“Wait For It…” – How I Met Your Mother’s 20 Most LEGENDARY Episodes, Part Two

Posted by Kim

So here we are.  The end of the line.  Tonight Ted Mosby finally meets the woman he’s been waiting for his whole life.  I’m cramming 7 of my friends into my tiny studio apartment so we can all watch together.  We’re ordering wings.  Sumbitches have been made by Kelly, I’m PRETTY sure Sage is picking up a “Dammit Trudy what about the pineapple” upside down cake, and I have assembled a cheese plate with goat cheese and a gouda that would make Marshall proud.  Tonight, we say goodbye.   It’s been a hell of a ride, How I Met Your Mother.  Just TRY not to crush us too much in the end, okay?  I really love my DVDs and I REALLY don’t want to burn them if you go against EVERY PHILOSOPHY YOU HAVE PURPORTED YOURSELF TO BE ABOUT, OKAY?

Whew.  Sorry for yelling.  I’m just a wee bit invested in Ted Mosby’s happiness, okay?

I’ve got to say I’m pretty proud of this top 10.  While some personal favorites missed the cut for this post (sorry “Drumroll, Please” and “Spoiler Alert”), I feel these ten episodes represent the best of what How I Met Your Mother can do.   The show was always a mix of absurdity, hilarity, and feels.  It was a show that unabashedly wore its heart on its sleeve.  I’m going to miss it terribly.  But, to paraphrase Empire Rcords, we mustn’t dwell.  Not today.  Not on finale day!

Suit up and read on about my top ten.  I think they are legen…wait for it…and I hope you are not lactose intolerant because the last part of that word is DARY.  LEGENDARY!

10) How Your Mother Met Me (9 x16)

 

It was always thought (much to HIMYM fans’ dismay) that we wouldn’t meet the Mother until the series finale.  I say “dismay” because after all the build-up we desperately wanted to see Ted and the Mother falling in love.  We had invested too much time in Ted’s journey to NOT get some sort of payoff.  So imagine my delight when with the words “One Ticket to Farhampton, please” (one of our top 20 TV Moments of 2013), Carter Bays and Craig Thomas changed the game.  There she was.  The future Mrs. Ted Mosby.  And my only reaction was…of COURSE this is her.

It’s a true testament to both the writing and actress Cristin Milioti that it has been so easy to fall in love with the Mother.  Her presence has invigorated every episode that she’s been in.  She’s warm, she’s goofy, and she’s a fully realized character.  It’s incredibly fitting that HIMYM spent its 200th episode filling in the blanks of the Mother’s story.  Throughout this final season we’ve seen the way the Mother met all of Ted’s friends and we’ve seen important moments in her relationship with Ted, but until this episode we didn’t know what made the Mother the person she is and what brought her to the point of meeting our hero.

It would have been easy to make the Mother your typical manic pixie dream girl, but HIMYM has never believed in easy.  The Mother has known PAIN.  She lost the love of her life on her 21st birthday (also the night Marshall and Lily got engaged and Ted met Robin).  Way to slap me in the feels right from the beginning, guys.  The rest of the episode deals with how the Mother heals from that loss while peppering in delightful little callbacks to previous episodes.  The Mother is the one who proves The Naked Man only works 2 out of 3 times.  She understood that “Puzzles” WAS the puzzle.  We saw her laughing with Cindy when Ted was teaching the wrong class and we saw her perspective of Ted being in her apartment during “Girls vs. Suits”.  It all further emphasized just how close (but how far) the Mother and Ted have been and how much they needed to go through to be ready for each other.

“How Your Mother Met Me” culminates in two beautiful moments that if they DIDN’T move you to tears, I fear for the state of your soul.  The first was a touching monologue by the Mother to Max as she pondered a marriage proposal from Lewis .  The Mother FINALLY realized she needed to fully let go of her love for Max and get to living and loving again (even if it wasn’t loving Lewis).  Cristin’s acting during that scene = A+.  The second was a lovely and bittersweet montage as the Mother sat on her porch at the Farhampton Inn singing “La Vie en Rose”.  We visit all five of our main ensemble during this montage.  We see Marshall and Lily dealing with the aftermath of one of the biggest fights of their marriage.  We see Robin crawling into bed on the eve of her wedding.  We see Barney passing out drunkenly after the bender of the post-rehearsal partying.  And we see Ted…also sitting on his balcony, smiling pensively as he listens to the melancholy singing of the girl in the room next to him.  A wall separates him from the woman who will change his life and he doesn’t even know it.  All he knows is that the singing is beautiful.  It’s HIMYM at it’s finest.

