To celebrate the 150th episode (hard to believe) of How I Met Your Mother, the show tackled a real downer of a subject: The sobering reality that friends grow apart as they grow older. Then again, compared to recent episodes about death and infertility, Monday night’s episode was one of the more ebullient ones of the season.
The show opened with Barney, Robin, and Ted staring blankly at the empty side of the booth in front of them. They informed Kevin (Kal Penn) that they had terrible news about Marshall and Lily -- something that outranked death on the sadness scale. What could be worse than that? Well, if you live in New York City, the answer is clear: your friends have moved to Long Island.
Flashback to ten minutes earlier: Marshall and Lily gave the gang keys to their house and insisted nothing will change. After all, their house is a mere 46-minute train ride away (which really isn’t that far in New York terms, considering it takes longer than that to get to Manhattan from various borough neighborhoods).
The gang was stymied even though they knew it had to happen. Barney pointed out they could find spray tan cans just as easily in Manhattan, but his solid line of reasoning didn't sway the expecting couple. Ted, understandably, took the news the hardest, but within minutes Barney had found himself some silver lining.
“No lame married couple shooting down my ideas anymore,” he realized. “Great news! I'm the leader of the gang!”
To commemorate the power shift, we were treated to a Stinson-centric version of the HIMYM opening credits which retitled the show “How I Met Your Barney,” a series presumably more focused on teaching Ted's kids the Bro Code than recounting the story of how he met their mother (although actually... HIMYM is already that show).
So what was Barney’s first act as team leader? Hit up a strip club, of course! As he put it, “Let’s celebrate our independence with an on-da-peen dance.” Without Lily and Marshall present to reject the idea outright, Ted agreed to go along, as did Robin and Kevin.
Why would a couple that just started dating go to a strip club together? Well, it wasn’t just sitcom logic: the show astutely pointed out that during the first few weeks of a relationship, couples often end up doing a lot of activities they would otherwise never bother with. In this case, Robin didn’t want to seem uptight and Kevin didn’t want to bristle with her friends, so the new couple found themselves making it rain on them hoes before they knew what had happened.
While Barney was riding high at the strip club, drunk on his newfound power, Ted was just plain drunk, leaving one needy message after another on Marshall’s phone.
Back in suburbia, Marshall and Lily were dealing with a different type of sleaze: As you may recall from two weeks ago, Lily’s dad Mickey (Chris Elliott) showed up at her door at the end of the episode. Well, apparently he never left. Using the fact that he grew up in their house as an excuse to redecorate, micromanage and leave chiding notes, Mr. Aldrin was making Marshall and Lily feel like intruders in their own home. Disconcertingly, he also revealed that most of the wall plaster in the home was just dried toothpaste... but that was nothing compared to his suggestive tales of awakening sexually as a boy (years earlier) in Lily and Marshall’s new bedroom.
NEXT: Alyson Hannigan brings back Jasmine the Russian stripper.