False Positive

HIMYM episode 6x12 (124)

First aired:
December 13, 2010
Pamela Fryman
Craig Gerard
Matthew Zinman
Barney's Blog

Images (15)

Marshall and Lily's false positive has a profound effect on the whole gang. Robin gets a new job, Barney discovers the joy of giving and Ted begins his duties as best man for his friend Punchy's wedding.


Lily and Marshall, after attempting and failing for 2 months to get pregnant, finally manage to get a positive pregnancy test result. They immediately tell the rest of the gang, who are just as ecstatic as they are. Unfortunately, this doesn't last for long; their doctor soon tells them they're not really pregnant. Over the next three days the gang thought Lily was pregnant, and each member of the gang re-examine their own lives and react in their own unique way.

On the first night, before Marshall and Lily arrive at Ted's apartment to share the news, Ted is on the phone with Punchy, planning the floral arrangements for his wedding. Robin, overhearing their conversation, tells Ted he's ignoring his main job as best man: to stop Punchy from freaking out about the wedding. Ted defends himself by reminding her he was Marshall's best man, however Robin retaliates by recounting how he allowed Marshall to shave his head.

Ted ignores her and watches TV, realizing that Robin has recorded seven episodes of Million Dollar Heads or Tails. Robin reveals she's going to be the new currency rotation specialist on the show, or "coin flip bimbo" as Ted calls it, going against her previous plans to be a serious journalist at World Wide News and turning down a research job from them.

Barney enters, and then later Marshall and Lily arrive, sharing the news that they're pregnant. As the gang is congratulating them, Robin begins to reflect on her own life, and decides to take the World Wide News job to be a respected journalist. So the next night, when Marshall, Ted and Lily are celebrating Lily's pregnancy at MacLaren's, Robin arrives telling them she's the new WWN associate researcher.

However on the third day, when calling Alex Trebek to turn down the coin flip girl job, she gets a message from Lily saying she's not pregnant, and decides to forget about her journalist dream and take the easy coin flip job. Later that night, when the gang decided to see a movie together, Robin finds Ted outside the theater and tells him her decision to take the coin flip job.

While this was going on, Barney was having his own dilemma. Flashback to the first night, when Barney enters Ted's Apartment, he shows Ted and Robin his huge Christmas bonus check and his plans to buy a diamond suit with the money. Ted suggests giving some of the money to charity, but Barney scoffs the notion. When Marshall and Lily enter and share their news, Barney reflects on what he's doing with his life, and doesn't feel awesome.

On the second night, when the rest of the gang is in MacLaren's celebrating, Barney enters and announces "Barney's Favorite Things", to give away a bunch of free things to people at MacLaren's in an Oprah-esque manner.

Deciding he wants to do more giving, he visits Sam Gibbs at a Long Island church where he works as a minister. Sam tells him about a charity the church runs, and Barney decides to help out by writing a check donation. However, when Lily messages him telling him she's not pregnant, Barney loses his giving spirit and turns the $10,000 check into $100.00 (with a sneaky decimal point), and arrives to the movies that night wearing his diamond suit.

Meanwhile, while Robin was deciding on her new career and Barney was becoming charitable, Marshall and Lily were freaking out about having a child, and try and do everything they have to do to prepare for the baby in one night. So when, on the third night, they learn they're not pregnant, they're happy.

When they arrive at the movies to tell the gang, Ted asks why they're not devastated. They tell him they're relieved, and decide they might get a dog instead of having a baby. Ted throws his movie snack on the floor, and starts shouting at Marshall and Lily, because after all their talk about having kids, all it took was one little freak out for them to give up their desire for children, and tells them to go home and keep trying.

Ted then turns on Barney, shouting at him for wasting his money on such a stupid suit and tells him to return the suit and donate the money, by calling to the "criminals of New York" about Barney's suit causing Barney to flee. Now alone, Ted tells Robin she didn't move to New York City to give up her dreams, and forces her to call and accept WWN's research job. As Robin walks off, Punchy calls Ted and tells him he can't get married. Ted tells him he can, because he loves her, and a convinced Punchy thanks him.

Following Ted's shouting, Marshall and Lily realize they were being ridiculous, and continue trying to have a baby. Barney sells the suit and donates the money (plus dozens of suits) to Sam Gibbs's church's charity program. Robin takes the new associate research job at WWN, and later at Ted's apartment thanks him for being there to put them all back on the right track, and asks if Ted will be her best man if she ever gets married.