 

JUST DON’T MAKE US FALL IN LOVE WITH THE MOTHER AND THEN KILL HER, OKAY SHOW?

Best Line:

The Mother: Hi, Max. It’s me. Sorry to interrupt. I know you’re probably up there playing baseball with your dad. Um, look, I-I’ve got a situation here. I think that I have been holding myself back from falling in love again. And I think it’s because I can’t let you go. But you’re not here anymore so I have to ask this: Would it be okay if I moved on? I realize that you have no way of answering that, but, um… (wind blows into her face) Oh, okay. I will take that as yes. Um, in that case, I should get back in there. (Walks to the door, stops and turns back) I guess this is it. For real this time. Bye, Max.

9) Ten Sessions (3 x 13)

“Ten Sessions” is often known as two things: The Britney Spears episode and the Two Minute Date episode.  Let’s talk about Britney first.  I was terrified when the news broke that Britney was guest starring.  It was post her “Gimme More” disaster on the VMAs, it was in the middle of her life being taken over with a conservatorship, all of it just SCREAMED ratings grabbing potential train wreck.  And let’s be honest, it WAS a shameless ratings grab, as it was the second episode post Writer’s Strike (and we KNOW how many shows that killed) and the show had modest ratings the entire season (Season Three remains the lowest rated season of the series).  Many people probably tuned in hoping to see a disaster but instead they got a sweet and thoroughly competent performance from BritBrit and a fantastic episode of How I Met Your Mother to boot.  Was she amazing?  No.  But she was cute and she was funny and she brought more eyeballs to the show, so mission accomplished.

The shadow of Britney loomed so large over this episode, that when Alicia Silverstone was offered the role of Stella Zinman, Ted’s dermatologist, she turned it down out of fear of playing second fiddle.  Her loss, our gain as we then got Sarah Chalke as Stella.  I often wonder if Alicia regrets turning down a part that became an integral thread in the HIMYM story?  I know a lot of people have many things to say about Stella as a character (she DID leave Ted Mosby at the altar after all, crushing our boy’s romantic spirit and making him cynical), but you can’t deny Chalke’s warmth and goofiness and likeability in “Ten Sessions”.  And the Two Minute Date?  That is everything about Ted Mosby in a nutshell.  Ted is a believer in the grand gesture.  We saw it when he stole the Blue French Horn for Robin in the pilot and we saw it many many MANY times over the course of the series.  He’s earnest, he’s sweet, he’s juuuuuuuuuuuuust a little bit too much…but at the same time it’s impossible to not be charmed by him.  The Two Minute Date is the ULTIMATE in Ted Mosby gestures.  What kind of guy picks up on the fact that you constantly say you only have two minutes for lunch and then sets out to cram an entire evening into two minutes just to take you out on a date?  Ted Mosby, that’s who.  If I were to try to explain Ted’s character to someone who had never seen the series, this is the scene I would show them.

Best Line:

Ted: Look, I would love to have a second date, I would. But I understand that you really don’t have time right now, but if you ever do, will you give me a call?

Stella: Yes.

Ted: Okay.

Future Ted: And that, kids, is how you turn a “no” into a “yes.”

8) “Slapsgiving” (3 x 19)

I’m a sucker for an excellent Thanksgiving episode.  Of course, Friends will always own the title of best Thanksgiving episodes ever (one might even say those episodes became the signature episodes of the series), but “Slapsgiving” is a worthy entry into the Thanksgiving Canon.  The best Thanksgiving episodes are the ones that capture the chaos of the day, the desperation of the hostess to prepare for her guests, and the way tensions can explode when you have all your friends gathered in one room.  Add in the doom from an impending slap across the face and you have the recipe for a cracking good holiday episode.

“Slapsgiving” tackles the question of how you remain friends with an Ex. Now, in real life, when you break up with someone and you have mutual friends, it’s usually settled with some sort of custody agreement or effort is made not to have the two parties in the same room. You certainly don’t SEE them everyday. But this isn’t real life, this is television, and television dictates that the 5 principal actors all remain on the show.  Thus, we have to deal with Ted and Robin trying to figure out how to navigate this tricky territory, especially when it comes to being alone together and knowing what to say to each other.

