“Swarley” is one of my all time favorite episodes. The episode begins with Ted, Marshall and Barney at a coffee shop. Ted notices Marshall’s cup has a heart after his name, causing him to urge Marshall to ask out Chloe, the cute barista played by Morena Baccarin. Marshall isn’t convince the heart means anything until Ted notices he doesn’t have a heart and Barney finds not only does he not have a heart but his name is misspelled as “Swarley”. After talking about Swarley not being a name, Barney pleads with Ted and Marshall not to start calling him Swarley. Barney eventually storms off, screaming “this would never happen at a bar!” Later, Ted meets Robin at her apartment and tells her how Marshall asked out Chloe and she said yes. Lily joins Robin and Ted and tells them her idea of having they gang over for a wine tasting. Ted informs Lily that Marshall won’t be joining them since he has a date.
Later at MacLaren’s, Carl announces to the bar he has a call for Swarley. Barney ignores the announcement and glares at Ted. Marshall calls out Barney when he and Chloe enter the bar. Chloe leaves for the bathroom, leaving Ted and Barney free to demand Marshall dump her. According to Ted and Barney, Chloe has “crazy eyes”, a trait that indicates future mental instability. Barney and Ted share their “crazy eyes” stories but even after Barney’s awkward threesome and Ted’s manic depressive, Marshall shrugs off their warning.
The following day, Marshall receives a call from Chloe claiming she is being followed by a midget with a hump and limp, yelling her name. Marshall agrees to pick up Chloe but starts to question if the “crazy eyes” theory is real. Later that night at the apartment, Marshall makes himself and Chloe drinks when he hears a loud crack. He returns to leaving room where Chloe claims she dropped her keys. Marshall finds an old picture of him and Lily on smashed on the floor and fears the worst. After Marshall asks to stare into Chloe’s eyes, she leans in for a kiss but is interrupted when Lily lunges over the couch yelling “Stop!”
Rewind three days and we find Robin calling Barney by his new name at MacLaren’s. Barney becomes volatile and demands she and Lily stop referring to him as Swarley. As he turns to leave the bar, we see a “Call me Swarely” sign taped to Barney’s back. Lily confesses to Robin she is bothered by Marshall dating and her confidence was a lie. After Robin tells her where Chloe works, Lily ventures to the shop, determined to see what her competition looks like. Lily arrives minutes after Chloe has left and proceeds to chase after her in the rain. While stalking Chloe down the sidewalk, Lily hits her shin on a water spicket. Lily hobbles after Chloe, yelling for her to turn around but this only causes Chloe to become frightened and run off.
The following evening, Lily and Robin meet Ted and Barney at the apartment for a surprise. Just as the girls walk in, the radio deejay dedicates a song to Swarley saying Barney is gone and she needs to be strong. Barney tries use reverse psychology by telling the group he likes being called Swarley but quickly snaps and storms out of the apartment. While Ted and Robin share the magazine subscriptions they ordered for Swarlos, Lily asks about the picture of her and Marshall. Ted mentions Marshall took the picture down after the break up.
Later that night, Lily sneaks into the apartment to put the picture of her and Marshall up to make him feel guilty. As Lily places that picture near the end of the couch, Marshall and Chloe return from their date, causing Lily to drop the picture and hide behind the couch. Lily attempts to wait until the coast is clear to sneak out but can’t stand the sounds of Chloe about to kiss him. She jumps over the couch and physicall splits Marshall and Chloe. Embarrassed, Lily apologizes and flees the apartment. Marshall chases after Lily and finds her crying on the stoop where he sat after their break up. Lily confesses she chased Chloe the previous day and she broke the picture. Marshall realizes Chloe is a nice, normal girl as Lily tells him to go finish his date. Marshall confesses his love for Lily and the two share a passionate kiss as “Forever” by the Explorers Club plays. After the gang celebrates Marshall and Lily’s reunion, they return to find Chloe still in the apartment. Chloe mentions she couldn’t find her keys and she looked everywhere (the apartment looks as if it was ransacked). After Marshall points out her keys are on the table in front of her, Chloe leaves but not before introducing herself to Robin and accidentally calling her “Roland”. Barney sees his opportunity to shift everyone’s attention to “Roland” but the gang refusing to let go of Swarley. At the end of the episode, Barney walks into MacLaren’s as the entire bar welcomes him as Swarley. Carl plays the Cheers theme song and Swarley makes a one-eighty for the exit.
I absolutely love “Swarley”. Staci Krause of IGN wrote somewhat negative reviews, saying the Swarley jokes were to frequent and got stale fast. I disagree with Krause, the Swarley jokes were a welcomed running gag and I would like to see it more in the future. Barney’s reputation is built on being suave and pulling pranks on the rest of the gang and it was fun to see the roles reversed. It was good to see some love for Morena Baccarin, some might recognize her from Firefly. It was also nice to see Marshall trying to move on and Lily acting like the jealous girlfriend when know she is. Marshall and Lily’s reunion was supposed to be the highlight of the episode and while it was important, I feel like we all knew it was coming eventually. Don’t get me wrong, I do add Marshall and Lily’s reunion scene to my list of memorable music scenes but as usual, it was overshadowed by Barney.
Choosing a favorite scene was difficult in this episode. I loved the subtle nod to Friends at the beginning of the episode but ultimately the nod to Cheers at the end won out. “Swarley! ‘Where everybody knows your name…'”