Archive | December 2011

Christmas Special Redux

Damn, those did not disappoint.

I felt physically ill during most of Downton Abbey (it stresses me so) but the payoff was so, so sweet. The scene right before the end was a bit too over the top for me (Lavinia, please go gentle into that good night) but its inclusion closed the book on her and paved the way to glorious happiness.

I want to include every screencap of this moment possible but the above is so perfect. Look how happy Matthew is (finally, away with dreary doom and gloom Matthew!). But the Daily Mail has some other great pictures from the special here. Matthew proposing (properly on one knee)! And Matthew punching Sir Richard! And other things happened.

Side note: More Britons watched Downton Abbey and Doctor Who than the Queen’s speech yesterday. Down with the last vestiges of monarchy via televised drama?

On to Doctor Who: very funny, many memorable quotables. The Doctor makes me laugh out loud more than many sitcoms I watch; I think it is largely due to how Matt Smith delivers his lines. Of course, Steven Moffat warned us we would cry (thus making me more prone not to get sentimental) but he was half-right. I got very teary at the end because Moffat tricked me. I thought he wanted me to get sentimental for the wife saving the husband, when it wasn’t very shocking to me. NO. He had to throw in my kryptonite: the Doctor’s feelings. I immediately got emotional at the idea he was actually going to visit the Ponds. That was already enough. THEN he had to get all humany-wumany with the happy tears. That was such a great payoff too. Especially from earlier in the episode where the Doctor claimed he was not capable of such things (I retorted, oh yes you are Doctor). And boom! Told ya.

I am a huge fan of the one single tear out of one eye as well. If I had more examples of this, I would totally make a Tumblr or something. Alas, my other perfect example is Andrew McCarthy. I feel he has used this in multiple flicks but never as prominently as in Pretty in Pink:

And finally, thinking back to the popularity of the Christmas special in Britain as opposed to the complete lack of programming in the US, I realized it isn’t just that…we don’t or no longer have a tradition of the Christmas special at all. We have the Christmas “episode” which just happens when a 22 episode season coincides with the holidays. We also have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day (among others) to celebrate season to season.

Warehouse 13, Eureka, and Haven

I have to give props for SyFy’s attempt to re-energize the idea. And even with their specials, there are differences. SyFy’s Christmas episodes aired December 6th, when the Christmas season was at its start. And, these episodes are stand alone. No plot was furthered on Eureka, Warehouse 13, or Haven. So it is sort of disjointed to see characters happy and relatively unscathed from the explosive events of their respective finales. I don’t know about Eureka but Warehouse 13 and Haven ended on significant cliffhangers. In comparison, the British specials moved A LOT of plot, especially in respect to Downton Abbey. But even Doctor Who set the Doctor back up with Amy and Rory before the episode was out.

In conclusion, even though some American shows are moving back toward special holiday hours, they are still afraid of viewers missing out. Strange, but typical.


Happy TV Special Day!

So excited for the Doctor Who and Downton Abbey Christmas Specials tonight!

And also, I suppose, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Playwright. Dissident. President. Inspiration.

Our country, if that is what we want, can now permanently radiate love, understanding, the power of the spirit and of ideas. It is precisely this glow that we can offer as our specific contribution to international politics.

Let us teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community.

Christmas, Mogwai Style

This makes me so happy

Of Bunnies and Bens

Sometimes my head just aches when I, pardon me, go down the rabbit hole with Lost. I mean, how does the plot intertwine so well with, and among other things, literary allusions? After The Age of Innocence I delved straight into John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. My main goal was to identify the quote Ben uses without refreshing myself on the scene. Mission accomplished. Oh yeah, it was a pretty fantastic read too. I can’t tell you when I feel in love with Benjamin Linus but I know it was probably not this season of Lost. Nowadays it is hard to not be in love with him in any scene (and how did I originally cope without him until he appears in Season 2, Episode 14?); regardless, the scene in which he quotes the novel is definitely a standout scene from the third season. It is so deliciously amazing.

