Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story. The story of how Marshall and Lily were married for 12 seconds. “Atlantic City” picks up with Marshall and Lily dating again. Lily accidentally makes an off hand remark about marrying Marshall, leading the two to discuss their canceled marriage. After Lily proposes to Marshall and they celebrate on the kitchen floor, the realization sinks in that Marshall’s family still aren’t happy with Lily. Marshall and Lily pack up the rest of the gang and head to Atlantic City to elope but not before getting pedicures. After reaching Atlantic City, Lily gives everyone a job, she looks for a wedding bouquet, Robin looks for clothes to make her less attractive than the bride, and the guys search for a veil. The group meet at the wedding chapel with a bouquet, veil and Robin wearing a t-shirt with a voluptuous female body printed on the front and back. Ted makes fun of Robin’s shirt but quickly becomes fascinated by the “artist’s detail”. To Marshall and Lily’s dismay, they can’t get married without a marriage license, which takes three days to receive. The chapel attendant mentions they can go to the court house and ask for the wait to be waived but it is only waived for special cases.
After arriving at the court house, the gang learns only a judge can waive the wait period and proceed to stake out the men’s bathroom for a judge to walk by. While waiting, Ted convinces Robin to sneak away for a quickie and to leave the shirt on as he has become obsessed with it. The gang finally finds a judge and he agrees to help Lily and Marshall since they have been together for 10 years. After the judge questions some awkward glances, Barney cracks under the pressure and tells the judge about their break up over the Summer, causing the judge to refuse to help. Back at the casino, Lily comes up with the idea to get married on a boat in international waters. The gang struggles to share Lily’s enthusiasm as she runs of to find a boat captain. Robin chases after Lily and asks why it is so important to get married today. Lily confesses she is afraid if the don’t get married now, her and Marshall will have a real wedding and she will have to face his family. Finally, things seems to be looking up as Marshall finds a boat captain at the casino bar. The captain agrees to marry Marshall and Lily for 5,000 dollars. The gang pulls their money but are no where close to five grand, this is where Barney steps in to save the day.
Throughout the episode, Chinese businessmen recognize Barney and even have conversations with him in Chinese. Barney divulges he used to have a gambling problem and frequented “A.C” but he feels lucky. Barney and the Chinese businessmen gather around a table and play an old Chinese game that no one understood except for Marshall, referring back to “Game Night” and Marshall’s unprecedented talent at all things games. After Marshall informs Barney he can triple his money by splitting his tiles and finding the jelly bean, the moment of truth arrives. Barney takes a deep breath and points to one of six hands. To everyone’s surprise, Barney chose the hand with the jelly bean and won enough money to pay the boat captain.
On the boat, the captain begins the wedding ceremony with everyone watching eagerly. Ted tells Robin how excited he is for Marshall and Lily and he can’t believe she would never get married. Robin smiles and tells Ted, she never said “never”. As the captain begins to speak about being surrounded by family and loved ones, Marshall and Lily share a look as Fountain of Wayne’s “Sink to the Bottom” plays. They both realize they want to have an actual wedding ceremony and call of the captain. Lily and Marshall tell the gang they have to face their families, even if they are scared. Lily and Marshall share a kiss. Confused, the captain pronounces the man and wife but quickly “unpronounces” them after Marshall and Lily insist angrily and that kids is the incredible story of how Marshall and Lily were married for 12 seconds, somewhere of the coast of Atlantic City.
“Atlantic City” is a fun episode that doesn’t progress Ted’s story arc but that of Lily and Marshall. The episode is filled with goofy antics and humor to cover the serious issue that lie underneath, Lily’s fear that Marshall’s family will reject her for canceling the first wedding. Although the episode focused on Lily and Marshall, and I was glad to see them find the courage to get married with their families, Robin’s shirt stole the episode. Ted’s infatuation with her drawn on boobs had me crying with laughter, especially the end scene when Ted walks through the apartment wearing Robin’ shirt and it is implied Robin might not be with him. I did add another song to my “musically enhanced scenes” list. When “Sink to the Bottom” begins, it describes perfectly the shared feelings of Marshall and Lily. A somewhat somber song about a guy agreeing to “sink to the bottom” with a girl just to be with her. At that moment, I think Marshall and Lily felt the same way about their future wedding. Their families might disapprove of their wedding but they would rather sink together than to float apart.
My favorite scene is when Ted asks Robin to keep her shirt on before their quickie.