This weekend, urban prank collective Improv Everywhere pulled off their latest trick: Staging an entire date for an unsuspecting couple in New York’s Central Park. Although the troupe is often known for “caus[ing] scenes of chaos and joy in public places” (according to their official site), this was clearly more in the “joy/aww” category. For the date, Improv Everywhere members dressed as waiters and ushers brought in a romantic dinner, then treated the couple to a brief show by a Carnegie Hall wind quintet.
Being the pop culture junkie I am, my mind immediately went to one of How I Met Your Mother‘s sweetest sequences: Ted and Stella‘s two-minute date in “Ten Sessions.” Because Stella’s too busy to go on a real date with Ted, he sets up the ideal romantic night that spans just one city block. It’s absolutely adorable and cemented Ted as a romantic hero for me.
But which is cuter? Let’s go through the factors of each.
Couple’s Willingness To Play Along: Part of the fun of Improv Everywhere’s prank was that the couple completely wasn’t expecting this; judging from the video, I don’t think they even spoke English. The language barrier may have been part of the reason that they didn’t seem to understand what was going on. In the HIMYM clip, Stella is left in the dark while Ted planned all this, but within ten seconds she’s cracking jokes comfortably and even surprises Ted at the end of the date. Winner: HIMYM
The Date’s Components: A two-minute date meant that Ted had to use the same restaurant several times over, though having Ranjit in the cab was a fun addition. Improv Everywhere chose an ideal location in Central Park, where the couples are already feeling lovey-dovey looking at the lake, and incorporated the romance of seeing a live music performance. Winner: Improv Everywhere
Romance Factor: This couple seemed like one who had been together for a while, since they were comfortably sitting on a bench without trying to dry hump each other (you never know in this warm weather) and just had really easygoing body language. Maybe if Improv Everywhere had chosen a couple still in the honeymoon period, they would have seemed to have gotten more into the moment. Then you have Ted and Stella, for whom this unconventional date is their first outing even though he’s gotten to know her over the ten weeks of the episode where she removes his tattoo. So, while in some ways they know each other, in other ways this is all new. Winner: HIMYM
Come on, how can you compete with the romantic, clever minds of Craig Thomas and Carter Bays? Still, the Improv Everywhere Instant Date was incredibly sweet and well-executed; it seems to be the second that the troupe has done, and I hope that we see more in the coming months.
Photo: Have You Met Ted?