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Rabbit or Duck

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Rabbit or Duck

HIMYM episode 5x15 (103)

Rabbit or duck
First aired:
February 8, 2010
Pamela Fryman
Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Barney's Blog

Images (6)

Robin can't decide if she likes Don. Barney gets a "magical" cell phone that doesn't stop ringing. Ted asks Marshall and Lily to set him up for Valentine's Day.


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Ted, Marshall, Lily, and Robin hang out at The Apartment to watch the Super Bowl, where the camera catches Barney holding up a sign in the crowd asking women to call him. It pays off as his phone keeps ringing with women on the other end. He hires Ranjit as his personal driver. Robin also reveals that she accepted an offer from her colleague, Don Frank, to go on a Valentine's Day date with him, while they were on the air. The gang debates whether Robin is attracted to Don using the duck-rabbit theory. Given the success of Ranjit's arranged marriage, Ted decides to let Marshall and Lily pick the perfect bride for him during a double date on Valentine's Day itself. Ted joins Robin on her date at Don's apartment, as Don said there would be a party. Ted leaves when they see Don on the couch naked and realizes there was no party. Robin confronts Don, who explains that he was attempting to use the Naked Man move, which he read about on "some guy's blog", to seduce her.

Meanwhile, Barney's having problems with his pickup phone. When he is about to bed one woman, an even hotter woman calls the phone. This causes him to ditch the woman and have Ranjit drive him back to MacLaren's on three separate occasions. On the fourth incident (involving a hot chick named Natalia), Barney throws the phone in the dumpster so he can concentrate on the woman. As he was about to seal the deal, he could hear the phone ringing in the distance and gets it again at the dumpster. Marshall and Lily later hide the phone inside the piano at The apartment. Ted and Robin, who agreed to clean up the place for the day, finds the phone and Ted answers.

Ted goes on the double date with Marshall and Lily, who have fixed him up with Natalia. Despite their compatibility, Ted continues to answer the phone, which results in another encounter at MacLaren's, wearing aviator sunglasses and sitting across from another woman. Seeing Ted on the line, Barney tries to get it from him, but Ted passes it to Marshall and Lily, who drops the phone in a pitcher of beer.

Back at the apartment, Ted and Robin lament about their single status, but later agree to clean the bathroom.

While preparing for another episode of Come On Get Up, New York, Don apologizes to Robin for his unprofessional behavior and praises her news anchor skills. He also tries to improve his work ethic by getting coffee for Robin. She realized he was wearing pants (which he never does), and the next time she looked up she imagined a duck bill on his face.


  • When running out of options to "arranged marry" Ted, Marshall suggests several of Ted's former flames, all of whom Lily shoots down. These include:
  • Marshall allows Ted to use his "lawyered" catchphrase, first used by Marshall in Mary the Paralegal. This is the first time anyone other than Marshall has used the line.
  • The gang's tradition of watching the Super Bowl together was established in Monday Night Football.
  • The gang learn about the Naked Man when Mitch successfully uses it on Robin in The Naked Man.
    • When the Naked Man backfires on Robin, Don wonders aloud why he ever thought it would work on her, and she giggles while agreeing that it wouldn't. Her inability to lie without giggling was first noted in The Bracket.
  • Don mentions his divorce, first referenced in Last Cigarette Ever.
  • Don becoming a duck indicates that Robin is starting to become attracted to him. Future Ted mentions that they would eventually get together in Last Cigarette Ever, which they do in Of Course.
  • It is revealed in Of Course that Robin was upset by Barney holding his number up during the Super Bowl.
  • Ted claims that Ulee's Gold appears often in The New York Times crossword "because of all the vowels". He confirms this after meeting Will Shortz, editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, in Robots Versus Wrestlers.
  • Ted's nickname, "Teddy Westside", comes up again in Cleaning House and The Perfect Cocktail.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Rabbit or Duck images.
  • The most intense argument about Rabbits or Ducks.
  • Hey! Look who finally showed up for a second? :P
  • "Don's a duck!"
  • "MacLaren's Pub!"
  • Barney can still hear that phone from MacLaren's?
  • Aww! Isn't Ranjit so sweet! :)
  • Is she a rabbit or duck?
  • Barney wants his phone back!
  • Ted and Barney fight over the phone.
  • Now Marshall gets involved!

Memorable QuotesEdit

Marshall: Robin, did you want Don to ask you out?
Robin: What? No! I hate Don! I can't stop thinking about how much I hate him, it's like all the time! I just want to attack him, and rip his stupid clothes off, and spank him with this little paddle until his bum's all red. Shut up!
Marshall: Oh Robin, you're going to marry this guy so frickin' hard. ...Right in the butt.

Notes and TriviaEdit

Goofs and ErrorsEdit

  • When discussing Natalie as a potential Valentine Date for Ted, Lily says "Ted's her least favourite person in the world". Marshall replies "Well, she's not getting any younger", implying that she's single. However in Return of the Shirt, Future Ted reveals that within a year of their breakup, she was married, well before the events of this episode.
    • It is possible Lily and Marshall did not know this at this point, or that Natalie's marriage did not last.

