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The Playbook

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For the book, see The Playbook (book).
The Playbook

HIMYM episode 5x08 (96)

The playbook
First aired:
November 16, 2009
Pamela Fryman
Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Barney's Blog
Barney's Blog 2

Images (13)

Barney dusts off his playbook filled with strategies on how to pick up women and Lily seeks to put a stop to it. Ted and Marshall insist Robin is about to fall in love.


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Future Ted explains that the key to dating was self-confidence, which Barney had in spades, but usually that confidence was in a character. 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 led up to that night.

After their breakup, Barney and Robin were taking different approaches to coping. 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 (or in a civil union) months later. Barney, on the other hand, decided to re-enter the dating scene with a vengeance, using his sacred "Playbook." The book describes a set of con-artist scenarios designed to seduce a woman.

Meanwhile, Lily tries to set up Ted with a fellow teacher, Shelly. 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 Shelly, Lily finds out that she was seduced by an exotic man at MacLaren's Pub. Lily realizes it was Barney, and is understandably perturbed.

Barney describes the play he used, the "Lorenzo Von Matterhorn", using fake websites, a smartphone, and an exotic name. As revenge, Lily has an actress friend pretend to fall for the "He's Not Coming" to distract Barney, steals the Playbook and threatens to publish it on the Internet if Barney does not stop tricking women into sleeping with him (though Barney initially blames Al-Qaeda, which he mispronounces by saying the "Qae" as a K). He later shows up at the apartment in the aforementioned scuba suit, saying he will be at the bar performing the "Scuba Diver", a play he ripped out of the Playbook, so the gang goes downstairs to find out what it is. Claire, the girl Lily had approached at the beginning of the episode, is also curious to find out what the scuba suit is for, so the gang sits with Barney.

He begins to act cocky, but Barney eventually breaks down, admitting that his breakup with Robin was hurting him, and this was how he coped. Touched, the gang strongly advises Claire to go out with Barney for a cup of coffee. After they leave, the gang gets a text from Barney and finds the description of the "Scuba Diver" under their table at MacLaren's. It was actually an elaborate and long 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. The gang had been elaborately fooled. Lily says "You son of a bitch!"

Finally, a new co-host, Don, arrives at Robin's pre-morning show. Future Ted then says, "That was the day she met Don". Robin says "Damn it, Marshall" quietly to herself, as if she was suddenly realizing that Ted and Marshall's taunting may have had some truth.


  • Lily mentions "reading" Robin's "two-volume Playbook" (i.e. her breasts). Several episodes imply Lily's bicuriousity (such as Best Prom Ever and Girls Versus Suits) and her attraction to Robin (such as Do I Know You? and Robin 101).
  • The advertisement promoting the episode (seen here) includes plays from the Playbook seen in other episodes, such as the "Lesbian" (from I Heart NJ) and the "Time Traveller" (from Intervention).
  • Barney's the "Ted Mosby" play involves wearing the same clothes Ted was in Happily Ever After, after Stella ran off with Tony on their wedding day in Shelter Island, and telling girls that he was left at the altar.
  • Lily says "yousonofabitch" in the accented way she does here in other episodes, including Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap and A Change of Heart.
  • The first time Robin met Don is expanded upon in Last Cigarette Ever. They eventually get together in Of Course, before breaking up in Doppelgangers.
  • In Of Course, it is revealed that Robin was upset with Barney's insensitivity following their break-up, and actually started crying after leaving the apartment while he described the girl he hooked up with using the "He's Not Coming".
  • Matt Blitz, the GNB accountant Marshall tells Robin about, shares his name with the first "Blitz", mentioned in Blitzgiving. They are probably not the same person, as the first Blitz was unlucky because he dropped out of Wesleyan before the school went co-ed, while the accountant is now in a civil union with a man.
  • Barney informs the gang in The Best Man that he does "market research" on his plays in "smaller markets like Cleveland" in order to figure out which ones will work in New York, and is seen "field testing" plays like the "Escaped Manslaughterer" and the "Patient Zero".
  • Barney destroys the "ceremonial version" of the Playbook in The Over-Correction, and Jeanette destroys the actual Playbook in Bad Crazy. Barney also recreates the Playbook on napkins and gives it to Kyle and Justin in Sunrise.
  • While the gang doubts the "My Penis Grants Wishes" would ever work, it apparently already has on the Mother's friend Kelly, as revealed in How Your Mother Met Me, presumably when she and Barney bumped into each other at the St. Patrick's Day party in No Tomorrow.
  • In Vesuvius, Ted is seen revealing to the Mother that Barney stole the Scuba suit and walked down Broadway in it.


