March 31, 2009 at 08:01 PM EDT

CBS sitcoms had a good night last night, with both The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother bending their traditional styles a little: Big Bang went with a more Penny-focused episode that included slightly more emotion and warmth than usual, while HIMYM went in the other direction, with more gags and a little less sentimentality than it often has. While I wouldn’t want either show to make these changes permanent really, these episodes were both terrific.

Pluses: Awwwww
: I’m really into the developing affection between Penny and Sheldon. I don’t want them to get together or anything, but for a show that’s obsessed with people being set in their ways, it was nice to see a little break from that — especially from Penny, who’s had less to do than any other character.
: The unmentioned transfer of power from Lily being the Slap Bet Commissioner to Robin being the…I don’t know, officiant of Ted and Barney’s “gentlemen’s agreement (huzzah!)” brought out something I love about this show. One of HIMYM‘s most important strengths is that we can credibly believe that the characters do and say things we haven’t seen — that we’re only witness to segments of the characters’ lives.

Minuses: Deja vu

BBT: The Guys Are Horndogs / Women Have Breasts set-up has been done to death on this show.
HIMYM: There was some well-worn territory here. Didn’t we already know that Marshall is a crazy-intense competitor after Lily watched him play BaskIceball? Haven’t we known Ted to be prematurely geezerish? Also, boo, not enough Robin.

Points of reference
BBT: Sheldon’s “impression” of Admiral Ackbar was just him “It’s a trap!” Amazing.
HIMYM: The extended Lethal Weapon riff — the episode was called “Murtaugh,” after the classic character who’s “too old for this [stuff]” — was a classic example of the show’s pop-infused exploration of adulthood. (And the hilarious Teen Wolf segments didn’t hurt, either.)

The best moments

Wolowitz screaming “girl fight!”:

And Barney gagging while trying to do a beer bong:

What’d you think, PopWatchers?

Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lilly remind us all of the joy of slap bets
TV Show
run date
Off Air
Available For Streaming On
Complete Coverage

You May Like