While we had a Thanksgiving episode in season one with “Belly Full of Turkey”, “Slapsgiving” is the first time the entire gang is together for the holiday.  Lily, in full on Monica Geller mode, just wants her first thanksgiving as a married couple to be perfect.  Her husband, on the other hand, spends the day psychologically torturing Barney as his slap countdown clock (which we saw in the season premiere) counts down to zero.  Ted and Robin are just trying to remain polite after a ex-sex incident the night before baking pies.  The room is a ticking time bomb and when everything explodes, Lily, in a fit of rage, uses her powers as Slap Bet Commissioner to declare it a Slap Free Day.  It’s her equivalent of telling everyone to go to their rooms.

Robin: Look at us! We can’t be alone together, can we?

Ted: Apparently not.

Robin: What does that mean? We’re supposed to be friends.

Ted: We aren’t friends, are we? Not really. We avoid each other. We smile politely. We’re two people who pretend to be friends because it would be inconvenient not to.

Robin: Well, maybe we should stop pretending.

Ted: Maybe we should.

Robin: So… what do we do now?

Ted: I suppose… we eat dinner. And then that’s it.

Robin: Okay.

It’s awkward and awful and we’ve all soooooooooooooo been there right?  And then, as future Ted says, something miraculous happens.  They all begrudgingly sit down to dinner.  All Lily wants is for everyone to get out of the house.  Marshall makes a toast thanking his wife for the wonderful meal and thanking all of his friends for being there with them.  The room begins to thaw.  And then Bob (Robin’s date) says “major buzzkill” and Ted and Robin, who had just declared their friendship over, both automatically do their Salute inside joke (a joke that we see peppered throughout the rest of the series).  In that moment, you know that these two are going to be okay eventually.

And then, of course, Barney begins taunting Marshall about not being able to slap him, and at the last moment of the countdown, Lily revokes her rule.  Marshall uses his third slap and then serenades the group with a song he wrote just for the occasion (“You just got slapped…across the face my friend…”).  Not a bad Thanksgiving at all, if I do say so myself.

Best Line:

Barney: Oh God, don’t slap me again! I don’t want to get slapped again! The first two times hurt so bad, I don’t like, I don’t like it one bit!

Marshall: Well, I thought I ruined it by putting a clock on it, Barney?

Barney: Well, you didn’t ruin it, you made it so much worse! I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I’ve lost 10 pounds, my suits are wearing me! You know what I am out of here!

Marshall: What? No, no, you can’t leave!

Barney: There is nothing in the rules that says I have to be subjected to this kind of psychological torture. You can slap my face, but you cannot slap my mind! Good day!

7) “How I Met Everyone Else” (3 x 05)

Every long running sitcom about a group of friends eventually tells the origin story of how the group of friends came together.  “How I Met Everyone Else” is obviously HIMYM‘s entry into this trope and boy, is it delightful. The episode is framed around Ted bringing his new girlfriend Blah-Blah (whose name, we learned in Season Nine, was actually Carol) to meet his group of friends.  Blah-Blah is embarrassed that she and Ted actually met online (cause meeting people online was still a bit of a novelty in 2007) so she has constructed an elaborate lie about how she and Ted actually met in a cooking class.  Blah-Blah wants to know the story of how Ted met everyone else…cue the flashbacks to Wesleyan!

The episode takes cues from all the flashback episodes of Friends and paints the core trio of Ted, Marshall and Lily as COMPLETELY different people than the ones we know today.  Lily is a Goth girl.  Ted a pretentious douche with a fro of curly hair and John Lennon spectacles.  And Marshall is a stoner.  Forgive me…he’s a sandwich eater.

I can’t even describe how much I love college Marshall, Lily, and Ted.  We had flashbacks to these days in previous episodes, but much like Fat Monica, it never gets old.  The flashbacks also further emphasises how much these three are friends for LIFE.  Cause if someone loves you when you are cut your Pinot Noir with cranberry juice, because the wine was just a little too strong, they will love you when you are old and gray.

