Mosbius Designs

HIMYM episode 4x20 (84)

Mosbius designs
First aired:
April 13, 2009
Pamela Fryman
Kourtney Kang
Barney's Blog

Images (16)

Ted tries to start his own architecture firm but Robin keeps sleeping with his new assistant—much to Barney's dismay. Marshall tries to ensure job security and Barney turns to him for advice after offending Lily.


The show opens in MacLaren's, and the boys are laughing over a joke about the difference between peanut butter and jam. Lily enters, and Barney starts to tell the joke, but Ted and Marshall interrupt, saying the joke is "boy funny." Barney insists that Lily is "one of the boys", and she will love it. The camera zooms in on Barney's lips as he says the joke, and Future Ted talks over the punch line, calling it "one of the dirtiest jokes I have ever heard, to this day." Lily promptly leaves, and is not seen for four weeks.

After losing his job, Ted is finally starting his own architectural design firm, Mosbius Designs. He is focused on several trivial matters, like the firm's official pen. Robin, who is still living in the apartment, tells Ted he has to start calling potential clients and stop procrastinating. When she returns the next day, she finds a desk in the middle of the living room, occupied by the domineering and sycophantic PJ, Ted's new intern.

PJ treats the apartment like an office, restricting use of the bathroom and screening visitors for Ted. His boyish good looks and pseudo-authority turn Robin on, and a few days later, PJ supposedly calls from the top of the Empire State Building, but the caller ID shows him calling from inside the apartment, in the same bed as Robin.

Outraged, Ted fires PJ, who then hangs out at the apartment to spend time with Robin. While Ted is working in the background, PJ flirts with Robin, to the point where she feels smothered, and breaks up with him (with what Ted declares "the worst break-up ever"). Ted then re-hires PJ, but the renewed authority excites Robin, and she quickly takes up with him again. Eventually, PJ decides to leave, leaving Robin a letter of explanation, and giving Ted a bouquet of roses.

When Barney hears about PJ, he is furious, having assumed Ted would know better and hire an attractive young woman (and also having sent an inappropriate letter and underwear to PJ). But, after he hears Robin is sleeping with PJ, he becomes incredibly jealous, and unable to talk it over with Lily, confesses his love of Robin to Marshall, who actually already knew.

Meanwhile, at GNB, Marshall is worried about keeping his job, and Barney suggests getting a "thing." He mentions "Food Guy," an accounts associate who, while totally expendable financially, has become an office fixture with his delicious culinary offerings. Then, he reminds Marshall of "Toy Guy," the Human Resources executive who keeps a collection of toys in his office (a flashback shows them fighting with Wolverine claws as the executive quickly goes over reduction in overtime pay). Which then reminds them of "YouTube Clip Guy". Barney then warns Marshall to be careful choosing his thing he doesn't want to be like "Creepy Back Rub Guy".

Marshall decides to run a fantasy baseball league, like he did in college, making him "Sports Guy" ("Fantasy Guy" being a co-worker who walks around in a wizard's robe). But, after having to handle $18,000 in cash (which he then nervously walks down the street with), and getting demands from co-workers at all hours, Marshall decides he cannot continue.

We then see the GNB employees swarmed around a table, yelling demands about the fantasy league at someone, who is quickly revealed as PJ, who Marshall has hired as a paralegal to take all the legwork of running the league. Barney compliments him on his delegating, and thanks him for getting PJ away from Robin.

Later, Barney and Marshall are passed by Food Guy and Toy Guy in the corridor. They are then passed by a ninja who doesn't work at GNB. Barney tells Marshall that they should evacuate the building because this has happened before.


  • Lily calls The Apartment a "boy apartment" in The Duel.
  • PJ calls Ted from inside the apartment and tells him he is on top of the Empire State Building, when he is actually in bed with Robin. In First Time In New York, Lily and Marshall use the Empire State Building as a metaphor for having sex.
  • When Ted thinks PJ is at the Empire State Building, he tells him to "listen to the old gal". Ted's love of the building came up in First Time In New York.
  • Barney's jealousy over other guys hooking up with Robin manifested in Benefits, where he freaks out over Ted and Robin's friends-with-benefits arrangement.
  • Barney told Lily that he is in love with Robin in Do I Know You?, and Ted figures it out in Benefits.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Ted's love of the Empire State Building appears again in Zoo or False and Last Time in New York.
  • Barney's jealousy over Robin recurs in Definitions, where he punches Brad for kissing her.
  • Future Ted mentions that, following Barney telling her the joke, the gang would not see Lily for four weeks, and indeed Lily only rejoins them at the bar in As Fast As She Can, which occurs four weeks after this episode.
  • Marshall reveals that he knows about Barney's feelings for Robin, and admits in The Leap that Lily told him the day after Barney told her. Thus, everyone in the gang, except for Robin herself, knows.
  • Mosbius Designs eventually fails in The Leap after Ted loses business to Swedish architecture collective Sven, prompting him to start teaching architecture at Columbia University, which he does from Definitions onwards.
  • While Barney claims that he would never lose his job because of how much he knows about the company, he faces the risk of getting fired in Perfect Week. His bravado also hints at the reveal of his actual job in Unpause, that he signs legally-binding documents implicating himself in the company's illegal activity.


