The Wife:

As far as misdirection and time manipulation are concerned, this was certainly one of How I Met Your Mother‘s finer episodes. From the beginning introduction about Ted’s elevator routine and working up the courage to talk to someone you spend a certain portion of your day with, we would think that HIMYM was going to give us let another lovely story about a lovely woman that Ted falls for, perhaps even a second Victoria could be found in Vicky? Another one that got away? But no, that story definitely didn’t go the way I thought it would go, something that HIMYM is really adept at doing. And then there was the sequence with all of the odd things Ted has walked in on in his apartment prior to encountering the titular Naked Man: Lily painting acrobats, Robin having an armed stand-off with some thieves, Barney practicing Houdini’s water escape (yet more magic!) and the appearance of the goat. (The goat is coming May 8, 2009! Be ready!) Every one of those flashbacks/flashforwards was brilliantly sequenced. This kind of stuff – this is why HIMYM is a great show.

I can haz red chairz?

I can haz red chairz?

On a personal level, I found that opening sequence so lovely because, as a commuter, I spend a fair amount of my time coexisting with people who have the same schedules that I do. And we all come to rely on seeing the people we see every day, as Ted and Vicky do in the moment where they re-time their entrances just to make sure they see each other. I see certain patrons at the bagel shop every morning, and I ride the train with the same people every morning. I even have regular homeless guys that I pass in Portsmouth Square. I don’t wonder too much about what’s going on in the lives of the people I see on the train and at the bagel shop. If they’re missing one morning, I just assume they’re taking the day off. But if I don’t see one of my homeless guys, I start assuming that he’s dead. I’m used to these people. They make up the scheme of my daily existence, and you really do start to notice something odd when those elements go missing.

So Ted finally sets up a date with Vicky, and returns home one night to find Robin’s date, Mitch, naked on their couch. Mitch goes on to explain to Ted that this is his move, The Naked Man. He makes an excuse to go up to the girl’s apartment, waits till she leaves the room, then strips naked and waits for her. The reaction, two out of three times, is that the girl will laugh, and he will laugh, and then, somewhere in her, she will decide that since he’s already naked, they may as well have sex. Being naked is all Mitch has to offer a woman, as he is somewhat portly, not very attractive and constantly talks about his fantasy football league. He knows he’ll never get a second date, so The Naked Man is his only way to get laid.

Ted and Marshall find this unbelievable, and even more so that it actually worked on Robin. Marshall, whose only partner is Lily, claims that the only reason to have sex with someone is because you love them and calls slut on Robin. Lily then proceeds to prove her husband wrong by coming up with 50 reasons to have sex with someone, which my husband kept better track of than I did. I’d like to note that Lily’s first reason, as a cure for insomnia, is totally right. Good sex lights up all those parts of the brain that make you happy and warm and comfortable – all three of which can quickly lead to sleepy. Barney, instead, views The Naked Man as a gamechanger. Why spend all the time and money on disguises and clever ruses (like Old Man Barney) if all he has to do is strip down and wait?

Could it be possible that the great Barnabus J. Stinson has been wrong all along about bedding women?

Could it be possible that the great Barnabus J. Stinson has been wrong all along about bedding women?

Barney and Ted decide to try The Naked Man. Barney goes for it just for the hell of it, and Ted decides to do it when he realizes that he has no future at all with Vicky (because she’s mean to waiters and demands complimentary appetizers, which would be a no go for me, too). The two call each other while they wait to unveil their Naked Man and try out poses, such as Superman, The Thinker, Captain Morgan and Burt Reynolds. Barney ultimately chooses to unveil his Naked Man in a Superman pose, but Ted starts to think twice about the act when he sees a book of Pablo Neruda’s poetry on Vicky’s coffee table, bookmarked to his favorite poem as she talks to him from the other room about how much she loves hearing Ted discuss architecture. He puts his clothes back on just before she comes in the room. When he asks her about the Neruda, she declares the book a turd because, “It’s all in Mexican!” She further elucidates on what she considers to be good poetry:

“You know who writes good poems? Jewel. Her teeth are crooked and she lived in her car, so she’s got stuff to write about.”