But the parallels! Rabbits, for one. It is no coincidence Ben is carrying the bunny with him (across rough terrain no less). One, he is proving a point. Two, Ben loves bunnies. Just look at Young Ben. And it is headache-inducing just to think about the significance of the White Rabbit/Alice in Wonderland to the Lostverse. Rabbits are a big part of Of Mice and Men. In fact, it may be one of the most mentioned words in the entire text. The quote Ben gives? Not surprising. “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya…I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.” This IS Ben. Just look at Young Ben, so lonely in Dharmaville, with his pet rabbit as his only friend. What happens? He goes nuts and defects to The Others. What happens…he literally gets sick with a tumor. It isn’t really surprising that Ben chose to commit that part of the book to memory.

My thoughts as the scene progresses: I feel like the ability to utter that line is the only takeaway Sawyer has from the book. It sounds similar to these tidbits my parents come up with out of context. (My dad loves to quote this one line from Julius Caesar: “I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him” but that must be some holdover from high school). Also blocked the part about puppies being killed. ‘Tis true, but Ben probably wouldn’t like that. But what does he care? For all the talk of rabbits, none were harmed during the creation of this American classic.

Ben’s pause says to me: “Sigh, of course you would mention the number one book I identify with in life by making a stupid joke out of it.” The fact that Ben has been carrying that bunny just makes me happy. Ah, your typical Ben-gets-beat-up moment. I am never amused at this. Then…Alcatraz! Was J.J. somehow plugging a show that wasn’t going to premiere until 2012!? I love how Ben says “We’re a lot better.” So modest. Clearly this was his brainchild. And the icing on the cake: Ben breaks out his Of Mice and Men quote. And I can’t tell if he expected Sawyer to know it or was ready to pounce on him with a comeback. I want to say the latter but Ben gets so pissed off when Sawyer doesn’t know what he is talking about…loses his calculating cool a bit. But then it is off to being a BAMF again.

Hungary, Hungary Oh Noes

Suddenly, not feeling the least bit regretful about not following through with the plan to be at Central European University in Budapest this year; From Paul Krugman:

One of Hungary’s major parties, Jobbik, is a nightmare out of the 1930s: it’s anti-Roma (Gypsy), it’s anti-Semitic, and it even had a paramilitary arm. But the immediate threat comes from Fidesz, the governing center-right party.

A proposed election law creates gerrymandered districts designed to make it almost impossible for other parties to form a government; judicial independence has been compromised, and the courts packed with party loyalists; state-run media have been converted into party organs, and there’s a crackdown on independent media; and a proposed constitutional addendum would effectively criminalize the leading leftist party.

Taken together, all this amounts to the re-establishment of authoritarian rule, under a paper-thin veneer of democracy, in the heart of Europe. And it’s a sample of what may happen much more widely if this depression continues.

It’s not clear what can be done about Hungary’s authoritarian slide. The U.S. State Department, to its credit, has been very much on the case, but this is essentially a European matter. The European Union missed the chance to head off the power grab at the start — in part because the new Constitution was rammed through while Hungary held the Union’s rotating presidency. It will be much harder to reverse the slide now. Yet Europe’s leaders had better try, or risk losing everything they stand for.

Look! It’s an American Downton w/ similar issues

This week in strange connections I bring you: The Age of Innocence and Downton Abbey. Namely, Lavinia Swire as the successor to May Welland. When I first started reading Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer prize winner, I immediately thought: “ah! The American literature version of Downton Abbey!” Technically yes, though it takes place in the 1870s and servants are merely portrayed as that – servants.  There I stopped at the comparisons….until I started watching the movie version on Netflix. It occurred to me (in the scene, which also appears in the book) where May tells Newland that they should put off being married, ESPECIALLY if he is in love with someone else. Now obviously the parallels between her and Lavinia are broad, but even if Lavinia hadn’t felt the urgency of telling Matthew the same thing on her deathbed, I feel she would have eventually told Matthew regardless: don’t marry me, clearly you love Mary and just feel honor bound to me.

I never hated May; I felt sorry for her. Her life with Newland was perfectly fine until the Countess Olenska came along. If she hadn’t, their relationship would probably have faced no peril (other than Newland’s dissatisfaction at her lack of interest in his interests). May, the picture of a gentle soul, is willing to give up Newland if he is in love with another woman (never mind the fact she is wrong about which woman). If Newland were to give up May in order to be with the Countess Olenska, he would be committing social suicide and that is one of the primary points of the novel. At that moment, even Newland cannot conceive of marrying anyone other than May. More so than honor, society dictated that it must be so. In this case I was more annoyed with Newland: maybe at this moment he was still confused but later in the novel he plans on leaving May (after they are married) and even fantasizes about her death.