The episode also introduces us to the Hot/Crazy scale, which Barney spends most of the evening ranking Blah-Blah on.  It’s another one of those terms that How I Met Your Mother is famous for.  And it’s also entirely accurate, I’ve seen it in action.

I also forever giggle at Robin’s reaction to Blah-Blah asking how Robin and Barney got together.  Oh honey…you’re going to marry those Sixteen Nos in seven years.

Best Line:

Robin: Wait, ‘hot/crazy’ scale?

Barney: Let me illustrate! [draws diagram] A girl is allowed to be crazy as long as she is equally hot. Thus, if she’s *this* crazy, she has to be *this* hot. You want the girl to be above this line. Also known as the ‘Vickie Mendoza Diagonal’. This girl I dated. She played jump rope with that line. She’d shave her head, then lose 10 pounds. She’d stab me with a fork, then get a boob job. [pauses] I should give her a call.

6) The Limo (1 x 11)

I loathe New Year’s Eve.  There is always way too much expectation to do something EPIC when in reality you end up paying exorbitant amounts to get INTO a bar (probably one you got into for free the night before) to get smushed around with all sorts of drunk amateurs fighting over the 2 hours of open bar (in which your drink is the size of a thimble).  There’s all the pressure to have someone to kiss at midnight and to have all the life changing resolutions made by midnight.

I’d rather be at home on my couch with Chinese food, wine, and Netflix, thank you very much.

Barney: Give it a rest, Ted.

Ted: Give what a rest?

Barney: Trying to turn this night into anything more than what it is, which is New Year’s Eve which is the single biggest letdown of a night every single year.

“The Limo” tackles the issue of New Year’s Eve dead on.  Ted, in all of his adorable and earnest Mosby-ness, tries to make New Year’s Eve a magical one for his friends .  He has a list of the best parties and he has a limo driven by their pal Ranjiit.  They have Barney’s “Get Psyched” mix (“It’s ALL RISE, baby!”).  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, a lot of things.  They pick up Moby, who turns out to NOT be Moby, but a guy named Eric who is heading to party number four with a gun.  They get separated from Lily, who goes home to change her shoes in the middle of the evening.  They get separated from Marshall, who later runs off in search of his wife (who they actually found at Fauxby’s party).  The Get Psyched mix is stolen.  Ted’s date MaryBeth picks up on all the UST between Ted and Robin and decides to spend the rest of the evening elsewhere.  The limo gets a flat tire.  Basically, it becomes your typical New Year’s Eve.

Ted and Barney bemoan this fact as they perch out of the sunroof while Lily hopelessly screams “Marshalllllllllllllllllllllllllll!” into the abyss.  And then a miracle happens.

“LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYY!!”

Marshall comes running through the steam to the strains of “You Give Love a Bad Name”.  Against all odds, he found them.  He has the Get Psyched Mix.  And he has news that party number five is RAGING.  It’s a moment of magic that can only happen on a night like New Year’s Eve.  Which is WHY people make such a big deal about that stupid night in the first place.   Of course, being ten minutes to midnight, they get stuck in traffic.  But it no longer matters.  As Future Ted reflects, “And just like that, we were having the perfect New Year’s Eve. The funny thing is all night long, I’d been trying to chase something down that was right there in that limo.”

My feels, you guys.

Best Line:

Barney: Yeah, you know why all the circuits are jammed because everyone’s calling their loved ones, everyone around the world. Everyone except Barney. Oh, sure, laugh. Laugh for Barney Stinson. Laugh for the sad clown trapped on his whirling carousel of suits and cigars and bimbos and booze. Round and round it goes. And where’s it all heading? Nowhere.

Robin: Is this just ’cause you lost your “Get Psyched” mix?

Barney: I’m sorry. Am I not allowed to have a pensive side?

5) “Bad News”/ “Last Words” (6 x13, 6 x 14)

 

I remember watching “Bad News” for the first time.  It seemed to be just an average episode.  And then around seeing the number 30 placed prominently, I realized there was some sort of countdown going on within the episode.  At first, I just thought it was just another clever HIMYM Easter Egg gimmick.  As the numbers appeared faster and faster, I began to grow anxious, since it was clear SOMETHING was going to happen.  And then Marshall got the great news that everything was okay with him as far as his fertility (Lily had gotten the same news earlier in the episode) and he went outside to call his dad.  The phone rang and rang.  Lily pulled up in a cab with the number “1” on it and got out.  She tearfully delivered the news to her husband that his father was dead.

