Will It Spread? How I Met Your Mother: “Sandcastles in the Sand”

And after last week’s analysis of political rhetoric, we’re back to network comedy. But this time, something fresher in concept than an SNL sketch…

Will It Spread? How I Met Your Mother: “Sandcastles in the Sand”

What’s It About: If you’re not a fan of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, here are the basics — a character on the show, Robin Scherbatsky (portrayed by Cobie Smulders), was a teen pop idol in Canada during the 1990s (which, according to her, is when the ’80s finally came to Canada). In 2006, we saw the video for her first big hit, “Let’s Go to the Mall” — a hilarious sampling of ’80s pop cheese and Canada-bashing. In the 2008 episode “Sandcastles in the Sand,” we saw Robin Sparkles’ “artistic” follow-up.

If you are a fan of How I Met Your Mother, here are the basics — “WTF OMG GUYS A NEW ROBIN SPARKLES VIDEO!!!!!”

Premiered: April 18, 2008 (online premiere)/April 21, 2008 (CBS airdate)

Viral Qualities: Promotion on a major network sitcom, follow-up to a previous viral hit, Belinda Carlisle’s “Circles in the Sand” stuck in my head on infinity.

Star Power: James Van Der Beek (who also guest-starred in the episode), Alan Thicke — and Tiffany!

Drawbacks: 13 million Americans watch this show… but only if Britney Spears is making a guest appearance. No dancing. And it’s pretty much all about making fun of teenagers, who just so happen to be the logs that feed the flame of viral video.

Mash-up Potential: Minimal (unless there are creators with the budget for recreating fashion of the 1980s).

Current Viral Status: As of April 21, almost 70,000 views total over 3 days.

Spread-factor (scale of 1-10, 10 being Lazy Sunday): 7. The fact that this is a ballad and not a dance track works against “Sandcastles in the Sand.” But Robin Sparkles writes “Sand” in the sand and it washes away. And they don’t forget the robot. This is a great example of offline media understanding and incorporating online video. Hopefully, it will pay off.