Lavinia arrives to disrupt a relationship we were already invested in: Mary and Matthew. At the conclusion of season one, we knew there would be no easy sailing for these two but introducing a new love interest for him? Even the actress who played Lavinia was prepared to be hated. Throughout the course of second season we are given every reason to not hate Lavinia: Mary realizes that Matthew truly loves her, Mary even likes her! But that doesn’t stop Mary and Matthew from colliding back into each other’s arms. In this case (although I am not too familiar with this society) the social ramifications would have been significant but not suicidal if Mary and Matthew decided to leave their betrothed for each other. After Matthew’s injury, his honor forces him to break off his engagement with Lavinia but she comes back, ever so dutiful, giving up the idea of children in order to stay by his side. And this action even further entwines him to her, regardless of whether he is dancing with Mary and kissing her in full sight of Lavinia. When Lavinia is struck down by the Spanish flu, she urges Matthew to go to Mary. Of course, after she dies, instead of taking her advice, Matthew being Matthew, can never entertain the idea of being with Mary now. Sigh…Unlike The Age of Innocence, Matthew is more conflicted towards Lavinia (and doesn’t pray for her death unlike many viewers).

While The Age of Innocence is a true-to-reality telling, with no one really stuck in their ideal situation and all the heartbreak that that knowledge entails, Downton Abbey is purely dramaville. So many things led to the final moments but honestly I blame Mary’s aunt Rosemary for making her reject Matthew back in season one. Matthew thinks he is paralyzed–Lavinia forces him to take her back and be engaged–Matthew can walk!–Surprise, Lavinia sees Mary and Matthew kiss–Lavinia tells Matthew to be with Mary and then up and dies—now Matthew is a bitter old soul. Unnecessary drama, but heart wrenching none-the-less.

To Dex or Not to Dex

Unfortunately, this blog has become a place ideal for rants. But everyone needs an outlet. The latest rant? Dexter. Dexter, Dexter, Dexter. The criticisms leveled against Dexter this season, in my opinion, are not unfounded. The show lost its bite around the time that it became a standout hit. The fourth season was fantastic and demonstrated that the show was still willing to go there. But since then its storytelling has been tame and riskless. It leaves the viewer with little concern that Dexter’s quiet existence will be interrupted and that anyone in his life will discover his secret. And six seasons in, that’s surprising. The show needs a radical overhaul but with two more seasons on the way, I have little faith that the show is willing to divert from its formula. Michael C. Hall’s acting remains a reason to tune in, while the rest of the show crumbles in his wake. While many people have abandoned the show for all of these reasons, I still find glimmers of the show that I used to like in this incarnation.

From the very beginning of this season the show beat viewers over the head with the season’s premise: “Dexter tackles religion, both at work and personally.” And for me, this just failed. I’m not sure if it could have been addressed better or if they did too much at one time. Dexter questions religion not only to get Harrison into a good school, but also because as he investigates Mos Def, he finds in him a spiritual guide. At the same time, the big bad(s) of the season is convinced that the apocalypse is nigh.

Last night’s episode in particular, is probably the closest the show has come to jumping the proverbial shark. It seems inevitable that a show on for this long might be tempted to re-examine the relationship between its leads, namely Dexter and Deb. Friends eventually explored Rachel/Joey for lack of other pairing options. Who hasn’t dated who on Gossip Girl? But the creep factor here is a little much. First, the therapist was pushing the idea too hard. It was almost like she did a waking-style Inception in Deb’s mind. So I was hoping that this was the catalyst for Deb quitting that crazy lady’s care and possibly realizing that she should go down a different avenue with men (not her brother). Second, I feel it odd that shows tend to develop romantic relationships around characters almost immediately after their real life relationships fall apart, and for me that is every bit as distracting as the incestuous vibe. (Examples: House’s Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer, arguably Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki when Leonard and Penny inevitably get back together). If this wasn’t bad enough, Deb starts actually having dreams about Dexter. The show needs to put the kibosh on this…stat.

