How I Met Your Mother: Season 6, Episode 9
When I first heard that the Robin Sparkles mythology was getting another chapter, I was ecstatic. "Slap Bet" is probably the best episode How I Met Your Mother ever produced, introducing the running slap gag and Robin's pop star past, all within 22 minutes. But my ecstasy lapsed a bit when I remembered last season's terrible "Slapsgiving 2" which insulted and sullied the glorious running gag of the slap bet and tried its best to tarnish the show's mythology. Worse than that, it wasn't funny. So I began to fear that "Glitter" would be just as bad as that monstrosity. I am happy to say, it wasn't. In fact, this week's episode was the best we've had in a while, combining mythology, call backs, and actual, hearty laughs in a way the show hasn't pulled off all year so far.

The show's main plot is a little bit silly, but not too bad by late era-HIMYM standards. Lily begins to fear that her baby fever will lead to a break up with Robin, and so she preemptively breaks up with her. This ties in with Barney's discovery of an episode of the show that introdued the world to Robin Sparkles, and her bff Jessica Glitter. The idea of Lily and Robin breaking up is insane, even with the fact that Robin has often exhibited her distaste for children, but I'm willing to accept this fear for what it allows--a good number of scenes from Space Teens, Robin's old show, and a confrontation with Robin's ex-bff Jessica Glitter. I absolutely loved the moment when Barney slid across the room, prepared to slap Marshall when it seemed like Robin might have done porn (which was his original position in "Slap Bet" and which led to his 5-slap deep debt to Marshall), but really, I was equally happy with almost all of this storyline. The Lily-Robin conflict was puffed up to give the episode some non-existent stakes, but it was done to provide material that allowed for plenty of laughs. Space Teens is endlessly, obliviously filthy, and the gang's glee at this made up for any weak points in the plot's construction.

The show deserves extra points for the Robin Sparkles foil that Ted's story provides, when Ted reunites with Punchy, a high school friend he claims he is still close with, but is actually pretty annoyed by. Punchy still lives in Cleveland, has worked at the same job, tells exactly the same story about Ted all the time, and is fascinated with only one aspect of the fantastically diverse New York--Times Square. I appreciate the effort to provide Robin and Glitter a foil in Ted and Punchy, and to an extent the comparison works. He is pretty much a walking cliche of terrible old friend traits, and none too funny to boot. But damn if this plotline isn't saved pretty much entirely by the moment when Punchy asks Ted to be the best man at his upcoming nuptuals. I will confess to getting gooesebumps at the very mention of Ted being the best man at a wedding, which harkens back to the flash forward we got at the beginning of the season.

Despite the shockingly uneven season we've been served so far, I am still completely devoted to the show and its mythology, and I was very satisfied by this episode, which paid tribute to the show's history, and gave us hints about its present. It is certainly true that I give an episode more credit when it is steeped in mythology, especially when it is both forward looking and history-affirming, but "Glitter" does more than just play with the show's mythology. Unlike much of the season so far, this episode actually made me laugh. It was not a perfect half hour of television (it was certainly no "Slap Bet," but then what is?), but it was a better episode than the show has delivered in weeks, and it reminded me just how dedicated I am to the story How I Met Your Mother is telling, and to its success in telling that story. The show is not as good as it once was, but if it can turn out more episodes like this one, it will certainly remain far from a lost cause.

Grade: B+


-"Show us on Lily."

-"Robin, this show is so dirty, I don't know whether to hug you or run you a cold shower for you to sit in and cry while hugging your knees."

-"Much like our friends the space teens, I think I can solve this problem with math."

-"Dude...feel the room."

-"If Robin's beaver devours six inches of wood an hour..."

-"Ok, maybe just one cuddle, but that's it!" Aww....

-"I found a little wounded bird in the alley." "That's your scrotum."

-"Yo, Glitter...be cool."

-"Hockey, bow hunting for caribou, math...all that goes out the window."

-"Two beavers are better than one, they're twice the fun..."
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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