan…but the leather pants take the cake.  Bonus points to Joey for being the voice of reason on the other end of Ross’ phone call.

Joey: Ross? You okay?

Ross: They’re still, they’re still not coming on man and the lotion and the powder have made a paste!

Joey: Really?! Uhh, what color is it?

Ross: What difference does that make?!

Joey: Well, I’m just—if the paste matches the pants, you can make yourself a pair of paste pants and she won’t know the difference!

He’s putting out fires everywhere, people.

— Kim

Best Line:

Chandler: I can’t take it any more! So you win, okay? Pheebs? Flying a jet? Better make it a spaceship so that you can get back to your home planet! And Ross, phone call for you today – Tom Jones, he wants his pants back! And Hornswoggle? What? Are you dating a character from “Fraggle Rock”? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Continue reading

“Faster Than A Shark Attack” – Our Favorite Backstreet Boys Deep Cuts

Posted by Kim

I’ve always made my Boy Band Allegiance known.  I’m a Backstreet girl through and through, and I will NEVER be ashamed of that fact.  When Sage suggested that I should do a “Deep Cuts” post for BSB, it was a no brainer.  It’s also a perfect time to do so, as we’re seeing them play at Jones Beach this Sunday (Sage: Do I HAVE to sit thru Avril Lavigne? Kim: Why do you have to make it so complicated?).  I have not seen the Boys live since the Never Gone tour in 2005, so needless to say I am a little more than excited.  Do not fear…I will have a full recap of the concert next week!

The Backstreet Boys have been together for TWENTY ONE years now.  They have eight studio albums, so there is a wealth of material that was never released as a single to choose from.  There are obvious choices (if you don’t IMMEDIATELY say “Don’t Want You Back”, you may want to check your fan card at the door) for this list and there are some not so obvious choices (I would have just submitted the ENTIRE Never Gone album if the parameters allowed).  But one thing is certain: these are ALL great songs and I will scream my lungs out on Sunday if they sing any of them.

1) “Heaven In Your Eyes” (aka “I Need You Tonight”) – A Night Out With The Backstreet Boys

“Heaven In Your Eyes” was Nick’s solo for the concert special “A Night Out With The Backstreet Boys” (back when they didn’t have enough group music and each boy was given a full solo song) and was later repackaged as “I Need You Tonight” for Millennium, where they slapped on some backing vocals from the rest of the Boys for the final chorus.  Presumably they did this because Nick was being marketed as “the heart-throb” of the group, though I don’t know WHY they allowed him to have that haircut.  I mean…it was a long blond butt cut, you guys.  Do you think Nick and Justin Timberlake had each other on speed dial regarding their unfortunate hair styles?  I like to think they did.

Nevertheless, Nick’s vocals here are STELLAR and quite impressive considering he is a wee eighteen year old bb.  I never GOT Nick’s appeal until Black and Blue (precisely…the moment he threw the papers in the video for “Shape of My Heart”) but I can certainly see why the tweens liked him.

Favorite Lyric: I know that we have been through so much pain but I still need you in my life this time.  

2) “Don’t Want You Back” – Millennium

“Don’t Want You Back” was very nearly the fourth single off Millennium.  The Boys were running a “Choose Our Next Single” contest on Total Request Live (how much do I miss the heydays of TRL you guys?) and it was between “Don’t Want You Back” and “The One” .  “DWYB” was WINNING until Nick Carter had to go on the show and open his big mouth and say that HE preferred “The One”.  And thus, the Nick fangirls mobilized and “The One” was named the fourth single.  (I’m sure the label preferred that too as “The One” showcased the shiny happy Backstreet Boys, whilst “DWYB” was ANGRY Backstreet Boys…who I sometimes prefer.)

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE “The One” and I love the music video which shows highlights from the Into the Millennium tour.  But a VIDEO for “Don’t Want You Back” would have been AMAZING, no?  Another MASSIVE tragedy about “DWYB” never being released as a single is that we never got a mash-up with *NSYNC’s “I Want You Back”.  Get on that, internet.  I searched YouTube for one and it doesn’t exist.

Favorite Lyric:
You hit me faster than a shark attack
You saw my picture on the Backstreet’s Back, alright
And you were more than just a pretty face
But how you fooled me, I’m still amazed babe.

3) “Back To Your Heart” – Millennium

Obviously I am going to be partial to any song that is not only co-written by my Boo Kevin Richardson but also features him on the piano.  You all know how I feel about boys playing the piano.  I always imagined Kevin to be the angsty type so of course he would write this deliciously plaintive ballad…and if *I* was the girl he wrote this song for?  He would be back in my heart in a nano second.  I also think “Back to Your Heart” is a perfect showcase for A.J.’s soulful rasp (his remains my favorite VOICE of the group) and his wailed “Oh”s over the final chorus get me every time.

Also, can we discuss Kevin’s eyebrow game?  FIERCE.

Favorite Lyric: It’s not that I can’t live without you.
It’s just that I don’t even want to try.
Every night I dream about you
Ever since the day we said goodbye

4) “Get Another Boyfriend” – Black and Blue

I will NEVER understand why they only released three singles off of Black and Blue (it must have been because the label rushed the Greatest Hits album, yes?).  There were several other tracks that could have EASILY been a fourth single and “Get Another Boyfriend” is at the top of that list.  It’s danceable, has a soaring hook, and it would have been a KICK ASS video.  I saw the Black and Blue tour three times, and this one was always a favorite live, mainly for how A.J would always scream “GOOD GOD” right before the chorus kicked in.

Favorite Lyric: Let’s talk about what
He’s done to become your number one.
Or was it all the promises of diamonds,
pearls and party dresses that turned you on?

