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Counterpoint: The Top 10 Episodes of “HIMYM”

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I was going to spill this space with spiteful alternate titles about Ted’s complete disrespect for Tracy or the laziness of these writers. How I Met Your Mother has always been a meandering “dad story.” At times, there were solid lessons to be learned. We felt for these characters and their journey. But not like this. The series finale of How I Met Your Mother is regression. Every season before it is quickly ripped away like a band-aid. But Season 9 was Barney and Robin’s wedding? Divorce. But Ted finally got over Robin somewhere between Season 7-9? Nope.

Where Chris took on the role of melancholy, I will be playing the part of bitterness. Bittersweet at times, but pretty bitter.

Tracy is treated like a footnote in the series, and I feel like I know just enough about her to be upset about that. She deserved better.

But alas, like Tracy, How I Met Your Mother is finally at rest. For better or worse, we invested the last nine years in something. That is something you can look back at fondly or scowl at. The fact of the matter is there were some amazing stints of sitcom gold underneath the latter half of this show. Today, we remember the best of the best. The ones you will watch in syndication. On every cable channel in existence. Yes, even Lifetime.

10) “Sandcastles in the Sand” (Season 3, Episode 16)

How I Met Your Mother begins and ends with Robin Scherbatsky. This list (spoiler alert) begins and ends with Robin Sparkles. The incorporation of Robin’s pop star past absolutely changed every perception anyone ever had about her. The recurrence of her music videos and the amazing original songs were almost enough to keep through our attention for nine *shudder* years. Robin Sparkles’ ballad beckons the Canadian culture missing from “Slap Bet.” Alan Thicke and James Van Der Beek guest star as Robin’s “father” and ex-boyfriend, respectively. Not only that, but “Sandcastles” starts Barney’s true arc to becoming a real man. Finale be damned, Barney changed, and no regression can make me ignore that.

9) “The Three Days Rule” (Season 4, Episode 21)

“Are we about to have sex with Ted?” delivered by Jason Segel will ring through as one of my favorite jokes of the series. Post-Stella Ted wallowed in his own sorrow for much too long. He needed to lighten up. Enter one of the most important rules in the Bro Code: The Three Days Rule. Unlike most rules, this one actually wasn’t originated by the show, but certainly perfected here. Dad lesson: Don’t fall in love too fast, it might just be your bros texting you. Thanks Dad, I learned that the hard way.

8 ) “The Naked Man” (Season 4, Episode 9)

When Ted rebounds, he rebounds. “The Naked Man” is such a desperate act that one cannot help but pity and admire it. Despite Season 3 being set around Ted and Barney’s bro-hood, Season 4 is where it really goes down. Funny, all that emphasis on Robin this whole time and it was Stella that made Ted capable of such desperation. Living within the restrictions of primetime network television, this is easily one story I wouldn’t tell the kids.

7) “Intervention” (Season 4, Episode 4)

HIMYM will be remembered for its running gags. Some were played out. Others were used too little. “Intervention” is an episode basically dedicated to running gags and their value. Interventions were used to stop things from playing themselves out. The irony of this show is ridiculous. Marshall’s graph humor and Lily’s fake accent will be missed, but we thank them for containing themselves in one episode.

6) “Pineapple Incident” (Season 1, Episode 10)

WE NEVER FOUND OUT WHAT HAPPENED AND I COULDN’T BE MORE DISAPPOINTED! IT WAS THE ONE LOOSE END! *sigh* Season 1’s tenth episode showed that HIMYM could play with the narrative and its timeline freely. It challenged the writers and the audience. Other than the pilot, this was the first episode that invested us in the serialization of HIMYM. We knew we had to pay attention for the full picture. The full picture, again, was annoying. The important thing here is there are 22 minutes of bliss waiting for you on Netflix. Or Lifetime.

5) “Three Days of Snow” (Season 4, Episode 13)

Three separate stories over three days of snow. Complimenting my six spot, “Three Days” plays with structure to further gratify the conclusion. Marshall and Lily are unfortunately pushed into the back of this five-person ensemble. Once they get married, Marshall and Lily have a lot less conflict. In bro news, Ted and Barney run MacLaren’s as their new bar, Puzzles. Why it is called Puzzles? That’s the Puzzle. The fictional bar even had its own website. HIMYM has always effectively used social media. The theme song is catchy, too. Did you notice lots of Season 4 on this list? Season 4 was my season. It was when I was fully invested in the series.

4) “The Final Page: Part II” (Season 8, Episode 12)

The only episode from the second 100 episodes on this list. In my mind, nothing besides the birth of Marvin is really missed until “The Final Page.” One could watch those 100 episodes or so, skip to this episode, and nothing would really be lacking. Barney makes a very important change (that will be retconned two more times before the series ends). Barney and Robin always made sense as a couple. Ever since they suited up together, I thought it could happen. “The Final Page” was the actual payoff of HIMYM. There, I said it.

3) “How I Met Everyone Else” (Season 3, Episode 5)

Present on this list for every reason Chris stated yesterday. He is completely right. Also, Blah-Blah is played by Abigail Spencer, who I am so glad finally has a full-time job on Suits.

2) “Girls Vs. Suits” (Season 5, Episode 12)

Rachel Bilson was always my favorite candidate for The Mother outside of who we got. She had that perfect balance of sweet, smart, and TV fame. She wouldn’t overshadow the series regulars, but add to them. HIMYM’s 100th episode threw a curveball, making her Tracy’s roommate. It was a fun peek into the life of Ted’s future wife. Meanwhile, Barney gets to hit on Stacy Kiebler like he never got to in his Clooney years. “Nothin Suits Me Like A Suit” is a delightful entry in the original music written on HIMYM. It was one I will continually play on a rainy day. Send Casual Friday down the laundry chute!

1) “Slap Bet” (Season 2, Episode 9)

As I mentioned before, we have to end things the way they began. Robin Sparkles broke open Robin’s character. At first, she was such a cool, collected woman. There was never a reason to believe she would be the kind of woman who would get dropped, rejected, or anything like that. Then we saw just why she was so cool and collected. It was overcompensation for her embarrassing past. A past that would start the beloved Slap Bet. I am currently in a slap bet over how good the Ant-Man movie will be. Although the episodes dedicated to a slap were not always the best, the first slap was a home run. Watching Barney hit the ground after a backhand from Marshall, I will simply never stop laughing. No need for a theme song or slo-mo. Subtle but painful is the way to go. Subtle but painful. Yes, that sums up HIMYM.