Theyips_240 A quick note: Like some hot yet unattainable substitute teacher, I’m stepping in for the vacationing Josh to cover this week’s How I Met Your Mother.

One of the great things about Mother is that it remembers its history. In the case of tonight’s episode, Barney flashes back to his pre-suit grunge days. That’s thanks to Ted, who suggests the gang join a gym to offset all the beer they drink. Barney runs into a former neighbor there, Rhonda "the Manmaker."

See, just after his ex left Grunge-Barney for the man in the Armani suit, brother James (Wayne Brady, again hilarious in the part) suggested virginal Barney rebound with the Manmaker. Her supposed post-coital enthusiasm resurrected our favorite lecher like, in his words, a phoenix from a menthol-laden pyre. In the present, though, Rhonda doesn’t at all remember Barney, and thus is his self-image called into question.

How better to regain it than a night with Victoria’s Secret models? Alas, our boy is reduced to pathetic pick-ups, even blanking mid-"legen…"

As for the rest of the gang, their plots were thin: Marshall got a diminutive dictator for a trainer; Robin touted her beauty and then turned uber-masculine while working out; Ted, who suggested the gym plan, never actually worked out. Oh, and Barney? Rest assured, by episode’s end he was back in form.

Wayne Brady’s cameo as James, not yet recognizing his homosexuality, was packed with laughs. The models weren’t called on to do much heavy lifting, though Heidi Klum was amusing in her role as a mini-hamburger-obsessed sympathetic ear. Any German-speakers want to tell us whether her phrase for "the yips" was real?

Biggest Laugh of the Night: "Do you smell that? Smells like there’s a little bitch in my gym. Are you being a little bitch in my gym?" This from tiny personal trainer Trish to Marshall.

Posted by:Andy Grieser