5) “Not For Me” – Black and Blue

“Not For Me” was another SUPER fun number done on the Black and Blue tour as evidenced by this video from the Yahoo! Livecast of the show (which a friend and I stayed in on a Friday night and watched even though we had literally seen the show on the fourth row two weeks before.  #sorrynotsorry).  WIND MACHINES!  RIPPING OFF SLEEVES (hai Kevin’s muscles)!  RAGEY BOYS!  (I told you I was a sucker for their angry songs).  The “No No Uh Uh” chorus that gets stuck in your head for hours on end.  It’s classic BSB.

Favorite Lyric: I don’t want to be part of your screenplay
Just tell me…did you rehearse on me?

Continue reading

Tony Week Spotlight – The 20 Best Performances, Part Two

Posted by Kim

Welcome back to our Tony Week coverage.  Every year as the Tonys draw near, I rediscover my love of theatre…musical theatre specifically.  There is truly nothing like it and when you love it…you love it for life.  It gets in your bones, doesn’t it?  As an adult, I may be a bit more cynical when it comes to the business of theatre and the politics of awards and who wins them, but every year when the Tony Broadcast begins, I am that wide-eyed kid watching in my living room, dreaming of moving to New York City to be on Broadway someday.  It never fails.

And now I proudly present my Top 10 Tony performance (all approved by Sage as well).  Enjoy!

10) “The Brotherhood of Man” – How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Fact: Daniel Radcliffe was ROBBED of a Tony Nomination for his work as J. Pierrepont Finch in the 2011 revival of How to Succeed.  I dare say that had he been nominated, he would have won.  His performance was charming and effervescent and Sage and I both sat in the audience like proud mamas.  Ever the consummate professional, DanRad showed up with his castmates Tony Night and gave the metaphorical middle finger to the Tony Nominators by dancing the SHIT out of the show-stopping (it literally stopped the show the night I saw it) “Brotherhood of Man”.  Rob Ashford’s choreography is INCREDIBLY athletic and complex and Dan more than holds his own with the Broadway chorus boys who have been training their whole lives.

DANCE HARRY POTTER DANCE.

9) “Being Alive” – Company

John Doyle’s minimalist production of Company, where all the actors played all their instruments (a conceit used much more effectively in his production of Sweeney Todd), was a bit of a mixed bag.  I felt that in the need to fill the roles with actors who could play the instruments as well, a lot of vocal power was sacrificed and the classic score didn’t SOAR as much as it could.  One thing I was not at ALL mixed on was the tour-de-force performance of Raul Esparza as perpetual bachelor Bobby.  Bobby is the one character who doesn’t play an instrument until he sings “Being Alive”.  It was a beautiful moment of surrender and you see in his tentative stroking of the keys that he truly IS finally ready to open himself up to someone (A note from Sage: Raul learned to play the piano specifically for this and IT WAS THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS LIFE).  Did that moment make the instrument conceit pay off?  ALMOST.

Remember what I said in yesterday’s post about the most effective performances sometimes being the ones with just a spotlight and a voice?  Yeah.  This is one of them.

And then he didn’t win.  NEVER FORGET.

8) “Rose’s Turn” – Gypsy

I know this is sacrilegious to many musical theatre lovers, but I saw both the Lupone production of Gypsy and the Bernadette Peters production…and I vastly preferred Peters and her take on Mama Rose.  Many said Bernadette was miscast.  She wasn’t a foghorn or big brassy dame like Merman or Daly or (eventually) LuPone.  But to me…that’s WHY she worked.  She was slightly softer and SEXIER and I hadn’t seen that before.

I was at the Tonys that year and you could have heard a PIN DROP as Bernadette did this.  It was nothing short of mesmerizing.  “Rose’s Turn” must be a hard song to perform out of context…the entire show is building towards it.  Yet Bernadette sauntered out on stage and proceeded to have a mental breakdown right there on National Television for all the haters to see.  I’ll never forget seeing it live for as long as I live.

(Oh and then she didn’t win.  I have never forgiven Marissa Jaret Winokur for that.)

7) “Gold” – Once

I had my doubts when it was announced that Once was being made into a Broadway musical.  One of my favorite movies of the aughts, I was afraid that the musical would lose the subtle delicacy of the story or that the folky music would get swallowed up in a big Broadway house.  Luckily my fears proved to be unfounded under Tony Winner John Tiffany’s exquisite direction and Tony Winner Enda Walsh’s book that wisely opened up the story where it needed to be opened, but still allowed the gentle melancholy to permeate the show.  Had it not been up against the incredibly athletic choreography of Newsies, I imagine Steven Hoggett’s movement would have won as well.  “Gold” showcases everything that is WONDERFUL and special about Once, from the gradual build to the joyous way the ensemble moves with their instruments as the music overtakes them.  Add in a Tony Winning performance from Steve Kazee as the Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy and a completely charming Future Dead Mother Cristin Milioti as the Girl who makes him come alive again and you’ve got magic.

I remember being at a Tony Viewing Party with some friends who are musicians and had not seen the show yet.  As soon as the number ended, they said “Now THAT is a show I’ve got to see.”

6) “Mama Who Bore Me/The Bitch of Living/Totally Fucked” – Spring Awakening

Medleys can often be clunky on the Tonys (which is why you don’t see The Secret Garden on this list), but Spring Awakening executed it perfectly.  From the choreography that doesn’t FEEL like choreography by Tony Winner Bill T. Jones to the spectacular lighting by Tony Winner Kevin Adams to the frenetic camerawork (well-played Tony director) to the powerhouse performances of its young cast, it captured everything that was ELECTRIC and thrilling about the show.  Remember the time when Lea Michele didn’t over-sing or over-emote EVERYTHING? (Sage: Barely.)

Also check out bb Skylar Astin and his hair do!

