The Most Legendary How I Met Your Mother Gags

How I Met Your Mother is one of my favorite shows on television right now.  It features strong, self-aware and very funny writing, pitch-perfect casting and more in-jokes than you can shake a ducky tie at.  We take a look at some of the most legendary jokes, gags and running bits the show has to offer.

Major Inside Joke:  An inside joke between Ted and Robin, this bit happens whenever someone utters a word that could also double as a military title.  For example, if somebody were to say “This is a private conversation”, the participants will salute and say “Private Conversation.”  Terms like “general situation” and “major problem” are acceptable alternatives.

Bang Bang Bangity Bang:  Simply put, one of the best songs ever written.  Whenever one of the gang gets lucky, the rest of them sing “Bang.  Bang.  Bangity bang.”  What can I say?  It’s catchy.

Slap Bet:  Here is how the slap bet started:  The gang finds out that Robin is averse to malls, and naturally want to know why.  Marshall thinks that Robin was married in a mall when she was younger, but Barney thinks it’s because she did porn in a mall.  They make a bet on which is right, with the winner getting a single slap against the loser.  When the gang won’t stop badgering her, Robin breaks down and admits she was married, so Marshall slaps Barney.  Robin then reveals she only said that to get them off her back, so Lily, the slap bet commissioner, decrees that Barney gets three slaps.

Barney could have left it at that, but he wants one more slap, so he tracks down a man in Malaysia who finds a video of Robin from her youth.  It starts out with Robin dressed as a schoolgirl, trying very hard to get out of detention.  Barney pauses the video, not wanting to embarrass Robin further, and slaps Marshall.  Robin then un-pauses the video, and reveals her identity as Robin Sparkles, Canadian teen pop star.  Since Robin was not in fact in a porn, so Barney was out of line with his latest slap.  Lily then gives Barney a choice:  ten slaps in a row, or five slaps spaced out.  Barney, to Ted’s chagrin, takes the five drawn out slaps.  This leads to a very important holiday, Slapsgiving.

Marshall reaping the rewards of the slap bet.

Marshall reaping the rewards of the slap bet.

What Does Barney Do?: Barney’s job.  A point of much contention, Barney is eventually shown to be working for a banking conglomerate named Goliath National Bank.  But what does he do there?  He’s obviously important.  He has people at his beck and call, and owns a large number of motivational pictures.  While he has been asked multiple times what it is he does, his only response is “Please.”

Barney Got Phrases:  Barney is know for some of his quotable catchphrases.  Everything is always legendary.  Everything.  He has a habit of making you wait for “it” while speaking, and often those two will be combined, i.e. this is going to be legen-wait for it-dary!  Since Barney is always (and we mean always) wearing a suit, he is always asking others to “Suit up!” with him, which can mean anything from a regular suit to “Penguin suit up!”  And let’s not forget his penchant for giving high fives with his trademark “What up?”

The Naked Man:  Obtaining near-legen…mythical status, the Naked Man is first shown to the group by everyman Mitch.  A general loser (General Loser!), Mitch knows that his only chance to hook up with a hotty like Robin is to pull out his signature move, the Naked Man.  The Naked Man involves luring your date out of the room on some pretext, stripping all your clothes off and waiting for said date to come back and “Bam!” Naked Man.  The idea is that the pure shock of the gesture leads them to sleep with you.  It may sound preposterous, but it works 2 out of 3 times.  Guaranteed.



Lawyered:  A favorite phrase of Marshalls, someone is considered “lawyered” when they are hit with a traditional courtroom technique in real life.  For example, Marshall has a knack for making people “withdraw” their questions by bringing something up.  That person is then considered “lawyered”.

Have You Met…?:  A classic HIMYM pick-up line, this involves someone, usually Barney, walking up to a random person and saying “Hi.  Have you met (insert usually Ted here).  If the show is to be believed, it has a 100% success rate, thirty percent better than the Naked Man.

