It's hard not to let the ending of this one where Robin and Barney make out, thus embarking on one of the more ill-conceived storylines in the show color my view of the whole episode, since it's really just a throw-in at the end. But the episode wasn't going so well before then either.

Look, Marshall's two-week gap in insurance coverage and amusingly absurd fear of bears was good stuff, but otherwise this was a whole lot of nothing. Robin's daddy issues coming to the fore was way too pat and dull. Ted's uber-preparedness being sacrificed for a random chick just made him look worse. And Lily wanting to get away from Marshall runs contrary to basically everything we know about the two of them as a couple.

Hell, even the present day stuff with Barney trying to leverage a slap into being able to take off the ducky tie, then trying to goad Marshall into using his last slap, and eventually being leveraged into three additional slaps, was too broad for my tastes. As I said at the last Slapsgiving, the whole slap bet thing has gotten a bit too played out to my mind, so I'm just not as interested in it.

I'm getting pretty repetitive here, but it's another instance where the show and its characters feel less and less tethered to reality or anything that seems recognizably human. I can appreciate a broad gag as much as the next guy, but there's little to anchor the show anymore and that hurts it.

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