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HIMYM / Tropes Season Two

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Tropes for How I Met Your Mother, Season Two.


  • Amusing Injuries: In "Aldrin Justice" Barney dislocates his hip while having sex with Marshall's law professor.
  • Angrish: In "The Scorpion and the Toad", when Ted hears how well Lily has been doing without Marshall, he has a moment of incoherence out of anger.
  • Answer Cut: In the first episode of the second season, Marshall has some relationship problems. Robin has an answer, which prompts Barney to ask "What's your prescription, Dr. Estrogen? Eat Häagen-Dazs and watch Love Actually 'til your period synchs up?" Robin being Robin cures Marshall's depression with some target shooting.
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  • Auto Erotica: Twice in "Moving Day". First attempted by Barney and his Girl of the Week, then by Ted and Robin. Both times at a truck.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: "Columns" sees Barney pay Lily to draw a picture of him nude, who then proceeds to deliberately leave out his genitalia. Barney evens compares it to Ken in his anger.
  • Bath of Poverty: To highlight Lily's utterly abysmal apartment, the most notable part of the apartment was that the stove, oven, sink, and refrigerator (or "stovenkerator") were all one piece of furniture... and located next to the toilet and bathtub.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: "It's for the bride."
  • Bed Trick: Barney does this in most of the episodes, but most memorably in "Ted Mosby: Architect" when he pretends to be Ted to prove that architecture is a sexy career. This episode also utilizes Unreliable Narrator, since the audience and Robin both think it actually is Ted having this wild night until the very end.
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  • The Bet: The Slap Bet over whether Robin is married and/or did porn. Despite neither of them winning, Marshall ended up winning the right to slap Barney in the face five times. The effects of this bet continue to be felt years down the line.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ted and Robin were still getting on fine, but they'd been ignoring the major issue that both of them had completely different life plans, and realised they couldn't do so forever, as Ted summarises himself "We have an expiration date, don't we?". Although it was inevitable from the start, and although Ted is feeling optimistic about returning to single life, there's still something sad about knowing his relationship with the woman he spent all of Season 1 seducing is over for good.
  • Broken Record: Barney in "Something Blue"—"Tell people what? Tell people what? Tell people what?..."
  • ...But He Sounds Handsome:
    • "Moving Day": in the midst of moving in with Robin, the van with Ted's stuff is stolen, and the culprit calls Ted and gives him instructions on how to get them back. Of course, Ted knows exactly who it is.
      Ted: Barney...
      Barney: I'm not Barney! But I hear that guy's awesome.
    • It then gets an Ironic Echo when Ted finds the van and takes it back, with Barney and his date inside:
      Ted: Enjoying the ride?
      Barney: Ted? Ted, you let us out of here! Let us out of here this instant!
      Ted: This isn't Ted, but I hear that guy's awesome.
  • Butterfly of Doom: In "Lucky Penny", the story has Ted try to figure out who's reponsible for causing him to miss the plane heading to his dream job interview. Turns out it was actually his fault, having found an antique penny on the subway several months earlier.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Played for Laughs in the episode "Lucky Penny". Barney has run the New York City Marathon without training and enjoys his free ride on the subway, showing off his medal. However, his legs stop working and he can't get off. Barney gets insulted for not giving up his seat for other people (an old woman, a pregnant woman and a boy with crutches). He calls Ted to come to pick him up, but Ted doesn't manage it on time so Barney is trapped there and is riding from end to end over and over. In The Tag, he's seen still riding on the empty subway. Nobody would help him.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Barney's "Legendary" was interrupted again in "How Lily Stole Christmas". Barney is sick with the flu, and starts to say it, but falls asleep after "wait for it...". He picks it up perfectly when he is jolted awake.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Played straight: "Slap Bet".
  • Chekhov's Skill: It was established in the previous season that Marshall is so good at board games that the gang make him run game night, otherwise no one else would ever win. This comes up again this season when Marshall comprehends and helps Barney win an inexplicable Chinese gambling game in "Atlantic City."
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: Spousal instead of parental. Marshall loudly rebukes Lily for forgoing her morals for cash (accepting money to paint a nude picture of Barney). In between his chastisements, he whispers to her that he's actually glad she found a way to get so much cash and is criticizing her as loudly as possible so that Barney, in the next room, will come back in and offer even more money.
  • Cliffhanger: The season ends before Barney completes his "Legen-Wait-for-it-dary!" Catchphrase. It cuts after "Wait for it."
  • Comically Missing the Point: At the end of "The Brunch", Ted and Robin are talking to his parents to learn why they got divorced. The parents briefly describe their courtship to illustrate why their marriage was doomed from the start and there are some eerie parallels with Ted's courtship of Robin, a fact that is clearly not lost on Ted, judging by his expression. After his parents leave, Robin excitedly exclaims, "Your parents like me!"
