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Britney Spears Stole The How I Met Your Mother Finale Penultimate Episode. In A Bad Way.

Last night, How I Met Your Mother earned its Two And A Half Men lead-in timeslot (snap!) with what was indisputably the worst episode ever. Britney Spears made her second appearance as Crazy Abby, in an episode that, unlike her first, was clearly written around the guest star. Maybe because her character was less funny and more sad and delusional, or maybe because she had more lines, or maybe because the show’s other subplots fell in line with the kind of cheap gay-stereotype jokes you’d expect to see on a CBS sitcom, just not this one, but this episode had fans yelling “Stop being the worst!” at their TV sets all across my apartment. Bad. Here are a few clips illustrating Britney’s self-conscious, shrill performance. Poor Neil Patrick Harris.

Despite an homage to a classic Cheers reference (“Are you as turned on as I am?” “More!”), this scene where Barney and Abby join forces contains no original material or jokes, just awkwardness:

And after Barney proposes to Abby as a “bit” to show Ted how lame he is (how much of a hacky stretch is that premise?), Barney tells Abby that Ted is in love with her. There’s a difference between Britney making fun of herself and everyone else making fun of Britney. This is the latter:

Britney’s guest appearances may have saved this little sitcom from cancellation, but they have the whole summer to shake her off and come back with the original, witty show that made HIMYM a critical hit. Don’t make me compare you to Two And A Half Men again, HIMYM writers. That hurt.