The big stars just keep on coming! A week after Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Lopez guest-starred on How I Met Your Mother, where she performed a medley of love songs from her upcoming love-themed blockbuster, Love? No, just kidding, she played a relationship expert out to punish Barney.
Why? Because Robin secretly asked her to. And it as at this point that you’re either in or out on this episode, and most likely season, of HIMYM: Turns out, the show reveals just now, that Robin has been terribly hurt by Barney so quickly returning to his womanizing ways after their breakup, even sneaking away to eat chicken wings and cry during some of his conquest boasting (there’s a montage). We don’t actually know how production cycles for these shows work, but it sure feels like the writers caved to criticism from fans thrown off by how quickly Barney and Robin split, and how quickly everything went back to normal afterward, with a bit of HIMYM revisionist history.
We happened to think it was great: We prefer when the show treats its characters like actual human beings interacting with one another and not one-liner delivery machines, and the post-breakup Barney-Robin relationship was one of the most implausible things going; to see it addressed head-on was necessary. (Also, seeing Robin cry was strangely mesmerizing). What do you think? Are the writers allowed to throw this in after the fact?
Anyway, yeah, J. Lo — she’s Anita, the author of a book called Of Course You’re Single, Take a Look at Yourself, You Dumb Slut (ha!) and she promises Robin she’ll “break” Barney with her trademark “just say no” technique. Robin reveals to Marshall and Lily that she sicced Anita on Barney because she’s still in her mourning period, which Marshall is shocked to learn: He’s been bragging about Barney’s sexual exploits — mostly via an intensely weird song that goes “bang, bang, bangity bang (see video below!)” a bunch — unaware that Robin was hurting inside. He realizes that’s why Robin’s been resisting the advances of awesome co-worker Don, and forces her to go out with him (and to bring him back prime-rib leftovers from their date).
Meanwhile, Barney’s committed to sleeping with Anita, even after finding out she wrote Of Course (and its financial-advice spinoff, Of Course You Don’t Have a Retirement Plan, Take a Look at Yourself, You Dumb Slut), and gets Ted’s advice (!) on how to do it. Take her on a super-date, Ted says, and then sells Barney on it with his own big solo song. (That was odd — was Josh Radnor out to prove to NPH that he could sing, too?) But when Marshall finally clues Barney in to Robin’s issues, Barney skips the super-date and goes down to the gun range (where else?) to apologize to Robin, and the two have something approximating a real human conversation (“constantly talking about your conquests makes me feel like I’m just another number to you”). Barney realizes he’s done wrong, apologizes, then gives her the super-date instead … only with Don (she ends up kissing him). Aw!
The Shame Index isn’t feeling the “day late, dollar short episode … The writers tried to address the ‘why now?’ question by showing us a flimsy montage of Robin crying after being exposed to Barney’s jerkiness over the last few months. But the Index wasn’t buying that Sixth Sense–ish trick.”
On the other hand, the AV Club “was moved by tonight’s episode, in which Robin’s vulnerability over the Barney breakup is revealed as she tries to forge a new connection with Don.”