"Spoiler Alert" was a season three episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Ted Mosby's Girl of the Week was revealed to Ted by Marshall to have a defective character trait that Ted had never noticed before. The fact that she talked too much turned Cathy instantly into someone completely repulsive to our protagonist, and she was never to be heard from again, forced to live her days on whatever island where discarded fictitious boyfriends and girlfriends who got in the way go (Julie from Friends would be Mayor probably). A boyfriend or girlfriend out of nowhere being revealed to have a disturbing flaw like talking too much or having man hands in order to get two crazy kids together or to press the reset button is nothing new in television, but the genius of "Spoiler Alert" was how the Cathy reveal led to all of the characters fighting with one another by addressing the flaws that would make themselves an ex if they were in another show's universe. The reveals were brilliantly punctuated by a glass shattering sound effect audible as soon as the flaw was revealed. It was a very clever and funny episode despite how transparent the tired trope was. It was pretty much the sitcom writing equivalent of walking on a laser beam.
Which leads us to last night's "Splitsville," where after appearing in most of the six episodes of this season, Michael Trucco's Nick was suddenly revealed to be a moron that once ate a lit vanilla scented candle, giving Robin grounds to dump him. Well then. Fortunately, the episode involved all five of the group participating in the main story, which on this show usually works out to an above average episode. Well then!
Robin discovered that Nick was dumb when the two didn't have sex for three days and were forced to converse using words. Marshall was blamed for the lack of sex, on account of Nick injuring his groin playing basketball for Mr. Ericksen's after work basketball team. In what I am assuming was a storyline written to explain Jason Segel's obvious weight loss (looking good Jason, but I hope you're not gunning for Les Mis Anne Hathaway or current Mcconaughey poundage), Marshall had been focusing all of his time and energy that was not spent caring for his newborn son on his all-lawyer and one ringer hoops team, Force Majeure. Ted revealed that as part of his healing process over the second break-up of Victoria that he too was captain of a basketball team in the Little Ivies Professionals Over Thirty Who Work In Midtown League, helming the all architect squad the T-Squares. For some reason, Force Majeure and the T-Squares never faced each other throughout the episode. Too obvious maybe? I would had pegged Majeure as a 75 point favorite, considering that the T-Squares spent far more time criticizing the design of the gym ("I mean, there's too much hardwood, right?") than in actually practicing basketball. And in a game against the Number Crunchers, they lost 112-0. Mosby did have his moment of glory, successfully shooting a ball into the basket after bouncing off a wall or two thanks to his geometry acumen. In a cute gag, aforementioned 12 year old kids from Hebrew School that stole the T-Squares' practice ball were impressed.
The scoreboard initially read 112-2 as the final, but as anyone who knows anything can tell you, that ball was definitely out of bounds, resulting in the points being taken away. During the closing tag, Mosby was fired from the team. Two womps for Teddy.
Marshall argued with Robin that he didn't want his star player dumped and subsequently too depressed before the upcoming playoff games – Nick after all managed a 36 point, 17 rebound performance despite wearing his shoes on the wrong feet. But Big Fudge never went as far as to physically stop Robin, both because he's a good guy and because he never lost his sense of self-preservation.
Robin's first attempt at dumping Nick failed after he acquiesced to doing sit ups while saying stupid things. To get the ball rolling, Barney entered into the picture, threatening Robin that if she didn't end it with Nick by 8 o'clock he would post this on the internet.
Patrice is of course the overly enthusiastic workmate of Robin's that Ms. Scherbatsky absolutely despised. A few images revealed that since we last saw her Patrice had walked on over from the She Means Well side of town to the Can I Get a Restraining Order side, warranting Robin's hatred.
Robin took Nick to Splitsville, a dessert shop "around the corner" that's a breaking up hotspot. Nick expertly deflected Robin's hints with his sharp idiocy. "I don't think we should see each other anymore." "You want to turn the lights off during sex? Nick received a phone call that left him very upset. Robin couldn't go through with it. "I was gonna say… order whatever else you want. It's on me." Nick appreciated it, but he would had preferred to have it in a bowl.
