MacLaren's: Ted and Marshall are seated at the booth when Barney and Robin enter, pretending they're skiing. After a shush shush shush, Robin announces that the "ski bunnies" have returned. They're all kissy and cuddly and Robin puns about no "black diamonds, but lots of red hearts," and then takes her leave. Ted wonders when they got so nauseating. Barney brags that Robin is now fulfilled emotionally, spiritually, and sexually. When Ted points out he dated Robin for a year, Barney deadpans, "Yeah," then asks how their weekend was. Marshall relates that it was terrible, thanks to Barney's terrible advice. And it's too painful to recount, so suffice it to say that Marshall -- the lawyer, mind you, bumbled through every single point of argument he gleaned from Barney. The writers try to hang a lantern on this character assassination of the "LAWYERED!" lawyer, but having Marshall pleads that Lily's eyes and boobs distract him, but it's just embarrassing and beneath this show, so I'm moving on. It is worth noting, however, that Marshall's biggest mistake was reminding Lily that he makes more money than she does, and then blurting out, "Dance for me." It all boils down to this: they not only had a huge argument about the dishes -- but that argument spiraled off into a bunch of other arguments. In the flashback, we end up with several versions of Marshall and Lily, all arguing in their Dowistrepla living room at once, about everything from the dishes, to the worth of Lily's chosen career (he sees snacks and gluing stuff; she sees herself molding the future leaders of tomorrow) to Marshall's mother (she doesn't hate Lily; she's Lily-neutral), to Marshall sprinkling when he tinkles in the middle of the night, to Lily's impersonation of the kid from The Shining. "I am not...scared of your Shining impression. I just don't need to hear it -- especially at night." Lily holds up her index finger and bends it up and down as she growls. "Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance." All the Marshall versions turn toward the Lily version who did the impression and say, "Please, don't do that."
Back at the bar, Marshall says that Lily fights dirty. "She's small, but vicious, like a badger that your brothers caught and starved for five days, and then put in your sleeping bag." Yikes! Marshall, who is sort of Obama in this situation, reckons he should just go home and apologize. Barney takes the role of the hawks, and insists Marshall needs a surge. Ted takes the role of the doves and says this is a quagmire -- without an exit strategy. I close my eyes and shake my head until my brains scramble, because I watch sitcoms in order to stop thinking about things like Afghanistan. Ted fails to reach Marshall. He stands as he rants that the dishes are his manhood. "If I want to leave my manhood dirty in the sink, caked with ketchup and pasta..." Barney scowls. "What are you eating?" Marshall continues: "Then damn it, that's my right." Just then, Robin enters the bar. Marshall finishes: "I'll wash my manhood when I'm good and ready." He storms off. Robin surveys the booth. "Where was he not sitting?" Heh.
Barney greets Robin with a "Ro-Ro." Robin returns with a "Barnstormer." I decide to purge. That much sugar can't be good. BRB. They smooch and Ted calls them out on the nicknames, but they insist they're just happy. Robin changes the subject and asks Ted if he talked to the bagpiping neighbors. Ted says he did, but they were really old. "I didn't have the heart to tell them to stop, because well -- good for them, so I just welcomed them to the building, had a hard candy, nodded politely at some racist comments, and then left."
Saget!Ted narrates that over the next few days, Robin and Barney were as sweet as sugar while Lily and Marshall continued to fight. He doesn't care if the dishes are dirty -- she can do them. She doesn't care if he orgasms -- he can do it. Marshall returns that he lived without the touch of a woman for 18 years and he can do it, again. Lily says, "You might have to."
The Apartment: Ted continues to hear the "bagpiping." Marshall enters worrying about his fight with Lily. They've never carried one for so long. Newbies. He says it's like he doesn't exist. "On Sunday morning, she made pancake and bacon strip." She must have been pissed. I can see having one pancake, but one strip of bacon? That's a step away from divorce court, I tell you what. Ted tells him that's what he gets for taking relationship advice from Barney. Marshall's still laboring under the delusion that Barney could possibly be right, and notes that Barney and "Ro-Ro," have it all figured out and are the best couple, now. Ted ain't buying. For one thing, he knows from personal experience that Robin hates nicknames, (in a flashback, Robin succinctly shuts down Ted's Robbsy Wobbsy and Sherbs for her, and his T Mose for him; who can blame her). Marshall is unconvinced. "C'mon. Someone had to put an end to T Mose." Ted disagrees. "No. T Mose was awesome. I'm thinking of bringing it back." Just then, we hear the bagpipes. Marshall notes that they sound more muted -- echo-y. Ted figures they're just doing it in the bathroom, on the shower chair. Isn't it funny that old people have sex? Gah, I hate this B-plot. That said, Saget!Ted narrates, "Just like that, I realized how to get the real scoop on Barney and Robin.
MacLaren's: Barney and Robin greet Ted, and revel in their "worries" about Marshall and Lily. Ted tells them the jig is up. He leads them to the booth, where a stranger is seated. When Barney asks who he is, Ted says they'll get to that. Ted knew something was up, because the couple was too "happy, too shiny, too nick-namey." He calls "horse apples" on their claim that they never fight. "You fight all the time." Turns out that Phil is Barney's downstairs neighbor. He's heard it all. Commercial. After the break, Barney and Robin admit that they've been fighting a lot, ever since their ski trip. When they were stuck on the chair lift, Barney brought up Lily and Marshall's situation. Robin sided with Lily. Barney couldn't run away, on account of being stuck on a chair lift. Robin couldn't strip, on account of the cold (yeah, ignore the show's constant jokes about Canadians not noticing the cold; the writers sure did). They had to face that the no-fighting phase of their relationship was over, and launched into a big, old donnybrook, and it hasn't ended yet. The panties. The murdered tie. Robin adds, "The tiny camera I found in the headboard." Barney argues that that's how a QB stays sharp, but Robin's not having any. Ted yells, "I KNEW it! I knew you guys were acting too cute and perfect." Barney explains they were "just sick of everyone pointing out how crappy at relationships we are." Robin adds that it was nice to be the perfect couple for a minute. Oh kids, there's no such thing. You'll get past that soon. I promise. Ted knew they were lying. "You have to get up pretty early to slip one by the T Mose. Robin deadpans, "Stop it." We sideways slide to...
Dowistrepla: Lily sing-songs to Marshall that dinner is ready. Marshall stammers. "Did you -- did you make any for me?" Lily sing-songs, "No. But it's your favorite." Just then, the doorbell rings. It's Barney and Robin. They confess their relationship angst by way of asking for Lily and Marshall's advice. We learn their fights have included Robin throwing plates full of food at Barney, and Barney handing Robin a knife, ripping open his shirt, and begging her to stab him. Saget!Ted narrates: "And by the end, Lily and Marshall both had the same reaction." Marshall promises to wash his dishes as soon as he's finished eating. Lily replies, "I don't care when yo