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Recap / How I Met Your Mother S 4 E 21 The Three Days Rule

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Ted gets a girl's number, but Barney and Marshall replace it with their own in order to teach him a lesson about "the three day rule". When he starts them, however, they turn it into a cruel prank.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: Alyson Hannigan is on maternity leave since the previous episode until the next two.
  • All Women Are Lustful: According to Barney, women that have names ending in ly are this.
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  • Arc Number: Three has been used several times.
  • Arc Words: "Or..."
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Ted ultimately whacked Marshall and Barney for maliciously texting him by maliciously texting them.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Barney's earlier statement that girls with names ending in ly helped Ted realize that "Holli" is indeed Marshall and Barney because they misspelled her name.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ted brings up his parents' divorce, which he found out about in "Brunch", when texting with "Holli".
    • Barney and Marshall brought up Ted saying "I Love You" to Robin in the pilot.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Holli is revealed to be an exaggerated female version of Ted.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe, Marshall seems to feel this way about Barney including Jesus in one of his stories.
    Marshall: Barney, don't do this. Not with Jesus.
  • Eureka Moment: Marshall and Barney when they realized they're about to have sex with Ted.Twice.
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  • Even the Guys Want Him: Stan made Marshall and Barney go Stupid Sexy Flanders. The latter two also find themselves unintentionally trying to have sex with Ted.
  • Event Title: The episode title is about a rule regarding a guy should call a girl three days after getting her number.
  • Exact Words: Ted didn't called Holli within three days, he texted her.
  • For the Lulz: Barney and Marshall's (mostly Barney) motivation for posing as "Holli".
  • Fun with Acronyms: Marshall counter Barney in a discussion with this;
    Barney: If he's having gay dreams, it would obviously be about me.
    Marshall: And by "me"it means M E; Marshall Ericksen, star of Ted's gay dreams!
  • Gay Option: Discussed. Marshall and Barney asked Ted if who among them he'll pick to "get with" if the situation calls for it. Ted answers Holli.
  • Gender Flip: To continue posing as "Holli", Barney sends an apology text to Ted saying that it was "her" dumb friend Marsha who accidentally sent a text to her husband Billy. No need to explain who's who.
    Robin: Marsha and Billy. No one sprained any muscles there.
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  • Gentle Giant: Stan, a well-read, smooth, and romantic man who works night security. His ideas for what to text Ted have both Barney and Marshall drooling over him, and soon enough he's on a date with Robin.
  • G.I.R.L.: Ted's textmate "Holli" is actually Barney and Marshall.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Barney and Marshall at the end.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Robin keeps insisting about the "Ted has three days to live" joke.
  • Rule of Three: It's the title.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: To prove Ted that he has an Annoying Laugh when he sees naked women, Robin flashed him. It was shot from behind since aside from the censorship, Cobie Smulders is also hiding her pregnancy.
  • Sherlock Scan: Robin busted out Barney and Marshall posing as "Holli" when she sees Marshall's takeout order being the same as the one "Holli" accidentally texted Ted.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Marshall sends Ted a text intended for Lily saying he bought take-out from Genero's which Ted believes to be from Holli. The maiden name of John McClane's wife in Die Hard is Holly Gennaro.
    • Ted's "Naked Lady Noise" laugh is similar to Beavis And Butthead's laugh.
    • During the Gay Option (see above) discussion, they inspire their topics with elements ("machines forcing them to do it") from Terminator and The Matrix.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Marshall and Barney towards Stan. They also find themselves unintentionally trying to have sex with Ted.
    Marshall: Why do we keep trying to have sex with Ted?
    Barney: I don't know, it's weird.
  • Taking A Third Option: How Ted reveals to Barney and Marshall that he already knew that they're "Holli".
  • The Tease: Subverted. "Holli" keeps playing to Ted's fetish, but "she" is actually Barney and Marshall.

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