Continue reading

Fan Video Friday – A Thousand Years

Posted by Kim

Welcome back to Fan Video Friday, where we seek to fulfill all your procrastination needs for the last day of the work (and at the same time destroy you with feels/make you never want to hear certain songs again).  We made our case for the validity of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” when we guested on the Crash Chords Podcast earlier this spring.  Yes, this sweeping ballad was originally Edward and Bella’s wedding song…but aside from giving Anna Kendrick more exposure, it’s the one good thing to come out of the Twilight saga.  This song means so much more than Edward and Bella and here are some fan videos to prove it.

Amy and Rory – Doctor Who

Because there is no better song for The Last Centurion and the Girl Who Waited.  He LITERALLY waited 2000 years for her.

“Together…or not at all.”

Josh and Donna – The West Wing

Because it FELT like a thousand years before these two crazy kids got their shit together and admitted they were madly in love.

Eric and Sookie – True Blood

Because if this song is going to be about Vampires, I’ll take Alexander Skarsgard over RPatz any day.  And really the only reason I even WATCH True Blood is that Eric is often naked.

Shout out to our buddy Mindy who requested this pairing and found this video!

Maks and Meryl – Dancing With The Stars

Yes, they are real people.  No, I don’t care.

As this season of Dancing With The Stars progressed more and more of my Twitter timeline was drawn into the #ChmerkovskiySpiral as we watched The Big Bad Grumpy Russian and the Ice Princess fall madly in love.  It started out innocently enough but by the finale Maks and Meryl had whipped us into the kind of fangirl frenzy that is usually only reserved for the likes of Tom Hiddleston or David Tennant.  The way they would dance together, the way they LOOKED at each other, the blatant displays of affection…DWTS has had its share of showmances in the past, but M&M took it to a whole new level.  You can’t TELL me they aren’t in love (to the point I started screaming “STOP YOU’LL SCARE THEM” anytime a nosy reporter asked if they were dating).  If they are not, someone go ahead and give them Academy Awards right now.

And just taking this opportunity to remind you about this:

Continue reading

Fan Video Friday – “Fix You”

Posted by Kim

Welcome to our new series: Fan Video Friday!  Because what fangirl hasn’t spent hours upon hours falling down the YouTube Rabbit Hole of Fandom Videos?  Plus…it’s Friday and you don’t feel like working today, do you?

This week we spotlight David Tennant’s second favorite song (after “(I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles” that is), “Fix You” by Coldplay.  “Fix You” is the anthem for every angsty OTP .  Video requirements include longing looks, tears, running montages, grabby and desperate kisses, and hospital bed vigils.  These are typically the couples of your hour long dramas.  The couples that have seasons upon seasons of UST before FINALLY getting together.  The couples that give you ALL the feels.  I’ve pulled a sampling of the best “Fix You” videos for your pleasure and tears.   Watch them all or watch the ones specific to your interests.  Enjoy!

Meredith and Derek – Grey’s Anatomy

For many many seasons, these two were the DEFINITION of angst.  They may be happily married NOW (but according to last night’s finale, we’ve got some rocky waters ahead)…but there will always be natural disasters and rogue gunmen to cause these two some drama.  Bonus points for the PERFECT use of the house of candles at the end of this video.

The Tenth Doctor – Doctor Who

Sure we could have used a Ten and Rose video, but when David Tennant’s Doctor is the KING of angst, why not do a tribute to his entire era? Bonus points to the RUDE use of TenToo on “Get what you want but not what you need”.

Booth and Brennan – Bones

Hart Hanson kept these soulmates apart for SIX SEASONS you guys.  Angsty McAngesterson.  Yes, it took longer for Mulder and Scully to get together, but these two were professing their feelings openly long before they did, so really it was just torture/fear of ruining the show dynamic that kept them apart.  And that bitch Hannah.

Mulder and Scully – The X-Files

Ultimate angsty UST-y OTP is ultimate.  Quoth Kelly, who is about to start the series, when I showed her this video: “I see I am in for a LOT of Hospital Bedsides.”

Sydney and Vaughn – Alias

These two though.

Continue reading

“Wait For It…” – How I Met Your Mother’s 20 Most LEGENDARY Episodes, Part Two

Posted by Kim

So here we are.  The end of the line.  Tonight Ted Mosby finally meets the woman he’s been waiting for his whole life.  I’m cramming 7 of my friends into my tiny studio apartment so we can all watch together.  We’re ordering wings.  Sumbitches have been made by Kelly, I’m PRETTY sure Sage is picking up a “Dammit Trudy what about the pineapple” upside down cake, and I have assembled a cheese plate with goat cheese and a gouda that would make Marshall proud.  Tonight, we say goodbye.   It’s been a hell of a ride, How I Met Your Mother.  Just TRY not to crush us too much in the end, okay?  I really love my DVDs and I REALLY don’t want to burn them if you go against EVERY PHILOSOPHY YOU HAVE PURPORTED YOURSELF TO BE ABOUT, OKAY?

Whew.  Sorry for yelling.  I’m just a wee bit invested in Ted Mosby’s happiness, okay?

I’ve got to say I’m pretty proud of this top 10.  While some personal favorites missed the cut for this post (sorry “Drumroll, Please” and “Spoiler Alert”), I feel these ten episodes represent the best of what How I Met Your Mother can do.   The show was always a mix of absurdity, hilarity, and feels.  It was a show that unabashedly wore its heart on its sleeve.  I’m going to miss it terribly.  But, to paraphrase Empire Rcords, we mustn’t dwell.  Not today.  Not on finale day!

Suit up and read on about my top ten.  I think they are legen…wait for it…and I hope you are not lactose intolerant because the last part of that word is DARY.  LEGENDARY!

10) How Your Mother Met Me (9 x16)

 

It was always thought (much to HIMYM fans’ dismay) that we wouldn’t meet the Mother until the series finale.  I say “dismay” because after all the build-up we desperately wanted to see Ted and the Mother falling in love.  We had invested too much time in Ted’s journey to NOT get some sort of payoff.  So imagine my delight when with the words “One Ticket to Farhampton, please” (one of our top 20 TV Moments of 2013), Carter Bays and Craig Thomas changed the game.  There she was.  The future Mrs. Ted Mosby.  And my only reaction was…of COURSE this is her.