In the ending scene, Barney tries a Christmas message-style play on a girl called Noelle at the bar, but she turns him down.


  • Marshall and Lily share another telepathic conversation. These were first introduced in Mary the Paralegal.
  • While arguing that Ted will be a bad best man, Robin brings up Marshall shaving his head at his wedding in Something Borrowed.
  • Barney orders his diamond suit from the "Platinum SkyMall" catalog. Barney previously ordered a large number of items from SkyMall in The Goat when he felt guilty about sleeping with Robin.
  • The game show Million Dollar Heads or Tails was first seen in The Best Burger in New York, where Regis Philbin was the host and there was no "currency rotation specialist."
  • Barney starts to run when Lily announces her pregnancy as a "force of habit". Barney's multiple pregnancy scares have been referenced several times, including in Not a Father's Day, Right Place, Right Time, and Last Cigarette Ever.
  • Robin previously sacrificed her journalistic dreams when applying to be a lottery number girl in The Possimpible.
  • Barney becomes awkward after calling Sam "father", and Sam is quick to remind Barney that he isn't his actual father after calling him "son", as Barney mistakenly believed Sam was his father after meeting him in Cleaning House.
  • When Marshall paints the nursery blue, Lily asks "What if we have a girl?" Marshall wanting a son and Lily wanting a daughter has come up many times, as seen in Dowisetrepla and Baby Talk.
  • Ted agrees to be Punchy's best man in Glitter.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • The gang eventually attend Punchy's wedding in The Best Man.
  • Robin asks Ted to be her best man and help her through her pre-wedding panic if she ever gets married. As revealed in Farhampton, Robin does indeed ask to see Ted when she gets cold feet hours before she is about to marry Barney. However Ted is actually standing as Barney's best man while Lily stands as Robin's maid of honor.
    • As it turns out, Ted is unable to calm Robin down, but she eventually gets over her cold feet thanks to Barney, with some help from the Mother, as seen in The End of the Aisle.


  • Barney and Sam Gibbs
  • Ted's reaction to Barney's suit!
  • Lily and Marshall relieved.
  • Ted yelling out to the 'criminals of New York!'
  • Reprimanding Robin to take the WWN job.
  • Robin's actual picture for ID badge.
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:False Positive images.

Memorable Quotes

Future Ted: Kids, this is the story of the 36 hours we all thought Lily was pregnant, and how it caused each of us to re-examine our own lives. Because while this was happening... I was on the phone with Punchy, my best friend from high school, who had recently asked me to be his best man.

Barney: I've never seen that woman before in my life, sorry force of habit.
Barney upon hearing Marshall and Lily are pregnant

Barney: There's no greater gift than the gift of booty. This holiday season, why not bang someone in need.

Ted: Robin, you better check yourself before you Trebek yourself.

Ted: (after getting off the phone with Punchy, having "crushed" the floral arrangement) I know what you're thinking. "I wish I was a dude."
Robin: I do wish you were a dude.


Ted: You're the new coin flip bimbo?
Robin: Currency rotation specialist.
Ted: Robin, you better check yourself before you Trebek yourself. You're a journalist! What is the matter with you?
Robin: Well, it's a national audience! I get to wear shiny dresses!

Ted: Robin, have you forgotten about your New Year's resolution?
Robin: I am never drinking again.
Ted: No, before that.
Robin: (slurring) I am gonna finish this whole bottle tonight.
Ted: Before that, too.
Robin: I moved here to work for a big-time cable news channel like World Wide News.
Ted: Mm-hmm.
Robin: Well, by this time next year, I will be wearing a World Wide News I.D. badge around my neck. And to show you that I'm serious, this is my first and only drink of the night.
Ted: Okay.
Robin: Okay? Oh, damn, that's smooth.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • Marshall suggests they get a dog, even though Lily had previously revealed to be allergic to dogs. That also had been proven false in other episodes, including Unfinished, The Scorpion and the Toad and Where Were We? where Lily is seen with dogs.

