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 from her time as bubblegum pop star Robin Sparkles. At MacLaren's, Robin announces that her former boyfriend, Simon (James Van Der Beek), will be meeting her there later. Robin describes their break-up: after she loaded his band's equipment into their van, he dumped her.

The group agrees that every time exes reunite, there is a clear winner and a clear loser. They begin to tally the points for Robin and Simon, awarding Robin five and Simon zero. Robin agrees she will be the clear winner, unless Simon got more attractive. Simon arrives and it is clear he has not: he is balding, overweight, and unfashionable. Despite this, Robin is clearly still smitten with him.

After the reunion, the group retires to Marshall and Ted's apartment. They criticize Simon's personality and how Robin handled the meeting. The group learns that Robin and Simon met after he starred in the music video for her second single, "Sandcastles in the Sand", which the group was previously unaware of. Barney immediately leaves, claiming he will not sleep until he finds the 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; as proof, they invite Lily's high school friend Michelle to hang out with them.

At MacLaren's the next day, Robin tells the group that Simon came to her apartment the night before to reconcile, which she accepted, to the group's dismay. Michelle arrives, and she and Lily begin speaking like excitable teenagers. Michelle, a Ph.D. student in behavioral psychology, identifies this phenomenon as "associative regression."

Mirroring their original break-up, Simon once again has Robin assist him with loading his van, then dumps her. The group attempts to console her, but fail. Robin drinks alone at MacLaren's until Barney arrives, complaining that he has yet to find a copy of her video. Realizing what Robin is upset about, Barney consoles her. She invites him to watch the music video at her place. They watch the video over and over, making fun of it, and eventually begin kissing on the couch.

Critical response[edit]

The A.V. Club gave the episode an A rating.[1] IGN gave the episode a 9 out of 10 rating.[2] Television Without Pity graded the episode A−.[3]


  1. ^ 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. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Omar G. "Beek Man's World". Television Without Pity. NBCUniversal. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2010.

External links[edit]