It’s a true testament to both the writing and actress Cristin Milioti that it has been so easy to fall in love with the Mother.  Her presence has invigorated every episode that she’s been in.  She’s warm, she’s goofy, and she’s a fully realized character.  It’s incredibly fitting that HIMYM spent its 200th episode filling in the blanks of the Mother’s story.  Throughout this final season we’ve seen the way the Mother met all of Ted’s friends and we’ve seen important moments in her relationship with Ted, but until this episode we didn’t know what made the Mother the person she is and what brought her to the point of meeting our hero.

It would have been easy to make the Mother your typical manic pixie dream girl, but HIMYM has never believed in easy.  The Mother has known PAIN.  She lost the love of her life on her 21st birthday (also the night Marshall and Lily got engaged and Ted met Robin).  Way to slap me in the feels right from the beginning, guys.  The rest of the episode deals with how the Mother heals from that loss while peppering in delightful little callbacks to previous episodes.  The Mother is the one who proves The Naked Man only works 2 out of 3 times.  She understood that “Puzzles” WAS the puzzle.  We saw her laughing with Cindy when Ted was teaching the wrong class and we saw her perspective of Ted being in her apartment during “Girls vs. Suits”.  It all further emphasized just how close (but how far) the Mother and Ted have been and how much they needed to go through to be ready for each other.

“How Your Mother Met Me” culminates in two beautiful moments that if they DIDN’T move you to tears, I fear for the state of your soul.  The first was a touching monologue by the Mother to Max as she pondered a marriage proposal from Lewis .  The Mother FINALLY realized she needed to fully let go of her love for Max and get to living and loving again (even if it wasn’t loving Lewis).  Cristin’s acting during that scene = A+.  The second was a lovely and bittersweet montage as the Mother sat on her porch at the Farhampton Inn singing “La Vie en Rose”.  We visit all five of our main ensemble during this montage.  We see Marshall and Lily dealing with the aftermath of one of the biggest fights of their marriage.  We see Robin crawling into bed on the eve of her wedding.  We see Barney passing out drunkenly after the bender of the post-rehearsal partying.  And we see Ted…also sitting on his balcony, smiling pensively as he listens to the melancholy singing of the girl in the room next to him.  A wall separates him from the woman who will change his life and he doesn’t even know it.  All he knows is that the singing is beautiful.  It’s HIMYM at it’s finest.

 

JUST DON’T MAKE US FALL IN LOVE WITH THE MOTHER AND THEN KILL HER, OKAY SHOW?

Best Line:

The Mother: Hi, Max. It’s me. Sorry to interrupt. I know you’re probably up there playing baseball with your dad. Um, look, I-I’ve got a situation here. I think that I have been holding myself back from falling in love again. And I think it’s because I can’t let you go. But you’re not here anymore so I have to ask this: Would it be okay if I moved on? I realize that you have no way of answering that, but, um… (wind blows into her face) Oh, okay. I will take that as yes. Um, in that case, I should get back in there. (Walks to the door, stops and turns back) I guess this is it. For real this time. Bye, Max.

9) Ten Sessions (3 x 13)

“Ten Sessions” is often known as two things: The Britney Spears episode and the Two Minute Date episode.  Let’s talk about Britney first.  I was terrified when the news broke that Britney was guest starring.  It was post her “Gimme More” disaster on the VMAs, it was in the middle of her life being taken over with a conservatorship, all of it just SCREAMED ratings grabbing potential train wreck.  And let’s be honest, it WAS a shameless ratings grab, as it was the second episode post Writer’s Strike (and we KNOW how many shows that killed) and the show had modest ratings the entire season (Season Three remains the lowest rated season of the series).  Many people probably tuned in hoping to see a disaster but instead they got a sweet and thoroughly competent performance from BritBrit and a fantastic episode of How I Met Your Mother to boot.  Was she amazing?  No.  But she was cute and she was funny and she brought more eyeballs to the show, so mission accomplished.

The shadow of Britney loomed so large over this episode, that when Alicia Silverstone was offered the role of Stella Zinman, Ted’s dermatologist, she turned it down out of fear of playing second fiddle.  Her loss, our gain as we then got Sarah Chalke as Stella.  I often wonder if Alicia regrets turning down a part that became an integral thread in the HIMYM story?  I know a lot of people have many things to say about Stella as a character (she DID leave Ted Mosby at the altar after all, crushing our boy’s romantic spirit and making him cynical), but you can’t deny Chalke’s warmth and goofiness and likeability in “Ten Sessions”.  And the Two Minute Date?  That is everything about Ted Mosby in a nutshell.  Ted is a believer in the grand gesture.  We saw it when he stole the Blue French Horn for Robin in the pilot and we saw it many many MANY times over the course of the series.  He’s earnest, he’s sweet, he’s juuuuuuuuuuuuust a little bit too much…but at the same time it’s impossible to not be charmed by him.  The Two Minute Date is the ULTIMATE in Ted Mosby gestures.  What kind of guy picks up on the fact that you constantly say you only have two minutes for lunch and then sets out to cram an entire evening into two minutes just to take you out on a date?  Ted Mosby, that’s who.  If I were to try to explain Ted’s character to someone who had never seen the series, this is the scene I would show them.

Best Line:

Ted: Look, I would love to have a second date, I would. But I understand that you really don’t have time right now, but if you ever do, will you give me a call?

Stella: Yes.

Ted: Okay.

Future Ted: And that, kids, is how you turn a “no” into a “yes.”