  • Ted procrastinating
  • "Wolverine 5"
  • "Mosbius Designs" with PJ, Ted's assistant
  • Ted catching PJ and Robin
  • Robin going on a date with Fantasy Guy
  • Marshall paranoid with the amount of money he has for Fantasy Baseball
  • PJ the paralegal for Sports Guy(Marshall)
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Mosbius Designs images.

Memorable Quotes

Barney: PJ's not some hot chick you're banging?
Ted: No, I'm mentoring him.
Barney: Mentoring... I mentored a young fellow once. Even made him my wingman. Then, one day, he hired an assistant to work ten feet from his bedroom who—get this—isn't a hot chick. Proving he never listened to a word I said. And do you know that young man's name?
Ted: Ted Mosby?
Barney: Maybe. I don't remember. Because he is DEAD TO ME!
Barney is scandalized by PJ's gender

Robin: Hey, PJ, I actually have an architectural question for you: How does Ted's ass taste?
PJ: I wouldn't know. But I assume it tastes like genius.

Robin: Are you telling me that I can't go to the bathroom in my apartment?
PJ: No. I am telling you that you need to ask permission to use the bathroom in my office.
Robin: Why is that so hot?
Robin recalls how she and PJ hooked up

Barney: I told you to hire a cute assistant that you can sleep with, but instead you hire a cute assistant that Robin can sleep with and of course he's going to sleep with her, Ted, look at her! She's the greatest woman on the planet!—I'm getting off-topic: You're an idiot! That's my message: You're an idiot!
Barney is really upset about Robin and PJ

Robin: A hot guy telling you when you can and can't pee? That's the dream.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • When Marshall tells Barney how hard it is to be sports guy, because of all the money he carries (flashback), they are at Marshall's office. When the flashback ends, Marshall and Barney are at the pub.
    • The discontinuity may be purposeful, showing that the conversation is extending over a few hours to emphasize just how hard a time Marshall is having.

Allusions and Outside References

  • At the end of the episode, Ted tells Robin the story of the architect who designs a library, only to find that it slowly sinks due to his not accounting for the weight of the books therein. This story is a common urban legend.[1]
  • Wolverine is featured in the Toy Guy scene (toy claws) and in the background during Marshall's nervous walk home, posters for the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine can be seen in the background.[2][3]
  • After answering PJ's call, Ted checks the phone number, and exclaims, "Oh my God, the call's coming from inside the house..." This a reference to the movie "When A Stranger Calls".
  • Fantasy Guy was wearing black robes with blue lining, the same as the Game Masters from the MMORPG World of Warcraft.
  • One of Marshall's proposed ways to be indispensable in the office is to become "Monty Python Guy," which Barney nixes with, "We are the Knights Who Say You're Fired!" referring to the Knights Who Say Ni, encountered by King Arthur and Sir Bedevere the Wise in Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones' 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Action figures of Kamen Riders #1 and V3 as well as Ultraseven can be seen in the background of Toy Guy's office.
  • The name of Ted's firm "Mosbius Designs" may be a play-on-words reference to August Ferdinand Möbius, the mathematician famous for the Möbius Strip, a 2 dimensional surface with only 1 side in a 3 dimensional Euclidean space.
  • The newspaper delivery man says that "it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it." This is a line from the song, We Care a Lot, and a possible reference to the tv show, Dirty Jobs.


Other Notes

  • Barney tells a joke at the start of the show: "What is the difference between peanut butter and jam?" The punch line, not heard in the show, is usually "I can't peanut-butter my dick up your ass".
  • The dirty joke was added as an excuse to allow Alyson Hannigan to make a short appearance in the cold opening and then be absent for several episodes afterwards, as this was filmed during her last weeks of pregnancy. [4]
  • In November 2008, Cobie Smulders and her boyfriend Taran Killam announced that they were expecting their first child, and she is visibly pregnant in this episode. [5][6]



  • Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club rated the episode with a grade A. [7]
  • IGN gave the episode 8.6 out of 10. [8]
  • Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade C. [9]
  • The St. Peterburg Comic Review gave this episode 8.5 out of 10 stars. "Peanut butter and jam. Really?"


See also

External Links

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