For as long as How I Met Your Mother has been around it still manages to be surprisingly entertaining. Not every episode is an out-and-out triumph in hilarity, but for being around for eight seasons, HIMYM’s batting average is pretty high. More often than not we get episodes like this week’s “The Stamp Tramp.” It’s a serviceable half hour of comedy that does what it needs to do and isn’t ashamed of itself. There’s potty humor, classy humor, and even a little twist and some romance at the end. HIMYM never fully recovered from its disastrous fifth season, but it has managed to regain some ground over the years and this season – hopefully the final season – has been mostly good if not borderline great at times.
“The Stamp Tramp” enters into familiar territory by creating the latest gimmick, the Stamp Tramp, the episode’s namesake. You see, Marshall loves everybody and everything and because he’s so hard to displease he gives his stamp of approval to literally everything. This leads to the group dubbing him the Stamp Tramp – and Ted becomes the Piggy-back Stamper – when he vouches for his old law school buddy Brad for an associate job at Honeywell & Cootes. It’s easily the strongest storyline of the episode thanks to guest stars Joe Manganiello and Joe La Truglio. Oh, and the visual gag of Marshall’s stamps appearing in midair and talking to him, that was priceless. I have to say I absolutely adore Brad and it saddens me this is his first appearance since the aforementioned disaster that was Season 5. Seeing him down on his lucky and just a complete slob was great fun, but then turning it around and revealing this as a con to gain himself access to the plans the firm has for a case against a pharmaceutical company that Brad works for was a stroke of genius and a terrific reveal. And this guarantees we’ll be seeing Brad again as he goes toe to toe with Marshall in court. Excellent.
Rather amusingly, Barney and Robin’s storyline of Barney looking for a new strip club to attend now that he’s split from Quinn – remember, she works at the Lusty Leopard, the club Barney’s been going to for seven years – and bringing Robin along for the ride to help him choose turns into a parody of the Lebron James special The Decision and the way the teams attemped to win his favor. In this case, it’s the strip clubs courting Barney. This show has gone to the well of strippers for many a laugh over the years, but this was a new look on Barney’s obsession with this profession and throwing Robin into the mix made for some entertaining scenes with the two of them. Of course, this is all build up to the realization these two are great together, as friends or possibly more. After getting appropriately smashed, Barney begins to lean toward the more possibility and goes in for a kiss, but Robin breaks away. Sticking those two back together isn’t going to be so easy it would seem.
Finally, Ted goes to great lengths to prove he is not a Piggy-back Stamper by digging up old video diaries he made in college to prove he gave anything his stamp approval without hearing somebody else’s approval first. There are some good laughs – and we see the origins of Doctor X, which is awesome – but this easily the weakest storyline. It’s still good, but Ted being a douche isn’t my favorite incarnation of the character, even if I do love College Ted. Lily and Ted are great together and I love seeing them as friends, especially when it ends with the both of them discovering it was Ted’s stamp of approval on Lily that caused Marshall to stick with her at the start of their relationship. It was a sweet moment for their friendship. That’s the best part of HIMYM. Even when it’s just okay, it can still give you the warm and fuzzies inside.