How I Met Your Mother Episodes

2005, TV Show

How I Met Your Mother Episode: "The Stinsons"

Season 4, Episode 15
Episode Synopsis: When Barney inexplicably leaves MacLaren's, the gang thinks he has a girlfriend. Loretta: Frances Conroy. Margaret: Brooke D'Orsay.
Original Air Date: Mar 2, 2009
Guest Cast Zachary Gordon: Grant Frances Conroy: Loretta Brooke D'Orsay: Margaret Bob Saget
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Season 4, Episode 15
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Length: 21:34
Aired: 3/2/2009
Also available on Amazon Prime and VUDU
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How I Met Your Mother Episode Recap: "The Stinsons" Season 4, Episode 15

It's time to play house, Barney-style. When Barney starts acting weird, the gang thinks he's hiding a secret girlfriend, but it turns out he's actually hiding a secret family... all in the name of love.

And we're finally back! It's been oh so long. Who can even remember the last episode? Don't bother raising your hands — I know you all do. Lily points out some boozed blondes at MacLaren's for Barney to prey on. Offended that she's labeled him with a type, he says he must get going... and whispers to Ted his type is "Asian with some boob." I fit both criteria... or at least I hope I do. While he's in the bathroom, the gang recounts some of Barney's recent out-of-character behavior: buying roses, making plans for Saturday and ending a call with "I love you too." Does he have a girlfriend? He doesn't give a straight answer and takes off. And off go the other four tailing Barney all the way to a suburban house, where we meet his mom, Loretta, his wife, Betty, and son, Tyler.

Only one of those relatives is real though — mom. Barney explains he hired Margaret and Grant to play Mrs. Stinson and Stinson Jr. seven years ago, when his mom appeared to be on her deathbed, to fulfill her wish that he not wind up alone. Obviously, Loretta did not die, and so Barney must keep up the charade — with the Razzie-worthy Grant, who insists on having a catchphrase ("Tyler no likey!") and always misses his mark. "Child actors were way better back in the '80s!" Barney snaps. Heh.

Meanwhile, all of the "Stinsons" hit it off with the gang, sort of. Ted, a former aspiring actor and annual Christmas play writer/director, compliments Margaret on some pretentious play he saw her in and scores some acting tips from her. Grant and Robin bond over their dissatisfaction with their jobs. Grant's not excited about acting, but the "phone ain't ringing," while Robin laments her 4:30 am talk show at this juncture in her life, aka pushing 30. In the kitchen, Loretta overshares with Marshall and Lily about her whorishness in her early mother years. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh? Because she was such a slut, Loretta always wonders how Barney turned out so "perfect." Touched, Marshall encourages Barney to tell Loretta the truth because she's a kindhearted woman like his own mother is. Lily disagrees, mostly because she hates Marshall's mom, she admits. "I hate you!" Marshall tells her.

Act II brings us the dinner scene, which Barney wrote for Margaret and Grant to perform to basically paint him as a husband worthy of sainthood. If only Grant got the note, or a decent memory. He botches his lines, so Barney punishes the lactose-intolerant kid with an ice cream sundae for dessert. They all head to the kitchen... to find Ted and Margaret making out. Grant cries, almost on cue.

"I'm being betrayed by my best friend!" Barney exclaims, urging Ted and Margaret to follow his lead. Ted has other plans, or more like tips in mind. Flashback. Acting rule No .1, Margaret told him earlier, is don't be afraid to improvise. "Was it me who betrayed you or you who betrayed me?" Ted the Actor asks. Barney's confused. Acting rule No. 5: invent a rich backstory for your character. Barney seduced his blind fiancée on Nov. 14, 1998 on an overnight train to Monte Carlo, Ted the Actor says. Barney's still confused. Acting rule No. 8: don't be afraid to get physical. Ted the Actor slaps Barney twice. Too bad it wasn't Marshall doing the slapping.

After excusing Loretta from the kitchen, Lily suggests Barney tell his mom the truth. And so he does, after lying about Tyler's impending death and Betty's planned suicide, of course. Much to his surprise, Loretta is relieved as hell that wasn't his family. "I do not like that woman," she says of Betty/Margaret. And Tyler/Grant? "'Tyler no likey!' What the hell is that?!" she says. "And those fake friends of yours out there — I just wanted to shoot myself." Heh. Loretta tells Barney she loves him no matter what and won't be shocked and appalled by his promiscuity since she was "passed around like a bong" with the Grand Funk Railroad when he was 3 for three weeks. But if he's ever to meet someone special, "don't run away. Take a shot," she says. Cue Robin, who minutes earlier was hit on by a 10-year-old.

And so, Barney, ever the momma's boy, takes Loretta's words to heart and has a "moment" with Robin in the cab, while Lily apologizes to Marshall's mom... who's actually Ted the Actor on the line.

This was an interesting episode, if only for deviating from the show's usual layered style for some traditional sitcom schtick. Getting a fake family to please your parents is anything but new. Still, it made some progress as far as Barney and Robin is concerned. He has the encouragement from mommy to go for it, and Robin bonded with a child! OK, he tried to lay one on her at the end, but is this another sign of her opening her ironclad heart to children? Or was she just bonding over their mutual professional problems?

What did you think? Did you like Barney's "family"? Does Frances Conroy do Megan Mullally's voiceover work justice? Should James have made an appearance? Are you surprised Ted is a theater snob (which totally fits into his pretentiousness!)? Do you root for the antagonist in movies like Barney does? 

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It's time to play house, Barney-style. When Barney starts acting weird, the gang thinks he's hiding a secret girlfriend, but it turns out he's actually hiding a secret family... all in the name of love.
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Premiered: September 19, 2005, on CBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (1,937 ratings)
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Premise: A man named Ted tells his kids how he met the love of his life, through flashbacks, years in the future. The bored kids sit on the sofa and listen as dad regales them with tales of his pursuit of romance.



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