Cleaning House

HIMYM episode 6x02 (114)

First aired:
September 27, 2010
Pamela Fryman
Stephen Lloyd
Barney's Blog

Images (50)

Barney convinces the gang to help him and his brother James pack their mother's house to move. Barney reexamines his childhood and clues are found to his and James's paternity. Ted is upset that Robin 'oversells' him to a blind date.


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Barney is with the gang at MacLaren's Pub telling another story of romantic conquest when he suddenly breaks down in tears. He explains that his mother is moving out of his childhood home. Barney then tells the gang that they will be helping him move it all over the next two days. Despite their protests, they show up, meeting Barney's mother, Loretta, and his brother, James at their house in Staten Island.

While the gang goes through Barney's childhood room, they find evidence of a lonely childhood, which was all covered up by Loretta's elaborate lies like when she said Bob Barker was his father. Barney seems to accept these delusions at face value until he and his brother find an unmailed letter to a "Sam Gibbs", with a photo of the two of them, with the words "your son" on the back.

The gang immediately heads over to the address. Barney admits that he knows that Bob Barker is not actually his father and that he's ready to face the truth. An elder black man answers the door. James realizes that Sam is his father, and the two embrace, crying. Barney then joins the hug, under the impression that this man is his father as well. He then proceeds to feed into the idea that he is African-American, even interrupting Sam and James' beautiful duet of Stand By Me.

Back at his mother's house, Barney sits in his room with Loretta who gives him a note to the identity of his real father. While they talk, Barney puts together all the work his mother did for him as a child, tears up the note and realizes that she's all the father he'll ever need.

Meanwhile, Robin tells Ted that she has been promoting him to a hot makeup artist at work, but when she describes her selling points, Ted is worried that she oversold him. Over the course of the day, she sends a series of text messages to try to balance out this faux pas. Near the end of the episode, Robin receives a text from the woman which says she is still interested in meeting Ted. Ted then realizes that Robin has oversold the woman to him as well.


  • Barney has a "Magic Tonight" certificate in his childhood bedroom, and has been seen performing magic tricks in many episodes, including Slutty Pumpkin, Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M., and The Scorpion and the Toad​​.
  • Marshall informs Lily that he wants to tell their kids about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and mentions his belief in aliens. His interest in the paranormal and supernatural was first established in Matchmaker.
  • Marshall being the smallest member of the Eriksen family at 6'4" was pointed out by Future Ted in Belly Full of Turkey.
  • Ted told Robin to lower her friend's expectations about him to make him seem better when they meet. Marshall gave Ted the same advice about lowering Stella's expectations in Rebound Bro.
  • James mentions his adopted son Eli, who is seen in the flashforward to his wedding in Single Stamina​​.
  • The gang use a Move This truck to visit Sam Gibbs. Ted previously used a Move This truck to take his belongings to Robin's apartment in Moving Day.
  • Barney finally admits that his mother lied about Bob Barker being his father, a belief the gang finds out about in Showdown​​. Loretta's dishonesty with Barney and James was also previously addressed in Single Stamina.
  • Ted refers to himself as "Teddy Westside", which he first did in Rabbit or Duck​​.
  • Ted mentions his mother's husband Clint, whom she married in Home Wreckers​​, turning his room into a "tantric sex temple".
  • Barney persuades his friends to help his mother move, despite having told Marshall and Lily in Stuff​​ that asking for help moving is something they are too old for.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of James' father, Sam Gibbs.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • When Barney donates his bonus and some of his suits to Sam's charity in False Positive​, he gets excited at Sam calling him "son". Sam is quick to explain that it's just a figure of speech and he is "still not" Barney's father.
  • While Barney doesn't take his father's address from Loretta here, he eventually asks her for it in Last Words​, and reveals that he sent him a letter in Oh Honey​. Barney finally meets his father in Legendaddy​.
  • In Mom and Dad, it is revealed that Sam and Loretta got back together some time after he and James connected.


