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A Chronological Rundown of the Five Best 'How I Met Your Mother' Running Gags

By Nadia Chaudhury | How I Met Your Mother | March 26, 2014 | Comments ()


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1. Robin Sparkles, everyone’s favorite Canadian pop star
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“Slap Bet,” Season 2, Episode 9

We witnessed the premiere of the magical music video that was “Let’s Go to the Mall.”

“Sandcastles in the Sky,” Season 3, Episode 16

Robin Sparkles sang her romantic ballad, “Sandcastles in the Sky,” while rolling around in the sand with then-cool, now-loser ex-boyfriend Simon, played by James Van Der Beek.

“Glitter,” Season 6, Episode 9
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Highly inappropriate innuendos made learning fun in Robin’s second act as a Canadian superstar: the co-star (along with her BFF to the North, Jessica Glitter) of Space Teens, an intergalactic show about math and beavers.

“P.S. I Love You,” Season 8, Episode 15
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We finally learn what happened to Robin Sparkles, and her transformation from peppy pop star into a grunge goth Robin Daggers, whose unrequited love for Paul Shaffer no one understood on Robin Sparkles: Underneath the Tunes.

“The End of the Aisle,” Season 9, Episode 22
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Robin walked down the aisle to “Castles in the Sky.”

2. The Slap Bet
“Slap Bet,” Season 2, Episode 9
After several mixups and unearned slaps taken, Barney decided he’d rather have Marshall slap him five times whenever he wanted instead of ten straight slaps in a row. Bad call, bro.

“Stuff,” Season 2, Episode 16
Barney staged his own awful one-man show in response to Lily making the gang come to her equally terrible show. Marshall slapped him for the second time after he insisted the group sit through his second act.

“Slapsgiving,” Season 3, Episode 9
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Anxiety over Marshall’s slap countdown led Lily to declare no slaps on Thanksgiving. After Barney continued to taunt Marshall, Lily gave Marshall the go-ahead for the third slap, and the debut of “You Just Got Slapped.”

“Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap,” Season 5, Episode 9
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After graciously giving his fourth slap to Robin and Ted, who couldn’t decide who should actually take the slap, and tried to pass it off on Lily and her father, Marshall’s goal to unite the group was complete, and Marshall took the fourth slap.

“Disaster Averted,” Season 7, Episode 9
In exchange for taking off the ducky tie, Barney gave Marshall three more slaps. Marshall then slapped him two more times, for the fifth and sixth slap.

“Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra,” Season 9, Episode 14
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After a lengthy story about how Marshall learned the “slap of a million exploding suns,” he first missed the slap, and then slapped Barney again, for the seventh time, as Boyz II Men sang “You Just Got Slapped.”

“The End of the Aisle,” Season 9, Episode 22
The final slap was delivered in a somewhat throwaway moment, when Barney saw Robin walk down the aisle. He began to freak out over his lack of cornflower blue tie, but Marshall calmed him down, with a nice, hard slap in the face.

3. The Doppelgangers
“Double Date,” Season 5, Episode 2
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We’re introduced to a pair of doppelgangers: Lesbian Robin, first seen walking outside with a short haircut, baseball mitt, and flannel shirt; and Mustache Marshall, a.k.a., Hispanic lawyer SeƱor Justicia. Then, later on, Lily’s doppelganger, Jasmine, the Russian dancer from the Lusty Leopard.

“Robots Versus Wrestlers,” Season 5, Episode 22
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They headed over to “Robots Versus Wrestlers,” and found Mexican Wrestler Ted on the mat.

“Bad News,” Season 6, Episode 13
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After dealing with the numerous fake doppelgangers Barney used to get women, Marshall and Lily met Barney’s real doppelganger, Fertility Doctor Barney, Dr. Stangel.

“46 Minutes,” Season 7, Episode 14
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After Lily and Marshall fled the city for Long Island, the group tried to fill out their empty booth with Stripper Lily and her boyfriend, but visits to strip clubs and winning underground poker games aren’t enough.

“Gary Blauman,” Season 9, Episode 21
We found out the fate of Jasmine, Lily’s doppelganger: she got her happily ever after with Lily’s high school boyfriend, Scooter.

4. The Interventions
“Intervention,” Season 4, Episode 4

This episode saw a succession of interventions, beginning with Stuart’s for his alcoholism, then Marshall’s Dr. Seuss hat, Lily’s Guy Ritchie-inspired fake British accent, Robin’s terrifyingly orange tan, Barney’s magic tricks, before everything culminated with an intervention of interventions. Ted then found out they were going to have an intervention for his rushed engagement with Stella.

