The Playbook (How I Met Your Mother)
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Pamela Fryman|
|Original air date||November 16, 2009|
Future Ted explains the key to dating is self-confidence, which Barney had in spades, but usually that confidence was in one of his characters. We turn to see Barney sitting in MacLaren's in a full scuba suit drinking scotch. Lily pulls aside a woman at the bar, warning her of Barney's villainy. The woman (Claire) sits down with the rest of the gang as they explain the events that lead up to that night.
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 that 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 scuba suit, 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 (a girl at the bar, portrayed by Sarah Wright) 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 Claire, Barney's fake breakdown over his breakup, and his friends encouraging the prey to go with Barney.
Finally a new co-host, Don, arrives at Robin's pre-morning show, and Robin suddenly realizes that Ted and Marshall may have been right.
Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club graded the episode an A− in her review; she cheered the return of the "unredeemed essence" of Barney in the wake of his breakup with Robin. Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 9.6 out of 10.
- Stinson, Barney; Kuhn, Matt (October 5, 2010). The Playbook: Suit up. Score chicks. Be awesome. Touchstone. ISBN 978-1439196830.