Main article: Cleaning House (gallery)
  • The gang refuse to help Barney pack up his childhood home.
  • Yet somehow, they find themselves already there.
  • James Stinson enters.
  • James and Loretta hug.
  • James shows Barney and Loretta pictures of his baby.
  • Robin has been talking up Ted to Liz, his blind date.
  • Ted mimics Daniel from The Karate Kid.
  • Lily finds Barney's old basketball shirt.
  • Barney recounts how great a basketball player he was.
  • James reveals Barney was a terrible at basketball.
  • Barney finds his letter from Postmaster General.
  • Postmaster General's letter explains why nobody came to Barney's party.
  • James reveals lies that Loretta told them growing up.
  • Loretta told Barney that Bob Barker was his father.
  • James recounts the people Loretta told him his father was.
  • James realizes his glove from Michael Jackson was another lie.
  • Marshall reassures Ted he'll find the right girl.
  • Lily doesn't want to lie to her kids about Santa.
  • James discovers Loretta and Barney's valentines have the same handwriting.
  • Barney finds a letter addressed to Sam Gibbs.
  • It contains a picture of Barney and James with "Your Son" on the back.
  • Loretta lies again, claiming "Yourson" is a town they visited as kids.
  • Ted is angry Robin's been overselling him to Liz.
  • James tells Barney Sam could be their father and Bob Barker isn't.
  • James leaves to go meet Sam.
  • The rest of the gang accompany him.
  • James prepares to open the door.
  • Despite acting otherwise, Barney knows Bob Barker isn't his father.
  • James and Barney hug.
  • Sam Gibbs opens the door.
  • James explains he is Sam's son, and they hug.
  • Barney shouts "Papa!" and joins their hug.
  • Ted (unnecessarily) explains how Sam couldn't be Barney's father.
  • Barney's ecstatic he's black.
  • James and Sam share a common interest as they play piano and sing.
  • Barney tries to join in on their song.
  • Ted realizes Robin talked Liz up to him.
  • James shows Sam pictures of Sam's grandson.
  • Loretta explains to Barney why she lied, trying to be both parents.
  • Barney reviews his childhood memories.
  • He really did suck at basketball.
  • But his Mom lied about why he couldn't play to make him feel better.
  • No one came to Barney's birthday, so she lied that the invitations were lost.
  • Loretta dresses as Santa as Barney and James look on.
  • Barney rips up the letter with his Father's name on it.
  • Barney and Loretta hug.
  • Barney uses an auto-tuner while singing with James and Sam.
  • Barney tries to fit in and Lil drags him away.
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Cleaning House images.

Memorable Quotes

(Inside the Move This truck on the way to Sam Gibbs' house, Ted and Robin discuss how to market him to a blind date.)
Ted: (to Robin typing on BlackBerry) Ted Mosby is solid as a rock. No, dependable. No, rugged. No-
Robin: Why don't I go to the Chevy website and copy down adjectives?
Ted: I just want to hit that perfect middle ground.
Robin: How about if we just go wildly to both extremes and let them balance each other out? (reads message) "Ted Mosby is really handsome but extremely violent and really rich, but lacks bladder control-" (truck hits bump; Ted and Robin are jolted) Oh damn, that last bump just made me hit 'Send.'
Ted: No, no.
Robin: Don't worry, everyone will get it's a joke.
Ted: No they won't, they'll think...wait. Everyone?
(Lily, Marshall, James, and Barney at the cab also received the message)
Barney: (reads message) "Really rich"? (Everyone laughs)

Barney: I know Bob Barker's not really—you know—I'm not crazy. I just... I needed that. I know it may sound stupid, but I didn't always feel so great about myself growing up and having a celebrity dad made me feel special. But you're right, James. It's time to let go of the fantasies. Time to grow up.
A rare moment of honesty from Barney as he prepares to meet Sam Gibbs

(The gang just saw James finally meet his real dad and Barney acts like he found his father as well)
Lily: Don't worry, we'll just help Barney snap him out of this one.
Marshall: Or we could just let him have this one.
Lily: Are you kidding?
Marshall: Guys, Barney's losing his childhood home, he finally admitted Bob Barker's not his dad, and he watched James meet his real father, it's just a lot to go through in one afternoon. Can't we just let the guy be black for a day?

Robin: So, Ted, yesterday at work, I totally talked you up to that super-hot makeup girl, Liz.
Ted: Oh yeah?
Robin: Mm-hmm.
Ted: What did you say?
Robin: Oh, you know, how funny you are
Ted: Guilty.
Robin: Handsome.
Ted: Who, me?
Robin: Incredible lover.
Ted: Really?
Robin: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I was all like, "He knows a woman's body better than she knows her own, "endless waves of pleasure just cresting and breaking for hours and hours" Blah, blah, blah. "Orgasms so intense that you just black out. " All that stuff.
Ted: Robin, how can I possibly live up to that review?
Robin: What? You know what you're doing down there.
Ted: Oh, Teddy Westside can bring it. We know this. But that is not the point.

I mean, you broke the first rule of setting people up: undersell. It's like, if someone's never seen The Karate Kid, you don't say, "It's the greatest movie ever. " You say, "Uh, it's pretty good"" And then they see it, it blows their freakin' mind.

Because Cobra Kai sensei's all like, "Sweep the leg!" And Daniel-san's all like (does high pitched vocalizations and karate moves)
Robin: Maybe I did oversell you a bit.
Robin is setting up a date to Ted with her make up girl

Robin: So, Ted? You were worried that I oversold you to Liz. Well, I fixed it.
Ted: How?
Robin: I sent her another email. "Dear Liz". I hope it didn't sound like I was trying to oversell Ted. The truth is, he is a genuinely nice, down to earth guy, and I think you two would really hit it off.
Ted: Thank you. Thank you. That's perfect. That totally takes the pressure
Robin: "Is he going to rock your world in bed"? No. "But he's clean", "open to criticism", and not into anything too weird. He's not bad at all. Not bad at all.
Ted: See, now you went too far in the other
Robin: I'll be honest. The first few times "aren't going to be that great. He's going to say 'Are you finished?' more times than a waiter in a busy restaurant.
Ted: Stop!

