I don't know about you, but this was the episode of this show where I raised an eyebrow and said, "Not merely a well-made show featuring a killer performance by Neill Patrick Harris, but...possibly a classic. Just possibly." Ladies and gentlemen: "Slap Bet."
Ted VOs that one thing you learn when you're in a relationship is that everyone has secrets. Some are pleasant. (Example: Robin knows how to make crepes.) Some are not so pleasant. (Example: In bed, Robin rattles off her list of conquests, as Ted sits next to her in bed with that blank, terrified stare he so favors.) Some are simply weird. (Example: Robin is afraid of the Seven Dwarves. Specifically, she is afraid of Doc, on the theory that it's creepy to go to medical school and wind up living with "six coal miners.") (She makes a good point. Fairy-tale characters often make baffling life choices. See also: remaining in the home of your father and evil step-family instead of calling Family Services when they're making you crawl around picking individual peas out of the fireplace.)
On the heels of the Doc thing, here comes Barney, sliding up to the MacLaren's booth and announcing excitedly that The Sharper Image is opening its 500th store, and they're all going, and he's buying gifts! (Three foot massagers; one nose-hair trimmer...Marshall.) They're all up for the trip, until Robin hears that it's at a mall. (Apparently, she figured that The Sharper Image would be at...a farmer's market?) She says she doesn't like malls, even after a crestfallen Lily offers to "split a Cinnabon." You should split that mofo with a couple more people, ladies, unless you're looking for a sugar high that a jellybean-pounding six-year-old can only dream of. When prodded, Robin more frantically cries that she doesn't go to malls. DOES NOT! And she won't say why, either. Ted makes his friends back off his girlfriend and leave her alone, but later, in bed, he wants to know. Arrested at a mall? Dumped at a mall? Trapped under a fake boulder at the mall? She keeps telling him to stop, but then she pauses to pose the understandable question of who could get trapped under a fake boulder at the mall. "Not me in Ohio when I was nine, that's for sure," he says sadly. Aw, poor Tiny Ted.
Credits. Other than The Office, I think this show has the most irresistible credits music. Anything with people actually singing "ba-pah-pah" makes it hard not to sing along. No words to remember; no words to forget.
Booth. Everyone but Robin. Ted is tormented by wondering why she won't tell him what it is with her and malls. Barney doesn't think Ted should try too hard to find out, because if he does, he'll only bring himself closer to what Barney calls "the 'oh' moment." Examples of the "oh" moment follow: Barney learns that a woman has a pact with God to remain a virgin. (Barney: "Oh.") Barney learns that a woman spits out all her food rather than swallowing it. (Barney: "Oh.") Barney learns that a woman just turned thirty. (Barney: "Oh.") (Miss Alli: "HEY!") Thus, Barney suggests delaying any more knowledge of each other than needed. Ted disagrees -- if there's something to know, he'd rather know now. What, after all, is the alternative?