Bass Player Wanted

HIMYM episode 9x13 (197)

Bass Player Wanted
First aired:
December 16, 2013
Pamela Fryman
Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Barney's Blog

Images (8)

The gang encounters a guy at the wedding who intentionally stirs up trouble among them, and Marshall finally arrives at the Farhampton Inn.


Picking up from the cliff-hanger of Bedtime Stories, it's now 10:00 PM on Saturday, 20 hours before the wedding. Marshall and Marvin begin their trek to the Farhampton Inn relying solely on manpower. A reference is made to the last such attempt Marshall made in Subway Wars: Marshall versus the Machines. Later, he sees Bigfoot smoking a cigarette. He admits that due to the weight of his belongings and distance he 'is losing it'. A passing driver notices Marvin and pulls over, offering a ride which Marshall accepts. The driver is The Mother, and Future Ted narrates this was how Marshall met her. After scaring Marshall into thinking she was a psychic, The Mother explains she knows Marshall and about his predicament because she rode the Farhampton train with Lily and spoke with her at the Inn. The Mother says she plans to drop him off and head back to the city (even though she is playing in the wedding band) due to a quarrel with Darren, the lead singer of the band who is equivalent to the Devil. Superfreakonomics, the band The Mother formed during business school, recruited Darren to share lead vocals but he soon took over the band and put her in the shadows. When she found out at the Farhampton Inn that he planned to hire a new bass player to replace her, she quit the band and stole his van after getting Aldrin Justice advice from Lily. She also cites Darren’s bad behavior: Darren sneakily wreaks havoc in the lives of others by purposely breaking up friendships for his own enjoyment. When they pull up to the Inn, Marshall convinces the Mother to stand up to Darren, reclaim the band that was once hers, and stay for her performance.

Meanwhile at the Farhampton Inn, the rest of the gang are lamenting over the repeated losses of bottles of Glen McKenna scotch with which they were hoping to celebrate the Rehearsal Dinner with (two bottles lost during Last Time in New York/The Broken Code and Mom and Dad, and the original destroyed in the flashback of Last Time in New York). Lily is still visibly upset about Marshall taking the judgeship without informing her and tries to assure the gang she won’t let the two-sided issue break them into rival camps. As Ted and Barney hunt for some Glen McKenna, Darren arrives and chats up Lily and Robin. The two don’t have a clue who he is but he soon wins over the two of them with his compliments and charm. When Lily leaves the trio to pick up drinks and talk to Ted, he manages to unearth hidden inner feelings Robin is holding about Lily and Marshall’s impending fight. He then unintentionally (supposedly) reveals to Lily that Robin is rooting for Marshall despite her earlier expression of support for Lily. After the two briefly reconcile, he returns to pick up his misplaced phone and again reveals that Robin is mad that Lily (as the Maid of Honor) is stealing Robin’s (the Bride) thunder. Lily apologizes for making the wedding weekend about her and the two reconcile again, at which Darren reveals Robin feels Lily is abandoning her as a friend by leaving for Italy. Robin feels the potential loss of her best friend was the real thing that was bothering her all along; the two make up for good by beating up Marshpillow.

Ted is advised by Lily to steal a Glen McKenna bottle from the Farhampton liquor store due to its bad security. Ted points out he doesn't want to risk prison time for Barney at which point Barney fires back saying doing such an act for a Bro would be the most Broble (Bro+Noble) of all acts. Darren then sets his sights on Barney and Ted; he introduces himself and wins them over and as Barney leaves to fetch a drink, Darren manages to get Ted to tell him about Chicago. When Barney and Ted are together again and chatting, Darren stops by and lets Ted’s secret slip when making a reference to Gazzola's and then quickly runs off. Barney is utterly shocked to find out and even more disappointed to hear Ted was planning to leave right after the wedding without giving Barney enough time to process the decision. Barney interprets Ted’s impending departure as a sign that he doesn't mean much to him. Ted compensates by telling Barney their friendship is important and handing over a bottle of Glen McKenna. Ted stole the bottle from the Farhampton Liquor Store's storage room and claims it is a deed worth going to jail for because it’s for a friend. Barney doesn't understand the reason behind Ted’s move but realizes Ted being alone with him and Robin together won’t bode well and Ted needs a fresh start. The two hug and reconcile as Barney says he’ll miss him.

