The following is our list of the Top 20 episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” as of the end of the seventh
season. The list is chronological by season, starting with the first. Enjoy!

1.  Season 1, Episode 3:  Sweet Taste of Liberty

Ted: “Fine, we’ll go lick the Liberty Bell”

Summary:

Barney convinces Ted that he needs to break his normal routine of going to the same bar
every night. He takes Ted to JFK to pick up girls, using a fake story about being businessmen
returning from a trip to Japan. They eventually end up in Philadelphia, where Barney persuades
a reluctant Ted to lick the Liberty Bell.

Why it Made the List:

“Sweet Taste of Liberty” really sets up how crazy Barney is, how he has the ability to pull Ted
into his misadventures, and to what lengths Barney is willing to go to in order to get laid. The
episode explores the Ted / Barney relationship and helps explain why Ted keeps Barney around,
despite his various flaws.

2.  Season 1, Episode 14:  Zip, zip, zip

Robin teams up with Barney for some laser tag

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Summary:

Ted and Victoria are hitting their stride as a couple. After initially waiting, Ted and Victoria
pick a night to have sex before she leaves town for awhile. They go to Ted’s apartment, which
is supposed to be empty, and get busy. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Ted, Lily and Marshall
bailed on their nine-month anniversary trip plans and stayed home instead. They hide in the
bathroom to avoid being found out, and must stay there while Ted and Victoria get hot-and-
heavy in the living room.

Meanwhile, Robin decides to be Barney’s “bro” for the night, joining him for a cigar and a drink
at a bar (suited up, nonetheless), and for a game of laser tag later on. When they head back to
Robin’s apartment, Barney mistakes Robin’s excitement for playing the board game “Battleship”
for a sexual euphemism and starts getting undressed. In the awkwardness that ensues, Robin
admits to Barney that she has feelings for Ted.

Why it Made the List:

“Zip, zip, zip” packed a whole lot of important material into one episode. First, we get to see
how great Robin and Barney are together (setting up their future relationship). Then, Robin
reveals that she actually does have feelings for Ted, which is sure to complicate his recently
blossoming relationship with Victoria. Plus, Lily and Marshall wrestle with the problem of
being out of “firsts” in their relationship – certainly something that every long-term couple can
relate to. Lily and Marshall being locked in the bathroom leads to some great comedy, as does
Robin being Barney’s “bro”. This one is an all-around solid episode.

3. Season 1, Episode 15: Game Night

Barney gets an origin story episode, and not all of it is pretty…

Summary:

The gang gets together for game night, in which Marshall introduces a new game that he created – Marshgammon. Marshall uses the game to find out more about Victoria, who Ted brought along. Lily reveals that someone gave her a tape to give to Barney, who tries to destroy it upon finding out who it’s from. Despite Barney’s protests, the group watches the tape, which reveals a long-haired, hippy-looking Barney crying into the camera.

Later, at MacLaren’s, Barney tells the sad tale behind the videotape, but only in sections as each friend reveals their most embarrassing stories. We find out that Barney became the playboy he is today because of a failed relationship with a girl named Shannon, who left him for a suited alpha-male named Greg. Also, just recently Barney reunited with Sharon, who is now raising Greg’s kid on her own. In an ending fit for Barney’s character, he gets closure on the whole tragic storyline by having sex with Shannon.

Why it Made the List:

“Game Night” was the episode that really turned Barney into a dynamic character. Up to this point, he’d been a monotonous player who only had one agenda – to get laid as much as possible. But here we find out that there is actually a reason for the way he is, and that he wasn’t always how he is now. Seeing the way that Barney was with Shannon gives us hope that someday he may be able to ditch his womanizing ways and settle down with the right girl.

Another reason “Game Night” made the list: Marshgammon. Marshall’s complex creation has the entire group confused, and to make matters worse, one of the rules is that a player has to drink if they ask, “What?” Hilarious.

4. Season 2, Episode 9: Slap Bet

Barney reacts to being slapped across the face by Marshall

Summary:

When Robin makes it clear that she does not want to go to the mall, the rest of the gang try to figure out why. Marshall hypothesizes that she was married at a Mall in Canada, and Barney suggests that Robin did pornography in Canada. They agree to a Slap Bet, in which the winner of the bet gets to slap the loser, and appoint Lily as Slap Bet Commissioner.

Eventually, Robin admits that she did get married in a mall, so Marshall slaps Barney. But it is later revealed that Robin lied, so Lily awards Barney 3 slaps on Marshall (for being prematurely slapped). Barney gets a hold of a video of Robin who appears under the alias of Robin Sparkles. He plays the first few minutes of the video, which seems to suggest that it is a porno. Barney pauses the video before anything risqué can happen and slaps Marshall for having won the bet. But Robin continues playing the video, and it turns out that it is not porn but in fact an embarrassing music video. Due to Barney’s erroneous slap on Marshall, Lily gives him two choices: to be slapped 10 times in a row right now, or to be slapped 5 times from now until eternity at whatever time Marshall chooses. Barney chooses the latter, setting up the long-running Slap Bet joke for future episodes to come (in which it is wonderfully revisited).