8) “Slapsgiving” (3 x 19)

I’m a sucker for an excellent Thanksgiving episode.  Of course, Friends will always own the title of best Thanksgiving episodes ever (one might even say those episodes became the signature episodes of the series), but “Slapsgiving” is a worthy entry into the Thanksgiving Canon.  The best Thanksgiving episodes are the ones that capture the chaos of the day, the desperation of the hostess to prepare for her guests, and the way tensions can explode when you have all your friends gathered in one room.  Add in the doom from an impending slap across the face and you have the recipe for a cracking good holiday episode.

“Slapsgiving” tackles the question of how you remain friends with an Ex. Now, in real life, when you break up with someone and you have mutual friends, it’s usually settled with some sort of custody agreement or effort is made not to have the two parties in the same room. You certainly don’t SEE them everyday. But this isn’t real life, this is television, and television dictates that the 5 principal actors all remain on the show.  Thus, we have to deal with Ted and Robin trying to figure out how to navigate this tricky territory, especially when it comes to being alone together and knowing what to say to each other.

While we had a Thanksgiving episode in season one with “Belly Full of Turkey”, “Slapsgiving” is the first time the entire gang is together for the holiday.  Lily, in full on Monica Geller mode, just wants her first thanksgiving as a married couple to be perfect.  Her husband, on the other hand, spends the day psychologically torturing Barney as his slap countdown clock (which we saw in the season premiere) counts down to zero.  Ted and Robin are just trying to remain polite after a ex-sex incident the night before baking pies.  The room is a ticking time bomb and when everything explodes, Lily, in a fit of rage, uses her powers as Slap Bet Commissioner to declare it a Slap Free Day.  It’s her equivalent of telling everyone to go to their rooms.

Robin: Look at us! We can’t be alone together, can we?

Ted: Apparently not.

Robin: What does that mean? We’re supposed to be friends.

Ted: We aren’t friends, are we? Not really. We avoid each other. We smile politely. We’re two people who pretend to be friends because it would be inconvenient not to.

Robin: Well, maybe we should stop pretending.

Ted: Maybe we should.

Robin: So… what do we do now?

Ted: I suppose… we eat dinner. And then that’s it.

Robin: Okay.

It’s awkward and awful and we’ve all soooooooooooooo been there right?  And then, as future Ted says, something miraculous happens.  They all begrudgingly sit down to dinner.  All Lily wants is for everyone to get out of the house.  Marshall makes a toast thanking his wife for the wonderful meal and thanking all of his friends for being there with them.  The room begins to thaw.  And then Bob (Robin’s date) says “major buzzkill” and Ted and Robin, who had just declared their friendship over, both automatically do their Salute inside joke (a joke that we see peppered throughout the rest of the series).  In that moment, you know that these two are going to be okay eventually.

And then, of course, Barney begins taunting Marshall about not being able to slap him, and at the last moment of the countdown, Lily revokes her rule.  Marshall uses his third slap and then serenades the group with a song he wrote just for the occasion (“You just got slapped…across the face my friend…”).  Not a bad Thanksgiving at all, if I do say so myself.

Best Line:

Barney: Oh God, don’t slap me again! I don’t want to get slapped again! The first two times hurt so bad, I don’t like, I don’t like it one bit!

Marshall: Well, I thought I ruined it by putting a clock on it, Barney?

Barney: Well, you didn’t ruin it, you made it so much worse! I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I’ve lost 10 pounds, my suits are wearing me! You know what I am out of here!

Marshall: What? No, no, you can’t leave!

Barney: There is nothing in the rules that says I have to be subjected to this kind of psychological torture. You can slap my face, but you cannot slap my mind! Good day!

7) “How I Met Everyone Else” (3 x 05)

Every long running sitcom about a group of friends eventually tells the origin story of how the group of friends came together.  “How I Met Everyone Else” is obviously HIMYM‘s entry into this trope and boy, is it delightful. The episode is framed around Ted bringing his new girlfriend Blah-Blah (whose name, we learned in Season Nine, was actually Carol) to meet his group of friends.  Blah-Blah is embarrassed that she and Ted actually met online (cause meeting people online was still a bit of a novelty in 2007) so she has constructed an elaborate lie about how she and Ted actually met in a cooking class.  Blah-Blah wants to know the story of how Ted met everyone else…cue the flashbacks to Wesleyan!

The episode takes cues from all the flashback episodes of Friends and paints the core trio of Ted, Marshall and Lily as COMPLETELY different people than the ones we know today.  Lily is a Goth girl.  Ted a pretentious douche with a fro of curly hair and John Lennon spectacles.  And Marshall is a stoner.  Forgive me…he’s a sandwich eater.

I can’t even describe how much I love college Marshall, Lily, and Ted.  We had flashbacks to these days in previous episodes, but much like Fat Monica, it never gets old.  The flashbacks also further emphasises how much these three are friends for LIFE.  Cause if someone loves you when you are cut your Pinot Noir with cranberry juice, because the wine was just a little too strong, they will love you when you are old and gray.

The episode also introduces us to the Hot/Crazy scale, which Barney spends most of the evening ranking Blah-Blah on.  It’s another one of those terms that How I Met Your Mother is famous for.  And it’s also entirely accurate, I’ve seen it in action.

I also forever giggle at Robin’s reaction to Blah-Blah asking how Robin and Barney got together.  Oh honey…you’re going to marry those Sixteen Nos in seven years.

Best Line:

Robin: Wait, ‘hot/crazy’ scale?

Barney: Let me illustrate! [draws diagram] A girl is allowed to be crazy as long as she is equally hot. Thus, if she’s *this* crazy, she has to be *this* hot. You want the girl to be above this line. Also known as the ‘Vickie Mendoza Diagonal’. This girl I dated. She played jump rope with that line. She’d shave her head, then lose 10 pounds. She’d stab me with a fork, then get a boob job. [pauses] I should give her a call.