It felt like a punch to the stomach.  Tears streamed down my face as I watched him embrace his wife on the street in front of McClaren’s.  “I’m not ready for this,” Marshall groaned.  Neither were we, Marshall.  Neither were we.

Out of all the people in our gang, it is most devastating that this happened to Marshall.  I’ve always considered Marshall the innocent of the group, the one who truly believes in the goodness of people, the one with the biggest heart.  Marshall was the only one whose parents were still happily married.  Marshall, aside from the merciless teasing of his brothers, is the one who had the charmed childhood.  He was the only one who didn’t have a tense relationship with his parents, specifically with his father.  He talked to his dad everyday.  He even had a running game of Go Fish with his dad.  Losing his father was the worst possible thing that could happen to him…and it did.  Because that’s what happens in life sometimes.  The worst, most unfair things can happen to the people who deserve them the least.

It’s well-known in HIMYM lore that the writers pulled a fast one on Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel for the final scene of “Bad News”.  At the table read, they were led to believe the final scene would be Lily telling Marshall we was pregnant.  On the day of filming, they switched the final page.  Jason only knew that the last line of Alyson’s would be “it” and that would be his cue to react.  So that whimpered “My Dad’s dead”?  The groaned “I’m not ready for this”?  MADE UP ON THE SPOT.  They did the scene in one take, and it remains Alyson’s most memorable moment of the series, as she rudely reminded us on Inside The Actor’s Studio.

I never know what to do with myself at funerals.  There’s only so many times you can say “I’m sorry for your loss” before it becomes meaningless.  That’s why “Last Words” is such a stellar episode as we see Marshall’s friends rally around him and try to help him through his grief.  The way each one of them reacted made perfect sense.  Robin, in a callback (to me anyway) of how she knew Lily needed a cigarette on her wedding day, had her bag full of vices, trying to anticipate everything Marshall needed.  Ted and Barney, in typical bro fashion, did their best to try to make Marshall laugh.  Lily threw herself upon the mercy of her mother-in-law in the only way a good wife and daughter-in-law can by allowing her to take any potshot at her.  It was all beautiful and awkward and sad and true to life.

Marshall’s discovery of a voicemail from his dad and his subsequent rage over the fact that it was a pocket dial is Jason Segel’s finest acting moment of the series.  In fact, I would argue it’s one of the best scenes for the entire ensemble of the entire series.  If you have the strength to watch the episode again (I’ve watched it TWICE in the span of 2 weeks for the purposes of this post and because I’m a masochist), watch the faces of Lily, Robin, Ted, and Barney as Marshall yells at the universe about losing his father.  Their pain for their friend is palpable.  They flinch at every rage filled and grief-stricken statement.  It’s all incredibly visceral and present and shows just how seamless the ensemble is.

As if I weren’t crying enough at seeing my precious Marshmallow rage at the universe, the wind was REALLY knocked out of me when suddenly Marvin’s voice rang out of the cell phone, once he realized he had pocket dialed his son.  In true HIMYM fashion, they had the universe give Marshall one last gift from his dad: having his last words to his son be “I love you”.  Okay…so they were REALLY “Ooh, and let me know if you find my foot cream. That fungus thing is acting up again” but we’re pretending we didn’t her that part, okay?

As to whether Crocodile Dundee III really holds up? You’ll have to let me know in the comments.

Best Line:

Marshall: You guys don’t get it, okay? None of you do. My dad was my hero. And he was my teacher. And he was my best friend. He always came through for me, and now he’s just gone. And what am I left with? (Plays static message and yells at the sky) Thanks a lot God, thank you. You took my father. The greatest man that I have ever known, and you whipped him off this Earth, way too young. And he’ll never get to meet our kids, Lily. But we’ve got this voice mail. Thank you so much for the voice mail, it’s a great comfort. Because whenever I’m starting to feel lonely, or sad, or maybe a little bit cheated, at least I’ve got the sound of his pocket to console me. How is this fair? You’ve got an entire human life, and it just ends for no reason. And what are we left with?