  • Complexity Addiction: 'We thought of authentic Native American headdress before we thought of a hat?'
  • Country Matters: Word of God says this is the word Ted changes to "grinch" when talking to his kids.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: In the Season 2 premiere, Barney is excited because he thinks that he, Ted, and Marshall are all single at the same time, and while he's giving a speech about how awesome their singledom will be, he takes a close look at Robin and Ted and groans "Aww man, you guys did it, didn't you?"
    • And further (inverted?): Barney's suite of superpowers includes the ability to tell how long it's been since a woman has had sex.
  • Discriminate and Switch: S2 Ep 10, "Single Stamina" introduces Barney's gay brother, James (Wayne Brady). While Barney is initially shown being fine with James's homosexuality, he gets angry when James reveals he and his partner are planning to get married. While it first at seems Barney is against same-sex marriage, it turns out he's just against marriage in general, lamenting that once gay men start getting married, everyone else will get married, too (because whatever gay people do, everyone else starts doing six months later), and single life as we know it will be ruined. He eventually accepts it, telling James's adopted baby at the reception, "Just because you're their kid, doesn't mean you have to accept their lifestyle."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During the "Slap Bet" episode, Barney slaps Marshall when he thinks he's won. He hasn't. As a result, he is given the choice of 5 slaps at any time, or 10 in a row. This is particularly bad because Marshall had earlier done the exact same thing... then lied and tried to hide the evidence that he was wrong. His punishment was only three slaps. Possibly justified within the episode. Lily says that Barney gets to slap Marshall three times, once because he lied and twice because he prematurely slapped Barney. When she says that Marshall gets to slap Barney, it's because he slapped Marshall without permission of the Slap Bet Commissioner (Lily), and seeing as she views her Slap Bet Commissioner powers as Serious Business, it's understandable that she would see Barney's transgression as the more serious one.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In "Arrivederci, Fiero", the car is treated like it's dying. The car is even personified and referred to by personal pronouns, although there is a disagreement on the gender.
    • In Robin's story, the way she and Lily try to clean up the car after they spilled Thai food inside it is like they're trying to remove evidence of a murder, a reference to a scene in Pulp Fiction.
    • The gang "outing" Barney's gay brother as "monogamous".
  • Don't Look at Me!: Barney says this to Robin in "How Lily Stole Christmas" when he's forced to wear track-pants instead of a suit while he's sick with the flu.
  • Drinking Game: Ted has an in-universe Superbowl drinking game, though Barney's thoughts are rather accurate: "It's not a game if you drink any time anything happens."
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: It's easy not to notice it, but in "First Time in New York", Robin gets freaked out by a spider and asks Ted to kill it. Barney, who is nearby, practically leaps off the couch and leaves the apartment with the hurried excuse "I left something in the hallway!" Then when he comes back in, Ted realizes the spider is still alive, and Barney abandons all pretense, just speeding out the door yelling "Run!"
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted. Even though Lily's back by the end of the first episode, Marshall isn't so willing to have her back after the way she dumped him the previous spring. They don't actually reconcile until the seventh episode.
    • In "How Lily Stole Christmas," it's revealed that it took Ted even longer to forgive her for abandoning her friends and leaving him to clean up the mess she left of Marshall.
  • False Cause: The fifteenth episode of this season takes the show's central fallacy Up to Eleven. It's all about finding out who's at fault for Ted being late to the airport. First Ted blames himself for jumping a turnstyle, then he blames Barney for making him do it, then he blames Marshall, then he blames...
  • Foreshadowing: A scene early on in "Showdown" had Ted and Robin walk in covered in pasta sauce and, before they can explain, Lily brushes it off. Also, the blue french horn isn't on Robin's mantle. Both of these tie into Ted and Robin breaking up, as revealed in "Something Blue".
  • Frank's 2000-Inch TV: Barney has two of these in his apartment, with each one taking up an entire wall. Supposedly the pain of watching it "never goes away".
  • Game Show Appearance: Barney, on The Price Is Right.
  • Generation Xerox: Ted's parents reveal the reasons their relationship fell apart over exactly the same issue that causes tension between Ted and Robin, ie. having children. Particularly noticable when in the same scene, both couples are shown wearing identical colours to their counterpart.
  • Gilligan Cut: "Slap Bet" invokes this twice.
    • Ted tells the group to respect that Robin doesn't like malls and that it shouldn't be their concern. Cut to the two of them in bed, and he's asking her what her problem with them is.