The Mother is chatting with Linus at the bar and decides there’s little hope standing up to Darren after seeing he even has Linus duped. Marshall arrives to see Lily beating up Marshpillow and the two decide to pause their fight and embrace each other. As the Mother tells Linus she feels "not even karma can bring down the devils in the world by means of a knockout punch", Ted is serving the reunited gang the scotch he stole for Barney. Darren is walking backwards while breaking up another group of friends and bumps into Ted, causing him to drop and break the scotch yet again; an infuriated Ted punches Darren in the face in response. Darren angrily makes his way to the bar, reveals to the Mother and Linus that the Best Man punched him and decides to quit the band voluntarily. The Mother buys the Best Man a double of the Farhampton Inn’s finest scotch, revealed to actually be the Glen McKenna 35 year. Ted consumes the scotch with the gang not knowing who bought it for him, but Future Ted reveals to his kids it was the first drink their mother bought for him.

In the final scene before the credits, Marshall apologizes to Barney for being late and missing the Rehearsal Dinner while Barney chides him. Marshall offers to make it up by ‘handing’ over a wedding gift which Barney demands immediately. Marshall then raises his hand to deliver a slap to Barney at which the screen cuts to black.


  • Marshall is seen trying to get to the Farhampton Inn in all of the previous Season 9 episodes, except Platonish and The Rehearsal Dinner.
  • When The Mother and Marshall are driving back to Farhampton, The Mother can be seen wearing driving gloves. Future Ted states that she had her own pair (as did Ted) in The Locket.
  • The Mother said she took a train with Lily, which happened in The Locket.
  • Lily's bisexuality has been a recurring element throughout the show.
  • Robin and Lily and later Ted and Barney share a Telepathic Conversation.
  • The Mother scares Marshall into temporarily believing she's a psychic during their car ride by pretending to slowly predict the events of Lily and Marshall's traveling to Rome before Marshall accepted a judgeship. Marshall has previously been shown to be a heavy believer in the paranormal.
  • Barney's run ins with the law for public urination is first mentioned in Belly Full of Turkey.
  • Darren bumps into Ted, making him drop yet another bottle of Glenn McKenna. The same thing happened previously in the season when Ted dropped a bottle in Last Time in New York and Barney dropped a bottle in Mom and Dad. Additionally, all three instances occurred on the same patio at the Farhampton Inn.
  • The Mother runs into Lily at the Farhampton Inn bar and reunite, they previously met in The Locket.
  • "Marshall versus the Machines" is played again, first seen in Subway Wars.
  • Darren suggests Gazzola's Pizza to Ted for when he moves to Chicago, which Marshall and Ted have already visited several times via road trip like in Duel Citizenship.
  • The Mother tells Linus to give her the "Kennedy Package" just as Lily had in Coming Back and even says "Thank you, Linus" after he hands her a drink.
  • Ted reveals his plans to move to Chicago to Barney. He decided to leave New York at some point in Season 8. He told Lily about his plan to move Chicago in Something New.
  • The Mother's fondness for children is shown again, as she knits Marvin a hat nearly subconsciously at the Farhampton Inn.
  • Marshall and Lily "pause" their fight about Rome after Marshall arrives in Farhampton. They've been shown to do this a few times previously.
  • Marshall throws his arm back in preparation for a slap at the end of the episode, as a consequence of Slap Bet.
  • The Mother says "You make some good points" just like Marshall did when he was roadtripping with Daphne in The Lighthouse.
  • Marshall mentions his band "The Funk, The Whole Funk, and Nothing But the Funk" to The Mother. His band had been mentioned in previous episodes.
  • Lily advises The Mother to "Aldrin Justice" Darren by stealing his van. Lily has previously "Aldrin Justiced" Hammond Druthers in Aldrin Justice and The Captain in The Ashtray.
  • Ted reveals that Barney has been using the phrase "That's the Dream" too much, in previous episodes like Everything Must Go and Mosbius Designs Robin was the one who uses it.
  • Ted tells Barney that he is "too liberal with the phrase 'that's the dream'". Similar to Sweet Taste of Liberty in which Ted says that Barney is "too liberal with the word legendary".

