So we’re all on the same page about last week’s farce-tinged episode of How I Met Your Mother being far from the sitcom’s finest (half) hour, yes? Be that as it may, at least “The Burning Beekeeper” had a solid structure in place — it was just missing anything in the way of laughs. In contrast, last night’s installment, “The Drunk Train,” had a few scattered chuckles, but it lurched jerkily about like the titular mass transit choo choo that ferries inebriated travelers from Manhattan to Long Island late at night. We can’t say which type of episode we prefer: structured and unfunny, or formless and occasionally amusing. Let’s just agree that the past two episodes, along with the season in general, have been pretty terrible, m’kay?
The evening began with a few easy **** jokes, a well that the writers would return to again later on. (That’s to be expected when one of the main storylines involves a pair of drunk guys riding a train.) This first round of size gags is at the expense of poor Marshall, who has successfully badgered poor Kevin (Kal Penn, still hanging around like the last guy at a party everyone else has already ditched) into putting his hands on his wife’s belly to feel their baby kick in utero. Once the Marshall ribbing is done for the moment, Barney seizes the opportunity to flash us back to the previous evening, when Ted lured him away from an easy lay to serve as his wingman. His assignment? Keep the friend of the girl Ted’s pursuing busy by any means necessary. For Barney, that means trying to convince said friend — whose name is Quinn, by the by — that he’s suffering from EPS… Enormous Penis Syndrome. (See what we said about that **** joke well?) It’s a ruse that seems to be working until Quinn reveals that she’s suffering from her own condition called I’m Not a Gullible Dumbass Disorder. (Sorry Quinn — INAGDD is a far less memorable acronym than EPS. Don’t expect any fun runs to be organized to support your particular syndrome.) Barney is initially repelled by the fact that his target actually has a great set of brains to go along with her — well, you know — but it’s clear that he’s also intrigued by the fact that she’s calling him on his usual B.S. Keep that thought in mind because it’ll become important later.
Anyhow, Lily and Marshall have better things to do than listen to Barney bitch and moan about his horrible experience as Ted’s wingman. For starters, they have to book it over to the train station before they’re forced to catch the last train out from Manhattan to Long Island, one that’s always filled with drunken louts and ladies eager to “hook up with anything that moves.” Hearing about this, Barney conceives of the perfect way for Ted to repay him for wasting three hours of his precious time the night before. Drunk Train, here they come!