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Sandcastles in the Sand

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For the song featured in this episode, see Sandcastles in the Sand (song).
Sandcastles in the Sand

HIMYM episode 3x16 (60)

Sandcastles in the sand
First aired:
April 21, 2008
Pamela Fryman
Kourtney Kang
Barney's Blog

Images (16)

Robin reunites with an old boyfriend but not everyone sees him the same way she does. Barney tries to find out about a second music video by Robin Sparkles.


Future Ted explains how much Robin Scherbatsky has changed since her days as a Canadian teen pop star (as was discovered in Slap Bet). At MacLaren's Pub, the gang notices how dressed up Robin is. They compliment her stunning cleavage, then ask the occasion and Robin announces her first boyfriend, Simon, plans to catch up for a drink. Simon was also a famous teen star, fronting a rock band and winning Mr Teen Winnipeg in a beauty contest. After some Canada themed virginity jokes, Robin tells the gang about Simon's cruel break up method: He waited until she had loaded all of his band's equipment into their van, then told her he was leaving her for Louise Marsh, because her parents had just installed a pool. When Robin goes to leave, Simon tells her she still has one piece of equipment left to load into the van. The gang is disappointed to learn she loaded it, despite just being cruelly dumped.

The group agrees that when exes meet up for the first time after ending the relationship, there is always a clear winner and a clear loser. They begin to tally points for who will "win" Robin and Simon's reunion. Robin receives two from Barney for her cleavage, one from Ted for Simon still living with his mother, one from Lily because Simon never became a rock star, and a final one Marshall initially gives to Simon because he now works at a water park, but gives the point to Robin when she tells him the water park doesn't have a wave pool. The gang is convinced Robin will clearly win. Robin says there is no way Simon could come back from a 5-0 deficit, unless he somehow got more attractive. Simon walks into the bar, and it is immediately clear that Robin is the winner: Simon is balding, overweight, and wearing clothes that weren't even in style back in the 80's. While the whole group looks at Simon with disdain and prepare for Robin to realise she's the winner Robin instead reverts back to being 16 again, giggling uncontrollably and exclaiming "Oh my god!" when Simon says "Hey babe...".

After Robin's reunion with Simon, the group retires to the apartment and begins criticizing the way Robin handled the meeting. Several flashbacks follow, including Simon calling Robin "old", his refusal to pay $4 for a beer (pulling one out of his cargo pants instead), bragging about his job at the water park as being more important than Robin's journalism, and his claim that his band, The Foreskins, are about to take off (just as he did when he and Robin were teenagers). The meeting ends when Barney asks how the two met. Simon says he was in her music video. When Barney notes he's not in Let's Go To The Mall, Simon clarifies that he was "in her other one". Barney bolts out of the bar when he realises there's a second Robin Sparkles video out there somewhere. In the apartment, Barney initially tries Googling and kindly asks Robin to just hand the video over. She refuses and he vows to not eat or sleep until he finds it.

When Robin attempts to defend her actions around Simon, the group discusses how being around someone from your past can cause you to revert back to the person you were when you knew them then - a phenomenon Marshall dubs "revertigo." Marshall and Ted tell Robin and Barney 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 behavioral psychology, later states that the proper psychological term for revertigo is "associative regression".

The group is hanging out MacLaren's the next day when Robin tells them Simon came to her apartment the night before, claiming that breaking up with her was the biggest mistake of his life. He asks her out on a date, which she happily accepts. The gang is disappointed. The next night, after a show with only Robin in attendance, Simon demands that Robin play a demo of his band's new album on the news the following day at work. The news agrees to play Murder Train over images of dogs in need of adoption. Robin explains it got all the dogs adopted because the song made people think the network was going to kill them. Michelle, Lily's high school friend arrives. She is African-American and Lily, upon seeing her, immediately begins speaking in the most unrealistic, but highly amusing, "urban" style imaginable, as does Michelle. The group continues to discuss other members "revertigo", which also includes Ted and his high school friend, Punchy, who challenge each other to fights the minute they see each other.

