Ted has new upstairs neighbors who haven't stopped having loud sex since the moment they moved in. It's driving him and Robin crazy. Saget!Ted doesn't want to get explicit with his kids (um... since when?), so he substitutes bagpipes for sex in his narration. And that's nearly all there really is to say about that, because it was a vapid B-plot.
In the A-Plot, Barney has decided that since he was the perfect single, he's now one perfect half of a perfect couple, and starts giving unsolicited relationship advice -- to Marshall, of all people. And despite Ted's efforts to serve as the voice of reason (e.g. diagnosing Barney with N.R.S., i.e. New Relationship Smugness) Marshall can't resist the siren song of "Barney Stinson's circus tent of funhouse mirrors and flawed logic." He informs Lily he will no longer be washing his dishes as soon as he finishes eating, which kicks off a multi-pronged, multi-day argument about everything from in-laws to Lily's impersonation of the kid from The Shining. Meanwhile, Robin and Barney go away for a ski weekend and come back cloyingly smug and happy. Or do they... Ted doesn't buy their act, and when he goes to tell his neighbors that their "bagpiping" is too loud, he finds an elderly couple, and is so impressed by their... er... vitality, that he can't bring himself to air his complaint. But the visit gives him an epiphany: he visits Barney's downstairs neighbor who confirms that Robin and Barney fight all the time. Ted and the neighbor confront the Smugs at MacLaren's. Contrite, Barney and Robin go to see Marshall and Lily and confess their relationship angst. When Marshall and Lily realize that their own arguments pale in comparison, order is restored, and they are once again the world's best couple. Hooray!
Quotes of note:
Marshall (to Barney): "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."
Barney: "There are so many great things to do with the human mouth. Why waste it on talking?"
I'll catch you on the flipside with the full weecap, including the stealthy Slap Bet and the end tag, timeline questions, characterization critiques, and a look at what Saget!Ted actually tells his kids. In the meantime, save your mouth for other things, and let your fingers do the talking in the forums.
Then add NRS to the HIMYM Lexicon!
Anyhow, Ted goes to MacLaren's to get some peace and quiet. He's soon joined by Barney who is certain Lily and Marshall are on the verge of a divorce because Lily asked Marshall to...wash up his dish after eating. Barney clutches Ted's hands as Ted tries to talk him down. After listening to Barney fretting, Ted diagnoses him with New Relationship Syndrome (a.k.a. N.R.S., which Ted just made up). He explains that although Robin and Barney are still in the honeymoon phase of their relationship where everything is perfect, that shall soon pass. When Marshall arrives at the bar, Barney calls him "Tiger," asks how he's doing, and reminds him he's in a safe space. Ted explains that Barney thinks Marshall's marriage is crumbling. Of course, this is a ridiculous assumption, but Barney claims that just like he was the "best at being single" (which the guys immediately deny) he's also the best at relationships.
Marshall smiles indulgently. "Oh, look at you. Had a girlfriend for five minutes -- you think you can play with the big boys. Adorable. Son, I've been in a relationship since you had a ponytail and were playing Dave Matthews on your Momma'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 pot of Chamomile in 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." That rant, alone, made the episode worth watching.
Barney's main point though, is that if Lily doesn't like dishes piling up in the sink, that's Lily's problem, and Lily should wash them. And although it kills me to admit this -- as person who has been happily married for 15 years -- he's got a point. Marshall understands that point, but he knows that telling Lily would just lead to a fight. And, as a happily married person of 15 years, I have to admit Marshall's got a point, too. At any rate, Ted has Marshall's back, but Barney stages a frontal assault. His first shot: he and Robin never fight. Ted calls shenanigans, but Barney explains (over an accompanying flashback, which features Robin asking Barney about a bagful of panties in his closet, which is dated "April 2008") that when the going gets tough, Barney Stinson gets going -- right out the door. And when Robin causes a problem (like machine laundering one of Barney's ties 'til it is but a shadow of its former self), she strips; Barney smiles; problem solved. Marshall says that walking away and getting naked are the two most ridiculous approaches to conflict resolution he's ever heard. Ted grins. "Actually, the naked thing ain't half bad." He and Barney high-five each other, then Ted cringes. "That felt kind of weird." And yeah, it skeeves me on a regular basis that Robin has slept with both of these guys, but I try to keep that to myself. When Marshall explains to Barney that he and Lily talk out their problems, Barney says, "There are so many great things to do with the human mouth. Why waste it on talking?" A beat. "But, if you insist, here's what I would say about the dishes, if I were Lily's husband." And we flash to...