  • The SCUBA Diver
  • The Cheap Trick
  • The Mrs Stinsfire
  • The 'My Penis Grants Wishes'
  • The Ted Mosby
  • Barney with the Playbook
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:The Playbook images.

Memorable QuotesEdit

Girl: Really? A genie comes out of it?
Barney: Only if you rub it hard enough.
The My Penis Grants Wishes

Barney: I'm the bass player from Cheap Trick.
The Cheap Trick

Girl: Wow! You're an astronaut?
Barney: Shhh! I'm actually in a top-secret government space program called Secret NASA, or SNASA.
Girl: Wow. SNASA? Do you go to the moon and stuff?
Barney: Well, not the moon you're familiar with. Though I have been to the smoon.
Girl: Wow, the smoon.

Barney: Whoa! Don't drink that! I saw some guy slip something in there.
Girl: What?! Who?
Barney: (points to Ted) Um, that guy.
Girl: (Ted gets tackled by bartender) Thank you.
The Don't Drink That

Barney: I got left at the Altar.
The Ted Mosby

Barney: Every woman in New York! Barney Stinson is back on the market. Mothers lock up your daughters, daughters lock up your MILSWANCA.
Marshall: MILSWANCA?
Ted: Oh I got it, Mothers I Like To Sleep With And Never Call Again
Barney: Correct! Circle gets a square.

Barney: This, my friends is The Playbook. The Playbook contains every scam, con, hustle, hoodwink, gambit, flimflam, stratagem and bamboozle I've ever used-- or ever hope to use-- to pick up chicks and give them the business.
Marshall: Wow, you wrote another book? Uh we got a Stephen King over here.

Shelly: It was all just a bunch of lies?
Lily: It was all just a bunch of lies.
Shelly: The balloon expedition?
Lily: Lies!
Shelly: The man-made island shaped like his face off the coast of Dubai?
Lily: Lies!
Shelly: Finishing third in the laser tag competition?
Lilly: Li-- Oh, actually, that one's true. I went to that.
Shelly: You went to the Vatican?
Lilly: Lies!

Lily: Can you believe that? He blames me Oh, and by the way, Ted, I bet she'd still go out with you.
Ted: Hm, let me think. Do I want to go out with a girl Barney hooked up with? Guys, help me out with the harmonies. Sure.
Ted: Hell no!!!
Robin: Hell no!!!
Marshall: Hell no!!!!
Claire: Hell no!!

Playbook TechniquesEdit

The Don't Drink ThatEdit

Barney claims that someone slipped something in the girl's drink.


Barney claims to a girl that he's an astronaut from SNASA (Secret NASA), and when the girl ask about outer space, he claims that he knows about SMoon (Secret Moon).

The Ted MosbyEdit

Barney wears Ted's clothes and claims to a girl that he just got left by the altar.

The Mrs. StinsfireEdit

Barney becomes the new house mother at a Sorority.

The Cheap TrickEdit

Barney claims that he's the bass player of the Cheap Trick.

The "He's Not Coming"Edit

Barney goes to the Empire State Building observation deck and says "He's not coming" to the girls he meets until one of them believes him.

The Lorenzo von MatterhornEdit

Barney finds a girl that has a good cellphone and claims to be famous, the girl then will web-search Lorenzo and found some made-up website Barney prepared, then Lorenzo comes back and the girl will adore him (Note: Lorenzo tells lies, except one: he said he won 3rd place on laser tag championship, but he said the competition was in Vatican).