“Right Place, Right Time,” Season 4, Episode 22

Marshall went amazingly overboard with his quippy charts, but this pie chart’s interest didn’t overlap with anyone else’s. After the intervention, those works of art were thrown away.

“Oh Honey,” Season 6, Episode 15
Ted initiated an intervention for himself over his feelings for Zoey, whom he thought was still married.

“Legendaddy,” Season 6, Episode 19
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A staged showing of Ted’s Westchester house was really an intervention cover-up for Barney to have dinner with his dad.

“The Broath,” Season 7, Episode 19
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At Barney’s “Quinntervention,” Ted, Marshall, and Lily told Barney they thought he was moving too fast.

“The Over-Correction,” Season 8, Episode 10
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An intervention Robin asked the gang to hold for Barney was instead for her because of her obsession with Barney and his new relationship with her co-worker Patrice. Little did she know…

5. Lily’s Robin Lust (which hopefully is a call back to her character on Buffy)
“Best Prom Ever,” Season 1, Episode 20
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After Lily freaked out over all the things she hadn’t experienced yet before marrying Marshall, Robin kissed Lily to check lesbian experience off the list.

“Do I Know You,” Season 4, Episode 1
“I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t noticed her body,” Lily said while trying to convince Barney to confess his feelings to Robin.

“Robin 101,” Season 5, Episode 3
Lily mentioned that Robin guest-starred in confusing dreams.

“The Perfect Cocktail,” Season 6, Episode 22
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While trying to figure out what drinks would make Barney and Marshall reconcile, Lily eagerly suggested drinking martinis, which Robin nixed, because they always result in Lily trying to make out with her.

“The Rebound Girl,” Season 7, Episode 11
A mix of pregnancy hormones and regular hormones made Lily have sex dreams with Robin again.

“The Broath,” Season 7, Episode 19
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To seal the group “broath” that they wouldn’t meddle in Barney’s and Quinn’s relationship, the girls kissed (as do Ted and Marshall), much to Lily’s pleasure.

“Bass Player Wanted,” Season 9, Episode 13
Robin and Lily telepathically talked, as Andrew Rannells’ Darren hits on them, about a threesome that turned into a twosome.

“Rally,” Season 9, Episode 18
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This time, Robin initiated the kiss with Lily in an attempt to wake Barney up from his extremely hungover state. It cured Lily of her attraction, but left Robin wanting more.

Nadia Chaudhury stalked her doppelganger on Yale’s campus once.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Cree83

    Are you like me, folks? Have you ever thought about how many different kinds of fish there are? And the names of those fish?

  • Stini

    Flounder? I hardly know 'er! Owww!

  • martin

    what about the stuck Proclaimers cassette in Marshall's car playing "500 Miles" on repeat?

  • Bobarobes

    Forgot one under Robin Sparkles:

    Little Minnesota (Season 4 Episode 11):
    Marshall takes Robin to the Hoser Hut and Karaokes Let's Go To The Mall.

  • mcat_05

    And teds ringtone is Let's go to the mall in the episode "as fast as she can" aka the episode where Barney tries to get out of a ticket and Stella is back.

  • Mrs. Julien

    The Cecilia joke is endlessly funny to me. Endlessly.

  • kimk

    This is, I think, my favorite joke on HIMYM, ever. I attribute it to my love for Simon and Garfunkel paired with my regular use of venn diagrams in my work.

  • PerpetualIntern

    Agreed. And he sells it with such conviction, it makes me giggle every time.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    SHUT UP, PATRICE. NOBODY ASKED YOU.

  • Derreck

    "I was a teenage pop star in Canada" is one of the best reveals ever for the sheer randomness and absurdity of it all.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Not that I'm a regular watcher, but I'd always assumed that was an Alanis reference.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

  • Blake
  • Three_nineteen

    Is this really a running gag? I thought a running gag was one people keep coming back to, like a callback. The duckie tie was an ongoing gag that ran for however many episodes in order, then was over and never heard from again.

  • Blake

    I'm pretty sure it appeared in at least two seasons but you are probably correct in your assessment.

  • BettyNugs

    Sandcastles in the Sand! Not in the Sky!

  • Enrique del Castillo

    Same mistake in the reference in this week's episode!

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