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Despite complaining about Barney's use of the phrase 'That's the dream', Ted will use the phrase in Rally.
  • We will see a different version of the scene between Lily and The Mother in How Your Mother Met Me.
  • The Mother mentions Darren taking over her band, which we will see play out in How Your Mother Met Me.
  • Marshall and Lily 'pause' their argument, which will be the focal point of Unpause.
  • The Glen McKenna 35 year will be consumed throughout Unpause.
  • Marshall puts his hand up to slap Barney, which will be the focal point of Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra.
  • The "Kennedy Package" the Mother has is a different color than Lily's, the first hint of the events told in Daisy.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category: Bass Player Wanted images.

Memorable Quotes

Barney: You're moving to Chicago? Is that even a real place? It's a style of pizza. Ted, you can't live in a pizza!
Ted: I got an amazing job offer there. Lily knows but Marshall and Robin don't, so please keep it quiet.
Barney: YOU'RE MOVING TO CHICAGO!? (to a passerby) He's moving to Chicago. When do you move? At least tell me it's not 'til next year or something?
Ted: It's not until...Monday.
Barney: Monday! So you are gonna just disappear the day after my wedding! After ten years of being best friends...
Ted: Well, actually Marshall is...
Barney: Don't even think about it!
Ted: Fair enough.
Barney: You are giving me one day's notice?
Ted: I didn't want to upset you on your wedding weekend.
Barney: No, it's good. It's gonna be easy to say goodbye to you knowing how much I mean to you.

Ted: Barney, wait! Your friendship is important to me. I swear on my mother' I swear to God. No. I swear to Hef!
Barney: Don't take that name in vain! If someone is important to you, you tell them you're moving. I'm just some guy you used to know, back in New York.
Ted: Hey. (holds up a bottle of 30 year Glen McKenna and gives it to him)
Barney: Whoa! How?
flashback to Ted crawling through the basement window of the liquor store
Barney: A 600 dollar bottle. That's grand larceny, Ted. You really could go to jail for this.
Ted: That's the dream.
Barney: So...moving to Chicago?
Ted: I'm moving to Chicago.
Barney: Why? I know Marshall and Lily might leave but it's only a year and in the meantime we'll see each other all the time. You, me, Robin...Oh.
Ted: I need a new start.
Barney: I'm gonna miss you.
Ted: I'm gonna miss you so much. (They hug)

The Mother: This is my band. I started it. And if anyone is getting fired here, it's you, Darren.

So hit the bricks, s-skunk... junk. (to Linus) Is that even a little bit intimidating?

Linus: Nope, and the knitting's not helping.
The Mother: I'm sorry, I just met this baby and he needs a hat.
Linus: What? You can't fire Darren. He gets how hilarious and adorable I am. Plus it is so inspiring how he overcame his mother being eaten by a barracuda.
The Mother: Gah! It's Finding Nemo. That's new. There's no defeating the devil. New plan. Linus, if at any point tonight you see me with an empty glass-
Linus: Kennedy package. It's a very popular choice this weekend. (hands The Mother her drink)
The Mother: Thank you, Linus.

Robin: Hey.
Lily: Hey.
Robin: Look, I was I was never really rooting for Marshall. I was rooting to not lose my best friend. But that's selfish. No matter where you go, I'm in your corner and I always will be. And to prove it-
Lily: What are you gonna do with Marshpillow?
Robin: Hold his arms back while you beat the goose down out of this bastard. Because that's what best friends do.
Lily: Thanks, it-it's not gonna help.
Robin: Try it. One punch.
Lily: (punches Marshpillow) Ooh, that felt good.
Robin: Mm-hmm. Yeah, that's it, sweetheart. Head, body, head. Head, body, head.

