Season 9, Episode 12
The Rehearsal Dinner
Saturday, 8PM, 22 hours before the wedding…
Secrets secrets are no fun, secrets secrets hurt someone. Well, that may be true for Judge Marshall and stunned Lily right now, but for Barney and Robin’s rehearsal dinner, it means more crazy plotting by America’s favorite adorable-yet-sociopathic couple. Yes, we have finally made it to the HIMYM episode “The Rehearsal Dinner,” and unfortunately Marshall is off walking somewhere (when he really could have just called for a ride being so close). But fortunately we did get lots of gang time in MacLaren’s flashbacks. And we got even more detailed call-backs as little-by-little Barney gave his bride the ultimate surprise.
It all started back when Barney and Robin first got engaged and Robin mentioned her initial desire to have the wedding in the Great White North (i.e. Canada). In a scene reminiscent of the time when the gang went on a joke roll about young Canadian Robin “losing her maple leaf,” the gang threw out one Canadian joke after another. And did you catch the entire lifespan of a couple in the background (literally they had so many jokes, that one couple in the background got engaged, had a baby, saw their child graduate and then died). So yeah, Robin compromised on having the wedding in NY, but she absolutely will not compromise on the rehearsal dinner: NO laser tag. Not even when pronounced the French way.
Meanwhile, gift-master Ted is obsessed with doing something special for Barney and Robin, like maybe taking piano lessons and dressing like Liberace? Did you notice Lily and Marshall’s faces of disgust when Ted explains what a good gift-giver he is? Remember—that flashback happened before Lily and Marshall learned that Ted HAD bought them a wedding gift after all. It’s just too bad that dressing like Liberace is easier than the music lessons (but probably more expensive).
At the present wedding weekend, Barney irritates the crap out of Robin by insisting that he “knows” she is pranking him by only pretending that their rehearsal dinner is real—when in fact it is totally going to be laser tag. No, Robin says, it really is NOT. Meanwhile, Lily freaks out that Ted gave up on his promise to perform like Liberace, but of course really she is mad at Marshall for breaking their promise to move to Italy. That is when Lily finally tells her pals of Marshall’s big judgeship news. But Robin can’t stick around to discuss this further because she gets a call that Barney has been ‘jailed’ in the security office of the local laser tag place for disorderly conduct. That’s OK, because Ted helps Lily feel a little better by letting her in on a little secret…
Robin arrives at the Farhampton Laser Tag arena, and all the signs are there for an elaborate rehearsal dinner prank. She just doesn’t know to look for them, and it’s not the prank we expect. But if you go back and re-watch the episode, it’s easy to spot the words “Ice Rink” beneath the laser tag sign. There are also some references to it being so cold in the security office. Plus, Barney’s insistence that she press the button on a toy that says “get the party started.”
After Barney recounts the events that led to this moment, and Robin still fumes over Barney’s horrible surprises that make him untrustworthy, it is finally time to press that button and for Robin to learn that she is one who has been “snowed.” In a moment where ya’ just have to suspend disbelief, the security office proves to be a flimsy set and they are revealed to be in the middle of an ice rink surrounded by their family and friends. Turns out Barney was not expecting a laser tag party; instead he was planning a Canadian party for his bride. We are treated to quite the Canadian festivity: an ice rink with giant maple leaf flag, a fake security guard-figure skater, an autograph of Wayne Gretzky (aha!), and a new special song by Alan Thicke featuring James as half Mountie-half Robin Sparkles. It doesn’t get much better than that—except for maybe Ted dressed as Liberace attempting to figure skate.
You certainly can’t say that Robin and Barney are a boring couple. It kind of makes you afraid of how they will celebrate their anniversaries. But I guess love means never having to say “I’m sorey.”