Why it Made the List:

“Slap Bet” is easily one of HIMYM’s greatest episodes. The Slap Bet ends up being a long-running joke that they excellently revisit in future episodes with phenomenal timing. This episode gave birth to “Slapsgiving”, the Slap Countdown, Marshall’s “You Just Got Slapped” song, and many other well-placed slaps randomly scattered through the following seasons.

“Slap Bet” also introduced us to another HIMYM classic: Robin Sparkles, and her hit song, “Let’s Go to the Mall”. The show revisits the Robin Sparkles joke a number of times, most notably for her follow-up song, “Sandcastles in the Sand,” which appears in the Season 3 episode of the same name. “Let’s Go to the Mall” was so popular with the show’s viewers that it actually made it onto the real-life videogame “Just Dance 3”. Two classic HIMYM jokes in one episode means it has to make the Top 20 list.

5. Season 2, Episode 21: Something Borrowed

Barney finally weds Marshall and Lily after a long day of wedding disasters

Summary:

On Lily and Marshall’s wedding day, a number of unfortunate events occur that ruin any chance of having the perfect wedding. Lily’s problems include her ex-boyfriend, Scooter, showing up to the wedding (her family invited him), her veil being ruined, the flowers not showing up, and the harp player going into labor. Marshall’s mishaps include accidently getting his hair bleached (the tips) and then shaving off a long strip of his hair in a sudden panic.

Marshall and Lily are ready to call off the wedding, but Ted saves the day by suggesting they have the small ceremony they always wanted outside, away from all of their guests. Barney was recently licensed to marry people, so under a tree outside, Barney weds Lily and Marshall in front of just two people – Ted and Robin. The wedding reception at the very end of the episode carries into the season 2 finale, “Something Blue.”

Why it Made the List:

“Something Borrowed” marked the marriage of a legendary couple, one of the greatest TV has ever seen. I also liked that the episode redefined a “perfect wedding” to be a simple ceremony in front of best friends, minus all the commotion of the big event in front of the whole family.

“Something Borrowed” also established Ted’s leadership role, and how at the worst of times he has the ability to pick up the rest of the group and right the ship, which is seen in future episodes. All-in-all, this was just a feel-good episode that focused on Lily and Marshall and temporarily put aside the relationship drama of the other group members. You can purchase this and many other great romantic comedies on DVD Land.

8 Responses

  1. Peter

    I liked the blitzgiving one also because as a fan of lost I noticed they tossed in tons of lost jokes for Jorge Garcia and also with bad news its memorable because of the countdown,which was down flawless, my only objection is that I wish they had used it for happy news instead of the bad,and oddly dark news marshall recieved. Blah blah hate for the fact that you said nora had more chemistry with barney than robin. That was a lil sarcastic, but I do think Robin and Barney do have better chemistry,especially as it was formed over years. while that part in the final episode on the list was a psych-out,I guess after season 7’s finally we can finally say its true,in some way. Good list dude.

    Reply
    • Joran

      Peter, your comment made me laugh. Why do you think anybody would care what you have to say? Your name starts with a “P” for god’s sake! I stopped reading after the first 20 words because I can hardly imagine you have anything really important to say.

      Reply
  2. Joran

    Dear Bill Peloquin,

    I regret to inform you that I don’t fully agree with your top 20 list. How someone could pick “symphony of illumination” as their favourite episode really eludes me. Do you even understand what this show is about? It’s about five friends who are having the time of their lives and it is meant to be funny. This episode however, was one of the saddest moments in my life. Belief me when I say that there is nothing funny about Robin not being able to have children. On the plus side, you did get a couple of good episodes. Not all, just a couple.

    Peter, your comment made me laugh. Why do you think anybody would care what you have to say? Your name starts with a “P” for god’s sake! I stopped reading after the first 20 words because I can hardly imagine you have anything really important to say.

    If it is possible I would like to request for this article to be removed. On a personal level because it insulted me in more than one way. On a general level because the writing was terrible. I know this because got an A in english in the fourth grade (last year).

    Kind regards,

    Joran

    Reply
    • Legen dary

      Ummm, how does his first initial have anything to do with his content? Also, I’ve found from reading your comment that many of the things that you said are disrespectful and rude. (Note that I read the entire article before I judged it.) I would like to ask that you remove your comment because, well, “it insulted me in more than one way.”

      Reply
  3. Pg14

    I think “oh, honey” should also be in the list. Even though Katy Perry’s acting is terrible, some really good jokes are made about how stupid her character is.
    “the stinsons” is also an episode worth mentioning, the “wow”-moment when barney introduces his “family” is the most surprising turn if events in that season.

    Reply
  4. Mike

    The perfect cocktail is a personal favorite of mine. Totally hilarious, great one liners, plus the return of cockamouse is awesome.

    Reply
  5. Slap Bet Comissioner

    Only two episodes of Season 4? Really? For me the season 4 finale is the best season finale of the series and one of the top episodes, because we finally get to see the final showdown between Ted and the goat that has been anticipated since season 1, and the talk between Barney and Robin is hilarious.

    And, as future Ted say in the finale, “That was the year I was left at the altar, it was the year I got knocked out by a crazy bartender, the year I got fired, the year I got beat up by a goat, a girl goat at that, and damn it if it wasn’t one of the best years of my life”, and that’s why I should have added more of those episodes.

    Reply
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