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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Beavers, long division and space

November 15, 2010 |  9:02 pm

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During my chat with executive producer Craig Thomas, he told me that the third installment of the Robin Sparkles (Cobie Smulders) saga would be “completely different.” He was right. Yes, we saw the show on which Robin Sparkles got her start — “Space Teens,” a kids show about “two average Canadian teenagers who solve crimes in space using math,” as Robin described it. It gave the group and me some laughs, but more than it, “Space Teens” caused them to examine their own friendships after they learned that Robin hadn't spoken to her co-star/BFF Jessica Glitter (Nicole Scherzinger) in five years. The group deduced that Robin had dumped Glitter when she got pregnant. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) worried that the same thing was going to happen to her. Robin was getting sick of her talking about babies all the time. It's interesting how Robin's annoyance mirrored a complaint I've been seeing in the comments here about Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily being too focused on getting pregnant this season.

After Lily and Robin broke up following a fight, Marshall brought Lily to visit Glitter, who's now working as an organist for the New York Rangers. She revealed that it was she who broke up with Robin when she got pregnant, and Robin didn't take it so well. It's very Robin that she would pull away from Lily before she could break her heart and dump her like Glitter. When Lily realized she was doing the same thing as Glitter, sans baby, she rushed to the Hoser Hut to apologize to Robin, who was feeling remorseful herself.

“I hate most babies. Your baby? I'm going to love that kid so much. I'm going to pick it up and everything,” Robin told Lily.

Ted (Josh Radnor), meanwhile, set out to prove that he's still friends with his buddy from high school. Ted's friends may have thought Punchy was the lame one, but Punchy flew to New York because he thought Ted sounded depressed on the phone. From Punchy's outsider point of view, Ted doesn't have much going on. He got left at the alter. His family isn't around. He lives in a small apartment. He still isn't married. And he has no backyard. Punchy, however, is getting married to “his angel.” It's all about perspective, isn't it?

But back to Robin Sparkles. The group was horrified to find that “Space Teens” was actually a “big ol' bowl of porn flakes,” as Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) put it, complete with a pole, bouncy camera work and a lot of sexual innuendo. Just when the gang thought they'd seen the dirtiest bit with Robin Sparkles and Glitter suggestively using a joystick to do math for Alan Thicke, out came the beavers, the mascot of Canada.

“Space Teens” was broken up into segments throughout the episode. They were nice, little morsels, but I found myself missing the music video format of the previous Robin Sparkles episodes. At least we got a song, “Two Beavers Are Better Than One,” when Robin and Glitter made up at the Hoser Hut. I wish we'd gotten to see them sing it in “Space Teens,” but it was still amusing and catchy in a very wrong way (“Two beavers are better than one. They're twice the fun. Ask anyone.”). I also would have liked to have seen a conversation between Robin and Glitter before they started singing. Robin almost seemed to have no reaction to seeing her old friend. Are they friends again now? And it would have been nice to see Schrenzinger get more to do. When I spoke to Cobie Smulders recently, she told me, “I feel like we didn't get to use [Schrenzinger] as well as we probably could have,” given her choreography skills. Having seen her in the Hollywood Bowl's production of “Rent,” the same show that she wowed the “HIMYM” producers and Smulders in, I have to agree. (Check out her performance of "Over the Moon" here. There seemed to be a consensus in the audience that she stole the show.) She was not only great as a singer and dancer, but she was also very funny in “Rent.” I wish we'd gotten to see more of that side of her as Glitter.

Other brief thoughts:
— The funniest moment of the episode for me was Barney saying that "boutineer" is French for “booty is near.” But I'm not quite sure what to make of “Woman, you best check yourself!” It almost seemed out of character. Not so out of character for Harris? The monologue of reality show exit lines. My favorite was Harris' delivery of “Sashay away” from “RuPaul's Drag Race.”

— Cobie Smulders remains one of the most underrated comedic actresses on TV. She went from Robin Sparkles silly to dramatic to a great Punchy impression all in one episode.

— "And don't forget the robot!" Looks like he's been with Robin Sparkles since the beginning.

Readers, what did you think of Robin Sparkles' beginnings on “Space Teens”? Would you like to see another chapter in the Robin Sparkles story? Were you glad to see Robin and Lily make up? Was Punchy right to be concerned about Ted?

— Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

Related:
'How I Met Your Mother': Robin Sparkles makes a 'racy' return
'How I Met Your Mother' recap: A night at the museum
Complete 'How I Met Your Mother' coverage on Showtracker

Photo: Robin Sparkles (Cobie Smulders) and Jessica Glitter (Nicole Schrenzinger) on “Space Teens.” Credit: Ron P. Jaffe / Fox.
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