Monday, December 20, 2010

HIMYM 6.09: "Glitter"

“Robin, did you know that boutonniere is French for ‘booty is near.’ True story. Une histoire vraie.”

I was super excited about “Glitter” because it was the long awaited return of Robin Sparkles. I don’t think it quite reached the level of “Slap Bet” or “Sandcastles in the Sand,” but it was still fairly enjoyable. It didn’t have much depth, but there were some great laughs, and if the laughs are good enough, I’m okay with that from HIMYM once in a while. Another “fun fact” about this episode: Nicole Scherzinger guest starred as Robin’s co-host and best friend in Canadian teen pop-stardom, Jessica Glitter. It was entertaining to see the glee with which the rest of the group checked out Robin and Jessica’s old TV show, “Space Teens,” even if the show itself mostly got its laughs from innuendo.

The episode opens with a montage showing us just how obsessed Lily has become with babies. She even has a book called “What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Expect.” Lily has really become insufferable, constantly talking about the details of biological processes associated with pregnancy and things she won’t be able to do once she’s pregnant. If she’s this obnoxious now, I don’t really at all want to know what she’ll be like when she actually has a child. Most of this baby talk happens around Robin. Robin is really not at all amused by it, which I totally understand. I think I like kids more than Robin does (although I really wanted to wear a hazmat suit when I had to set foot in an elementary school recently), and I think I would have stopped talking to Lily after just one or two of her baby-related rambling monologues.

We then move to a standard MacLaren’s dinner/drinking scene, and the episode pick up a bit, mostly thanks to some fun Barney/Robin interaction. Barney is wearing a boutonniere as part of his newest theory on how to get laid, and Robin (understandably) thinks it’s rather silly. She thinks it’s even sillier that Barney is trying to convince everyone that “boutonniere” means “booty is near.” The wordplay between Barney and Robin is a lot of fun, and the resolution to the argument is even more fun. In the heat of the argument, Barney uses his ultimate weapon. It’s another Robin Sparkles video. Sure it may seem kind of harsh to break out a Robin Sparkles video because Robin insulted Barney’s suits in an argument, but I really don’t care. Because it’s a Robin Sparkles video! Time for some cheesy 80’s goodness.

The gang sits eagerly at Dowisetrepla, waiting to see the video. Robin explains that this is the TV show that originated the character of Robin Sparkles. The video surpasses even Ted and Barney’s high expectations. It’s called “Space Teens,” and Robin and Jessica solve crimes (assigned to them by Alan Thicke, naturally), using math. When the “Space Teens” title first shows up on the television, Barney immediately thinks it must be a porno. In one of the most brilliant bits of callback comedy this season, he goes to slap Marshall (tracing back all the way to Season 2’s “Slap Bet,” where Barney bet Marshall that Robin’s big secret was that she did porn). One thing I really thought was cool about “Space Teens” was how well it incorporated and explained a lot of the random things from the other Robin Sparkles videos, like the robot, and yes, even Alan Thicke. The video is really vaguely pornographic. Lily calls it a “pornocopia.” There’s just lots of innuendo and unfortunate camera work.

Robin mentions that she and Jessica were best friends when they were teenagers, and Lily, being Robin’s current best friend, naturally wants to know what happened to lead to Robin and Jessica parting ways. Robin doesn’t want to talk about it, and she gets very upset and leaves the apartment. Ted mentions that he and Punchy are still best friends, so it’s definitely possible for such a friendship to last. Marshall questions Ted’s true friendship with Punchy, so Ted decides to prove his point by making a rather silly late night call to Punchy’s Cleveland apartment. Ted then does a little math to figure out why exactly Robin and Jessica “broke up.” He finds a Christmas card from Jessica that shows a child who Lily estimates is 4 years, 3 months old. Ted then hypothesizes (in rhyming poetry, of course) that Robin, who is well known to hate kids, dumped Jessica when she got pregnant. Lily is extremely upset by this revelation, given that she hopes to become pregnant soon herself.

The next day, Robin gets home to find Ted and Barney waiting for her on the couch. They want to see more of Space Teens. This time the unfortunate innuendo centers around “beavers” (the official animal of Canada, don’t you know). To be more specific, Robin and Jessica both have pet beavers. Ted and Barney find this absolutely hilarious, especially when the teens are asked to calculate the amount of wood needed to feed their beavers. Just as Robin turns off the video as punishment for Ted and Barney being disgusting, Punchy randomly shows up. We then cut to MacLaren’s, where Punchy is being annoying as ever. Ted wants to let Punchy stay at the apartment for a few days because Ted worries about him. Punchy has remained in Cleveland, working at the same car rental agency for fifteen years. Ted is eventually able to convince Robin to let Punchy stay for a little while by invoking LeBron James.

When Lily and Marshall arrive at MacLaren’s, Robin gets up to leave. She says she’s going for a Korean massage, which is something she and Lily used to always do together. Remembering what Ted said about why Robin and Jessica are no longer friends, Lily asks the rest of the gang for advice. Marshall says Lily needs to try not talking about babies around Robin, even for a little while. Lily agrees to give it a try, but as soon as Robin says “crib” and “rattled,” Lily just has to start whining about how she wants to talk about babies. She starts talking about how when the baby comes, she’s going to need Robin’s support. Robin just gets frustrated at how Lily is acting before she’s even pregnant, and she makes that frustration known. Lily decides to “break up” with Robin right then and there. Marshall is upset with Lily, so much so that he refuses to comfort her at first, but it doesn’t last long. Because we all know Marshall is a big teddy bear, especially when it comes to Lily.

We next head to MacLaren’s, where Ted and Punchy have stopped for a drink following a sightseeing trip to Times Square. Punchy thinks Times Square is the greatest thing ever, and he’s still acting as obnoxious as ever. When Punchy goes out to the alley to urinate in a jar, Barney uses a very unique method to tell Ted that Punchy needs to go. He rattles off more reality show cut lines than I could count, starting with “You are the Weakest Link. Good bye,” and ending with “Auf wiedersehen.” I was impressed that he even included the “Top Chef: Just Deserts” line “Your desert just didn’t measure up.” I thought the whole thing was rather brilliantly delivered in rapid-fire style by Neil Patrick Harris. Ted finally agrees with Barney when Punchy comes back in from the alley and continues to be obnoxious.

In an effort to repair the damage Lily has done, Marshall takes Lily to Madison Square Garden. The organist just happens to be Jessica Glitter. Jessica explains that Robin didn’t break up with her, she broke up with Robin, and she regrets it. Lily realizes that Robin is capable of being friends with her, even after she has a baby, and she rushes off to apologize. Meanwhile, we also find out the true reason Punchy came to New York. He worries about Ted, who lives in a small apartment, has no backyard, and is still single. He thought Ted sounded depressed when he called the other day. Punchy also has a fiancée and wants Ted to be the best man at the wedding. Ted says he’d be glad to.

Lily knows exactly where to find Robin to make her apologies. The Hoser Hut. Robin is glad to see Lily and says that even though she doesn’t generally like kids, she’ll love Lily’s kid. She might hold it and everything! After Robin and Lily make-up, the opening notes of “The Beaver Song” from "Space Teens" start to play. Robin thinks one of the rest of the gang asked for it to be played to embarrass her, but it’s Jessica. Robin and Jessica sing a happy rendition of the song (which is, on its surface, about friendship) as various people dressed up as items of Canadiana (hockey players, a bear, etc.) join in.

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