Hilarious. Even when I was really into Jewel at the tender age of 13, I knew that the majority of her work wasn’t very good. I mean, really, kids, have you ever listened to half of Pieces of Me? It’s five good songs, and five songs with a lot of mixed metaphors and questionable lyrics. (I will never not admit that I love “You Were Meant for Me,” though. That song is pretty awesome.) After that admission, Ted decides to go for The Naked Man, knowing full well that he never wants to see Vicky again if Jewel is the epitome of poetry. Vicky sees Ted’s Naked Man, shrugs and figures, why not? In Dowisetrepla, Lily struggles to finish her list of reasons to have sex and arrives finally at number 50: because you love someone. She then springs The Naked Man on Marshall, using the “I have boobs” pose, which always, always works.

Robin, meanwhile, has been trying to prove that she’s not a slut by unsuccessfully taking Mitch out on a second date (an “I’m-not-a-slut-date”) and parading him around in front of her friends as though he’s her boyfriend until Marshall takes back what he said, at which point Robin release Mitch from social bondage, only to hear Ted and Marshall thank him for introducing them to the glory that is The Naked Man.

As for Barney, his Naked Man attempt fails and he is kicked out of his date’s apartment without shoes, clothes or his cell phone and forced to wander the streets of New York naked. (Two out of three times, man. Two out of three times.) As he comes upon a row of sale suits, he contemplates stealing one, until he realizes the fabric is low quality and skitters away. That is the Barney Stinson I know and love: he’d rather be naked than wear a cheap suit.

The Husband:

For the record, here are some of the 50 Reasons to have Sex. Keep in mind that 32 of them were not spoken.

  1. “Because you can’t get to sleep” sex
  2. Make-up sex
  3. Break-up sex
  4. “Your friend just told you about a new position” sex
  5. Revenge sex
  6. Rebound sex
  7. Paratrooping/”Banging for Roof” sex
  8. “Nothing good on television” sex
  9. Hotel room sex
  10. Curiosity sex (e.g. Barney’s desire to make it with a really tall woman)

SKIP!

43. “He said he loved you but you’re not ready to say it back” sex
44. “Wingman diving on the grenade” sex

45. “The condoms are about to expire” sex

46. “Wow, this is getting a little hard” sex

47. “You dropped a Cheeto on his lap and when you reached for it, he thought you were making a move, so you just went with it” sex (i.e. Marshall and Lily’s six-month anniversary)
48. “To reinforce good behaviors such as shaving and dental hygiene” sex (Marshall: “Great. That explains why I always get an erection when I floss!”)
49. “Just want to do it to change the subject” sex

50. “I love you” sex

So, after spending the time watching the episode on closed-caption and jotting down the whole list, I realize I’m a fucking moron. Why? Because this is HIMYM, and every little cultish bit of info you can cook up on the show already exists somewhere, either on Barney’s Blog or linked from the show’s MySpace page, created by the show’s writers themselves.

Here’s the full list, complete with actual stationary indicating where the list was written. #28 and #39 are the best additions to the list.

You can sure fit a lot of info on a MacLaren's napkin!

You can sure fit a lot of info on a MacLaren's napkin!

I really do love the episodes that feel like something that could have been written by my smarter, wittier acquaintances who just happen to have a good grasp on casual sex in the 21st century and the ever-changing perspective on said casual sex. I love their ability to create (or gleefully retell) seemingly ridiculous modern vernacular, only to have it sound like the most normal thing in the world.

Addendum: I just realized that, technically, this is the second time Barney has tried The Naked Man, and the second time (that we’ve seen) that Robin has been witness to it. Back in s1 during the episode “Zip, Zip, Zip” when Barney and Robin had a Bro’s Night Out (Ted was dealing with another Vicky at the time, the sorely missed fan favorite Victoria), Robin walked back into her apartment and found a very naked, “birthday suited up” Barney. Robin gasped and freaked out, getting him to throw some clothes back on, rejecting his advances.

Now, it’s fair to point out that Barney was simply misconstruing the situation between he and Robin (this is way before he fell in love with her), thinking their awesome night out was something more than just Bro-ing Around. In addition, he did not know he was doing The Naked Man. But the principle is the same, and really, that means that for Barney, The Naked Man doesn’t work 2 out of 3 times.

Maybe Robin is a different person now. (She kind of is.) Maybe she was put off originally because of her impending major crush on Ted. (She no longer has said crush.) But I simply think that the writers forgot about this. For shame, writers.

Don’t worry, writers, I still love you. Just know that there are those of us out here paying close attention.

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