Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 8, Episode 18 of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," titled "Weekend at Barney's."
Ooh, to be a player.
When you've been a player for as long as Barney has, it's not easy to let go. Which would account for Barney's playbook dreams, particularly the "Weekend at Barney's" one that (obviously) riffs off of "Weekend at Bernie's." For some reason, Barney is super attached to the idea of playing a corpse, or a corpse who's really alive but is actually dead, or something. More on that later. When he's jolted awake by another '80s dream, Robin comforts him and tells him that when he burned his playbook she knew he was someone she could marry. He assures her he would burn it again if he could. But as I said, more on that later.
Meanwhile, Ted is still with Jeanette for reasons beyond my comedic comprehension. He even RSVPs to Robin and Barney's wedding as "Mr. Ted Mosby and Jeanette" which understandably drives Robin insane (that, and the fact Jeanette is planning on showing up dressed as an eggshell bride, veil included). When Ted rushes home though, he finds it completely trashed, the simple explanation being that Jeanette went through his emails (she was bored) and when she saw the subject line "Big Penis Orgasms," she flipped. So she tore the place apart, realized the email was spam, but decided to break up with Ted anyway ... something about him being too intense and their relationship going too fast. She gives him back him his key (he never gave it to her) and his grandmother's ring (she was buried wearing it) and leaves. The gang is overjoyed, especially Robin, until Ted remembers how hot the sex was with the nutty lady and decides to win her back.
In married land, Lily gets her first assignment since signing on to be The Captain's art consultant. She's got a date night with Marshall planned at a gallery opening for an up-and-coming artist, Strickland Stevens. Marshall, appropriately stocked with pun-oriented art jokes and a bag of Skittles, is ready to be his wife's support system. That is, until they arrive at the gallery, all his jokes fall flat, and there's no food allowed in the joint.
Across town, Ted is on his way to Jeanette's apartment, roses in hand, when Barney jumps him. They wrestle a bit and Barney makes him recite his "one rule." It's not "You can tell how old a girl is by her elbows," nor "Flax seeds relieve upset stomach," or "Always have a fake pair of concert tickets in your pockets in case Lily invites you to something stupid," or "Lebanese girls sprint to third base and then stay there." It's "New is always better." He vows to find Ted someone new (and much saner) by using his playbook. Turns out, he didn't burn the real deal, just the ceremonial copy.
At Ted's apartment, the duo preps Ted for his night on the town using Barney's plays, an ear piece, and a camera disturbingly situated at the bar that feeds back to Barney's monitors. Ted tries "The Special Delivery" and "The Kidney" only to fail each time Barney makes him say "my penis" to the girl he's hitting on. Mid-third play ("The 'I Have a Pet Loch Ness Monster'"), Robin walks in. She finds the playbook on the couch and storms off. As Barney abandons post, Jeanette walks in the bar and reunites with Ted.
Barney runs down the street after Robin and tries to apologize. He says he doesn't understand the big deal, she says she doesn't understand "Weekend at Barney's" (it's an alive person pretending to be a dead person who's pretending to be an alive person to get chicks to sleep with him) and that what bothers her most is his lying. Barney then gives her an elaborate, magic tricks-filled speech about how his whole being is a lie, that the only reason she's with him and he got her to say yes on that rooftop is a lie, but that underneath it all is the solid truth of his love for her. Three feather flower bouquets in, Robin is convinced.
At the gallery, meanwhile, Marshall slips up big time when his bag of Skittles spills on the floor right when everyone's bowing their heads in a moment of silence to honor Strickland Stevens' deceased grandmother. Lily isn't mad though, because they're a team and teams stick together, like Marshall stuck with her through an array of nip slips at his office functions ("I don't know why you keep wearing that top"). Stevens overhears Marshall's ninja turtles joke and so they bond, and Lily gets an in with the promising new artist.
Back at Ted's, he prepares for a quiet night in with his on-again wacky girlfriend and a bottle of wine, when she discovers the playbook and loses is completely. Like, mental case meltdown. Lily and Marshall find Ted sitting on the sidewalk with all his earthly possessions thrown broken around him and Jeanette screaming from the window. Just as Robin and Barney near, Jeanette threatens to blow up the playbook with fireworks. Barney gives her the green light, and so we end up with the scene from two weeks ago where Ted vows never to date again. He's ready to settle down.
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.