Marvin Eriksen Sr.: (Over the voice mail message) Marshall? Looks like I’ve been calling you for over five minutes. How’s my pocket sound? Sorry about that buddy. Anyway, your mom and I had such a great time seeing you.  I love you.

4) “Subway Wars” (6 x 04)

 

On its surface, “Subway Wars” is How I Met Your Mother‘s tribute to The Amazing Race.  It’s a raucous romp through New York City as the gang races through every method of transportation to get to a Steak House in the Financial District (which, given that McClaren’s is on the Upper West Side, let me tell you, as a New Yorker, that IS a trek).  It’s a wonderful rumination on just what DOES make you a New Yorker, because everyone has different criteria.  For the record, my definition includes living here ten years (I’ve lived here for 13, boom! Also, I’m old).  I have yet to steal a cab from someone who needed it more but I HAVE cried with abandon on the subway (many many times).  I definitely agree with Ted’s statement “If you can’t spot the crazy person on the bus, it’s you” (luckily, I rarely take the bus).  Learning to understand “conductor” IS an art.  And yes, sometimes I DO think that I get to places by walking faster than I could on the Subway.  Everything in this episode is so spot on when it comes to life in New York.

But really, at its core, “Subway Wars” is a story about how New York City can kick your ass.  All of our characters (save Barney) are going through it in this episode, but none more so than Robin.  She’s been through a horrible break-up, she’s miserable at work…as she says she feels like the City is outright rejecting her.  I could ask any of my friends that have lived here for an extended period of time if the City has ever made them feel that way and I can unequivocally say that they would all say “hell yes it has”.  New York can be the loneliest city in the world.  People get wrapped up in their own lives and not have time to see anything except what’s right in front of them (like when Robin tries to tell Barney what she’s going though and he doesn’t hear her or realize just how serious she is).  There have been many times where I have felt I have had enough and thought about packing it in.  But then I’ll have a happy hour with Sage and my girlfriends or brunch with my cluster of college friends who have all migrated here or have a night at the theatre and I’ll remember WHY I’m still here after thirteen years.  New York may kick my ass, but I wouldn’t have it any other way (and sometimes, you need to kick its ass right back).  You just have to make the effort not to lose yourself and stay present with your support system, and I think that’s the realization that our gang comes to at the end of the episode.

Also Barney sacrificing himself and tackling Ted so Robin can win the race?  Ship, ship, ship it.

Best Line:

Robin: I am done with this city. It wins.  I just want to move somewhere new and start over.

Lily: You’ve had a rough year. But you’re tough. And I love you like crazy. If you left, I’d have to follow you. And Marshall would follow me. And Ted would follow him. The only upside is that we might get rid of Barney.

3) “Three Days of Snow” (4 x 13)

One of the hallmarks of How I Met Your Mother has been it’s ability to play with timelines and story structure.  We have an unreliable narrator in the form of future Ted, who forgets names and mixes up details and dates (see also: the several season tease about his birthday where he got beaten up by a goat), which gives the show the freedom to trick the audience into thinking they are seeing something they are not.  This conceit is sued to maximum impact in “Three Days of Snow”.  For a good bit of the episode, we believe this is all happening in one night.  That while Marshall and Robin are fighting in the car on the way to pick up Lily from the airport (while Lily herself is desperately trying to get a micro-brew for Marshall with the help of Ranjiit), Ted and Barney are running Puzzles…erm…McClaren’s.  And then future Ted reveals that these events actually took place over three nights, which sets up one of the sweetest moments in the show’s history.

Let’s talk about Lily and Marshall in this episode.  From as early as “Okay Awesome” in season one, Lily seems obsessed with trying to move past the adorable mushyness of their relationship and have a mature and classy one.  But that’s just not who Marshall and Lily are.  They ARE the couple that tells each other everything.  They are the couple who calls each other everyday at lunch just to say “I love you”.  They are the couple who enjoys entering the Halloween costume contest every year and they are the couple who will always meet each other at the airport and they are so much better when they just embrace that fact.  Sure, traditions shift as a relationship grows and as they age, but Marshall and Lily will always be the couple that you outwardly roll your eyes at their adoration for each other, but deep down you want what they have.