The Doppelgangers:  Everybody has a doppelganger.  It’s common knowledge.  But not everybody has look-alikes as cool as the gang does.  Let’s tick them off:  Lesbian  Robin, a short-haired super-lesbian walking down the street; Mustache Marshall, a heavily-mustached man on a bus advertisement; Stripper Lily, a foreign lady of ill repute who lives on the wild side; Luchador Ted, who is, well, a luchador version of Ted.  Barney’s doppelganger?  A bunch of Barney-in-disguises trying to get laid.

Intervention:  Whenever one of the group has a problem they can’t seem to drop, the rest of the gang has been known to hold “interventions” to try and break them out of it.  Past suspects have included Marshalls Dr. Seuss hat problem, Lily’s fake British accent phase, Barney’s overuse of magic, and Robin’s tanning.  Soon after holding an “intervention intervention”, where he states that they are having too many interventions, Ted finds out the group had one last intervention planned for him, one concerning something very personal: his engagement.

Sandwiches:  One of my favorite things about HIMYM is the way the story is framed: with an older Ted telling his kids the story.  This leads to some funny moments where Ted alters the story to make it more “kid-friendly”.  The best example of this is the sandwiches.  Whenever somebody is…partaking…in a certain illegal green plant, they are instead shown holding a sandwich (Marshall had a really big sandwich in college).  Watching College Ted and College Marshall pass a huge hoagie back and forth is pure comedy gold.

Sandwiches.  Legalize them, man.

Sandwiches. Legalize them, man.

The Number 83:  Whenever Barney needs to make up a statistic (which is very often), insert a random number into something, or even act like an old man, he always inserts the number 83 into the equation.  But it isn’t just statistics  he uses it everywhere.  For example:  Things almost always happened in 1883 or 1983; in Barney’s patented “point system”, he is fond of giving out 83 points; he points out to Marshall he was about to sleep with his 283rd chick at one point; Barney exclaims it takes a woman 8.3 seconds to decide if she is going to sleep with someone; the list goes on and on.  True story.

The Ducky Tie:  Another by-product of a Barney and Marshall bet, the Ducky Tie is an object of bittersweet emotions for Barney.  After enjoying a meal at a hibachi grill, Barney claims that he could pull of every move that their cook is doing.  Marshall calls him on the bluff, and bets that if he can, he can touch Lily’s breasts.  After dropping a few unnerving hints that he is in fact capable of Hibachi, they come to a compromise: Barney will call off the bet if he can see the breasts in question for thirty seconds.  After retreating to the back alley to get it over with, Marshall realizes that Barney has been conditioning him, through sneezes, to respond to the call of hibachi.  Guessing that Barney is messing with him, Marshall calls off the bet, so the gang heads back inside to watch Barney attempt his hibachi.

After pulling off move after move, all that is left is for Barney o pull out the old “catch the shrimp in the pocket” routine.  As the shrimp is in the air, Lily pulls out a desperation maneuver and flashes Barney, causing him to miss the shrimp.  Marshall then makes Barney wear his “Ducky Tie” (which is exactly what it sounds like) for the next year.  Thereafter, Barney can be seen wearing the Ducky Tie on and off.  After enduring it for awhile, Barney pleads with Marshall to let him take it off, and Marshall acquieces with one caveat:  He gets three extra slaps added to the slap bet.  Barney agrees, adding who knows how much longer to his torment.

As you can see, Barney just loves the ducky tie.

As you can see, Barney just loves the ducky tie.

Challenge Accepted:  If Barney has one outstanding character trait, it is his immense pride.  Whenever somebody states a task that appears impossible, Barney will exclaim “Challenge accepted!”…even if they weren’t talking to him.  This has lead to some very interesting situations, such as the time Barney tries to pick up girls by talking like a child.  It eventually works, but not exactly like Barney hoped.

Barney’s Guy:  Turns out Barney has a guy for everything:  a Monk guy, a ticket guy, a suit guy (obviously), a whip guy…he even has a guy guy, incidentally named Guy, who can get him a guy for something if he doesn’t already have a guy for it.  It’s nice to be Barney.