How I Met Your Mother

If there's one thing How I Met Your Mother fans care about more than the identity of the mother, it's Robin Sparkles.

Everyone's favorite Canadian pop star on Monday's episode, "Glitter," and as Cobie Smulders promised, Round 3 would be different. But is different better? Eschewing the usual music video format, "Glitter" employed a variety show schtick (mostly because the show had to after mentioning it last season) to give us Space Teens, an unintentionally raunchy, low-budget crime-solving kids show, starring Robin, former BFF Jessica Glitter (Nicole Scherzinger) and Alan Thicke, that was equal parts dirty and vintage Mother, but perhaps left many of us yearning for more in certain ways.

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Sure, it doesn't take a genius to come up with beaver, wood and joystick jokes, but who doesn't have a good giggle at them? Is it low-brow humor for a smart sitcom like Mother? Yes, but consider that the whole Robin Sparkles story is the show at its utmost absurd and silliest. Space Teens had a good blend of the show's usual Canadian jabs mixed with, as Barney says, "a big bowl of porn flakes." The dirty nature of Space Teens is also a nice little nod to the seminal "Slap Bet," the first Robin Sparkles episode in which Barney insisted that Robin was a former porn star. His near-slap on Marshall in "Glitter" when the first few racy frames of Space Teens rolled surely made all of us continuity nerds smile.

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Alas, Space Teens may have been too much change for a creature of habit like me. Raise your hand if you missed the irreverent and self-deprecating music video format of the previous Sparkles episodes. Since the all-too simple "Two Beavers Are Better Than One" was performed in present day at the Hoser Hut, it took you out of the Robin Sparkles zone. It would've been much more of a visual and aural treat had we seen Sparkles and Glitter perform it in all their '80s fashionable glory on Space Teens with their respective (pet) beavers. Speaking of performing, where was the choreography? Scherzinger is a killer dancer (and reigning Dancing with the Stars champ); it would've been nice to see her skills put to use besides suggestively jumping up and down.

No, "Glitter" wasn't "Slap Bet." But nothing will ever be or beat "Slap Bet," possibly the show's finest half-hour, and perhaps we should stop expecting the show to top it. But "Robin Sparkles 3," as Barney calls it, was an enjoyable, if dirty, slice of Canadian fun that gave us a few hearty chuckles. And, hey, we can always hope for "Robin Sparkles 4."