The end of “Three Days of Snow” never fails to make me cry.  Lily sits at the airport alone as she realizes Marshall didn’t come pick her up after all.  In true New York fashion, one musician mournfully plays “Auld Lang Syne” and she begins to cry.  But then…more musicians join in playing the same thing.  A whole marching band joins and Marshall appears carrying a sign that says “LilyPad” and Lily begins to cry for a different reason (Alyson is truly wonderful in this scene)…

Marshall: A muffin, a pastrami sandwich, and a bag of chips.  And I know it’s way past lunchtime, but I love you.  More and more each day, I love you, Lily.  Happy New Year. (Lily kisses him) Um, wait, does this mean that I have to bring a marching band to the airport from now on?

Lily: Absolutely, it does.

Marhsall: Crap.

Ted Mosby…you’ve got some competition in the grand gesture department and his name is Marshall Eriksen.

Best Line:

Ted: We should buy a bar!

Barney: Of course, we should buy a bar!

Ted: We should totally buy a bar.

Barney: We should totally buy a bar. Our bar would be awesome. And dude, dude, dude, dude… the name of our bar… Puzzles. (Ted is astonished by the proposition) People will be, like, “Why is it called Puzzles?”. That’s the puzzle!

2) “The Pineapple Incident” (1 x 10)

We’ve all had one of those nights.  One of those nights where we go on a bender and have NO idea how we got home or exactly what happened the night before.  I know I have.  I’ve had mornings where I have woken up having zero recollection of how I got home the night before (I have the scar on my leg to prove it), where I am amazed that not only am I home with all of my valuables and the door locked, but I still managed to get my dog into the bed with me.  But I have never woken up with an unexplained pineapple next to my bed.

When I read Entertainment Weekly‘s top 50 (FIFTY.  Still not over it.) list of episodes, I was APPALLED that “The Pineapple Incident” was ranked at TWENTY SEVEN.  Not even in the top HALF.  For me, “The Pineapple Incident” makes a good case for being the number one episode, despite everyone agreeing what the greatest all time episode of HIMYM is.  “The Pineapple Incident” is delightfully absurd, endlessly quotable, and has spurred gifs upon gifs of Drunk Ted letting loose.  Much like Sage struggled with choosing only one quote for “Bad Blood” when she wrote about our number two X-Files episode, there was no way I could narrow down this episode to one quote.  So instead of giving you a dissertation on why this episode is awesome and worthy of the number two spot on this list, I’m going to show you through quotes and gifs.

Hopefully, it will make you forgive me for making you cry earlier in this post.

Barney: “Ted, I believe you and I met for a reason. It’s like the universe was saying, “Hey Barney, there’s this dude, he’s pretty cool, but it is your job to make him awesome.” Your brain screws you up, Ted. It gets in the way. It happened with Robin, it happened with Half-boob, and its gonna keep happening until you power down that bucket of neuroses inebriation-style.”

Ted:  How quickly you all forget. I haven’t puked since high school. I am vomit-free since ninety-three. Vomit free since ninety-three. That’s funny. I’m funny.

Nothing speaks better for a fandom love fest than this does.

Ted: I’m calling Robin.

Barney: Ted, as your mentor and spiritual guide, I forbid you from calling her.

Ted: Oh yeah? What you gonna do?

Barney: If you complete that call, I will set your coat on fire.

Ted: You’re bluffing.

Ted: Why do they call it karaoke anyhow? Was it invented by a woman named Carrie Okie? These are the kinds of things I think about.

Trudy: Karaoke is Japanese for empty orchestra.

Ted: That’s hauntingly beautiful.

Fact: I quote that line every time we go karaoke.  Ask Sage.

Word on the internet is that we’re FINALLY going to find out about the pineapple tonight.  Part of me never wants to know, because as I said with “Slutty Pumpkin”, sometimes the mystery is better than the answer.  But the other part of me can’t WAIT to find out.

Best Line:

Ted: Barney, you’ve always taken care of me. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Go into my stable and take my finest stallion. He’s yours, his name is Windjammer.

