It fascinates me that these writers have only one actual plot-starter -- Quinn staying with him after she gets kicked out of Finn’s house -- but they just keep doing it SO WELL.
Here are two such shining examples to go along with "Teach the World to Sing."
Every Rule I Had - kitsune13
Quinn wants a lot of things. The reminder of the last time she wanted something so badly looms in front of her.
Wonderfully long (7,000 words), rich, organic exploration of the above plot scenario whose biggest credit is that it never crosses the line until the very end, some months down the road - and even then, it's nothing to run and shield your eyes from. True, the story is rated R, but that's largely a thematic thing and definitely has nothing to do with the ending. As always, I encourage you to trust me when I say you won't be sorry, because you won't believe how naturally this develops without ever feeling rushed or forced. I even wanted to pause a time or two and argue it, but the story would always gently take me by the hand and show me it was all right. Magic, right here.
Controlled Chaos - blueink3
The concrete steps were cold and she pulled her coat tighter around her. It wouldn't fit for much longer. The parka was already snug around her midsection and she still had months to go. It wasn't the thought of having no home or no food or no bed that finally brought her to tears. It was the stupid coat. She kept ricocheting between the idea of keeping the baby and giving it up for adoption, but how could she raise a child when she couldn't even clothe herself?
For the more easily squicked, here is a different way to go: same idea, but no romance (and, for that matter, the most plausible explanation as to why she doesn't stay with one of her classmates). This is a completely platonic/paternal world in which he takes her in, and despite the way I gag a little at the supporting Will/Emma storyline, it makes sense and I'm sure a lot of people will dig it.
And then for no reason at all, I caught up on How I Met Your Mother, realizing too late that the finale doesn't air until Monday so I will have to do the unthinkable and actually wait almost two whole days to wrap this show up for the year. What's fun about these five, though, is if you plotted them on a graph where Y=entertainment level, they would form a giant check mark, which according to General Mills is a symbol of making the right choice.
5x19, Zoo or False?
I laughed SO HARD at this one. It was stupid, but it was full of stupid CHARM! And hilarity. I loved how it morphed from 'mugger' to 'naked mugger' to 'monkey mugger' and then became 'monkey mugger that is SO AWESOME Robin will get it featured on the local news!' Barney's obsession with hijacking the story to suit his own vision (preferably by involving a monkey that lures Marshall along with a banana on a string) was great too. Oh, I wish I had jotted down some quotes, but I was a little busy being enthralled at every turn. I especially loved the setup for a miniature King Kong ending. "True story." Heeeeeeeeeee!
Also, a little part of me wants to date Ted so that I can have him build me playsets (er, serious work-related scale models) and we can act out scenes from various movies with tiny figurines.
5x20, The Homewreckers
By contrast, this was quite terrible, with almost zero redeeming qualities outside the fact that Ted somehow manages to renovate the death trap and turn it into the house he does eventually share with a wife and kids. *happy sigh*
I liked the inspector (still fond of him from his Malcolm in the Middle days), the game of Drunk or Kid?, and the nice mockery-free friendship tag with Marshall & Ted alone on the future front porch, but that was about it. Oh! Except when Ted was talking about needing to grow up, referencing Marshall & Lily, and I had the strongest flashback to this same idea on Scrubs, and how much Ted suddenly reminded me of JD. (so when he ordered an appletini in the next episode, it was like 'BAM, BROS FOR LIFE.' Make it happen in crossover, fandom.)
5x21, Twin Beds
This may have been the actual worst episode ever. Marshall & Lily sleep in separate beds (one shot of eventual spooning did not make up for the trauma you put me through first!), Ted & Barney both claim they want to get back together with Robin even though this was obviously a ridiculous 1-note storyline, everyone keeps pretending that Don and Robin are getting "serious" even though we have seen no evidence of this at all, and then Robin declares she's quitting the group to spend more time with her totally unserious boyfriend. HATRED IN MY HEART.
5x22, Robots vs. Wrestlers
And then this episode happened and turned it all around. My STARS, I want to live forever in a world can engage in pretentiousness to his heart's content. Douche? I think not. Ted's just been starved of intellectual company so long that he's forgotten what it sounds like. Just picture my hands clasped together in wonder and awe that we got to witness such a thing for as long as we did. Also I wish Ted would date and/or marry Marissa so they really could do this forever. He is just my favorite human being in the world today, isn't he? It's weird and I don't understand it, but it's happening.
And then on the other side of the coin...there were ROBOTS! Fighting WRESTLERS! And despite the sad lack of Robin, it was the greatest thing ever...especially when they found Ted's doppelganger, AND HE IS A MEXICAN WRESTLER. Hahahahahahahahaha, dying of laughter. The doppelgangers are right up there with slapping as the funniest thing this show has ever produced.
Also, Barney's abandonment issues? Ace. And his sudden obsession with Lily's boobs.
5x23, The Wedding Bride
*explodes in feverish applause, whistles, cheers, etc*
There was nothing about this I did not love. Nothing. The movie (of which we got to see way more than I thought we would) had me absolutely howling, and the plethora of guest stars - Jason Lewis! Chris Kattan as JED MOSELY! Judy Greer! - were amazing (especially Judy Greer. Sometimes I think about how Miss Guided got rudely canceled and how much more I'd like Emma on Glee if she was played by Judy instead of Jayma).
Seriously, Jed Mosely is the best thing to happen to me all week (and I've had a pretty good week, aside from cancellation notices). When he kicked up his feet to reveal RED COWBOY BOOTS, I actually died. *cracks up again at memories* Other times I died: every single instance in which he had a line of dialogue. Or a look. Or was on-screen at all. Or when they found out "The Wedding Bride" had become the fifth-highest grossing movie of all time.
Watching the gang secretly sneak into the movie behind Ted's back, rapt with attention and declaring it awesome, was great too.
And while I laughed a lot at Ted's expense, I think more people should stand up and tell others when they're stupid for liking things that are stupid. He became my hero in that moment.
I swooned a little bit over the ending (while also laughing at Barney's "kiss her" (but he didn't say 'kiss') chant), so much so that I might possibly be refusing to admit the closing tag as canon. Curse you, show! Judy Greer is not allowed to turn out all crazy! Why can't Ted ever date women I like for more than one episode?!
...AHAHAHA, THERE IS AN ACTUAL TRAILER FOR THE MOVIE. You know what's in my eyes right now? Not stars, actually - tears. We have surpassed hearts/stars and gone all the way to "laughing so hard I'm crying."
And I haven't even mentioned the whole 'Marshall is too nice for his own good' part, because he's from Minne-sohhhhh-da. Teehee!
Can "Doppelgangers" live up to the pattern?? I'd like to think so, but finales are not this show's strong point. Regardless, I'm perfectly content with the penultimate. It almost makes the excruciating Stella arc worth it.