HIMYM episode 4x04 (68)

First aired:
October 13, 2008
Michael Shea
Stephen Lloyd
Barney's Blog

Images (3)

Ted, Marshall and Lily all prepare to move out of their apartment, and Robin prepares to leave to Japan. In doing so, they reminisce about their past, including interventions that they held for one another.


The episode begins with Barney in old man makeup telling a bimbo that "young Barney Stinson" cannot solve global warming unless she sleeps with him. He then comes back a moment later and hooks up with the bimbo. Soon after, the gang is packing their things for Lily and Marshall's move to the new apartment and Ted's move to New Jersey. Robin says that she does not understand all the gang's sentimentality about their stuff, saying she packed for Japan in just half an hour the other day. Ted and Marshall end up arguing about who should pay the security deposit for the apartment.

Marshall says that Ted should pay it, citing a piece of missing plaster in the wall (it fell off when Ted put his shelf of World Book encyclopaedias on it) and a chip in the ceiling (made when Ted recklessly swung his Renaissance flail). He also counts a piece of damage which he blames on Robin: Robin was very drunk and acting extremely Canadian, speaking with a heavy accent and reenacting great Vancouver Canucks moments in full costume with stick and puck. She tried to make a play through the door, but Lily stopped her and they got into a fight. Ted broke up the fight just as Barney was about to record it on his phone; he was extremely angry because the Bro Code states to never break up a girlfight. As a result, he punches a hole in the wall.

They then get to a scorch mark over the fireplace. Future Ted first has to explain the story of their friend, Stuart, last seen in Bachelor Party: He has since become an alcoholic (presumably as a result of his difficulties with his wife Claudia), and his friends held an intervention for him (which Barney ruined by bringing in a bottle of Tanqueray as he thought it was Stuart's birthday). After this, frequent interventions began to take place at the apartment, such as the intervention for Marshall's Seussian hat, Lily's fake British accent that was a product of watching all the James Bond movies, Robin's tanning addiction, and Barney's excessive use of pyrotechnic magic tricks. The last caused the "Intervention banner" to become scorched as well as the fireplace. Soon afterward, there was an "intervention intervention", which consisted of Ted saying "We're having too many interventions."

Ted finds in a box a new, unscorched "Intervention banner"; he asks the others why it is there. After a little hedging, they admit they were planning an intervention for his engagement to Stella. Ted demands that they hold it and asks them to read their letters: Lily mixed hers up with a student's, Robin did not write one because she thought, as his ex-girlfriend, she would be biased, and Barney accidentally sets his on fire before getting past the "marriage is the biggest mistake of your life" part. Marshall then reads his letter, which feared that Ted and Stella were rushing into things and did not know each other well enough. He says that he doesn't feel that way anymore and that Stella is "awesome".

After this, Ted ends up getting caught up in a bout of nostalgia and says he'll never leave the apartment. Marshall and Lily at first oppose him but then quickly jump onto the bandwagon. Robin tries to stop them and then repudiates moving to Japan. They then enthusiastically go down to MacLaren's to order the usual.

At MacLaren's, Barney is trying to attract young women while in old man makeup to prove to Marshall that he will still be hooking up with 22-year-old bimbos when he is 80. Eventually, he gets the attentions of a French woman. The gang realizes upon viewing his antics that they are trying not to grow up, Ted says that he will pay the security deposit because each of those damages represents a precious memory, and they all decide to move to the places they will move to. They then kick a couple out of their usual booth and swear to each set aside ten dollars a week and, this time next year, have a $2500 bottle of scotch (which they tried to buy earlier in the episode). The show then flashes forward to that time in 2009, where they drink the scotch and decide it is no different from $10 scotch. Lily then suggests that they move the party upstairs to the apartment, revealing that someone is still living there.

At the end, Barney enters the apartment in his old man makeup to see the group with letters and the "Intervention banner" up. They tell him to stop doing the old man thing, at which Barney pretends he is hard of hearing.


