After a brief hiatus,
returned this week with a new episode and set about addressing, once and for all, this season's nagging question: Can Robin and Barney be funny as a couple? The Shame Index is happy to report that the answer is a rather resounding
—Ted's coinage of the term "New Relationship Smugness." Not particularly clever, not really necessary. The episode would have worked just as well without it.
—Barney advising Marshall that in order to win his fight with Lily, he needs a "surge." Not funny enough to overcome the questionable tastefulness of invoking the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the context of a spat about dirty dishes.
—The bagpipers upstairs. A wonderfully realized series of jokes: Equating the sound of the neighbors having sex with the drone of bagpipes was funny on its own, the reveal that the perpetrators were a pair of geriatrics was a nice twist, and it all came together when a bagpiping session inspired Ted to expose Barney and Robin's secret by seeking out their downstairs neighbor, the well-cast Phil from 12B.
—Marshall's Bull Durham-esque speech to Barney extolling his superior relationship skills, reprinted here in its full awesomeness:
Look at you, had a relationship for five minutes and think you can play with the big boys. That's adorable. Son, I been in a relationship since you had a ponytail and were playing Dave Matthews on your mama's Casio. I'm a good boyfriend in my sleep. I can rock a killer foot rub with one hand and brew a kick-ass cup of chamomile with the other that would make you weep. Hell, I've forgotten more about microwaving fat free popcorn and watching Sandra Bullock movies than you'll ever know. But thanks for your concern, rook.
—Ted and Barney's slap bet. The Shame Index loves a good slap bet.
—Barnstormer, Ro-Ro, and T-Mos. Especially T-Mos. "You have to wake up pretty early to slip one past the T-Mos."
—The Shame Index is
's occasional flirtations with special effects yet couldn't help but enjoy the multiple Marshall/Lily pairs fighting simultaneously. The snippets from the various fights were spot on—"my mother doesn't hate you; she's neutral about you"—and the kicker—all the Marshalls freaking out over Lily's
impression—took the joke to an unexpected new level.
—Barney's ability to lead Marshall astray. Did a flashback to Marshall getting an ear pierced in '03 hit the cutting-room floor? If so, the Shame Index implores CBS to put it on the DVD.
—Lily's brutally effective strategy for winning fights with Marshall: cook his favorite meals—for herself. "On Sunday morning she made pancake, Ted. Pan
. And bacon strip."
Best episode yet this season? Bagpipe yeah.