Benefits (How I Met Your Mother)
|How I Met Your Mother episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Pamela Fryman|
|Written by||Kourtney Kang|
|Original air date||January 12, 2009|
|Season 4 episodes|
"Benefits" is the 12th episode in the fourth season of the television series How I Met Your Mother and 76th overall. It originally aired on January 12, 2009.
Ted and Robin become "friends with benefits" to deal with the stress of being roommates, such as Robin leaving an empty milk carton in the refrigerator, or not taking out the garbage. Marshall catches Robin and Ted having casual sex while he's using Ted's bathroom. Marshall finds it hard to use the toilet at work, because his coworkers seem to judge him when he is walking there. Later in the episode Barney says that he "reads a magazine" at work all the time, but he then asks for affirmation that they are talking about masturbation. Marshall blackmails Ted and Robin: he won't tell Lily and Barney about their casual sex, provided he can continue to use their bathroom. However, Marshall quickly gives in and tells them about it, much to Barney's dismay and jealousy. Barney resorts to breaking old televisions from the dumpster outside MacLaren's to vent out his anger, and when he runs out of televisions, begins buying them to smash, continuously refusing to see a therapist.
When Barney begins to solve all of Ted and Robin's problems (cleaning the apartment, stocking the refrigerator with milk, taking out the trash, buying a dishwasher), Ted realizes that Barney loves Robin. Barney continues to deny it to Ted, but flees to Lily, and vents about his heartbreak. Unfortunately, this is in Lily's kindergarten classroom, in front of her students. Ted, meanwhile, decides to stop having casual sex with Robin, telling her "Someone would get hurt".
Marshall finally decides not to be ashamed and finds that his colleagues' apparent attitude towards him changes as well. He relays his new-found strength in confidence to Barney who finds it as motivation to tell Ted that he is in love with Robin. He tells Marshall that he can use Barney's own private bathroom, which is hidden as part of the wall in his office.
When Robin relays Ted's ending of casual sex to Barney, she thinks Ted was afraid of getting hurt because he's too romantic. She says "He's always like--" and then Barney finally confesses, saying "I love you" to Robin. Robin misunderstands and thinks he is just imitating Ted. They go together for a meal, while Barney doesn't attempt to correct her.
The episode ends with Future Ted restating Lily's earlier argument: "Lily was right: when two exes decide to just be casual, someone always gets hurt. But this time, it was just not one of us". The camera focuses on Barney's lingering gaze on Robin as she is laughing as this is said. Barney then looks to Ted, who is clearly okay with Barney's feelings for Robin.
- "No More Wishing" by Hayley Taylor.
- On both occasions when Marshall walks to the eighth floor bathroom to read a magazine, a variation on the song "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is played.
- The magazine that Marshall takes with him to the restroom to "read a magazine" is called Them Weekly, a reference to the celebrity gossip magazine Us Weekly. As Marshall makes several attempts to "read a magazine" at work, the various reality TV celebrities on the covers come to life and talk. The first are Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, next Kendra Wilkinson, and finally Kim Kardashian, who Marshall refers to as "super hot lady who my wife keeps telling me why you're famous but I keep forgetting."
- Barney's theory of world peace makes allusions to the Gaza Strip, Apartheid and the Cold War, especially Reagan's famous quote
- Robin claims Ted's friends with benefits proposal is like "telling the Fonz to be cool."
- When pointing out how messy Robin is Ted compares her to Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds.
This is the most watched episode of season 4.