    • Lily and Marshall remind Ted that he promised Robin he'd respect her privacy, which he agrees to. Cut to their apartment where they're playing Scrabble and Ted misspells "husband" and ends up asking her if she's married.
    • And in "Lucky Penny":
    Marshall: Well, it looks like "Barney" should be coming over the Queensborough bridge and up First Avenue within the next hour or so, but there is no way that that's really him.
    (cut to them outside the finish line of the marathon)
    Ted: That's really him! (Barney then waves to them while passing by and finishes)
  • Good with Numbers: When Barney goes on The Price Is Right, he knows the exact price of absolutely every prize on the show, and can also quickly add up the prices of everything in his final showcase in order to walk off with every prize. He also knew the exact cost of his opponent's showcase, just to top it off.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "How Lily Stole Christmas," Lily says this to Ted:
    Lily: If one of my kindergarteners used that kind of language, I'd be on the phone with their parents.
    Ted: I'm not a kindergartener.
    Lily: Exactly. You're an adult, you know what that word means. You know how hurtful name-calling can be. (beat) Assface.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": Barnito Supreme, among others.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha! Barney's play "Suck it, Lily". "The robot falls in love".
  • Ironic Echo: "This isn't Ted, but I hear that guy's awesome." Not technically the exact same phrase ("Barney" substituted by "Ted")
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Ted's daughter complains in the season 2 premiere that it feels like he's been talking for a whole year.
  • Made Out to Be a Jerkass: In "Columns", Ted has to deal with his boss-turned-employee who constantly mocks his ideas, resulting in Ted deciding to fire him. After a series of circumstances that leave Ted too guilty to do it, he finally does, but just when the guy's having a heart attack. As a result, everyone in the office hated Ted. Ted even hinted that the paramedics weren't fond of him either.
  • Manly Tears: In "Ted Mosby: Architect", all the guys tear up when discussing the end of Field of Dreams.
  • Missed the Bus: Ted missed a plane to Chicago for a super important job interview. He thought it was his destiny to get his dream job. He and Robin contemplate what lead to them missing that flight. Had Ted got that job, he would have had to eventually relocate to Chicago. This way he stayed in New York and met his future wife.
  • Multiple Choice Form Letter: In "Ted Mosby: Architect", Barney uses one that claims he is a ghost to explain why he is not around to girls who he sleeps with and then leaves before they wake up in the morning. He simply fills in their name in the blanks.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Lily and Marshall of the Plan First, Elope Later variety. But they bring the important people with them.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: In "How Lily Stole Christmas"
  • Noodle Implements: All we know about the stripper's act at Marshall's bachelor party is that she explicitly told Barney not to use the smoke machine while she was on the hippety-hop. And that it involved a typewriter at some point.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: "Something Blue" reveals why Ted and Robin arrived at the apartment covered in pasta sauce near the beginning of "Showdown". Long story short, Ted and Robin broke up.
  • Over-the-Top Christmas Decorations: Lily and Marshall are big fans of Christmas and their and Ted's apartment is owerblown with lights and other dreamy winter wonderland decorations. It's taken Up to Eleven when Lily gets angry with Ted and takes all the stuff to her tiny crappy apartment.
  • Porn Stash: Barney's quite open about his, partly so that when his conquests see it after sleeping with him they will want to leave as fast as possible.
    Barney: Some guys hide their porn. I have mine professionally lit.
  • Pulling the Thread: In the episode "Slap Bet" Robin reveals she has an unusual fear of going to the mall but refuses to tell why. The others form theories as to why this is. Marshall believes it's because she's been married before and had the wedding in a mall. Robin decides to use this as her cover story. Ted tests her on it by asking her numerous detailed questions about the wedding, all of which Robin easily answers but gives herself away when she can't think of the answer to the easiest question, the name of the groom.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After 56 days of Marshall's depression over Lily leaving him, Ted gives one to him when he asks why he can't go beg her to take him back:
    Ted: BECAUSE YOU'RE PATHETIC! I'm sorry. But right now, you are NOT Marshall. You are the miserable, whining, shampoo-sniffing ghost of Marshall and frankly, a guy like you doesn't have a shot in hell with a girl like Lily. You know who might have a shot somewhere down the line? Marshall. The REAL Marshall. But if you go down there now like this, you'll blow it for him and he's never gonna forgive you. Of course, whatever I say, you just will do the opposite so, have a great weekend! Good luck screwing up your life.
  • Romance-Inducing Smudge: Parodied in the episode "World's Greatest Couple", where Brad freaks out Marshall at dinner by licking his napkin and wiping a smudge of food off his face.
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding: "Something Blue" has the wedding tradition version of the trope. Marshal and Lily try to feed each other at their wedding with the cake. Lily is completely drunk and sees Marshal's face twice or thrice, and she falls down.
