The Playbook (How I Met Your Mother)
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Pamela Fryman|
|Written by||Carter Bays
|Original air date||November 16, 2009|
|Season 5 episodes|
Future Ted explains the key to dating is self-confidence, which Barney had in spades, but usually that confidence was in a random blonde. Barney and Robin were coping with the end of their relationship in their own different ways. Robin said she wanted to throw herself into her career, but Marshall and Ted are convinced she will find the love of her life, citing several friends who gave up on dating to focus on their work, only to be married months later. Barney, on the other hand, decides to re-enter the dating scene with a vengeance, using his sacred "Playbook". The book describes a set of con artist scenarios designed by Barney to manipulate girls into bed.
Meanwhile, Lily tries to set up Ted with Shelly, a fellow teacher. She had originally tried to get them to meet, but she found Ted and Marshall in the middle of a chicken-finger mouth-stuffing attempt, so she convinced her coworker Ted wasn't there. But Ted is stood up, and after confronting the woman, Lily finds out that she was seduced by an exotic man at MacLaren's bar. Lily realizes it was Barney and angrily confronts him.
Barney describes the play he used, the "Lorenzo von Matterhorn", using fake websites, a smartphone, and an exotic name. Barney's next move is a play called the "he's not coming," where he seduces vulnerable girls at the top of the Empire State Building. Seeking revenge, Lily steals the Playbook, and tells the girl Barney seduced that Barney is a jerk. Lily threatens to post the playbook on the Internet if Barney doesn't stop using it. Barney shows up at the apartment in a scubasuit, saying he has one last play, "The Scuba Diver." Lily tells Marshall to post the playbook, but Marshall is bamboozled as there is not a play called "The Scuba Diver" in the playbook. They go down to the bar, where Barney sits in a booth. The gang heads over, and Barney tells them he plans to seduce the blonde by the bar. They ask him what the Scuba Diver is, and Barney breaks down, saying his breakup with Robin was hurting him more than he thought, and this was how he coped. Touched, the gang convinces Claire to go out with Barney for a cup of coffee. After they leave, the gang gets a text message from Barney and finds the description of the "Scuba Diver" under their table at MacLaren's. It was actually an elaborate con, involving Lily's disgust at the playbook, revealing Barney's tricks to his prey (Claire), Barney's fake breakdown over his breakup, and his friends encouraging the prey to go with Barney.
Finally a new co-host, Don, arrive at Robin's pre-morning show, and Robin suddenly realizes that Ted and Marshall may have been right.
A piano version of Nino Rota's "A Time For Us" from the 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet, entitled "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" by Henry Mancini, is used for when Barney finally succeeds with "The He's Not Coming" play.
- When the Playbook is revealed, Marshall jokes about how prolific an author Barney is, in reference to The Bro Code, comparing him to Stephen King.
- Barney describes a play called The Mrs. Stinsfire, referencing the Robin Williams film Mrs. Doubtfire.
- Barney doing The Cheap Trick is a reference to bassist Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick.
- Barney claims to know who stole the Playbook – al-Qaeda.
- Marshall and Ted describe people who meet the love of their life despite giving up on dating. A couple wearing Star Trek: The Next Generation uniforms is shown, and a gay co-worker in a civil union, planning to get married pending the passage of legislation on the floor of the New York State Senate, a reference to the debate over same-sex marriage.
- When Ted guesses the meaning of MILSWANCA (Mothers I'd Like to Sleep With And Never Call Again), an alternative for MILF, Barney says, "Correct! Circle gets the square", in reference to Hollywood Squares.
Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 9.6 out of 10.
- "How I Met Your Mother ... and Barney’s back!". 2009-11-16. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
- Stinson, Barney (2008). The Bro Code. New York: Fireside. ISBN 978-1-4391-1000-3.
- Brian Zoromski (2009-10-17). "How I Met Your Mother: The Playbook Review. Barney's back on the singles scene.". IGN (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- Donna Bowman (2009-11-16). "The Playbook". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 2009-11-17.