There was so much to love about How I Met Your Mother‘s “Slutty Pumpkin Returns” episode — but oddly enough, a lot of it had nothing to do with the Slutty Pumpkin. You see, last night was another one of those weird HIMYM episodes that draws me in because I’m excited about one thing and I end up loving something else entirely.
In this case, we were all, obviously, excited about the return of the Slutty Pumpkin, that girl who ten years ago escaped Ted’s grasp, leaving him only with the memory of a scantily-clad squash with a gift for drink mixing. But upon finding her, Ted was less than thrilled with the chemistry they shared. In fact, it was downright awkward. Hand-holding, cuddling, and even kissing came unnaturally to the pair. Well, to Ted, at least. Naomi (she of the Slutty legend) seemed to be into it — key word: seemed.
We later learned she was putting up a very good show. She, like Ted, had built up the idea of this mystery man who got away. For her, there was a Mr. Right out there, and his name was Chad — hanging chad. And even though a series of misunderstandings had led Ted to thinking otherwise, she felt every bit of strange non-chemistry as Ted did. Luckily, they cleared the air and parted ways.
I thought all of this was well conceptualized. I especially loved the deeper message that this episode held for Ted, the perpetual dreamer. It was a reality check, and a reminder that dreams, while lovely, are just concepts. I think the episode helped open Ted’s eyes to the present instead of living in past ideas and dreams. Ted’s growing up. Or maybe your recapper Sandra went out on Halloween night and had a few too many Tootsie Rolls. Tootsie Rolls make me reflective.
Where the Slutty Pumpkin episode went wrong was casting, I’m sorry to say. Don’t get me wrong, Katie Holmes definitely had her charms — particularly after we found out that Naomi shared Ted’s feelings about their lack of chemistry — and she wasn’t bad at all. (We’ve seen much worse!) Just miscast, in my opinion. Before she took on the role, I, like Ted, was romanticized by the idea of the Slutty Pumpkin. I rooted for them to find each other and was convinced they’d click. Then, suddenly, I didn’t want any of that. I, in many ways, wanted it to go sour. When it did, it was satisfying in an ugly way. I felt bad for rooting against their success.
But while some of the Pumpkin storyline was a bust, this week’s subplot about Barney and Robin well made up for any disappointment I might have felt. Early on during the episode, Robin discovered via Facebook, where she is “friends” with Barney’s parents, that Barney’s grandmother was from — wait for it — Canada! Yup, Barney was one-fourth Canadian.
NEXT: The week’s best lines!