Allusions and Outside ReferencesEdit

  • Ted references Donald Duck's and Don's respective habits of not wearing pants as proof that Don is a "duck." Ironically, it is Don's decision to start wearing pants that makes him a duck to Robin.
  • After attempting the Naked Man, Don fears Robin thinks of him as a playboy. Robin imagines rabbit ears on Don and says "You could say that.", alluding to the Playboy Magazine whose logo is a rabbit.
  • Don wonders why Ulee's Gold is in every crossword puzzle. Ted indirectly replicates that it's because of the vowels in the phrase. This is later confirmed by the editor of the New York Times in Robots Versus Wrestlers.
  • Natalia, the date Marshall and Lily arrange to Ted, knows all the lines from Caddyshack.
  • Barney's phone that never stops ringing makes him unable to ignore or leave it, and has the same effect on Ted - a reference to the One Ring in the Lord of the Rings  trilogy.


  • Turkey in the Straw - This plays as Barney's ringtone and is heard again during Ted's blind date, however the latter version is slowed down and played on piano.
  • A fast version of Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" (from Incidental music to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, op. 61) plays while Marshall and Lily hurry to find Ted a wife on Valentine's Day.
  • Haroula Rose's EP single Haroula Rose - Someday. This plays while Ted and Robin are sitting on the couch discussing how bad being single is.
  • Ted spoofs "Here comes the groom"; music is from Bridal Chorus, from Richard Wagners opera ''Lohengrin'.

Other NotesEdit

  • Ranjit shouts in Persian while the gang are argueing about rabbits and ducks. Translated into English, he says: "duck can swim, duck can walk, duck can fly, what do you want from an animal?"
    • It should also be noted that in the Pilot episode, Ranjit says that he is from Bangladesh therefore, he didn't speak in his native tongue. 
  • While attending the Super Bowl, Barney holds up a sign saying "Hey Ladies, Call Barney Stinson," with the C, B, and S written in big colored letters. CBS is the network that airs How I Met Your Mother and that also broadcasted Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010. The poster Barney displayed has two versions. One version, with the number 1-877-987-6401, was shown during the actual Super Bowl telecast. When the number is dialed, a message recorded by Harris in character as Barney is played. [1] The number was changed to 1-917-555-0197 in the version shown in the episode.
  • Jim Nantz who guest starred in Perfect Week makes a cameo appearance again but only his voice, Phil Simms, whom he also mentions in that episode (when he says you shouldn't open a mail from Phil Simms in front of your kids) also makes a cameo appearance in this episode.
  • International Airdates: Australia: July 1, 2010 on Channel 7; United Kingdom: September 2, 2010 on E4.



  • The episode premiered to 10.11 million viewers.
  • Donna Bowman of The AV Club rated the episode with a grade A. [2]
  • Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 9 out of 10. [3]
  • Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade C+. [4]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8.5 out of 10 stars. "...Barney has a new plan ... 'Hello'."


External LinksEdit

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Ted is at MacLaren's telling the gang about this woman, Tiffany. She says she's really into him, but can't be with him "right now." The gang sees through her ruse, telling Ted that he's been "hooked," a euphemism for stringing someone along until they meet someone better.

Everyone has an example: Marshall did a high school classmate's homework and was her "secret boyfriend", Robin allows her pre-morning show cameraman to pamper her, and Lily's high school flame, Scooter (David Burtka), works at her school as cafeteria staff, where she doesn't exactly tell him that a romantic relationship is impossible.

Ted refuses to believe that he has been hooked, and continues waiting for Tiffany. When she shows up to the bar with her co-workers, Barney is excited to see that she and all her friends are pharmaceutical representatives, which he calls the "hot-chick" profession of their generation (like the nurse or stewardess was in the past).

All the while, Ted himself has "hooked" Henrietta, a librarian from Columbia. Henrietta treats Ted just like he treats Tiffany, even assembling an elegant dinner when he drops by. Ted is just as dismissive of Henrietta as Tiffany is of him. Ted is invited to go to a wedding with Tiffany, which he sees as a sign of commitment, so he meets her in the room with champagne. However she enters with the best man, the guy who has "hooked" her. Ted leaves, intent on making sure Henrietta doesn't feel the same heartbreak.

Unfortunately, he took the best man's jacket by accident, which had the wedding ring inside. Bending over at Henrietta's door to tie his shoes, the ring falls out, and Henrietta opens the door to see Ted down on his knee, in a tuxedo, with a ring in his hand. She says yes, and introduces him to her visiting parents. Ted explains what has happened and that they will never be together.

Meanwhile, Marshall tries to get Lily to let Scooter know she is never going to be with him, but she is immobilized by Scooter's puppy-dog eyes. Marshall uses Barney's teacup pig (in a cute blanket) to train Lily to resist Scooter. Eventually, it works, and the two head down to the cafeteria, but even though Lily is able to tell Scooter it will never happen, Marshall himself can't resist Scooter's charm, telling him to just wait until he is dead.

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