1) “Slap Bet” (2 x 09)

What can I say about “Slap Bet” that hasn’t been said before?  As various websites have compiled their lists of How I Met Your Mother‘s finest moments, there has been one thing they’ve all agreed on: “Slap Bet” is the definitive episode of the series.  It’s the episode that you would show to someone whose never seen the show to demonstrate everything the series is about.  The episode give us THE longest running joke of the show in the form of Marshall and Barney’s Slap Bet (for the record, I side with Ted on this issue.  I would have taken the 10 slaps in a row).  While Marshall dispensed with the first two slaps rather quickly (the second slap came later in Season 2 as a way to stop Barney’s one man show), the show took great pleasure in stretching out the rest of the slap bet over the course of the run.  I had always dreamed that the final slap would take place in the series finale, with Old Man Marshall slapping Old Man Barney, but I gotta say, Marshall sacrificing the last slap to keep Barney from bolting at the altar was a fantastic move.

“Slap Bet” also gave us the gift that kept on giving in creating Robin Sparkles.  I love that they decided to give Robin (scotch swilling, cigar smoking, gun loving, not-at-all-a-girly-girl Robin) a secret past as a ridiculous and cheesy (and awesome) pop star.  It was so delightfully unexpected and while they went back to the Robin Sparkles well many times over the course of the series, none had the impact and element of surprise and joy that “Let’s Go To The Mall” did.

Also HOW did “Let’s Go to the Mall” NOT get an Emmy Nomination for Original Music and Lyrics?  Emmy Voters, I hate so much about the things you choose to be.

Best Line:

Barney: Your tombstone will read “Lily Aldrin: Caring wife, loving friend and Slap Bet Commissioner”

Marshall: And on Barney’s grave it’ll read “Got slapped by Marshall so hard he died.”

What are YOUR favorite episodes of How I Met Your Mother?  Are you ready for Ted to FINALLY meet her?  Just how many tissues WILL you go through tonight?  Let us know in the comments!

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11 thoughts on ““Wait For It…” – How I Met Your Mother’s 20 Most LEGENDARY Episodes, Part Two

  1. B says:

    Thank you so much for including Subway Wars. That episode aired just a few months after I moved here. The honeymoon period had already quickly expired, and I was already getting overwhelmed by New York… but watching it not only made me remember why I’d moved here, it also made me excited to feel more like a New Yorker by getting all of the New York jokes. Plus, to this day, when I cry on the subway (all of us who live here know it happens!) I think of this episode and it always makes me feel a little better. God, I’m gonna miss this show so much.

  2. yay says:

    This list is awesome! I agree with Swarley and Slapbet! My other faves include Say Cheese, Intervention, Spoiler Alert, Ted Mosby: Architect, The playbook, and Daisy. Daisy especially bc it made me cry this season bc of the love between Marshall and Lily. Honorable mention goes to the episode where Lily had Marvin and Barney wanted his middle name to be “wait for it”. I can’t remember the name of the episode.

  3. yay says:

    Awesome list! I especially agree with Swarley and Slapbet. My faces are Say Cheese, Intervention, Spoiler Alert, The Playbook, and Ted Mosby: Architect. I do have a favorite from this season though. Its Daisy because its the only episode that I openly cried because of the beautiful love between Marshall and Lily. An honorable mention goes to the episode where Lily had little Marvin and let Barney give him the middle name “wait for it”. The coolest middle name ever. I don’t remember what episode that was though?

  4. KatR says:

    That was quite possibly the worst finale of a television show I’ve ever seen. Talk about throwing away the emotional investment of your viewers. I’d say more, but I’ll wait until tomorrow when everyone has seen it, and THEN I WILL SAY MORE.

  5. KatR says:

    I think my first comment got eaten, let me try again. I said…..”that was quite possibly the worst finale of a television show I’ve ever seen. Talk about throwing away the emotional investment of your viewers. I’ll wait to say more until tomorrow when everyone has seen it, AND THEN I’LL SAY MORE”.

  6. I just found this blog, and I love it! ALL the feels! Also, I re-watched Bad News. The episode starts with the number 50 prominently displayed, and it counts all the way down. Maybe Marvin was 50 years old when he died?

  7. Awesome list. You did well. Hell you did great. And I do do agree with the #1 choice. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, I still get shocked like its the very first time ……lethal was so unexpected of Robin, the girl who was supposed to be a man but was really always a woman hidden behind that “tough guy ” exterior. No thanks to her dad of course. Lol

  8. Such a great list! The best quotes of every episode are spot on. I feel like “Spoiler Alert” and “Best Burger in New York” need to be here as well. APPLE ORCHARD BANANA CAT DANCE 866 – THREEEEE

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