After another show, Simon once again breaks up with Robin as she loads his equipment into the back of his van — and once again tells her it's because Louise Marsh's parents have installed a jacuzzi. Robin tells the rest of the group back at the bar. They all do their best to console her, but are ultimately unsuccessful.
Kissy kissy
They all eventually have to leave one by one. Robin remains in the bar drinking alone and becoming emotional, until Barney arrives to complain about not being able to find her music video. Upon realizing Robin is crying, Barney asks what happened. Initially, he finds it funny that Robin got dumped for the same reason twice, but when she continues crying he rushes to console her. He tells her she doesn't need to be 16 again because now she has become the most amazing person he knows (besides himself). Robin asks him if he'd like to come back to her place, whispering something to him to make him say yes. They sit nervously on the couch before Barney asks "Should I just put it in?". Robin says yes and Barney puts the music video tape into the VCR. Robin reveals her second music video to him - her "big artistic follow up" called Sandcastles In The Sand. It was not a hit single. Barney loves the video, making snarky comments throughout. They watch the video over and over, with Robin gradually sitting closer and closer to Barney. As Future Ted narrates "...until finally, they stopped watching...", Barney and Robin have begun making out.


  • The gang found out about Robin's career as Robin Sparkles in Slap Bet.
  • Ted sports another Cleveland Indians T-shirt; his support of the Indians is referenced in Brunch, and his support of other Cleveland sports teams is referenced in GlitterThe Stamp Tramp, and Lobster Crawl, among others.
  • The song "Murder Train" is heard again in The FightThe LeapThe Rough Patch, and Mystery vs. History.
  • Robin whispers in Barney's ear, before they go to her place to watch the "Sandcastles in the Sand" video, the way Barney does to her in The Bracket when she asks him what he says to women to get them to go home with him.
  • Barney refers to recording his and Robin's hook-up, despite the fact that it took place in her apartment, in several future episodes, including Rebound Bro and The Possimpible. However, it is possible that Barney carries secret recording equipment for when he sleeps with someone outside his apartment.
  • Robin's friendship with Alan Thicke is established, and is referenced in several episodes, including The Rough PatchP.S. I Love You, and The Rehearsal Dinner.
  • Ted's "revertigo", or associative regression, being triggered when he is around Punchy is seen again in Glitter and False Positive.
  • In The Window, Barney tells Ted to trust that he won't make a move on his crush Maggie despite the fact that their "bro-lationship has suffered its setbacks in this area", likely referring to how he broke the Bro Code by sleeping with Robin.
  • When Barney relates how he hooked up with a girl with "magic lady bits" in Landmarks, he mentions meeting her in the bar before going home with her, and Robin assumes he was talking about her. As seen here, they do indeed go home and sleep together after talking at the bar.
  • Robin's fixation with Simon is referenced again in P.S. I Love You, where Barney suspects he was the object of the unhealthy obsession she developed when she was young and the inspiration for the song "P.S. I Love You".
  • When Ted argues that Barney has broken the Bro Code in the past in The Broken Code, he doesn't mention him sleeping with Robin.
  • Simon is revealed to have gotten his act together, and gotten engaged to Louise Marsh, in Bedtime Stories, which devastates Robin and compels her to steal their wedding cake.
  • In The End of the Aisle, a piano version of "Sandcastles in the Sand" plays as Robin walks down the aisle during her and Barney's wedding.


  • Robin and Barney's reactions to seeing Simon.
  • Robin introduces the gang to Simon.
  • Simon's appearance in Robin Sparkles' music video.
  • Simon and Robin at the beach in her music video.
  • Robin and Barney watch the Sandcastles in the Sand music video
  • Barney & Robin
  • They are watching Sandcastle in the sand
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Sandcastles in the Sand images.

Memorable QuotesEdit

Marshall: So is he the guy who, how shall I say this like a gentleman...Robin, did he take your "maple leaf"?
Robin: No, it wasn't like that.
Barney: Sounds to me like he gave you your first "Oh Canada" face!
Future Ted: (voiceover) This went on for a really long time.

