'How I Met Your Mother': Robin Sparkles 3 is a big bowl of Porn Flakes

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Robin Sparkles ( Cobie Smulders) makes her long-awaited return in "Glitter," and though we don't exactly get another full song from the pop princess -- "duh da da da" duh-da-da-doesn't cut it -- we did get remarkable insight into the sexually explicit nature of Canadian children's programming.

Something of an origins story, "How I Met Your Mother" finally reveals the variety show that begot Sparkles when Barney ( Neil Patrick Harris) pulls out a DVD of "Space Teens." And Robin's is not the only star. She co-headlines the series with her BFF Jessica Glitter ( Nicole Scherzinger) and Alan Thicke.

And it's the mysterious rift between Robin and Jessica that makes a pre-pregnant Lily ( Alyson Hannigan) feeling particularly neurotic.

Other lessons learned:
  • "Space Teens" is indeed dirty, showing the nubile canucks shake their chests through a turbulent flight, stroking a phallic joystick while trying to count to 69 and playing with beaver puppets. Alan Thicke's head, arms folded in relaxation behind him, on strategically placed monitor about about took it over the edge. But "Two Beavers Are Better Than One?" Sort of tame and not nearly as complex as other songs in the Sparkles catalog.
  • Robin has been visibly annoyed with Lily for all of her maternity talk, so when the boys conclude that Robin dumped Jessica for having a baby, Lily freaks. She's in such distress, everyone cuts off Ted's (Josh Radnor) fantastic Shakespearean-style observation: "When a second uterus plumped becomes..."
  • Lily somehow achieves pregnancy-level hormones without actually being with child and, in a hysterical fit of lady-ness, breaks up with Robin.
  • Talk of childhood friends prompts Ted to call his own former BFF, Punchie, who takes Ted's checking in as a cry for help. He arrives in New York unannounced, demanding trips to Times Square. Ted is annoyed until he finds out that Punchie just wants him to be his best man. Awe.
  • Turns out Glitter wasn't the dumpee in her BFF-dom with Robin, she was the dumper. There just wasn't room for best friend activities like hockey, bow-hunting for caribou and math when she had a kid. So Robin's the burned party here. Twist! [Editor's note: Sherzinger might want to look into this acting thing more serious. When she  pulled out the circa "Space Teens" turn-and-smile from behind that organ, we melted just a bit.]
  • Robin gets to reunite with both of her BFFs, though only one of them sings her a song. We're still sort of marinating on "Two Beavers Are Better Than One." Clearly, nothing will live up to a title like that, but we're holding out for an extended version to pop up online.
  • Another thing we'd like to see more of -- and by "more of" we mean we rewound it at least four times -- was Barney's two-minute run-down of every reality show kick-off line in recent TV history.

So did the return of Robin Sparkles do it for you? Or were you left feeling unfulfilled, like poor Alan Thicke when Barney cut "Space Teens" off short?

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Photo credit: CBS