6) The Limo (1 x 11)

I loathe New Year’s Eve.  There is always way too much expectation to do something EPIC when in reality you end up paying exorbitant amounts to get INTO a bar (probably one you got into for free the night before) to get smushed around with all sorts of drunk amateurs fighting over the 2 hours of open bar (in which your drink is the size of a thimble).  There’s all the pressure to have someone to kiss at midnight and to have all the life changing resolutions made by midnight.

I’d rather be at home on my couch with Chinese food, wine, and Netflix, thank you very much.

Barney: Give it a rest, Ted.

Ted: Give what a rest?

Barney: Trying to turn this night into anything more than what it is, which is New Year’s Eve which is the single biggest letdown of a night every single year.

“The Limo” tackles the issue of New Year’s Eve dead on.  Ted, in all of his adorable and earnest Mosby-ness, tries to make New Year’s Eve a magical one for his friends .  He has a list of the best parties and he has a limo driven by their pal Ranjiit.  They have Barney’s “Get Psyched” mix (“It’s ALL RISE, baby!”).  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, a lot of things.  They pick up Moby, who turns out to NOT be Moby, but a guy named Eric who is heading to party number four with a gun.  They get separated from Lily, who goes home to change her shoes in the middle of the evening.  They get separated from Marshall, who later runs off in search of his wife (who they actually found at Fauxby’s party).  The Get Psyched mix is stolen.  Ted’s date MaryBeth picks up on all the UST between Ted and Robin and decides to spend the rest of the evening elsewhere.  The limo gets a flat tire.  Basically, it becomes your typical New Year’s Eve.

Ted and Barney bemoan this fact as they perch out of the sunroof while Lily hopelessly screams “Marshalllllllllllllllllllllllllll!” into the abyss.  And then a miracle happens.

“LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYY!!”

Marshall comes running through the steam to the strains of “You Give Love a Bad Name”.  Against all odds, he found them.  He has the Get Psyched Mix.  And he has news that party number five is RAGING.  It’s a moment of magic that can only happen on a night like New Year’s Eve.  Which is WHY people make such a big deal about that stupid night in the first place.   Of course, being ten minutes to midnight, they get stuck in traffic.  But it no longer matters.  As Future Ted reflects, “And just like that, we were having the perfect New Year’s Eve. The funny thing is all night long, I’d been trying to chase something down that was right there in that limo.”

My feels, you guys.

Best Line:

Barney: Yeah, you know why all the circuits are jammed because everyone’s calling their loved ones, everyone around the world. Everyone except Barney. Oh, sure, laugh. Laugh for Barney Stinson. Laugh for the sad clown trapped on his whirling carousel of suits and cigars and bimbos and booze. Round and round it goes. And where’s it all heading? Nowhere.

Robin: Is this just ’cause you lost your “Get Psyched” mix?

Barney: I’m sorry. Am I not allowed to have a pensive side?

5) “Bad News”/ “Last Words” (6 x13, 6 x 14)

 

I remember watching “Bad News” for the first time.  It seemed to be just an average episode.  And then around seeing the number 30 placed prominently, I realized there was some sort of countdown going on within the episode.  At first, I just thought it was just another clever HIMYM Easter Egg gimmick.  As the numbers appeared faster and faster, I began to grow anxious, since it was clear SOMETHING was going to happen.  And then Marshall got the great news that everything was okay with him as far as his fertility (Lily had gotten the same news earlier in the episode) and he went outside to call his dad.  The phone rang and rang.  Lily pulled up in a cab with the number “1” on it and got out.  She tearfully delivered the news to her husband that his father was dead.

It felt like a punch to the stomach.  Tears streamed down my face as I watched him embrace his wife on the street in front of McClaren’s.  “I’m not ready for this,” Marshall groaned.  Neither were we, Marshall.  Neither were we.

Out of all the people in our gang, it is most devastating that this happened to Marshall.  I’ve always considered Marshall the innocent of the group, the one who truly believes in the goodness of people, the one with the biggest heart.  Marshall was the only one whose parents were still happily married.  Marshall, aside from the merciless teasing of his brothers, is the one who had the charmed childhood.  He was the only one who didn’t have a tense relationship with his parents, specifically with his father.  He talked to his dad everyday.  He even had a running game of Go Fish with his dad.  Losing his father was the worst possible thing that could happen to him…and it did.  Because that’s what happens in life sometimes.  The worst, most unfair things can happen to the people who deserve them the least.

It’s well-known in HIMYM lore that the writers pulled a fast one on Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel for the final scene of “Bad News”.  At the table read, they were led to believe the final scene would be Lily telling Marshall we was pregnant.  On the day of filming, they switched the final page.  Jason only knew that the last line of Alyson’s would be “it” and that would be his cue to react.  So that whimpered “My Dad’s dead”?  The groaned “I’m not ready for this”?  MADE UP ON THE SPOT.  They did the scene in one take, and it remains Alyson’s most memorable moment of the series, as she rudely reminded us on Inside The Actor’s Studio.

I never know what to do with myself at funerals.  There’s only so many times you can say “I’m sorry for your loss” before it becomes meaningless.  That’s why “Last Words” is such a stellar episode as we see Marshall’s friends rally around him and try to help him through his grief.  The way each one of them reacted made perfect sense.  Robin, in a callback (to me anyway) of how she knew Lily needed a cigarette on her wedding day, had her bag full of vices, trying to anticipate everything Marshall needed.  Ted and Barney, in typical bro fashion, did their best to try to make Marshall laugh.  Lily threw herself upon the mercy of her mother-in-law in the only way a good wife and daughter-in-law can by allowing her to take any potshot at her.  It was all beautiful and awkward and sad and true to life.

