Following up on last week’s Slapsgiving episode is a pretty tall order, like making a Citizen Kane 2 or repainting the Mona Lisa. So this week’s How I Met Your Mother has a few of the problems this season’s episodes have had, namely completely ignoring some major characters (what happened, Ted and Robin?) and relying on celebrity guests to bring the humor. Still, every episode of How I Met Your Mother is precious, especially since that appears to be the second-to-last before it goes away indefinitely. You’d say I’ve made a commitment to HIMYM, much like Marshall has made a commitment to Lily and... well... something else.

“I’ll drive to Vermont and have a commitment ceremony to my body.” The whole gang decides to join a gym, and while Robin and Ted make their merry way through their own kinds of weight-lifting, Marshall and Lily get paired up with various kinds of personal trainers. Lily’s, it turns out, “had no affiliation with the gym whatsoever,” but Marshall’s is the taskmaster from hell. She asks him about his commitment to his body, obviously, but when he turns out to be not quite committed, she asks, “Do you smell that? It smells like there’s a little bitch in my gym.” She works Marshall hard, hard enough to the point that...

2.“Today at work I had to have an intern rip up my bagel and put little pieces in my mouth.” There’s not really any explanation to this joke; I just sympathize with people who go to the gym and feel sore for days afterward. The one time I played Wii boxing I could barely lift my arms for several days after. Ted sympathizes too, after they get back at him for his gym laziness by setting him upwith nightmare trainer; Ted, of course, bursts into tears, which is even funnier because he’s wearing a Wesleyan T-shirt (funny for me, at least).

3. “I’m sorry lesbian prison guard, do we know each other?” Though Ted was a “little bitch” when it came to working out, Robin took the whole game seriously-- she didn’t go home to recharge her iPod when it died! She didn’t go home for bringing the wrong shorts! (I am not saying that I have not done any one of these things). She works out so hard, in fact, that Ted tells her he has lost all the sexual tension they had between them, as exes. Of course, when Ted bursts into tears while lifting a medicine ball, Robin gets to shoot the same thing back at him. Still, give a girl a break for taking her workout seriously!

4. “I see little hamburgers!” The other main plot of the episode is about Barney losing his mojo, after finding out that the woman he lost his virginity to-- shocker!-- lied about him being the best she’d ever had. He tries going to the Victoria’s Secret Show after-party to get back in the game, but can only come up with lines like “The company I work for is called ‘I’m Going To Get In Your Panties Incoprorated” and “Those are very nice honkers.” His last-ditch effort to get it together is to hit on Heidi Klum-- yes, Heidi Klum! Heidi, of course, is happily married to a sexy British singer, so she simply gives him wise words of advice: “You have to go out there and you have to find that woman and you have to earn it with her for real.” Then, of course, she sees little hamburgers, and is on the move. God, I love Heidi Klum!

5. “Somehow I imagine those players on the field, and it’s over a lot faster.” Elsewhere in celebrity cameos, Wayne Brady is back as Barney’s gay black brother, except in the past he was, as Barney says it, “the guy who knew everything about girls.” Before he was gay, James explains, he thought of baseball players or Reggie Jackson and managed to get through it. He also wore beer funnel helmets, though he was getting really into figure skating. James,it turns out, is the person who sets Barney up with the woman who sleeps with him for the first time, a middle-aged woman called the Manmaker. The Manmaker, in turn, has eyes only for James-- but like so many gay men before him, he shuns the women who want him most!

All in all I’m still waiting for the big plot of the episode, for someone to date someone for more than one episode or someone to at least threaten to be Ted’s wife. At this point I’d accept a return of the Slutty Pumpkin-- in fact, I’d welcome it. But with only one episode left, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting it this season. Ah well-- I’ll take Wayne Brady and Heidi Klum in the meantime.

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