Oh boy. Here’s the thing: How I Met Your Mother introduced us to the slutty pumpkin way back in season one, and after so much anticipation the great reveal was bound to be a bit of a disappointment. Especially when it was revealed that the slutty pumpkin would be Katie Holmes.
I mean, I knew the slutty pumpkin would probably be a flashy guest star – with appearances from people like Britney Spears and Katy Perry over the years, it’s something that HIMYM has done often and has usually done well. But try as she might, I just don’t think Katie Holmes was funny enough to pull this off. Her appearance felt like a desperate attempt to show that she’s really funny and thus make viewers want to see her new movie with Adam Sandler. The thing is, she wasn’t that funny and even if she’d been Kristen Wiig she wouldn’t be able to convince me to see Jack and Jill.
That said, Katie Holmes did have a few funny moments as the slutty pumpkin, and I liked what her reappearance did for Ted’s character. The circumstances of their reunion was kind of lame – he saw the costume in a store and the guy who worked there had a record of who’d rented it…ten years ago. Really? It felt too contrived. But once Ted and his slutty pumpkin had reunited, things got funnier. Ted’s always been the type to over-romanticize things, so it was completely in character for him to try so hard to find chemistry that wasn’t there.
Things were downright awkward between the two, and we later learned that Naomi (the slutty pumpkin) had been feeling exactly the same way as Ted – she tried to make it work because of their romantic history together, but the chemistry just wasn’t there. Unfortunately, I can’t help but think that this storyline would have been much funnier had someone else been cast as Naomi.
What saved the episode for me was the Barney and Robin subplot. As a Canadian myself I was destined to love it. After years of taking crap from Barney for being Canadian, Robin discovered that Barney’s dad’s mother was Canadian – making our beloved Barney Stinson one quarter Canuck. Yay! Canada has always been depicted as a huge stereotype on this show, but luckily we Canadians have great senses of humor about ourselves. I loved every reference and quip that came out of this revelation. This type of back-and-forth is when Barney and Robin are at their best, and without that pesky Nora around to kill the chemistry I was free to enjoy it. I hope we still hear Robin tease Barney about their shared heritage from time to time, because that stuff is comedic gold.
While the Barney and Robin storyline was the highlight of the episode for me, and the Ted and slutty pumpkin storyline ran hot and cold, I thought the Marshall and Lily portion of the episode fell sadly flat. Here’s the thing: Stereotyping Canadians is fun because it’s so obviously over the top. But the stereotyping pregnant women? It just felt ill-informed.
When Lily’s grandparents gave her and Marshall their suburban home, Lily jumped at the opportunity to move out to the ‘burbs. Why the sudden change of heart from this born and bred city gal? Pregnancy brain, apparently. Now, this could have worked – everyone knows that pregnancy can make a lady a little loopy, and hormones make emotions run high. I could have bought that Lily would temporarily think that moving to the suburbs was a good idea. But did they have to make her such an idiot? No one gets that stupid when they’re pregnant. Women still hold jobs and take care of other children and function as normal human beings, all while pregnant.
I don’t want this review to sound overly critical because I did enjoy the episode. I just thought with a few tweaks, it could have been much better. How I Met Your Mother has done some great Halloween episodes over the years, and unfortunately I just don’t think this one quite lived up to the standard. What did you guys think? Now, here are some of the funniest quotes and moments from “The Slutty Pumpkin Returns”:
- “Three girls got proposals off my wife’s slutty artichoke costume. Two of them disappeared, but I focused on the positive.” – costume rental guy
- Everyone is Facebook friends with Barney’s dad – Marshall plays Bejeweled Blitz with him.
- “You have been ripping on Canada since Justin Bieber was knee-high to a snow blower.” – Robin (loved this line, but I’m pretty sure Bieber is still knee-high to a snow blower.)
- Lily saying that the way her grandparents always force unwanted items on them when they visit “is like the world’s worst showcase showdown”.
- Ted: “Where do you look during sex?”
Barney: “Um, into the hidden camera at future me watching it.”
- “I want scotch! American scotch! From Scotland!” – Barney, after Robin tricks him into drinking Canadian whiskey
- “She sounds like those cows in Temple Grandin’s hug machine.” – Ted