Lily and Marshall's housewarming party goes horribly wrong

By Michelle Profis
Updated February 07, 2012 at 05:51 AM EST
Ron P. Jaffe

Oh, How I Met Your Mother. You confuse us with your flashbacks and flash forwards; you torment us with your will-they-or-won’t-they plot twists, and tonight, as ever, you bombard us with a doozy of an episode only you could pull off. Why must you put us through this? Spare us the mind-numbing confusion on this fateful Monday night!

But I digress. Let’s start from the beginning of this all too complicated episode with an all too easy premise: Five minutes, three rooms, two mice, one gouda and a whole lot of problems. Also known as: Lily and Marshall’s housewarming party.

Confused? Let me clear it up. The episode took place over the course of five TV minutes broken into three segments: The living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. In each segment, we learn how Lily and Marshall’s housewarming party started going downhill… and never really stopped. Let’s dive right in.

The Living Room

Robin and Ted arrive, toting a kugel from Zabar’s and already yelling at each other. But before we learn the nature of their fight, they head to the kitchen to heat the tasty treat up.

Nearby, Mr. Cootes (played by scene stealing Martin Short) saunters over to Marshall, not to tell him how much he is enjoying the party, but to let Marshall know he will be expected back in the office in 45 minutes. Lily senses mounting tension and steps in to let Mr. Cootes, a vegan, know that she has specially prepared spring rolls for him to munch on. She then asks her dad to go get the wine in the basement, so he dons his beekeeper suit (because he’s breeding bees down there, duh) and heads below.

Back in the middle of the room, Mr. Cootes marches up to Ted and begins accosting him for eating his specialized vegan spring rolls. Ted is confused…and so are we. Why does Mr. Cootes think Ted ate his spring rolls?! Answers to come.

On the other side of the room, Barney is telling Robin he loves his manly parts…but he seems scared. Huh? Just then Marshall brings in a big hunk of gouda, but Lily immediately runs over and throws it on the floor, proceeding to stomp all over it. We don’t have time to be ponder this because a man wearing a bee suit, ablaze with flames, runs through the room. Are you so confused right now? So was I, but stay with me — we’re going to find out all the answers to these mysterious plot points soon because next we head to….

NEXT: Spring roll stealer revealed!

The Dining Room

We just saw five minutes play out in the living room, and now we see what was happening simultaneously in the dining room. First order of business — Barney was the eggroll-eating culprit (shocking, right?) feasting on the vegan rolls of joy as he chatted up Lily and Marshall’s neighbor Geraldine. He was the one who told Mr. Cootes that Ted was the one noshing on the spring rolls. So that’s why Mr. Cootes yelled at him. Mystery #1 solved! Meanwhile, Geraldine goes to wait for Barney upstairs in the guest bedroom. More on that soon.

Suddenly, a scream comes from the kitchen. We learn that the scream came from Lily after she sees mice crawling over the gouda, which is why she later stomps all over it. And mystery #2 solved!

Lily is about to lose it, but not before her father emerges from the basement informing her that the bees have escaped their enclosure. Also, he’s doused himself with kerosene because Barney told him bees hate the smell. Are things starting to clear up a bit? If not, deep breath, we’ve got one segment left. On to…

The kitchen

Here, we learn the reason behind Robin and Ted’s fight is none other than…the kugel. I should have known a sweet and tasty desert could cause such hostility. Apparently Robin yelled at a 90-year-old woman at Zabar’s who was trying to snatch the last kugel, and Ted found this to be aggressive and rude. Fair point? I mean…I do love kugel. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Also in the kitchen is Lily, who is telling Barney that Geraldine (the red-headed neighbor he was flirting with), once hunted down a guy who didn’t return her calls and cut off “a certain part of his anatomy with a cheese knife.” Does that shed some light on why Barney was telling Robin he loves his penis? Mystery #3….wait for it….solved!

Next in the kitchen are Marshall and Mr. Cootes. Marshall is telling Mr. Cootes he will not be returning to work tonight and that Mr. Cootes should lighten up on his workload. As Mr. Cootes is left to ponder the criticism, Mr. Aldrin walks in and upon seeing a stricken Cootes, offers him a chance to live a little by donning the bee suit and tending to the bees. Because who wouldn’t want to relieve stress by surrounding themselves with thousands of breeding bees!

Just before Cootes can head down to the basement sporting the kerosene soaked bee-keeper outfit, the oven goes off — the kugel is ready! He reaches in, the kerosene ignites, and Mr. Cootes has turned into the man on fire. Mystery #4 — you guessed it — solved.

Mr. Cootes sprints through the dining room, then the living room, out the front door, diving into the snow, extinguishing his bodily flames and escaping unharmed. You’d think given his earlier rantings that he’d be furious, but no, he loves it. So much so, he grants Marshall the night off after all.

NEXT: The week’s best lines!

It was a classic episode of How I Met Your Mother, no doubt, but a real doozy at that one. I imagine I’ll be falling asleep tonight to images of the living room…no wait, the dining room….I mean, the kitchen….

Readers, were you as exhausted by the end of this episode as I was? Is your mind spinning out of control? And are you suddenly struck by a craving for kugel?


I’m starting up a business cultivating all organic, artisanal honey. That’s right, I’m a job creator.” — Mr. Aldrin to Marshall

“Every 30 seconds there’s another crisis that needs to be dealt with and I have to deal with it…Oh God, this is parenthood isn’t it?” — Lily

“Your breath reeks of shredded carrots in deceit.” — Mr. Cootes

“Every penis is a girl, Robin. Everyone knows that. Like ships and lake monsters.” — Barney

“You know Mother Earth is also having a house warming party too. Only hers ends in human kind at the bottom of a rising ocean passing through the digestive tract of a sting ray. By the way, it’s a love home.” — Mr. Cootes