“Best Prom Ever” begins with Marshall and Lily scrambling to reserve the recently available Van Smoot House for their wedding. In doing so, Marshall and Lily’s wedding is moved up to two months from now. Later at MacLaren’s, Lily is stressed about how quickly they have to plan the wedding and hands out jobs to the group. Lily tries to pair Robin and Ted together but their is an awkward silence, made only worse when Barney brings up how awkward it is. Lily tries to power through the awkwardness and asks Ted for help with the invitations.
Later, Lily realizes she hasn’t booked a band and begins to turn into a bridezilla, similar to Claudia from “The Wedding”. Marshall saves the day, telling Lily he booked an awesome band called The 88. Lily refuses to sign off on the band unless she hears them play “their song”. The gang finds outs the band’s only upcoming gig is the following night at a high school prom in New Jersey. Unlike herself, Lily agrees with Barney’s plan of sneaking into the prom. Robin offers to accompany them seeing as how she never went to her prom. Ted suggests they all go but is met with resistance from Robin, saying less people will be easier to sneak in. Trying to seem upbeat, Ted suggests he and Marshall have a guys night and get wasted. Later that night, Lily and Robin are searching for what to wear. Barney disagreed with their first choices because they weren’t slutty enough to pass for teenagers and they would get kicked out. During the search, Lily finds her old dress from her high school prom. Reminiscing, we are shown Lily’s high school prom from 1996 with her then boyfriend, Scooter, played by Neil Patrick Harris’ real life husband, David Burtka. Scooter tells Lily how excited he is to be accepted into Umpire School and their future together. After slutting up, Barney gives Lily and Robin corsages and the trio head for the prom leaving Ted and Marshall to their guys night.
Ted suggests a shot of Jim Beam before he and Marshall head to the bar but Marshall tells Ted he promised they would stuff 200 invitations before leaving. Reluctant, Ted agrees when tempted by a secret prize. At the prom entrance, the gang is met with resistance from the staff. Only students or the dates of student are allowed to enter the prom. Robin and Lily convince two nerdy seniors to be their dates. The four walking in leaving Barney to construct his own plan to enter the prom. As soon as Lily enters the prom, the band takes a break. Lily approaches the lead singer and asks if they can play her and Marshall’s song, “Good Feeling” by the Violent Femmes. The lead singer tells Lily he is wasted but if she gets the sheet music, they will play it. Robin calls Marshall and asks him to bring the music ASAP. Marshall asks if he can bring Ted and Robin tells him she is still hurt by what he did. During this conversation, Barney sneaks into the prom from an air-duct but is immediately escorted back outside by security. Robin agrees to let Ted come but only if he has to.
While, Lily and Robin wait on Ted and Marshall to arrive with the sheet music, they dance with their dates. When Lily hears her dates plans after graduation, she realizes she never accomplished the goals she set out for. She tells her date he will never accomplish anything just as Robin’s date vomits on her dress. Marshall and Ted finally arrive and run into Barney as a turtle mascot, while the girls are in the bathroom. Barney confesses to Marshall and Ted he couldn’t get into the prom and eventually paid a janitor to use the costume. Marshall asks Lily’s date where she is and her date takes offense, attacking Marshall with a nunchaku, claiming Lily is now his. Ted defends Marshall by tackling the kid.
Inside the girl’s bathroom, Lily and Robin talk about what just happened with their dates. Lily feels bad for berating her date. When Robin asks Lily if she is having second thoughts about getting married, Lily tells her she is but not about Marshall, about herself. Lily shares with Robin that she never accomplished any of her college dreams. She wanted to travel, live in Europe and become a painter, even have a college lesbian phase. Robin helps Lily realize marrying her best friend is better than accomplishing all those tasks and even comforts her saying she can still travel and paint. As for the college lesbian experience, Robin gives Lily a small kiss to cross that off her checklist.
Ted, Barney and Marshall are being held by security outside the prom. When Marshall asks to go inside for one song, security tells him there is no way he will get back inside. Barney saves the day by stealing the mascot head from security and causing them to chase him. Inside, The 88 start playing Marshall and Lily’s song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8IwseoPmVk) and the two come together to dance. Being the only two people alone, Ted and Robin also come together to dance. Robin tells Ted she missed him, not that they were going to sleep together way, not that she forgives him way, just that she missed him way. Ted, in what might be one the smartest things he has ever said, responds with, “I’ll take what I can get.” Marshall and Lily agree to use The 88 for their wedding but you can clearly see on Lily’s face she is still having some anxiety about everything.
“Best Prom Ever” is a good episode because it shows that even when you have everything you want, there is always something you don’t have. For Lily, marrying Marshall should make her the happiest person in the world, but instead she is reminded of the dreams that she left behind to be with Marshall. A constant question I ask myself is, is it possible to make yourself happy and be with someone who makes you happy or do you have to chose? Again, I think this harks back to the relatability of How I Met Your Mother. I really enjoy the scene where it shows college Lily tells college Marshall her plans for life and as she finishes hooking up her stereo, “their song” plays, another music related moment to add to my list.
My favorite scene is Ted and Robin’s exchange during their dance. Ted is a brilliant man. I think more people need to “take what they can get.”