Marshall’s discovery of a voicemail from his dad and his subsequent rage over the fact that it was a pocket dial is Jason Segel’s finest acting moment of the series.  In fact, I would argue it’s one of the best scenes for the entire ensemble of the entire series.  If you have the strength to watch the episode again (I’ve watched it TWICE in the span of 2 weeks for the purposes of this post and because I’m a masochist), watch the faces of Lily, Robin, Ted, and Barney as Marshall yells at the universe about losing his father.  Their pain for their friend is palpable.  They flinch at every rage filled and grief-stricken statement.  It’s all incredibly visceral and present and shows just how seamless the ensemble is.

As if I weren’t crying enough at seeing my precious Marshmallow rage at the universe, the wind was REALLY knocked out of me when suddenly Marvin’s voice rang out of the cell phone, once he realized he had pocket dialed his son.  In true HIMYM fashion, they had the universe give Marshall one last gift from his dad: having his last words to his son be “I love you”.  Okay…so they were REALLY “Ooh, and let me know if you find my foot cream. That fungus thing is acting up again” but we’re pretending we didn’t her that part, okay?

As to whether Crocodile Dundee III really holds up? You’ll have to let me know in the comments.

Best Line:

Marshall: You guys don’t get it, okay? None of you do. My dad was my hero. And he was my teacher. And he was my best friend. He always came through for me, and now he’s just gone. And what am I left with? (Plays static message and yells at the sky) Thanks a lot God, thank you. You took my father. The greatest man that I have ever known, and you whipped him off this Earth, way too young. And he’ll never get to meet our kids, Lily. But we’ve got this voice mail. Thank you so much for the voice mail, it’s a great comfort. Because whenever I’m starting to feel lonely, or sad, or maybe a little bit cheated, at least I’ve got the sound of his pocket to console me. How is this fair? You’ve got an entire human life, and it just ends for no reason. And what are we left with?

Marvin Eriksen Sr.: (Over the voice mail message) Marshall? Looks like I’ve been calling you for over five minutes. How’s my pocket sound? Sorry about that buddy. Anyway, your mom and I had such a great time seeing you.  I love you.

4) “Subway Wars” (6 x 04)

 

On its surface, “Subway Wars” is How I Met Your Mother‘s tribute to The Amazing Race.  It’s a raucous romp through New York City as the gang races through every method of transportation to get to a Steak House in the Financial District (which, given that McClaren’s is on the Upper West Side, let me tell you, as a New Yorker, that IS a trek).  It’s a wonderful rumination on just what DOES make you a New Yorker, because everyone has different criteria.  For the record, my definition includes living here ten years (I’ve lived here for 13, boom! Also, I’m old).  I have yet to steal a cab from someone who needed it more but I HAVE cried with abandon on the subway (many many times).  I definitely agree with Ted’s statement “If you can’t spot the crazy person on the bus, it’s you” (luckily, I rarely take the bus).  Learning to understand “conductor” IS an art.  And yes, sometimes I DO think that I get to places by walking faster than I could on the Subway.  Everything in this episode is so spot on when it comes to life in New York.

But really, at its core, “Subway Wars” is a story about how New York City can kick your ass.  All of our characters (save Barney) are going through it in this episode, but none more so than Robin.  She’s been through a horrible break-up, she’s miserable at work…as she says she feels like the City is outright rejecting her.  I could ask any of my friends that have lived here for an extended period of time if the City has ever made them feel that way and I can unequivocally say that they would all say “hell yes it has”.  New York can be the loneliest city in the world.  People get wrapped up in their own lives and not have time to see anything except what’s right in front of them (like when Robin tries to tell Barney what she’s going though and he doesn’t hear her or realize just how serious she is).  There have been many times where I have felt I have had enough and thought about packing it in.  But then I’ll have a happy hour with Sage and my girlfriends or brunch with my cluster of college friends who have all migrated here or have a night at the theatre and I’ll remember WHY I’m still here after thirteen years.  New York may kick my ass, but I wouldn’t have it any other way (and sometimes, you need to kick its ass right back).  You just have to make the effort not to lose yourself and stay present with your support system, and I think that’s the realization that our gang comes to at the end of the episode.

Also Barney sacrificing himself and tackling Ted so Robin can win the race?  Ship, ship, ship it.

Best Line:

Robin: I am done with this city. It wins.  I just want to move somewhere new and start over.

Lily: You’ve had a rough year. But you’re tough. And I love you like crazy. If you left, I’d have to follow you. And Marshall would follow me. And Ted would follow him. The only upside is that we might get rid of Barney.

3) “Three Days of Snow” (4 x 13)

One of the hallmarks of How I Met Your Mother has been it’s ability to play with timelines and story structure.  We have an unreliable narrator in the form of future Ted, who forgets names and mixes up details and dates (see also: the several season tease about his birthday where he got beaten up by a goat), which gives the show the freedom to trick the audience into thinking they are seeing something they are not.  This conceit is sued to maximum impact in “Three Days of Snow”.  For a good bit of the episode, we believe this is all happening in one night.  That while Marshall and Robin are fighting in the car on the way to pick up Lily from the airport (while Lily herself is desperately trying to get a micro-brew for Marshall with the help of Ranjiit), Ted and Barney are running Puzzles…erm…McClaren’s.  And then future Ted reveals that these events actually took place over three nights, which sets up one of the sweetest moments in the show’s history.

Let’s talk about Lily and Marshall in this episode.  From as early as “Okay Awesome” in season one, Lily seems obsessed with trying to move past the adorable mushyness of their relationship and have a mature and classy one.  But that’s just not who Marshall and Lily are.  They ARE the couple that tells each other everything.  They are the couple who calls each other everyday at lunch just to say “I love you”.  They are the couple who enjoys entering the Halloween costume contest every year and they are the couple who will always meet each other at the airport and they are so much better when they just embrace that fact.  Sure, traditions shift as a relationship grows and as they age, but Marshall and Lily will always be the couple that you outwardly roll your eyes at their adoration for each other, but deep down you want what they have.