Allusions and Outside References

  • Robin says one of the coin toss girls went on to star in the reality television shows Bachelor, The Biggest Loser, and Celebrity Rehab'.
  • Robin quotes the phrase from John Lennon when she explains Ted why "take" the job of being the coin flip bimbo: "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans"
  • Barney sings "O Horny Night" in the tune of O Holy Night.
  • Ted guesses Barney's second favorite word starting with the letters "BON" as the musician Bon Jovi. Barney included Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name as part of his Get Psyched Mix.
  • Ted and Marshall receive gift certificates from GNB for Costa Coffee, a real life coffee chain. Marshall, Ted and Barney previously hung out at a Costa Coffee in Swarley, and Marshall met Chloe working there.
  • "Barney's Favorite Things" is a reference to Oprah Winfrey and how she gives away surprise gifts to the audience on her show in the "Oprah's Favorite Things" segment.
  • Barney compares himself to Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, the founders of the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world (the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).
  • Barney's "DiBiase" suit is an homage to professional wrestler Ted DiBiase, who wore a gold-studded suit and diamond-encrusted belt.
  • Barney's suggestion to cut a hole in the gingerbread house and let someone reach in is similar to the Saturday Night Live sketch Dick in a Box.
  • Lily and Marshall argue about whether The Jerky Boys are "awful" or "funny".
  • When Lily mentally tells Marshall to "maybe wave" to not let the others see that they are having a panic attack at the thought of having a baby, it refers to the penguins in the movie "Madagascar" where the lead penguin tells to others to "smile and wave boys."


  • Xmas is Here Again - My Morning Jacket
  • Freakin' Out - Death
  • A Perfect Christmas - Vasco & Jerry Abbott

Other Notes

  • According to the Skymall Magazine Barney shows Ted, "The Dibiase" costs $76.000.00, and has over 2 million real diamonds. This also means Barney's bonus check must be at least this amount.
  • When Barney receives Lily's text message, he has two other messages from the numbers 11113000 and +1 (310) 850.
  • According to the blog post in response to this episode, here is a list of all the things Barney gave away:
    • Pez dispensers
    • Velour tracksuits
    • Lap dances at the Lusty Leopard
    • Barney Stinson novelty condoms (extra thin, for his pleasure)
    • Remote controlled dinosaurs
    • Silk neckties (water resistant up to 100 meters)
    • Hypercolor t-shirts
    • Digital barbeque tongs
    • Zune mp3 players (Cobra Kai limited edition)
    • Whoopie cushions
    • Autographed copies of "The Playbook" (available wherever books are sold, seriously)
    • Snap bracelets
    • Hoverboards (they don't work on water, you bojos)
    • Gorgonzola cheese wedges
    • "I Love NY" mousepads
    • AM/FM alarm clocks (with built-in high-definition cameras)
    • Bootleg copies of "Space Teens" (with deleted, unrated scenes)
    • Gift certificates to Emilio's Tailor Shop
    • Actual working light sabers
    • Segways
    • Hugh Hefner life-size cutouts
    • Mini-trampolines (ladies only)
    • Armani pocket squares
    • Box of hair products (stolen from Ted's bathroom)



How I Met Your Mother - 'False Positive'

How I Met Your Mother - 'False Positive'

Podcast for the episode

Featuring an interview with Craig Gerard and Matthew Zinman.


  • This episode premiered to 9.701 million viewers.[1]
  • Donna Bowman at the A.V. Club gave the episode an A-.[2] She felt that "The rapid-fire, quick-transition, flashback-and-forward style that the show developed in its earliest days has returned of late, much to our delight. But episodes like tonight’s “False Positive” show that the results go beyond big laughs from the pile of juxtapositions created by the style. By increasing the sheer volume of ideas in the half hour, by whipping us back and forth from character to character and time frame to time frame, it buries key moments and scenes in such a way that they can be unearthed later, at just the right moment for maximum resonance."
  • DeAnn Walker at Television Without Pity gave the episode an A.[3]
  • Robert Canning at IGN gave the episode a 9.5 out of 10.[4] He felt "The episode was set up perfectly to allow for jumping back and forth between stories and timelines without feeling forced or gimmicky. How I Met Your Mother is famous for this style of storytelling and it was delivered with perfection on Monday night. The cutting forward and backward never became confusing or convoluted and gave "False Positive" great comedic momentum. ... False Positive was a fantastic, funny episode that stayed true to the characters and tone of this series."
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 9.5 out of 10 stars. " it really positive? And Barney's never seen that woman before in his life."


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