Then, to be nitpicky over something I don’t normally pay attention to: the show decided to dumb Dexter down A LOT in this episode. Honestly, I think they did a disservice to his character. It is established that when Dexter is on the trail of someone he wants, he tends to ignore people, logic, and pressing events in his life outside of the kill. He will sneak away at any given alibi (including camping trips) to do a quick kill n’ dump. But in this episode he gets exposed to poison gas and is then warned by the paramedic to go to the ER because the side effects will present themselves, especially during physical exertion.  I suppose Dexter believed his Dark Passenger would help him rally? He continues on with a plan to eliminate Travis, luring him to the docks. Right before he attacks, he is hit with a bloody nose. Nevertheless, unstoppable Dexter charges and is subsequently overtaken by Travis and is left in a canoe full of gasoline canisters; Travis was just moments away from setting the swamp, and Dexter, on fire. For some reason, he allows Dexter to fully regain his senses (and tells him off like so many Bond villains). Somehow Dexter has regained his superhuman adeptness and manages to untie his hands and leap from the canoe, all the while holding his breath as he swims underneath the swampy ring of fire. I guess adrenaline counteracted the poison’s side effects…unless they miraculously disappeared. Even this I could have chalked up to Dexter’s never-ending bouts of good luck. But attacking Travis after he refused to go to the ER and also refused to acknowledge that physical exertion was a no-no, was an insult to the character’s supposed intelligence.

Oh no, Euro

It may not be all that surprising or irregular to follow the global financial situation. But the glee with which I follow Eurozone developments each day must be something of an oddity. Not to say I am hoping for the utter collapse of Europe’s market (especially since it does not spell good news for the US, but I tend to ignore that bit) but just the fact that the realist in me predicted it with so much force in my Politics of European Cooperation class makes me giddy at the thought I was correct (I didn’t want to be, did I?). Neither was I the only one to raise my hand high at the idea that certainly Greece would have to exit the Eurozone, if not other or all members. But I digress: I just wish I could take a follow up to that class and my professor could show me all of the French, British, Dutch, and German cartoons he has collected on this mess (he is something of an enthusiast when it comes to political cartoons, especially displaying them in their original language, which he must then translate for the class).

Then, on November 28th, the Polish Foreign Minister delivered an epic speech entitled “Poland and the future of the European Union” in Germany as the Poles began to wrap up their EU Presidency.  Radek Sikorski, will you marry me? I poured over this speech the entire day: I read and reread it with rapt attention. I mean, he mentions Yugoslavia and Alexander Hamilton in the same speech and employs a sly cattiness towards Britain and Germany; he is trying to win my heart. Then I read an equally enlightening article by Paul Krugman who basically reinforced the idea that the sinking of the Eurozone ship will inevitably drag down the US as well. And the crazy IR person that lives in my brain, just went ah! Blog post. That Politics of European Cooperation class left a more lasting impression than I expected (although the need to look up the proper titles of integration theories did not speak well for my retention of the finer details).

Some PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain). The bane of the eurozone

The first argument that both Sikorski and Krugman discuss is the effects of EU enlargement.

Sikorski: The total volume of trade between EU15 and EU10 amounted to €222 bln last year, up from €51 bln in 1995. A tidy sum. I guess it sustains a job or two in Old Europe. So, enlargement – far from causing the crisis, has arguably delayed the economic turmoil. Thanks to the advantages of trading in an enlarged market, West European welfare states have been forced to face reality only now.

Krugman: In the years leading up to the 2008 crisis, Europe, like America, had a runaway banking system and a rapid buildup of debt. In Europe’s case, however, much of the lending was across borders, as funds from Germany flowed into southern Europe. This lending was perceived as low risk. Hey, the recipients were all on the euro, so what could go wrong?…During the years of easy money, wages and prices in southern Europe rose substantially faster than in northern Europe. This divergence now needs to be reversed, either through falling prices in the south or through rising prices in the north. And it matters which: If southern Europe is forced to deflate its way to competitiveness, it will both pay a heavy price in employment and worsen its debt problems. The chances of success would be much greater if the gap were closed via rising prices in the north.

Next, both Sikorski label the issue at hand as a lack of confidence.

Sikorski: The inevitable conclusion is that this crisis is not only about debt, but primarily about confidence and, more precisely, credibility. About investor perception where their funds are safe.

Krugman quotes how the ECB argued its decision on how to tackle the issue, with: “confidence-inspiring policies will foster and not hamper economic recovery.”

Krugman: But the confidence fairy was a no-show.