Barney refused to hear about the phone call, telling Robin she had five minutes before the Patrice Fun Day goes live online. Robin agreed to put her phone on speaker so Barney and the others could hear her dump him before stepping out of the bathroom. Back at their table, Nick said the phone call was from his doctor – the MRI said his groin injury was worse than he thought; he can't play hoops for weeks. In "Splitsville"'s funniest sequence, a distraught Marshall yelled into the phone: "How many weeks? HOW MANY WEEKS?! Please tell me it's not a tear in the iliolumbar ligament." "It's a tear in the libio-flum-flar ligament," Nick said immediately after, even though he didn't hear Marshall (Nick somehow never heard a screaming man on the other end of the phone on speaker). Marshall was still optimistic: "If its a small tear he can still make playoffs," he insisted to Ted, Lily and Barney. "It's a big tear," Nick said. "He better not be out for the season." "I'm out for the season." Robin insisted that it wasn't a big deal. Oh, but it was.
Nick cared so much because of Marshall's rousing speech to Force Majeure to go for it all for pride and for a $25 gift certificate. But he immediately transitioned to the fact that he could have sex again since his groin wont get any better or worse, which is when Robin grew weak again. Which was when we remembered that Splitsville was "right down the street" and Barney burst in. He informed Nick that his relationship with Robin is over because him and Robin are in love.
You can find the transcript to his entire speech on the interwebs but all you need to know is that Barney said that he was hopelessly in love with Robin and it isn't to be taken lightly, because he isn't someone that says things like that. It was clever in that each viewer will choose to read into the speech based on their shipping preferences. Barney was certainly drawing from some truth, but he was consciously pouring it on to make sure Nick wouldn't control his friend anymore. Robin said to Nick that what he had said it's true and it was over, and Nick replied that it felt like he had pulled a groin muscle in his heart, because he's a stupid person. Then he bonded with two freshly dumped crying women and left with them, out of our lives forever, unless you happen to watch Revenge but of course you don't and if you did it's because of how campy it is.
A toast to Nick: You'll be missed, especially after the fun you gave us last week. R.I.P.. *Plays a funereal indie song.*
Ted, Marshall and Lily had heard the entire thing through Robin's magical phone. Up until this time Lily was reduced to just saying her sexual fantasies based off of Robin's love life and a fictitious slut named Nadia, and when she uttered another one of those – this time involving Nick and the two ladies she just heard leave with him – Ted figured out that her and Marshall hadn't had sex in awhile. Marshall explained that whenever him and Lily would attempt to even touch each other baby Marvin would cry. What a prude of a kid. Ted offered to take Marvin for a walk to give them some time alone, and it worked immediately – two seconds after Ted closed the front door, in fact.
Walking home, Barney applauded himself for his Oscar winning performance. Robin wouldn't let him off the hook, pointing out that it was pretty convincing. The two were about to kiss when Robin's magic phone rang. It was Patrice. Barney in his haste had forgotten to cancel the sending out of the Fun Day invite. Moment completely and utterly ruined.
While it wasn't a one episode and done character, the Nick dumping reeked a bit of Sudden Douchebag Syndrome, an affliction a fair amount of boyfriends/fiances get in romcoms to show the main character that she's with the wrong man and to make the audience not feel bad when he is dumped. Despite this, Marshall's enthusiasm and Ted's douchiness were used to their maximum comedic potentials, and the charming sociopath and the Canadian are ridiculously good together. This was a solid rebound from last week – more deserving of the lame pun in this sentence.
Things to Say To The 52 Year Old Virgin Point Guard
"Guys, we have to rush Robin to the hospital, because somehow she swallowed her vocal cords and they got lodged in her rectum because she's talking out of her ass."
“If a genie gave me one wish, I would knock down that wall and create some flow!”
"I always thought they were made up, like goblins, or trolls, or dolphins."
"T-what?" "What squares?"- Lily never cared to remember Ted's team's name.
"You’re wearing a baby and doing pull ups? "No. I’m sitting around and getting soft."
"Is there another architect? Just tell me."
Things to Ponder Besides if You Can Get Away With Pretending to Be Leonardo DiCaprio's Ghost
Is Barney Stinson the shittiest Chinese Food eater in the world or what? If you watch him in the opening scene – while everyone is eating and he gets very few lines – you'll notice he only gets one piece of Chinese in his mouth and having food slip off of his chopsticks often. Apparently NPH had similar fun with his food in at least one other episode in this manner, which is how I knew to look for it. (I'm not crazy.)
Is there any better acting performance in the history of time than Cobie Smoulders when she raged upon first hearing of Robin and Patrice's Fun Day?
There has to have been a more recent example of Sudden Douchebag Syndrome in television than season two of The United States of Tara, right?
Roger Cormier is sharper than an airbag.