Episode nine is somewhat of a search for the mother episode but we will get to that later. The episode is the first of many Thanksgiving day related episodes.
We start “Belly Full of Turkey” at the apartment with the gang talking about their Thanksgiving day plans. Lily and Marshall are going to visit Marshall’s family in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Lily emerges from the bathroom announcing to everyone she just “ralphed”. We find out through a flashback that Lily’s upset stomach came from Barney’s “Thankstini”. We also find out that Barney visits his favorite strip club, the Lusty Leopard, on Thanksgiving because they have a surprisingly good buffet. Back in the present, Ted ask Robin about her holiday plans and we find out Robin is Canadian. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October. Ted mentions volunteering at a homeless shelter since he is not visiting his parents in Cleveland. Lily and Marshall arrive at Marshall’s childhood home, greeted by Marshall two older brothers, their wives, Judy, Marshall’s mom played by Suzie Plakson, and Marvin Erikson, played by Bill Fagerbakke.
It is abundantly clear that Lily has a hard time fitting in with the Eriksen clan. Marshall’s family is all over six-feet tall and insult her recipe for a salad because it does not have mayonnaise in it. The Eriksen’s do try to make Lily feel part of the family by giving her an apron that has “Mrs. Eriksen” stitched on the front. Later, Judy asks Lily when she plans on having her first kid. We find out at this moment that Lily did not get sick from the “Thankstini” but rather her period is five days late and she might be pregnant. Lily keeps the unsure pregnancy to herself and continues making food for dinner.
At dinner, Marvin brings up Lily’s name changing to Eriksen and Lily mentions she is going to keep her last name. The last name conversation leads to Lily mentioning she wants her kids to grow up in New York, not St. Cloud. Marshall doesn’t understand why they are discussing having kids when it is so far in the future. Lily becomes emotional with her secret and leaves the house to get a pregnancy test. Some time later, Marshall receives a call from the police informing him Lily has been arrested for urinating in public. Marshall visits Lily’s jail cell where they have a heart-to-heart. Lily asks Marshall to promise her their kids won’t grow up in St. Cloud but Marshall doesn’t make the promise and wants to know why she is bringing it up. One of the officer’s enters Lily’s cell with her personal effects and a pregnancy test. Lily tells Marshall she was arrested before she could see the results. Struck by the reality of the situation, Marshall tells Lily their kids can’t grow up like he did and Lily tells Marshall she doesn’t care where their kids grow up as long as his is the father. The couple share a long embrace when they find out their are not pregnant.
While Lily and Marshall are in Minnesota, Ted and Robin head to a local homeless shelter to volunteer. As Ted and Robin, enter the shelter’s kitchen they are surprised to find Barney volunteering. Ted asks Barney what he is doing there and Barney says he volunteers every Sunday, to which Ted responds, “but you’re Satan?” Kendall, the head volunteer, tells Robin and Ted to go home because they are full. Robin and Ted are allowed to stay when Barney vouches for them. Barney gloats to Ted and Robin about how good he feels volunteering while they wait for something to do. Robin introduces Ted to Amanda, a cute volunteer, and he starts helping her sort donations. Ted moves a box and finds a picture on the wall listing Barney as “volunteer of the year”. Ted is shocked to find out the food he and Amanda are sorting are going to her house and not the homeless. Ted then find out Barney has court mandated probation for urinating in public. Ted tries to do that right thing by telling Kendall, Amanda is taking food home, but is amazed to find Kendall is doing it too. Ted fed up with the deception, steals a bag of Portabella mushrooms and begins distributing them to the homeless.
Ted, Robin and Barney are kicked out of the homeless shelter and sit on the curb defeated. Barney yells at Ted because he not only was he 40 hours from completing his community service but was the “volunteer of the year!” Ted apologizes and asks Barney if there is anything he can do. We jump to the Lusty Leopard where the trio are sitting in the front row of the stage while “Mr. Roboto” by Styx plays. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cShYbLkhBc) Robin is surprised by how good the buffet is while Ted mopes about not helping anyone on Thanksgiving. Barney convinces Ted to buy a homeless man a lap dance as his contribution to Thanksgiving. Ted agrees and is approached by a stripper who saw what Ted did. The stripper, Tracy, introduces herself to Ted and future Ted tells his kids that is the story of how he met their mother. The kids freak out and future Ted tells them he is only kidding.
“Belly full of turkey” is really a filler episode but I didn’t want to spoil the ending until you read the end. There isn’t a message to take away from this episode other than your childhood doesn’t have to be the same as your children’s.
My favorite scene is when Ted asks Barney, “but you’re Satan?”