Super burn on the ECB!! And it just kept getting better…Sikorski:

Let us be honest with ourselves and admit that markets have every right to doubt the credibility of the Euro zone. After all, the Stability and Growth Pack has been broken 60 times! And not just by smaller countries in difficulty, but by its founders in the very core of the Euro zone.

Burn on Germany in particular!! Then Sikorski decides to criticize the EU as a whole, surprising me with a euroskepticism that I didn’t know existed in Poland at the moment:

 Before I say what they are, let me say that Euro zone’s failings are not the exception but, rather, are typical of the way we have constructed the EU. We have a Europe with a dominant currency but no single Treasury to enforce it. We have joint borders without a common migration policy. We are supposed to have a common foreign policy, but it is divorced from real instruments of power and often weakened by member states cutting their own deals. I could go on.

Most of our institutions and procedures depend on the goodwill and sense of propriety of member states. It works tolerably well when the going is good. But then a wave of migrants shows up on the EU’s border, or a civil war blows up in our neighborhood, or markets panic. And then, what do we habitually do? We run for cover in the familiar framework of the nation state.

The break up would be a crisis of apocalyptic proportions beyond our financial system. Once the logic of ‘each man for himself’ takes hold, can we really trust everyone to act communitarian and resist the temptation to settle scores in other areas, such as trade?

Would you really bet the house on the proposition that if the Euro zone breaks up, the single market, the cornerstone of the European Union, will definitely survive? After all, messy divorces are more frequent than amicable ones. I have heard of a case in California in which a couple spent $100,000 disputing custody of the family cat.

Take that, EU! Wait…This is an epic speech for those fans out there of intergovernmentalism! Aka the realists of European integration theory.Founding Fathers FTW:

Americans passed the point of no return in creating the United States when the federal government assumed responsibility for debts that states incurred in the War of Independence. Solvent Virginia bargained with more indebted Massachusetts, which is why the capital was fixed on the banks of the Potomac. Alexander Hamilton fathered a compromise under which everybody’s debts were jointly guaranteed and a revenue stream created to service them.

Directed to Britain:

We would prefer you in, but if you can’t join, please allow us to forge ahead. And please start explaining to your people that European decisions are not Brussels’ diktats but results of agreements in which you freely participate.

And if you were wondering about a plan, oh boy, he has a plan. He laid out what he wanted from Germany.

Germany’s trade with Poland is bigger than with the Russian Federation, although you would not always know it from the German political discourse.

We ask, first of all, that Germany admits that she is the biggest beneficiary of the current arrangements and therefore that she has the biggest obligation to make them sustainable.

Second, as you know best, you are not an innocent victim of others’ profligacy. You, who should have known better, have also broken the Growth and Stability Pact and your banks also recklessly bought risky bonds.

Third, because investors have been selling the bonds of exposed countries and flying to safety, your borrowing costs have been lower than they would have been in normal times, so you may be benefitting in the short term, but…

Fourth, that if your neighbours’ economies stall or implode, you will suffer greatly, too. Sixth, that because of your size and your history you have a special responsibility to preserve peace and democracy on the continent. (And isn’t this much better than calling out the need for reparations from WWII, Greece?)

What, as Poland’s foreign minister, do I regard as the biggest threat to the security and prosperity of Poland today, on 28th November 2011? It’s not terrorism, it’s not the Taliban, and it’s certainly not German tanks. It’s not even Russian missiles which President Medvedev has just threatened to deploy on the EU’s border. The biggest threat to the security and prosperity of Poland would be the collapse of the Euro zone.

And I demand of Germany that, for your own sake and for ours, you help it survive and prosper. You know full well that nobody else can do it. I will probably be first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity.

Both Sikorski and Krugman end with fairly fire and brimstone-esque predictions:

Sikorski: But we are standing on the edge of a precipice. This is the scariest moment of my ministerial life but therefore also the most sublime. Future generations will judge us by what we do, or fail to do. Whether we lay the foundations for decades of greatness, or shirk our responsibility and acquiesce in decline.

Krugman: I hope, for our sake as well as theirs, that the Europeans will change course before it’s too late. But, to be honest, I don’t believe they will. In fact, what’s much more likely is that we will follow them down the path to ruin.