  • Sex with the Ex: Marshall and Lily in "Brunch".
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Robin buys a bikini shirt in "Atlantic City", which turns Ted on. At the end of the episode he walks out of his room with it on.
    Lily: Is Robin here?
    Marshall: God, I hope so.
  • Shout-Out: "SWARLEY!!" Cue the Cheers theme song. And the Cheers credits font.
  • Skip to the End: Slightly varied during Marshall and Lily's wedding in that Barney, who is acting as the minister, is the one who tries to speed up the ceremony in order to try and hide the fact that he's crying. He doesn't hide it very well.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Subverted in "World's Greatest Couple", Barney shows Lily that his apartment is designed to stop women from wanting to stay there long. Unfortunately, one woman doesn't care about the small comforter on the bed, the lack of extra towels ("I don't buy into the myth that we need to shower every day"), the lack of coffee, ("You may as well drink the tears of a Colombian peasant farmer".) or his professionally-lighted porn collection ("Wow, you're so open with your sexuality"). What finally drives her away is Lily, who the girl assumes is Barney's wife, walking into the apartment.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Parodied when Barney does this to Marshall on "The Scorpion & The Toad". He just went to the bathroom.
  • Stock Footage: As of "Where Were We," the second season premiere, it's the same shot of the kids staring straight into the camera. Presumably because, seeing as it's not supposed to be taking Future Ted five years to tell his story, they're Not Allowed to Grow Up. However, while most episodes use shots of the children after the show was being produced, some episodes (most notably "Last Cigarette Ever") use footage from the pilot, in which the children are wearing different clothing.
  • Take That!: Ted, Barney, and Marshall have the follwing exchange, while at a coffee shop, in the literal start of "Swarley":
    Ted: So I guess that decides it.
    Marshall: Yep.
    Barney: Hanging out at a coffee place is not nearly as much fun as hanging out in a bar.
    • Word of God has sheepishly acknowledged this, insisting that they didn't realize that they were insulting Friends.
    • A proposal to go to a techno club:
    Ted!Barney: Hey, Marshall! You up for some super-loud, repetitive music that hasn't changed since the mid-90s?
  • They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason: Robin doesn't want to talk about the mall.
    • Also the friends keep quiet about Barney's misconception that Bob Barker is his father.
  • Trust Me, I'm an X: "Ted Mosby, architect. Trust me."
  • Underdressed for the Occasion: When the gang goes to a funeral, Barney shows up in sweats because he believes that suits are joyful, only meant for the living, and have no place at a sad occasion such as a funeral.
  • The Unfair Sex: Averted in "Ted Mosby: Architect." When Robin thinks Ted is cheating on her (in reality, Barney has been pretending to be Ted), she blames herself because she refused to listen to his work problems earlier.
  • Vertigo Effect: Used in "Something Blue", when Barney thinks that Ted got Robin pregnant.
  • Wall Glower: Lily at the end of "Where Were We?"
  • Wedding Finale: The last two episodes happen during Marshall and Lily's wedding day.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Swarley": Marshall and Lily get back together.
    • "Something Blue": Marshall and Lily get married, and Ted and Robin break up.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: The cast accompanies Barney to here as he tries to get a date for his brother.
  • Wicket: LET'S GO THE MALL!!
  • With This Ring: Ted and Robin experience an interesting inversion of both Types 3 and 6 when they accidentally receive the wrong glasses of champagne and Robin finds an engagement ring in her glass. She freaks out and even though it was an accident, it leads to their breakup.
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back: Subverted. When mocking some pants Marshall wants to wear, Ted says "BelBivDevoe called, and not even they want those pants back."
    • "What's this? A guy in a toganote  just walked in and handed me a parchment! It's ancient Greece; they want their idea back!"
  • Yandere: Barney says you can tell a girl is Yandere by seeing if she has "crazy eyes." He says this of a girl Marshall is going out with when he introduces her to the group. The entire episode is of Marshall wondering what Barney says is true with evidence piling up, but in the end it's revealed that it was the work of Lily, Marshall's ex-fiance. Marshall finds it endearing and they get back together. The episode ends with previous girl proving to be Yandere after all.
    • Lily was also totally Yandere in that same episode.
    • There's the girl who Barney romanced in "Ted Mosby: Architect". Her 'song' eventually becomes "I love you, we have something beautiful, I know this is a rough patch but come meet my parents, you're amazing, I HATE YOU, WHY DID YOU LEAVE I WANT YOU TO DIE, I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, I'VE DONE IT BEFORE". Apparently, not every Yandere is to be avoided in Barney's Playbook.


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