'How I Met Your Mother': Ted and Robin become friends... with benefits

Joshradnor_howimetyourmother_s3_240 If I knew the woman who came up with the concept of "friends with benefits," I'd give her a big hug... if I were her friend I'd do something more. Over on How I Met Your Mother tonight Ted learned all about being "friends with benefits." After his experience, he might feel a tad differently than I do.

Ted's roommate relationship with Robin wasn't going terribly well at the start of the evening. The two were fighting like cats and dogs over the most ridiculous things -- taking out the garbage, putting on a new roll out toilet paper, that sort of nonsense. Robin came up with the reason for their fights, which was something they never experienced when they were dating -- they weren't sleeping together anymore. There was, they half-jokingly figured, just one way to solve the problem. They never actually used the term "friends with benefits," but they definitely started benefiting from one another.

It was actually sort of Barney's idea -- he had this notion about how international conflicts basically boil down to sexual tension ("Mrs. Gorbachev, take down those pants."), Robin and Ted just put the concept into play. When Barney found out about it later (more on how in a minute), he was completely unamused. After all, as all good HIMYM fans know, Barney has a thing for Robin (neither here nor there, but I think we all do).

The idea of Robin sleeping with Ted caused Barney to smash televisions... literally. You see, there were these televisions in the alley behind the bar and every time he heard about Ted and Robin, he'd go out there and smash a TV. He even went to a store to buy new TVs to smash once the ones in the alley ran out (hopefully they were those old junkie analog sets that are going to stop working in about a month). Poor Barney, he would have had a lot easier time of it if Marshall hadn't walked in on the afterglow of Ted and Robin's first copulation this evening.

Why was Marshall there? He needed to "read a magazine," by which he meant sit in the bathroom, read a magazine, and... you know. As Marshall wisely pointed out, you just can't do that sort of thing at work. You go into the bathroom with a magazine at work and everyone knows what you're doing. They all look at you a little funny, and if perchance it's a little odorous, they'll look at you a lot funny after.

By the end of the episode, Marshall had conquered his work "read a magazine" fears, only to learn that Barney had a private commode that Marshall could have used at any point. While it was a very funny plotline, if I delve into it too deeply I'll either end up writing way too much or not focusing on Robin as much as she deserves. So, let me just say that while I'm happy that Marshall conquered his fear, I do think taking a cup of coffee into the bathroom was going a little too far and that if it were I (and it has been in the past), I'd forget the magazine, whip out a smartphone, and do some reading in that way (even if it hurts the magazine industry).

So, back to our main plot. Naturally, Ted and Robin's relationship progressed a little more than either of the two would have liked. The night after they had sex three times because Robin left the pizza box out, they kissed. They did it reflexively. They didn't mean to, but it happened and threw both into a tizzy. Separately they both realized (Ted with the help of Barney) that the friends with benefits thing had to end.

In a quick, completely non-touching (physically anyway) moment, Ted and Robin opted to end all benefits. But, if Seinfeld taught me anything, it's never bet against the backslide. One empty carton of milk later, the two were in the sack.

Eventually, Barney couldn't take it anymore, he went to Ted's, took out the trash, bought them more stamps than anyone could ever need, got them a new dishwasher, and filled the fridge with milk. It took Ted all of two seconds to figure out that Barney was in love with Robin, and being a great guy and a good friend, Ted ended his Robin days for good (for now).

Barney tried to tell Robin all about his feelings (he was inspired by Marshall's deciding he really could "read a magazine" at work). He really did try, he actually said "I love you" to her, but she figured that he was saying what he imagined Ted was thinking. And, right after that, before he could really figure out a way to explain it, she pulled the old "I'm not going to be dating friends anymore, it just messes everything up" bit. D'oh.

Odds and ends:

  • Our quote of the evening goes to my good friend Ted Mosby, who said this line upon meeting Barney in the bar -- "Sorry I'm late, I was just jamming on Scherbatsky. She used up all my stamps so, long story short, the postman rang twice." I had no idea "jamming" could mean that. New innuendo here I come!
  • What do you think -- Robin said that she's done with having romantic relationships with friends, but is she really? Should Barney abandon all his hopes and dreams? Yes, I understand that those two questions aren't the same, but I'm asking both anyway.

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