6. Season 3, Episode 5: How I Met Everyone Else
Ted introduces his new girlfriend (whose name he can’t remember, so he calls her Blah Blah) to the group. Blah Blah is embarrassed that she met Ted online, so she fabricates a story of how they met. She clearly feels threatened by Robin, and to take the tension off the friends all reminisce about how they met one another.
Why it Made the List:
“How I Met Everyone Else” is kind of like a slice taken from the “Game Night” pie, in the sense that it explains a little bit of everybody’s back-story and embellishes on the characters. Ted, Marshall and Lily’s stories all revert back to their freshman year of college, and it’s fun and amusing to see the three of them as college kids. The Barney / Ted story is nice because we often wonder how Ted managed to befriend the polar-opposite Barney (of course it revolved around picking up a girl!)
In this episode we also get a glimpse at the group in 2020, when they attend a college class reunion. The “sub as weed” joke is revisited as Lily, Ted and Marshall sit down to smoke a joint together. When Ted realizes he can’t find his wife, the show does its typical gag in which the audience is so close to knowing the mother’s identity but never catches a glimpse of her (to be done again and again and again…).
7. Season 3, Episode 9: Slapsgiving
As Thanksgiving nears, Ted and Robin realize how awkward their relationship has become, exemplified by when a former inside joke they shared occurs and neither of them know how to react. After a lot of fighting and arguing over dinner, an impromptu phrase joke (Major Buzzkill) causes both Ted and Robin to reflexively salute, which makes them realize that their friendship is going to be okay.
Meanwhile, Marshall has been terrorizing Barney about being slapped, going so far as creating a Slap Countdown until the moment he’ll be struck. Angered at how much of a distraction the Slap Bet has become during the perfect meal she has prepared, Slap Bet Commissioner Lily vetoes the Slap Bet for the duration of Thanksgiving, much to Barney’s relief and Marshall’s dismay. However, with 10 seconds left in the now-defunct Slap Countdown, Barney begins to taunt Marshall about not being able to slap him. Lily warns Barney to stop, but he doesn’t, and with three seconds left on the Slap Countdown Lily reinstates the Slap Bet, causing Marshall to gleefully wallop Barney with a hard slap. Afterwards, Marshall sings a song he made up himself, called “You Just Got Slapped”.
Why it Made the List:
Like “Slap Bet,” “Slapsgiving” is also one of the show’s Top 5 episodes. Though the episode’s success is built on the foundation of the “Slap Bet” episode, the joke certainly doesn’t feel old yet. Plus, new forms of joke emerge in “Slapsgiving” – the Slap Countdown and Marshall’s “You Just Got Slapped” melody.
The rough patch that Robin and Ted’s relationship goes through in this episode is really second fare to the Slap Bet storyline, with the slaps essentially making this episode an instant classic.
8. Season 3, Episode 13: Ten Sessions
When Ted makes an appointment to have an embarrassing tattoo removed, he’s attracted to the doctor who will be doing the removal – Stella. After a botched date with Stella (she brought friends to the movie so it wasn’t a real date), Ted tells her that he will wait to ask her out again after their ten sessions together are over. Stella insists that she will still say no, but sensing chemistry between them, Ted persists. After the ten sessions are up and Ted asks Stella out, she explains that she doesn’t have time to date between working and taking care of her daughter.
Later, Ted realizes that Stella never actually said no to going on a date with him. He returns to her office and proceeds to take her on a two minute date during her break. The date takes place along the same street her office is on, and features an extremely brief dinner and a movie. The date concludes with a kiss, and Stella promises to call Ted if she ever has free time in her schedule.
Why it Made the List:
Though Ted has done countless corny things over the course of the show to woo women, “Ten Sessions” features the greatest of them. His two-minute date with Stella proves how serious he is about dating her and showcases the best of his romantic abilities. Simply put, the date was just a really clever idea and all of the different parts of it were amusing yet heart-warming at the same time.
Despite focusing on some mushy stuff, there were still some great laughs in “Ten Sessions.” For example, the part about Barney betting Ted he could make him grow a mustache (in a flashback), and that being the cause of his “Folliculaphilia” prank. It’s unclear whether that actually happened in a previous episode or if it was a flashback created just for this episode, but it was still funny. And it was great that the writers figured out a way to work Ranjit into the two minute date – an appearance by Ranjit is always welcome!
9. Season 3, Episode 16: Sandcastles in the Sand
Robin is planning on reuniting with an old ex-boyfriend Simon, who appeared in a Robin Sparkles called “Sandcastles in the Sand.” He also dumped Robin rather harshly back in the day (for a girl whose parents had a pool). Robin is ready to gloat at how much better she’s done with her life since the time they last saw one another, but seeing Simon again rekindles her teenage crush on him. Marshall deems this occurrence – a person reverting back to who they were when they knew a person – as “revertigo”. Robin’s case of revertigo causes her to agree to go on a date with Simon. However, their return to romance is cut short when Simon breaks up with Robin in an almost identical way as he did before (the same girl’s parents put in a Jacuzzi).
After the breakup, Barney still hasn’t been able to find the music video for “Sandcastles in the Sand”. Robin invites him over to her apartment so she can show him the video. After watching it again and again and laughing at it, Robin and Barney have their first kiss.
Why it Made the List:
“Sandcastles in the Sand” was significant because it was Robin and Barney’s first kiss. I was thrilled to see it happen, not because I was happy to see them get together, but because to me it seemed to mark a possible change in Barney. For close to three full seasons, Barney had been an unchanging ladies man who refused to get into a serious relationship with just one woman. Sure there was talk of his feelings for Robin, but this was the first time he acted on them and the first sign of Barney giving up his playboy ways for one special girl. Sure, it would take multiple seasons (and maybe the entirety of the show, who knows) for Barney to finally give up womanizing, but at this point in time it was just refreshing to see his character moving in a new direction.
Plus, “Sandcastles in the Sand” gave us a new Robin Sparkles song, so what’s not to love? I also got a good laugh out of Simon’s band, The Foreskins. Juvenile perhaps, but amusing nonetheless.
10. Season 4, Episode 2: The Best Burger in New York
The group goes out and gets burgers one night and are advised to try the special. Everybody seems to like the burgers but Marshall just seems it “OK”. He goes on to tell a tale of when he first came to New York eight years ago and stumbled upon the best burger in all of New York City, which even featured an autographed photo of Regis Philbin saying how great the burgers were. After eating the burger, he rushed home to tell Ted, but he forgot where the place was. Ever since that day, he has searched all over NYC for that burger joint and has eaten at every burger place there is, with no success. He’s even met Regis, who is also frantically searching for the place, but he can’t find it either.
The group embarks on a hilarious quest to find the legendary burger place, which involves Regis Philbin tagging along at points. Finally, they find the place and Marshall verifies that it really is the place with the best burgers in NYC.
Why it Made the List:
“The Best Burgers in NYC” features one of the show’s greatest guest appearances – Regis Philbin. Every time Regis is on-screen it is hilarious, whether he’s joining the group at their table or destroying a mailbox with his inhuman strength. This episode is one of those episodes that’s really funny but does very little character-development-wise. But Regis Philbin trumps everything, and puts this episode on the Top 20 list.