How I Met Your Mother: My favorite episode of the season to date, splitting the gang into possibly its strongest two groups: Barney/Robin and Ted/Marshall/Lily. Barney teaching Robin to be American was great television, as was her Canadian bender, and her realization that she's becoming a woman of two countries. Finally a good Barney/Robin storyline that doesn't just refer to their relationship. Lily's tiny bladder and sappy audiobook breaking up Ted's ultimate roadtrip was hilarious, as was ditching Lily at the B&B (and Marshall running around in a robe for the rest of the episode) and all the Tantrum references. The extended gag about how terrible the pizza place in Chicago was kept me rolling, and it dovetailed nicely into the ending bit when Marshall and Ted pay the price for eating there. Fun little episode that keps its momentum going, explored another facet of the Ted/Marshall friendship, and had lots of great quotable bits. Everything I look for in an episode of HIMYM.
Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XX, wow. It's hard to believe that there have been twenty of these, but it's still one of the episodes I look forward to the most every year. "Dial M For Murder" was a decent little "Strangers on a Train" storyline with many other Hitchcock elements tossed in. Not quite an homage, but the intent was there. "Don't Have A Cow, Human" was an amazing zombie story though, with a lot of great characters moments and Apu coming up big. The ending Sweeney Todd riff wasn't a classic, but doing it as a stage play (complete with elevator stage for Moe's Basement) was inspired and kept me interested. It's episodes like this that make me wish Simpsons would just retire the notion of a narrative and just play around with their format like this all the time.
Heroes: I have to admit it, this episode wasn't bad at all. I hesitate to call it good, as that's just asking for disappointment next week. Ray Park works well as a foil for Sylar, and the reinvention of Gabriel/Sylar/Nathan is being handled pretty well, mainly a testament to the ability of Zachary Quinto. This week was a gift to continuity nerds (like myself), bringing up Claire's magical healing blood, and taking us back to Charlie! Peter and HRG make a pretty good team (other than Peter taking a shotgun blast to the chest), and I would get behind them as a pairing, doing the "good guys" version of The Company.
Hiro finally gets to be Hiro tonight, counseling Deaf Dazzler and putting on a magic show for the kids at the hospital. The idea of Hiro's bucket list is a good one, especially with Charlie on it. Having him learn from Charlie as far as dealing with his tumor is some great writing. Credit where credit is due and all. Hopefully the good storytelling continues with him, and we don't go back to toner-smudged Hiro...ever.
Back to the Carn-Evil, where the carnies are starting to resemble a cult more than a family, which I suppose is the point and all. Glowering Ray Park promises to be a nice feud if they let it simmer. The House of Mirrors scene could have been good, but once the Jamaitian leaves, it just turns into a cheesy montage (and not even well done either), and then Sylar runs out like a bitch. It could have been done so much better, and that's a recurring theme with Heroes. Sylar briefly shifting into Nathan was a cool touch, and I think Nathan's influence on Sylar's morality needs to be explored more sooner than later, although I'm sure they're saving it for when Sylar falls completely under the Carnival's spell. Poor Ernie Hudson...I had hoped they'd keep around longer, although it does advance the Ray Park rivalry some more. Will it pan out? Who knows, it's Heroes...