|How I Met Your Mother episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Pamela Fryman|
|Written by||Chris Harris II|
|Original air date||February 27, 2006|
|Season 1 episodes|
"Game Night" is the 15th episode in the first season of the television series How I Met Your Mother. It originally aired on February 27, 2006.
Every time Marshall, Lily, Ted, Robin, and Barney hold a game night together, Marshall always wins no matter what the game is, so the others decide that he should always run game nights. Marshall decides to create his own game, "Marshgammon", which few people understand (although a player must drink if they ask "What?"). Ted plans to bring Victoria along, and tells Marshall, Lily, and Barney not to scare her off; all reluctantly promise not to ruin things, but Marshall uses the game questions to find out personal information about Victoria. Soon Lily mentions that someone gave her a videotape to give to Barney; when Barney finds out who, he panics, but "recovers" and calmly asks to have the tape. Lily gives it to him and he violently destroys it, but Lily reveals that she gave him a tape of Ted's graduation and hid the real one. Over Barney's objections, they watch the tape, and see a longhaired, hippie-ish Barney, playing a keyboard and singing a weepy, desperate love song to a girl named Shannon. Embarrassed and humiliated, Barney ejects the tape and walks out.
Barney meets all of them at the bar later, and haltingly tells the story that lead to the creation of the tape. He stops several times, so to encourage him, Lily gets everyone to tell their most embarrassing stories as well to take the pressure off of Barney. Marshall confesses that he was seen bareassed by Lily's kindergarten class; Lily tells the story of how Marshall's mother once overheard the couple having sex via a phone call; Victoria begins to tell a story involving a game of Truth or Dare, a squeeze bottle of marshmallow ice cream topping, and the hot tub at her grandparent's retirement community, but Future Ted does not recount it, stating that it is "too inappropriate"; and Ted confesses that on the night he told Robin he loved her he "re-returned" to her apartment to try and kiss her, but was so drunk that he threw up on her doormat and ran away instead.
These stories intersperse with Barney's narrative: when he was 23, he was a hemp-wearing, peaceloving hippie who worked in a coffee shop with his girlfriend Shannon. "Saving themselves" for marriage, they had planned on going to Nicaragua with the Peace Corps, but Shannon backed out, saying that her father did not want her to go. Barney decided to stay, and found that she had begun seeing a yuppie alpha male named Greg, who got her out of her hippie "phase" and bought her stuff. Barney made the video and sent it to Shannon, but was humiliated when she and Greg return and mock him, and left the coffee shop devastated. Barney then changed his appearance and lifestyle, getting a haircut, wearing suits, and discarding his idealistic world-view. He then revealed that after he left Ted and Marshall's apartment with the tape, he visited Shannon, and found out that she has a son. He breaks down in tears, and Lily attempts to comfort him by assuring him that his own life isn't bad compared to Shannon's; Barney looks up, amused by Lily's words, and declares that his life "rocks" because he has money, suits, lots of one-night stands without a "brat" to take care of. He then brags that he finally had sex with Shannon, showing them all the video he took with his cell phone, and leaves, happy with the dirt he has acquired on all of them.
- In "Drumroll, Please" Barney lied to a bridesmaid about joining the Peace Corps. This episode reveals that at one time Barney did plan to join the Peace Corps.
- When Lily is on the phone with Marshall's mom, she is disgusted to find out that the cookies Marshall's mom sent contain mayonnaise. The episode "Belly Full of Turkey" establishes the Eriksens' love of mayonnaise when Marshall's mom gives Lily a salad recipe that calls for 16 cups of mayo.
- After Ted tells his Story of The Re-Return, Marshall calls him on the claim that he made in "The Pineapple Incident" about having been "vomit-free since '93".
- It's the first time that Marshall's fixation with games is shown. Later in the series, we see that again in " Say Cheese" and "Noretta", and in the episode "The Front Porch" Marshall says he doesn't like the scenario where he loses the game of bridge. Also, Marshall has the ability to understand complicated games, which is shown in the episode " Atlantic City".
- Ted and Victoria remember the Marshgammon in season 7 episode " The Naked Truth".
- In the game night flashbacks, the group plays gin rummy, yahtzee, and poker.
- Marshall's game "Marshgammon" contains elements of Candy Land, I Never, Pictionary, Poker, Twister, and Taboo.
- Barney's transformation, in particular the shot of Barney tilting upward in a barber's chair, is a reference to "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" and Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader.
- When Barney first flashes back, he is finishing Jewel's "You Were Meant For Me" on the coffeehouse piano.
- In an update to his blog, Barney pitches his ideas for events to improve the Winter Olympics, such as Hot Tubbing and Figure Rating.
- In another update, inspired by his "reconnection" with Shannon, Barney lists several things that, although enjoyable in the 90s, suck now. This includes the Toronto Blue Jays, Vanilla Ice, Furbies, and Saved by the Bell.
- Barney lists the American Pie films list as something that was good in the 90s but sucks now, specifically noting the "One time at Band Camp" line becoming used in pop-culture. Alyson Hannigan (Lily) was in the first three American Pie films, and it was her character who spoke that line.