Barney's Imaginary Marriage to Lily: Lily greets Barney with shouts of pleasure. She jumps into his arms, and straddling him, they proceed to kiss. And kiss. And kiss. And kiss and kiss and kiss. Finally, Marshall breaks Barney's reverie and tells him to get to the point. Back to Barney's fantasy: Lily serves Barney a Martini in their kitchen as cheesy music plays. After he downs it, he lays the glass on the counter. When she asks if he's going to wash it, he sits on a stool, pats his knee so that she'll sit on it, and tells her he's glad she brought up the issue. Just because fantasy Lily doesn't like a dirty sink, it's not fantasy Barney's job to keep it clean. If fantasy Barney decided he wanted their ceiling to be a replica of the Sistine Chapel, he wouldn't expect Lily to paint it. Given what we know about her painting talents, that's a good thing. He applies the same logic to her desire for a clean sink -- saying she should do the dishes. Fantasy Lily is an airhead, so she thanks him for explaining it. "I get so confused." Fantasy Barney smiles. "That's because you're a woman." I make stabby motions at him, but he doesn't see, and they laugh and laugh until fantasy Lily says, "I don't even know why we're laughing." Fantasy Barney says, "Of course you don't." And then? They make out.
Back at MacLaren's Ted scoffs, but Marshall wants to hear Barney out. Didn't we just? Barney says that once he had fantasy Lily's attention (and that last scene went way past attention all the way to compliance, so I don't get the point of this next one), he would bring out the big guns. We cut back to his fantasy, where he's telling Lily that he works so hard all day, so when he gets home, he doesn't want any menial chores to distract him from showering her with love. Fantasy Lily agrees that she'll do the dishes, right after she does, "This." This amounts to shutting off the lights and turning on...shall we say bagpipe music -- via remote control. She then rises to dance for him. And dance she does, aye, but 'tis nay like any Highland Fling I've e'er seen. Still, fantasy Barney's pipe -- his pipe is calling. He has fantasy Lily turn around and he gropes her wee bum! Back at MacLaren's, real Barney is so caught up in the idea of Lily's ass that he's pantomiming the grope. Ted asks if he should hit Barney, or let Marshall do it. But Marshall insists Barney is right. Ted plays wingman. Not the kind of wingman who says he's going to get you laid, or what have you. No. The kind of wingman who saves your life. "Marshall, look at me! Do not get drawn into Barney Stinson's circus tent of funhouse mirrors and flawed logic." Man, I wanted to use that as my weecap headline, but it seemed too long. Anyhow, as a point of canon, I'll mention that Ted reminds Marshall that that's exactly how he ended up with an earring back in '03. Barney argues that the earring looked cool. Marshall agrees. I want a flashback, but I'm not going to get it. Instead, Ted insists again that Barney is wrong, but Marshall says he isn't. He rasps, "I hate doing my dishes right away." Ted reminds him that he just said he didn't mind, but Marshall bellows that he hates it with a fury. Barney, who's been fondling his (own) tie and looking a bit like the Grinch (but not in a HIMYM way) says, "You're welcome."
Just then, Robin shows up, so Ted appeals to her honesty and asks if it's true that she and Barney never fight. Robin guesses that's true, but Ted's not buying it, because he says they're the two most "emotionally ill-equipped individuals in the history of relationships." Robin allows that they did have one fight -- about who was the most awesome. "We just called it a tie and had sex." They high five each other, while Ted cringes, as Marshall examines his life. Robin then says she's glad she and Barney are going skiing for the weekend, because the upstairs neighbors (and their noisy "bagpiping") are driving her crazy. Ted says he's going to say something to them. Barney rises and reviews everyone's assignments for the weekend. Ted will talk to the neighbors. Marshall will confront Lily about the dishes. "And Robin, I'm going to need you in sort of a crouched position on the bearskin rug at our ski chalet." Barney waits a beat then yells, "Ready? Break." He claps once, runs out of MacLaren's, and Robin follows, wearing a wide smile.
After they leave, Marshall says, "Barney -- with his crazy...well thought-out theories that would probably work." Ted tells him, "Marshall, I'm just going to say this one more time. It's a bad idea." Marshall counters that he thinks it could work. Ted says, "Okay, two more times: it's a bad idea." But Marshall thinks Barney's laid out some logical points and since Lily is reasonable, she will get it, and Marshall will get his way. Ted is certain it will only lead to a big fight. Marshall responds: "Slap Bet?" Ted confirms: "Slap Bet." They shake hands and we sideways slide to...
Dowistrepla: Marshall drops something in the sink. Lily sweetly says, "Baby, could you wash your dishes?" Marshall stops and places his hands on his hips. "Lily, I'm glad that you bring that up." And, we cut to...
The Apartment: Ted answers a knock at the door. It's Marshall, carrying an overnight bag and his pillow. "Can I stay here tonight?" Ted slaps him across the face, and then pats him on the shoulder. "I'll make up the sofa, buddy." Thanks for not making us wait yonks for the resolution of that bet, wr