The end of “Three Days of Snow” never fails to make me cry.  Lily sits at the airport alone as she realizes Marshall didn’t come pick her up after all.  In true New York fashion, one musician mournfully plays “Auld Lang Syne” and she begins to cry.  But then…more musicians join in playing the same thing.  A whole marching band joins and Marshall appears carrying a sign that says “LilyPad” and Lily begins to cry for a different reason (Alyson is truly wonderful in this scene)…

Marshall: A muffin, a pastrami sandwich, and a bag of chips.  And I know it’s way past lunchtime, but I love you.  More and more each day, I love you, Lily.  Happy New Year. (Lily kisses him) Um, wait, does this mean that I have to bring a marching band to the airport from now on?

Lily: Absolutely, it does.

Marhsall: Crap.

Ted Mosby…you’ve got some competition in the grand gesture department and his name is Marshall Eriksen.

Best Line:

Ted: We should buy a bar!

Barney: Of course, we should buy a bar!

Ted: We should totally buy a bar.

Barney: We should totally buy a bar. Our bar would be awesome. And dude, dude, dude, dude… the name of our bar… Puzzles. (Ted is astonished by the proposition) People will be, like, “Why is it called Puzzles?”. That’s the puzzle!

2) “The Pineapple Incident” (1 x 10)

We’ve all had one of those nights.  One of those nights where we go on a bender and have NO idea how we got home or exactly what happened the night before.  I know I have.  I’ve had mornings where I have woken up having zero recollection of how I got home the night before (I have the scar on my leg to prove it), where I am amazed that not only am I home with all of my valuables and the door locked, but I still managed to get my dog into the bed with me.  But I have never woken up with an unexplained pineapple next to my bed.

When I read Entertainment Weekly‘s top 50 (FIFTY.  Still not over it.) list of episodes, I was APPALLED that “The Pineapple Incident” was ranked at TWENTY SEVEN.  Not even in the top HALF.  For me, “The Pineapple Incident” makes a good case for being the number one episode, despite everyone agreeing what the greatest all time episode of HIMYM is.  “The Pineapple Incident” is delightfully absurd, endlessly quotable, and has spurred gifs upon gifs of Drunk Ted letting loose.  Much like Sage struggled with choosing only one quote for “Bad Blood” when she wrote about our number two X-Files episode, there was no way I could narrow down this episode to one quote.  So instead of giving you a dissertation on why this episode is awesome and worthy of the number two spot on this list, I’m going to show you through quotes and gifs.

Hopefully, it will make you forgive me for making you cry earlier in this post.

Barney: “Ted, I believe you and I met for a reason. It’s like the universe was saying, “Hey Barney, there’s this dude, he’s pretty cool, but it is your job to make him awesome.” Your brain screws you up, Ted. It gets in the way. It happened with Robin, it happened with Half-boob, and its gonna keep happening until you power down that bucket of neuroses inebriation-style.”

Ted:  How quickly you all forget. I haven’t puked since high school. I am vomit-free since ninety-three. Vomit free since ninety-three. That’s funny. I’m funny.

Nothing speaks better for a fandom love fest than this does.

Ted: I’m calling Robin.

Barney: Ted, as your mentor and spiritual guide, I forbid you from calling her.

Ted: Oh yeah? What you gonna do?

Barney: If you complete that call, I will set your coat on fire.

Ted: You’re bluffing.

Ted: Why do they call it karaoke anyhow? Was it invented by a woman named Carrie Okie? These are the kinds of things I think about.

Trudy: Karaoke is Japanese for empty orchestra.

Ted: That’s hauntingly beautiful.

Fact: I quote that line every time we go karaoke.  Ask Sage.

Word on the internet is that we’re FINALLY going to find out about the pineapple tonight.  Part of me never wants to know, because as I said with “Slutty Pumpkin”, sometimes the mystery is better than the answer.  But the other part of me can’t WAIT to find out.

Best Line:

Ted: Barney, you’ve always taken care of me. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Go into my stable and take my finest stallion. He’s yours, his name is Windjammer.

1) “Slap Bet” (2 x 09)

What can I say about “Slap Bet” that hasn’t been said before?  As various websites have compiled their lists of How I Met Your Mother‘s finest moments, there has been one thing they’ve all agreed on: “Slap Bet” is the definitive episode of the series.  It’s the episode that you would show to someone whose never seen the show to demonstrate everything the series is about.  The episode give us THE longest running joke of the show in the form of Marshall and Barney’s Slap Bet (for the record, I side with Ted on this issue.  I would have taken the 10 slaps in a row).  While Marshall dispensed with the first two slaps rather quickly (the second slap came later in Season 2 as a way to stop Barney’s one man show), the show took great pleasure in stretching out the rest of the slap bet over the course of the run.  I had always dreamed that the final slap would take place in the series finale, with Old Man Marshall slapping Old Man Barney, but I gotta say, Marshall sacrificing the last slap to keep Barney from bolting at the altar was a fantastic move.

“Slap Bet” also gave us the gift that kept on giving in creating Robin Sparkles.  I love that they decided to give Robin (scotch swilling, cigar smoking, gun loving, not-at-all-a-girly-girl Robin) a secret past as a ridiculous and cheesy (and awesome) pop star.  It was so delightfully unexpected and while they went back to the Robin Sparkles well many times over the course of the series, none had the impact and element of surprise and joy that “Let’s Go To The Mall” did.

Also HOW did “Let’s Go to the Mall” NOT get an Emmy Nomination for Original Music and Lyrics?  Emmy Voters, I hate so much about the things you choose to be.

Best Line:

Barney: Your tombstone will read “Lily Aldrin: Caring wife, loving friend and Slap Bet Commissioner”

Marshall: And on Barney’s grave it’ll read “Got slapped by Marshall so hard he died.”

What are YOUR favorite episodes of How I Met Your Mother?  Are you ready for Ted to FINALLY meet her?  Just how many tissues WILL you go through tonight?  Let us know in the comments!