How I Met Your Mother Episodes

2005, TV Show

How I Met Your Mother Episode: "Benefits"

Season 4, Episode 12
Episode Synopsis: Robin and Ted become "friends with benefits," finding it helps them get along better in the apartment; reality stars Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt, Kendra Wilkinson and Kim Kardashian taunt Marshall from the pages of magazines.
Original Air Date: Jan 12, 2009
Guest Cast Bryan Callen: Billson Heidi Montag: Herself Greg Collins: Zinman Spencer Pratt: Himself Kim Kardashian: Herself Kevin Kirkpatrick: Don Gary Anthony Williams: Reginald Kendra Wilkinson: Herself Bob Saget
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Season 4, Episode 12
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Length: 21:26
Aired: 1/12/2009
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and VUDU
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How I Met Your Mother Episode Recap: "Benefits" Season 4, Episode 12

Exes living together. Can it ever work? It can't for Robin and Ted... unless they have sex. But their "friends with benefits" deal isn't a good idea to everyone. Meanwhile, a magazine-toting Marshall struggles with doing No. 2 at work.

And we're back! Hope you had a great break and are nice and rested. I sure am not after last night, when, as I'm sure you all know, our Neil Patrick Harris failed to emerge victorious at the Golden Globes. It hurts even more after watching his sheer awesomeness this week. But more on that later.

FutureTed tells us the roommate situation between him and Robin is not working out very well as they incessantly bicker over cereal, cleanliness and not changing toilet paper rolls (one of my personal pet peeves). They realize they were able to withstand each other while dating because of the game-changer: sex. We then are treated to one of Barney's theories that sex solves disputes. Flashback to him sharing a tale with Ted about a conversation with Madeleine (aka Albright!). And so, off Ted and Robin go to "solve their dispute." They decide not to tell anyone about it, but lo and beholdl, Marshall's standing in the doorway, magazine (Them Weekly) in hand. He dropped in to "read a magazine," as doing the walk of shame to the bathroom in the office is unbearable. If I had Speidi and Kendra Wilkinson taunting me too, I may feel the same way. He tells Robin he won't give back his key to the apartment if they want him to keep their secret.

Cut to MacLaren's. Lily and Barney know and both disapprove — Lily because, speaking from experience, someone always winds up getting hurt (apparently we'll get her tale soon) and Barney because, well, you know. Ted and Robin insist it's just physical and credit Barney's world peace theory for helping them out. Poor Barney. Crying and in denial to Lily, he goes outside to unleash his rage by thrashing a TV from the trash. Lily tells him to express his feelings, see a therapist, etc. She has Feelings Hour every Tuesday morning in class.

Back to Marshall's issue (no pun intended), we learn that he used to charge up his credit card at hotels to drop the deuce. Really, dude? Barney tells him there's no shame in "reading magazines at work." He does it every day. It's his time; it's not pretty, but it's something you gotta do. Of course, he's talking about masturbating. Har har. But Marshall gets a break one day when he gets the best news ever — the eighth floor has been laid off, which means it's his for the taking... and dumping. He's exiled from utopia though when contractors start knocking down the walls whilst he's enthralled with the "Stars! They're Just Like Us!" (or would it be the "Stars! We're Just Like Them!" section?).

Next: montage of Barney in pain as Ted recounts all of his and Robin's sexcapades, which means more TV smashing (including a trip to the electronics store to buy a TV to smash). But then! Ted violates the terms of the arrangement when he kisses Robin before leaving for work. He blames a leftover romance reflex, but it is weird (or W-I-E-R-D, as Robin spells it). Lily tells her to end it; Barney tells Ted to end it. They do... and have sex again. And Marshall is there again. I'm sensing a pattern. Oh yeah, more TV buying and smashing.

Pushed to the limit, Barney decides to intervene by bro-cleaning Ted and Robin's apartment (a la Misters Clean and Belvedere. Heh.). He tosses out trash, picked up 10,000 stamps, stocked up the fridge with milk and bought a new dishwasher, tag and all. Ted realizes this is W-I-E-R-D. Then he gets it. "Are you in love with Robin?" he asks calmly. "I'm not gonna freak out." Barney says no. Sigh. And leaves... to tell his regrets to Lily's kindergarten class. He's holding Feely the Share Bear and is in the Share Chair (aka his swivel chair from "Little Minnesota").

After Lily ejects him, Barney jacks Feely and brings him to work. Marshall walks in, grinning ear to ear. He just read a magazine at work. He realized it was time to let go of his hang-ups and then everything changed, such as Kim Kardashian being able to recite Shakespeare. "Sometimes you gotta man up and just go for it," he says. Barney realizes it's time to man up and leaves — but not before showing Marshall his private bathroom.

"Ted, I have to tell you the truth. I'm in love with — tacos," he says as he runs into Robin at the apartment. She tells him Ted broke off the arrangement, giving her the "someone's gonna get hurt" spiel. She says it's true — and that person is Ted. The perpetual romantic that he is can't isolate the physical from the emotional, she says, and he is all, like — "I love you" Barney interjects with the most heartbreaking look in his eyes. Audible sigh. "Exactly!" Robin says. "He's not like you. Besides, we're friends. ...Dating friends never work out." And then they go out for tacos.

Down at MacLaren's, everything was "back to normal," but not really. As Barney strains to genuinely laugh at Robin's story, Ted gives him a knowing look. "Aunt Lily was right. ...Someone always gets hurt," FutureTed says. "It just wasn't one of us."

This made me all warm and fuzzy inside, not to mention sad. I'll admit, I was concerned about the whole "friends with benefits" thing as I was hoping we wouldn't walk down the "Slapsgiving" road again. And of course, we didn't. Very sweet and heartbreaking. How do you not wanna cuddle NPH after seeing the pain in his eyes in the final scene? Ted being uber-cool about Barney's feelings is one of the greatest things ever. Unlike "The Goat," he realizes this is genuine affection and not just a random one-night stand. Huge contrast from that ill-fated and messy whatever-the-hell-that-was between Rachel, Ross and Joey on Season 10 of Friends. Also — very nice, limited use of those glossy folks.

What did you think? Was the ep "awfsome" or "awesful"? Did Barney (and just NPH in general) break your heart as well? Were you surprised by Ted's reaction? What do you think Lily's backstory about friends with benefits is? Will NPH ever get any awards lovin'? Is it that hard to read a magazine at work? Did you like the "Private Thing" callback? How will Marshall find out about Barney's feelings? How will Robin?

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Exes living together. Can it ever work? It can't for Robin and Ted... unless they have sex. But their "friends with benefits" deal isn't a good idea to everyone. Meanwhile, a magazine-toting Marshall struggles with doing No. 2 at work.

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Premiered: September 19, 2005, on CBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (1,932 ratings)
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Premise: A man named Ted tells his kids how he met the love of his life, through flashbacks, years in the future. The bored kids sit on the sofa and listen as dad regales them with tales of his pursuit of romance.

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