But there’s a chance that all of this was upstaged by one anonymous, rapidly aging couple seen only in the background.
Laser tag vs. an ode to Canada
When most couples plan a rehearsal dinner, they go with an intimate, beautiful meal in which close family and members of the wedding party can anticipate the big event. That’s not the route that Barney and Robin took.
Instead, Barney insists stubbornly that a laser tag dinner would be best, because of course he wants a laser tag dinner. Robin, meanwhile, wants some sort of Canadian affair. What that means remains something of a mystery, since all of the Canada talk quickly devolves into endless jokes about mittens and Tim Hortons.
Still, it seems as though the compromise is a normal dinner. That is, it seems that way until Barney disappears into laser tag world during the event itself. Robin is nothing but angry — but that’s before Barney uncovers another of his intensely elaborate ruses.
There is no laser tag. Everything was just a cover to fool Robin, while the real party involved snow and ice skating and Alan Thicke singing the Crash Test Dummies’ greatest hits. It was all very “Canadian,” even if the party also included Ted ice skating badly while dressed as Liberace.
Meanwhile, in a parallel story …
Every once in awhile, a TV comedy will throw in a quiet, unexplained story hiding behind the real story. “How I Met Your Mother” did that here in an understated and utterly silent series of vignettes. In them, a couple is seen at a table behind the gang.
We first see them as they meet and hit it off. But then more Canada jokes are told as time passes. So much time passes that the couple next appears to be getting engaged.
A few jokes later, and the woman is massively pregnant.
Time really starts to fly here as that unborn child races to a graduation.
The final sighting is both sad and funny. A grey-haired woman sits alone at the original table with an urn. But then an old man — not the original fellow — shoves the urn aside to sit and flirt.
Who are these people? Why are they there? Are we really supposed to believe that there were 50 years worth of mock-Canada jokes made?
The answers don’t matter because that wasn’t the point. Without an explanation, the story gets even sweeter.
“How I Met Your Mother” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.
Note: The original published version of this article incorrectly talked about “paintball” instead of “laser tag.” This was incorrect and has been fixed. Please accept the apologies of the author who was obviously brain-dead when writing.