The Scuba DiverEdit

Barney waits in the bar with a diving suit, while the gang tells the girl that she's going to be the next victim, but before that, Barney must first do "The Lorenzo von Matterhorn" with one of the gang's friends (in this case, it's Lily's friend), then Lily will explain all the lies to her friend. Forcing her to hire an actress who will seduce Barney and then steal the Playbook, Barney then will do The Scuba Diver, which can't be found anywhere in the book, making the gang curious about The Scuba Diver, then the gang will ask about The Scuba Diver and Barney will tell his next victim. The gang will tell the girl all about Barney. Then the gang plus the girl will ask Barney about The Scuba Diver, Barney then will give up and then ask the girl out for coffee. After Barney and the girl leave, the gang will find a note under their desk that will explain about "The Scuba Diver".

Notes and TriviaEdit

Goofs and ErrorsEdit

  • In the search result for "Lorenzo von Matterhorn" which pops up on the screen just after Barney leaves Shelly at the bar, one of the search results is titled "Lorenzo von Matterhorn is not a jerk", and the page it links to is
    • Earlier in the series (in The Bracket), this website was created by Anna, with whom Barney had slept early in Season 2 and to whom he lied that he was architect Ted Mosby. The website was her way of paying Barney back.
    • Technically speaking, Barney would have had to hack the server hosting the website in order to insert the Lorenzo von Matterhorn article in it.
  • When Lily reveals that she has the Playbook, Robin looks shocked. (Robin wasn't there when Lily told it to Barney.) But when Lily tried to upload the Playbook, Robin was there and must have known that Lily had it. Ergo, she shouldn't have been suprised when Lily showed it at the bar.
  • During the scene in which Ted and Marshall are playing on the Xbox 360, one of the controllers is missing the battery. Initially Ted's controller is missing the battery, while Marshall's controller has a battery. Then when Marshall is talking about frozen waffles, his controller is missing the battery. Once Marshall finishes talking about frozen waffles, Marshall's controller has the battery and Ted's doesn't.

Allusions and Outside ReferencesEdit

  • When the Playbook is revealed, Marshall jokes about how prolific an author Barney is - referencing the Bro Code - comparing him to prolific author Stephen King.
  • Barney describes a play called "Mrs. Stinsfire" where he dresses as a woman, a reference to the Robin Williams film Mrs. Doubtfire.
  • In one of his plays, Barney claims that he's the bass player of the band Cheap Trick.
  • Marshall describes a set of people who get married after forgoing the dating scene. A couple wearing Star Trek uniforms is shown. One gay co-worker finds the love of his life, but they are an exception, instead of declaring them married, Marshall describes pending legislation on the floor of the New York State Senate, a reference to the debate over same-sex marriage.
  • After Ted guesses the meaning of MILSWANCA (Mothers I Would Like To Sleep With And Never Call Again), an alternative acronym for MILF, correctly, Barney says,"Correct! Circle gets the square.", a reference to game show Hollywood Squares.
  • Barney's play about his Penis Granting Wishes says that eventually he starts singing and the furniture comes to life. This is a reference to Beauty and the Beast.


  • Rondo Alla Turca - Mozart accompanies the sequences from Barney's Playbook.
  • A piano version of Nino Rota's "What Is A Youth" from the 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet is used for when Barney finally succeeds with "The He's Not Coming" play.

Other NotesEdit

  • In the booth Barney sits at while in his scuba gear there is a sign that says "On this site in 1897... Nothing Happened".
    • This sign is visible in several other episodes, such as Double Date, whenever the gang is at the corner booth. It is also visible in the intro sequence.
  • After the airing of this episode, "Lorenzo Von Matterhorn" (one of Barney's playbook aliases) became the fastest rising Google search for the day of November 16, 2009.[1][2] The show created the tie-in websites mentioned in the episode: Balloon Explorers Club, Big Business Journal, Extremities Quarterly.[7] A Wikipedia page for Lorenzo Von Matterhorn was also created October 21, but was deleted when the show revealed it to be a hoax.[3][4]
  • International Airdates: Australia: April 8, 2010 on Channel 7; United Kingdom: July 15, 2010 on E4.



  • 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. [5]
  • Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 9.6 out of 10. [6]
  • Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity graded the episode an A. [7]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 10 out of 10.  "..great sequences with all the different plays..."

References Edit

External LinksEdit

Previous episode
The Rough Patch
The Playbook
(all episodes)
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