The Mother: There are real villains in this world. But they don't always get real justice, do they? You want to believe karma's gonna get them, but karma doesn't always come through. I guess you have to accept that sometimes in life you just don't get that knockout punch.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • The bottle of Glen McKenna 30-year costs $600, and Ted and Barney both refer to stealing it as grand larceny. However, in New York, grand larceny is $1,000 or more.
  • The reflections outside of The Mother's car window are going in reverse even though the vehicle is driving forward. 
  • When pulling up beside Marshall, The Mother is seen to have come from behind him. If this is true, then Marshall would have been walking in the wrong direction. 
  • When The Mother shows Marshall the ad "Bass Player Wanted", he holds the phone upside down.
    • However, the phone might have adjusted to the rotation, therefore rotating the photo to the correct position.
  • When Darren told Barney that Ted is moving to Chicago, Robin and Lily were sitting in the background, but when the scene changed, someone else sits in the exact location that Robin and Lily were sitting in.
  • After finding out that Ted is moving to Chicago, Barney said that he and Ted were best friends for ten years, but they first met in MacLaren's Pub in 2001 which is thirteen years before Barney and Robin's Wedding.
  • Barney refers to the impending slap as the fourth. He is actually receiving the seventh slap as result of the three-slap extension established in Disaster Averted, for a total of eight slaps given to Barney in the series.
    • The seventh slap issue seems to have been addressed since the Video on Demand version of Bass Player Wanted contains a clearly overdubbed version with Barney saying "... it's the next slap".
  • When the gang reunites Ted pours them each a glass of Glen McKenna 30, including Lily, who at this point believes she might be pregnant with her second child.
    • It never shows her actually drinking it though. She could have just held it to not give the secret away, and set it down somewhere.

Allusions and Outside References

  • The Mother tells Marshall that Darren regularly steals a tragic backstory shown in a Disney Film as a way of guilting people into sympathizing for him. Films he's ripped off of include Bambi, The Lion King and Finding Nemo. He also says that he wants to be in a band with no drama or conflict and thus decides to rejoin "new" Guns N' Roses, a band famous for their drama and conflict.
  • The Mother references her starting a band while attending Columbia Business School. The name of the band is 'Superfreakonomics', which happens to be the title of a book written by economist S.Levitt en journalist S. Dubner.
  • When Lily is beating Marshpillow, Robin instructs her by saying "head, body, head" in a Boston accent. This is a reference to the training method used by real life boxing due "Irish" Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, as portrayed in the film The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.


Other Notes

  • This episode was originally titled "Major Mystery".[1]
  • The new title "Bass Player Wanted" is a reference to The Mother, whose occupation is bass player for a wedding band that plays in the New York area. The direct relation refers to the ad Darren posted which angered the Mother. 
  • Marshall and Marvin meet the mother in this episode, which makes Marshall the third member of the gang to do so in the series. Only Ted and Robin haven't met the Mother yet. 
  • Darren is revealed to be a member of the Mother's band. The name of the band is also revealed to be Superfreakonomics, considering it was made up of business school students.
  • Jason Segel (Marshall) wrote and performed both renditions of Marshall vs. the Machines.
  • This marks the first episode where we see the Mother at the Farhampton Inn during the wedding weekend, rather than during a flashforward.
  • This marks the first episode in the season's main setting where Marshall was physically together with rest of the Gang at the Farhampton Inn and its surrounding vicinity.  Other than in flashback sequences, he had effectively been physically separated from them for more than half the season.    
  • This marks the last episode where Marvin appears in the season's main setting. He will make a brief appearance in a fresh flashback sequence in The End of the Aisle, and two subsequent flashforward sequences (in order of when the episodes aired): one as an incoming university student in the episode Rally; and another together with his parents, recently-born sister, and grandparents in Italy in the episode Daisy.
  • This is the only episode of the series to end with the words "to be continued..."
  • This is one of the few episodes in the entire series without any scenes shot at MacLaren's or the Apartment.



Featuring Neil Patrick Harris.


  • The episode was viewed by 7.71 million people.[2]
  • Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave this episode a C.[3]
  • Max Nicholson of IGN gave the episode an 8 out of 10.[4]
  • Angel Cohn of Television Without Pity gave the episode a B+.[5]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8 out of 10 stars. "...this Darren character sucks..."


External Links

Previous episode
The Rehearsal Dinner
Bass Player Wanted
(all episodes)
Next episode →
Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra

Start a Discussion Discussions about Bass Player Wanted

  • The Glen McKenna

    2 messages
    • In Bass Player Wanted, in the scene where Darren makes Ted drop the Glen McKenna bottle, Ted is first shown drinking a glass of the scotch wh...
    • I think the bigger mystery is that the gang has 50 Year Glen McKenna in Season 4 (Intervention, though cut forward a year) and Ted said it j...
  • why is the mother driving?

    2 messages
    • Why is The Mother driving to the Inn (when she gives Marshall a ride) - I thought she was taking the train (when she met Lily)?
    • She stole Darren van because he was being a dick. then she decided to return it. that's when she picked up Marshall and Marvin