Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan

Last night, How I Met Your Mother went the flashback-and-forth route again and proved that, like Barney's back-boobs, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. First, there was a trip back to their college years for the genesis of the guys' "trilogy" tradition of watching all three Star Wars movies (you know, the ones that matter). That alone could have been a hoot — if not a semi-tired retread of the gang's copious catchphrase-y customs — but any potential comedy momentum was immediately derailed by so many subsequent time jumps, it made The Event look cohesive. 

From college we flashed forward to their imagined version of 2003, then back to 2012 for a flashback to the real '03, and then 19 more minutes of jokey-versus-actual vignettes covering every three years, capping off at what they think 2015 will look like. It was impossible to keep straight which era was which, much less find something to laugh at along the way. Marshall with a mustache? No thanks. And trust us, Ted as a lonely, balding hoarder in the future was not an endorsement for this show continuing another three seasons.

So what was all of this confusing bouncing around for? Apparently, it was to show us how the guys have changed, but it turns out they really haven't. Except maybe now Barney can now fart in front of his new live-in girlfriend and Ted has better hair. The rest was pretty much a wash. And, worse than that, a waste of time — both real and imaginary.

What did you think of HIMYM last night?

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