The How I Met Your Mother Shame Index: Episode 5

Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 20 2009 8:10 AM

The How I Met Your Mother Shame Index: Episode 5

Perhaps the only thing the Shame Index is more ashamed to love than

How I Met Your Mother
John Swansburg John Swansburg

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.


is Kenny Rogers. The Shame Index may or may not own Rogers's

on vinyl, cassette tape, and compact disc; may or may not have once accompanied his mom to see Rogers perform at the

in Cohasset, Mass.; and may or may not have called attention to himself with his enthusiastic reception of Rogers's heartbreaking ballad "

." Suffice it to say, the Shame Index found this week's cameo by The Gambler nothing short of legendary.


—Too many Canada jokes: As Barney notes, Robin's Canadian heritage has been a source of great amusement over the years. But this episode leaned too hard on material about our neighbor to the north. A throwaway line about curling or Tim Horton's or

can be quite funny, but the citizenship subplot returned to the well too many times. The same goes for Barney's jingoism—it's funnier in small doses.

—The absurd notion that somehow the threat of deportation hanging over Robin due to an assault charge could somehow be remedied by her becoming a U.S. citizen.

—The Tim Horton's scene. The Shame Index detected a whiff of product placement: Barney makes a point of twice complimenting the coffee, and the Canadian chain does have 500 locations in the U.S. This summer, it

in Barney Stinson's hometown of New York City.

—Marshall and Lily as "married glob": Special effects wizardry is not a specialty of


, nor should it be.


—The idea of going on a 22-hour roadtrip from the Tri-State Area to Chicago to get pizza so bad that looking at it while consuming it is considered a "rookie mistake."

—The traditions associated with these roadtrips: namely, drinking the hilariously-named Tantrum soft drink and singing along to The Proclaimers' "


—The havoc Gazola's (sp?) pizza visits on Ted and Marshall's gastrointestinal systems.

—Crumpet Manor.

—The "shrimp fried rice" chant.

—Everything about Goodbye, Sparky : The pitch-perfect send-up of maudlin doggy lit, matching Kenny Rogers's honeyed drawl with the text, actually getting Rogers to do the voice work, Marshall and Ted's reconciliation after learning a valuable lesson from Sparky's story. A brilliantly conceived and executed gag.

The greatest Kenny Rogers-themed sitcom episode remains " The Chicken Roaster ," from the eighth season of Seinfeld , in which Kramer becomes addicted to chicken from Kenny Rogers Roasters. But kudos to HIMYM for crafting a fine part for one of our finest musical talents.

Previous Shame Indices: Episode 1 , 2 , 3 , 4

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