Ted: Wait. Barney and James are two years apart. If Sam only knew Loretta for a few months, he couldn't possibly be Barney's father.
Robin: He's also quite the detective.
Robin is making fun of Ted's silly detective deductions.

Barney: It's okay, Mom.(Barney tears a note with his father's name) I don't need it.
Loretta: But it's your father.
Barney: I already have a father. And his name is Loretta.
Future Ted: Kids, your uncle Barney grew up without a dad. And it always made him feel incomplete. But as he hugged Loretta, so around by the boxes into his happy childhood, he realized he had one hell of a mom.
Barney remembers all his memories from childhood and all the sacrifices his mother does for him and James.

James: Mom, who's Sam Gibbs?
Loretta: (Yelps) That doesn't sound familiar. Who wants Sloppy Joes?
James: There's a picture of me and Barney in an envelope addressed to him. And you wrote "your son" on the back.
Loretta: Oh, no, that It says "Yourson. " For Yourson, North Dakota. That's where we took the picture. Lovely town.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • Barney's childhood room contains a normal single bed, however in The Stinsons, it was said that Barney's room had a bed shaped like a race car. Of course, it's possible that Barney got rid of his race car bed and replaced it with a normal bed as he got older.
  • Marshall claims that his growth may have been stunted because of his mother's habit of giving him cough medicine when he was hyper as a child. He claims that he reached his height in the fifth grade and stopped growing. However, in Season 7's The Broath, Marshall tells the story of hitting his growth spurt in the middle of the production of Peter Pan when he was in the tenth grade.
  • In The Stinsons, Barney revealed to his mother that his wife and kid were actors, but it is seen that a picture of Tyler remains on the mantle.
  • It is mentioned in this episode that James is older than Barney, however in a flashback in the The Yips​ it is shown that when Barney was 23 he went to get advice from James who was in college at the time, it's possible though that James went back to college to revisit a course.

Allusions and Outside References

  • Ted mimics Daniel from The Karate Kid, which is a underdog, coming-of-age martial-arts film released in 1984 featuring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita and stars William Zabka. Coincidentally, the first time this film is mentioned is when the gang follows Barney to his childhood home for the first time in The Stinsons. This is also when Barney originally reveals his backwards perspective on many movies, including The Karate Kid in which he believes the titular character is Zabka's Johnny Lawrence.
  • Robin asks the gang if they had watched the show Deadliest Catch.
  • James believed he received a glove from Michael Jackson for his tenth birthday.
  • James explains how Loretta tried to convince him his father was a famous African-American, such as comedians Flip Wilson and Bill Cosby, actor James Earl Jones, and basketball player Meadowlark Lemon.
  • Barney owns a fake autographed baseball that his mother erroneously signed "Frank Aaron". This is a reference to home run king Hank Aaron.
  • Robin mentions to Ted that the girl she is setting him up with looks like Robert De Niro's appearance in the movie Cape Fear.
  • Barney says at the end of the episode that he has the only father he needs, and "that his name is Loretta". This is referencing the song Get Back by The Beatles.
  • In Barney's bedroom a Diabolik poster is seen.
  • Barneys bedroom is the exact filming set as Eric Formans bedroom in "That 70's Show".


Other Notes

  • How I Met Your Mother - Cleaning House - Deleted Scene

    How I Met Your Mother - Cleaning House - Deleted Scene

    Deleted Scene from this episode

    At the end of the episode, when Barney tells Loretta that she was his father, closed captioning has Future Ted saying "Kids, Barney would learn the truth about his dad sooner than he ever could have guessed. But as he hugged Loretta on this, the last day he'd ever set foot in his boyhood home, he realized he had one hell of a mom." In the audio for the episode, the first sentence is removed, and the second sentence is cut up and inserted not in its entirety.
  • A deleted scene from the episode reveals that Ted's mother told him that he was allergic to bacon.



How I Met Your Mother - Cleaning House Podcast

How I Met Your Mother - Cleaning House Podcast

Podcast for the episode

It features an interview with Craig Thomas, Stephen Lloyd and Tami Sagher.


  • This episode premiered to 8.971 million viewers.[1]
  • Donna Bowman at the A.V. Club gave the episode an A-.[2]
  • DeAnn Welker at Television Without Pity gave the episode a C+.[3]
  • Robert Canning at IGN gave the episode a 6.5 out of 10.[4]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8.5 out of 10 stars. "...Hey, it's James' father! But what about Barney?"


See also

External links

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