Sandcastles in the Sand

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"Sandcastles in the Sand"
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 16
Directed byPamela Fryman
Written byKourtney Kang
Production code3ALH16
Original air dateApril 21, 2008
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Chain of Screaming"
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"The Goat"
How I Met Your Mother (season 3)
List of How I Met Your Mother episodes

"Sandcastles in the Sand" is the 16th episode in the third season of the television series How I Met Your Mother and 60th overall. It originally aired on April 21, 2008.


The episode begins with a montage of Robin, as Future Ted explains how much she has changed since her days as bubblegum pop star Robin Sparkles. At the bar, Robin announces that her former boyfriend, Simon (James Van Der Beek), plans to meet up with her later on at the bar. Robin tells the gang the story of how Simon broke up with her: He waited until she had loaded all of his band's equipment into their van to tell her that he was leaving her for Louise Marsh, whose parents had a pool.

The group agrees that every time old friends come together, there is a clear winner and a clear loser. They begin to tally the points for Robin and Simon's reunion. Robin receives two from Barney for her breasts, one from Ted for Simon still living with his mother, one from Lily because Simon never became a rock star, and a final one from Marshall because Simon now works at a water park that doesn't even have a wave pool. Robin says there is no way he could come back from this 5:0 deficit, unless he got more attractive. Simon walks in and it is immediately clear that Robin should be the winner: he is balding, overweight, and wearing clothes that weren't even in style back in the 80s when he got them. While the whole group looks excited as to how much better Robin has done in the time since she and Simon were together, the camera pans to Robin, who is giggling uncontrollably and obviously still smitten.

After watching Robin's reunion with Simon, the group retires to Marshall and Ted's apartment and begin criticizing the way Robin handled the meeting. Several flashbacks follow, including Simon's refusal to pay $4 for a beer, and instead pulling one out of his cargo pants; his bragging about his job at a water park; his claim that his band, The Foreskins, are about to take off; and ending with the story of how Simon and Robin met — he starred in her second music video, "Sandcastles in the Sand." Upon hearing this, Barney instantly leaves, claiming that he will not sleep until he has found this video.

When Robin attempts to defend herself, the group discusses how being around someone from your past can cause you to revert to the person you were when you knew them, a phenomenon Marshall dubs "revertigo." Marshall and Ted tell Robin that Lily suffers from this more than anyone else; to prove it, they have Lily invite her high school friend, Michelle, to hang out with them. Michelle, who is almost done with her dissertation to get her Ph.D. in behavioural psychology, later states that the psychological term for revertigo is associative regression.

The group is hanging out at MacLaren's the next day, when Robin tells them how Simon came to her apartment the night before claiming that breaking up with her was the biggest mistake of his life, and he asks her out on a date, which she accepts. The next night, Simon demands that Robin play a demo of his band on the news the following day at work. Immediately after this, Michelle arrives, and Lily immediately begins speaking in the most unrealistic but highly amusing urban style imaginable. The group continues to discuss other members' "revertigo", which includes Ted's high school buddy Punchy.

In another scene almost identical to the story Robin tells at the beginning, Simon once again breaks up with Robin in the back of his van — once again for Louise Marsh, whose parents have put in a Jacuzzi. Robin tells the rest of the group and they all do their best to console her, but are ultimately unsuccessful and they all have to leave. Robin remains in the bar to drink alone until Barney arrives to complain about not being able to find the music video. Upon realizing what Robin is upset about, Barney consoles her until she asks him back to her place so that she can show him the music video. They watch the video over and over, making fun of the teenage Robin until, at the end of the scene, Robin and Barney begin kissing each other on the couch.


  • "Sandcastles in the Sand" by Robin Sparkles
  • "Murder Train" by The Foreskins

Cultural references[edit]

  • Barney makes two video game references, once when he says "Finish Him!" from Mortal Kombat, and shortly after, when he makes the sound of Pac-Man's death animation.[1]
  • Barney also references the lines of a song from the musical Grease called "Summer Nights" by saying, "Tell me more, tell me more, like, did he have a car?"
  • Simon expects that his band will be as big as Crash Test Dummies.[2]
  • Barney references Canadian television series Degrassi.[3]
  • The "Sandcastles in the Sand" video included cameo appearances by Simon (James Van Der Beek), her friend (80's mall star Tiffany) and her dad (Alan Thicke).
  • There actually is a band called The 4-Skins.
  • The water park near Ottawa without a wave pool is Logos Land as both Mont Cascade and Calypso have wave pools.

Critical response[edit]

The A.V. Club gave the episode an A rating.[1] IGN gave the episode a 9 out of 10 rating.[4] Television Without Pity graded the episode A−.[3]


  1. ^ a b Donna Bowman (April 21, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother: 'Sandcastles In The Sand'". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  2. ^ Page 2
  3. ^ a b Omar G. "Beek Man's World". Television Without Pity. NBCUniversal. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  4. ^ Michelle Zoromski (April 22, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother: "Sandcastles in the Sand" Review: Robin Sparkles returns". IGN. News Corporation. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2010.

External links[edit]