Seems like Sarkozy and Merkel are banding together (that ol’ dream team). Stay tuned…

Symphony of Illumination…..Indeed

As Alan Sepinwall tweeted today, last night’s episode of How I Met Your Mother turned out to be a very polarizing episode, one that I have yet to sort out my feelings about. Initially, I completely agreed with Alan’s review: pulling the rug out from under us viewers should have been expected, but was infuriating nonetheless. I keep expecting the show to do something radical; to make all of the beating around the bush worth it. Don’t get me wrong; I love Ted, Barney, Lily, Marshall, and Robin. I even understand that, given the show’s increasing popularity, the creators may be prolonging the reveal of the mother (although couldn’t they eke out endless seasons on dating the mother/drama? Cue the “It isn’t called “How I Met Your Mother…and Then This Happened” naysayers). The show only feels like its dragging its feet when it churns out less than stellar episodes (like the majority of last season).

Last night’s episode, for me, was a thought provoker instantaneously; by that I mean the plot got the wheels in my head going, thinking about all the different avenues they were opening up to take the rest of the season and move forward with the show.

I felt the force of the opening scene like a bomb: the show, seemingly, nonchalantly revealed that Barney and Robin would be raising two kids in the future. I did grow suspicious after the initial shock, since Future Ted has revealed that Robin never had children of her own. I used that emphasis to justify that if Robin cannot have children of her own then surely she may end up adopting in the future. So with that thought, I figured this episode was showing me that Barney and Robin end up together and, one way or another, Robin raises two children with him, biological or no. (While apparently, all of the viewers who staunchly support Robin’s decision to never have kids were letting out a collective “NOOOO”). So, I figured (even with Becki Newton coming in as a love interest for Barney) we would spend the rest of the season finding out what happens to get Robin down the aisle to Barney.

The kids that never were…and never would be.

Then the show put the kibosh on that. The children Robin was playing “How I Ended up Raising You” with were fragments of a life that no longer existed for Robin. And in that moment I felt my hope for this show go out the window. What a teaser with no payoff (other than an amazing performance by Cobie Smulders). I felt like once again, the show made me feel like something monumental happened in the series, when really it was only reinforcing the idea that Robin will never have kids. I wanted to write an angry letter; I wanted to say, “You think you can arbitrarily mess with the viewer experience and it will have no impact? I have been getting to know these characters for 7 years, I care for them. And I feel like that isn’t acknowledged by you.” And because I care, I am going to keep watching no matter how much I feel jerked around. And the episode where Robin decided to stick with Kevin over Barney was already a struggle for me this season; another example of the show presenting an opportunity to change the formula but lacking follow through. Alan Sepinwall’s review echoed my sentiments and of course I took to the comments section to see other reactions. While some comments defending the episode failed to sway me, others did make me lean more towards the idea that the show was effective in making a statement, transcending the necessary role of the sitcom to make us laugh. I understand that we are supposed to see Robin’s total despair in imagining kids that for her will never ever exist. And Cobie did a great job. I truly felt that a woman like Robin, who was adamant against having kids, would feel utterly different if she realized her choice wasn’t a choice at all, but a twisted turn of biology. And I think I have to applaud the show for demonstrating her heartbreak in this manner.

I think the best solution to avoid this backlash would have been to show Robin having a thought experiment at the very beginning of the episode while she stressed out in the bathroom: what if I had to tell this story to my kids in the future? Therefore, the structure would already be slightly different from normal; we wouldn’t be surprised by the same narrative structure used by Future Ted being used by Robin (I mean, what are the odds that Present Robin would employ in her fantasy the same formula of Future Ted?). As Robin found out she wasn’t pregnant and eventually, unable to have kids, of course her fantasy would change in her head. After she discovered she wasn’t pregnant the “sorry” to the kids could have been merely, “Sorry that this story makes it sound like I didn’t want you.” Thus the kids fading at the end would still be sad, but not as shocking. I suppose the writers were looking for the emotional impact; I understand.

The issue: people (me) who are invested in the Robin/Barney relationship were easily led astray by the beginning. We focused much less on the idea of Robin having kids and much more on the idea that Robin’s raising kids with Barney in the future. Our minds churned with the implications. And when the kids faded, so did our dream of that future. We were back to reality, where not only was Robin still with Kevin, but she had also just rejected Barney and found out she can’t have kids. Dark.

Robin’s brief moment of happiness

I think I am sad because the storytelling and the character development was so, so good; but the structure of the episode made me concentrate on other things that cheapened what the creators were trying to convey…