Marshall: Robin, the point is, what are you doing? I mean, this guy [Simon]?
Robin: Okay, you want the truth?
Marshall: Yeah.
Robin: I like Simon. I do. We have fun together.
Lily: We know you do, honey, but we're worried about you.
Robin: You're worried? Okay, hold on. Is there any version of this conversation where you guys don't sound like my parents?
Lily: I don't know, is there any version where you don't sound like a 16-year-old?
Robin: That's exactly what my mom would say...
Lily: No, if I was your mom, I'd say, "We forbid you from seeing this boy!"
Robin: Lily!
Lily: No, I'm sorry, but it's for your own good!
Robin: This is my life! You guys just don't get it, you never felt the way that I feel!
Marshall: Now now, we were once young and in love too!
Robin: Yeah, like a billion years ago.
Lily: You've been drinking, haven't you?
Robin: Yeah, we all have. You bought the last round.
Lily: You are not going to that show tonight.
Robin: Oh, yes I am! And you know what, tonight, after the show, Simon and I are going all the way! (storms out of the bar)
Lily: Young lady, get back here! (To Marshall) Thanks for your help!
Ted: So today at work...
Marshall: Not now, Ted!

Barney: (upset sitting at the bar) All right. I can't find your video. I've wasted three days tr... (sees Robin crying) What's the matter?
Robin: (sad)Uh Simon dumped me in his van after the show.
Barney: Yeah, Robin, that was, like, ten years ago.
Robin: No, tonight.
Barney: Ooh. (laughing): Really? Oh! Oh, come here.
Robin: (sobbing)
Barney: Come here. (hugs her)
Robin: (crying) It's just when I was young, I was so vulnerable and-and open to things, you know? And I guess I just I wanted to feel that way again. I wanted to be 16 again.
Barney: Robin, that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard come out of your mouth. You want to be 16 again? I have watched your first Robin Sparkles video 1,000 times, and it's not because I'm proud of you as a friend. It's because you were totally, totally lame back then. But now, come on. Pa-cow! You're the most awesome person I've ever known. Well, second most awesome.
Robin: Right, of course the first being you.
Barney: No, no. The first is this guy who lives in a place called "the mirror". What up?

Notes and TriviaEdit

Goofs and ErrorsEdit

  • When Punchy is at The apartment and he and Ted start fighting, Ted says "I'm sorry about your dad". Punchy's response, "Yeah, it was a real shock..." seems to imply that he died. However, Punchy's dad was present at his wedding in The Best Man.
    • It's likely that it was a serious medical condition (e.g. stroke or heart attack) which Punchy's dad recovered from eventually.
  • When Lily leaves the room with Michelle, it cuts back to the booth where Lily is sitting next to Marshall even though she has just left the room. After a shot of Barney and Robin on the other side of the booth, it goes back to Marshall but instead of Lily sitting next to him, it is Ted.
  • Although Alan Thicke guest stars as himself in the episode, the closing titles credit him as "Mr. Scherbatsky".
    • In the context of the music video he's playing Robin's father, so this is at most a half-goof.

Allusions and Outside ReferencesEdit

  • Barney makes two video game references, once when he says 'Finish Him!', and shortly after, when he makes the sound of Pac-Man's death animation.
  • Barney also references the movie Grease, 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.
  • Barney references Canadian television series Degrassi.
  • Barney euphemistically asks Robin if Simon "rode her Zamboni", an ice resurfacing vehicle.
  • The "Sandcastles in the Sand" video included cameo appearances by '80s stars Tiffany and Alan Thicke.
  • In the music video Alan Thicke is reading "Canada Today", a spoof of the newspaper "USA Today."
  • Lily's best friend in high school is revealed to named Michelle. Alyson Hannigan's character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer had been best friends with Buffy played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.


Other NotesEdit


Reception Edit

  • Omar G at Television Without Pity gave the episode an A. [1]
  • The AV Club gave the episode an A rating. [2]
  • IGN gave the episode a 9 out of 10 rating. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 9.5 out of 10 stars. "Alan Thicke - one of Canada's greatest!"

References Edit

External LinksEdit

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