  • Barney claims to be 83 years old.
  • Barney's rule against sleeping with women over 30 first appears in Slap Bet.
  • Lily immediately agrees to Robin's request in Third Wheel when Robin mentions that her date has a British accent.
  • In Little Boys, Barney says that Marshall's idea of "game" is "slapping on a Dr. Seuss hat and flashing two tickets to a Spin Doctors concert", presumably the same Dr. Suess hat that prompts his intervention.
  • Marshall and Lily discover their new apartment's proximity to the sewage treatment plant in Dowisetrepla, and its slanted floors in Spoiler Alert.
  • Ted's annoying habit of correcting people, first pointed out in Spoiler Alert, manifests in his insistence on a pretentious pronunciation of "encyclopedia".
  • Marshall reminds Ted that Barney punched a hole in the wall in the apartment when he broke up a "girl-fight" between Lily and Robin. In The Goat, one of the Bro Code articles that Marshall finds Ted having upheld is "Article 29: A Bro will, in a timely fashion, alert his Bro to the existence of a girl-fight."
  • In The Fight, Ted mentions having been in "one of the premiere medieval chamber groups in the little Ivies" in college, and he pronounces "medieval" in the same pretentious way he pronouces "encyclopedia".
  • The Intervention banner first appears.
  • The single-malt whiskey Glen McKenna is introduced.
  • Robin is similarly unsentimental about possessions in Stuff.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)


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

Memorable Quotes

Marshall: Whats that?
Ted: A 1986 world book encyclopædia. Just like the one I grew up with.
Marshall: An encyclopædia?
Ted: (laughing) Oh! You think it should be pronounced encyclo-pee-dia. It's a common mistake. But if you look at that squished together "ae" symbol in this here encyclopædia, you'll learn that it's a ligature derived from the Anglo-Saxon rune ash.. (shelf falling)
Marshall: You know you're gonna have to pædia for that.

Old Barney: In a few minutes, the young me from your time is going to come through that door. Now, Cindy, I know this sounds insane, but in order to save the planet, you need to sleep with him tonight.
Cindy: What? I...
Old Barney: Sleep with Barney Stinson tonight, in whatever way he wants it, or he won't be able to find the solution to global warming that saves the human race.

Robin: I'll give you summer teeth—some are here, some are there.
Robin threatening Lily whilst drunk and "Super Canadian".

Robin: Dear Marshall,
I do not like that stupid hat.
I want to beat it with a bat.
Or maybe stab it with a fork.
It makes you look like such a dork.
Marshall's Intervention

Girl at bar: How old are you?
Old Barney: 83, how old are you?
Girl at bar: 31.
Old Barney: Ugh. (walks away)

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • When Ted tells the couple to leave their booth, you can clearly see that the woman takes her phone and leaves the table empty. Later, her cellphone is back on the table when she returns for it.
  • When Barney is reading his intervention letter to Ted about Stella, the cookie jar "R2-Sweet Tooth" is in the background. Soon afterwards, Ted pulls the same cookie jar out of one of the boxes, and it disappears from the background.
  • At the beginning of Barney's magic trick intervention, the scorch mark is clearly seen underneath the intervention banner, before he burns it.
  • In this episode, Marshall's intervention letter states that Lucy Zinman is 7, but it says in all other episodes that she is 8. However, she could have had her birthday in the episodes between when Ted's intervention was supposed to take place.
  • When the shelves fall in the beginning of the episode, you can clearly see the brick wall move when the drywall falls away, since it is only a set and isn't real brick.
  • At around the 7 minute mark, it is stated that Marshall has been wearing the hat for 2 weeks. Marshall also says that he is going to keep wearing it. Yet, he isn't wearing it to Stuart's intervention. However, It is possible Marshall decided to make an exception for Stuart's intervention in order to be more respectful.
  • Marshall mentions his dad reading a letter at his and Lily's wedding.  However based on the events of Something Borrowed and Something Blue, nobody from Marshall's family appeared to be present.   

Allusions and Outside References

  • The Canucks jersey Robin wears during her re-enactment has Roberto Luongo's name and number on it.
  • R2-Sweet-Tooth is a reference to the character R2-D2 from Star Wars, Ted's favorite film.
  • Marshall mentions that Ted treated the apartment like John Bonham treated his central nervous system (the famed drummer of Led Zeppelin, who died of alcohol poisoning).
  • Barney mentions Dr. Bruce Banner / The Hulk.
  • Barney's "Old Man" persona is likely based on 'Doc' from the Back to the Future franchise.


Other Notes

  • In the final season Ted makes a big deal about Glen McKenna scotch, but in this episode he asks if anyone can tell the difference between it and $10 scotch and they all say no.
    • Though in Last Time in New York Ted tries what he believes is 30 year old scotch (actually cheap whiskey, ketchup, chocolate syrup, and hand sanitizer) and says it's breathtaking, indicating he still can't tell the difference between expensive and cheap alcohol.
  • This is one of three episodes involving time travel; The Window and The Time Travelers are the others.



  • The AV Club rated the episode A. [1]
  • IGN gave the episode 9 out of 10. [2]
  • Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade A-. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 9.5 out of 10 stars. "This is an intervention."


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