The Fight

HIMYM episode 4x10 (74)

First aired:
December 8, 2008
Pamela Fryman
Theresa Mulligan Rosenthal
Barney's Blog

Images (25)

MacLaren's bartender Doug gets into a fight and draws Barney and Ted (but not Marshall) in. Robin thinks fighting is hot.


When MacLaren's bartender Doug Martin catches the gang not sitting in their normal booth, he gets pretty angry. Loyal to his regulars, Doug provokes a fight with the guys sitting in the booth and asks Ted, Barney and Marshall to back him up. Marshall says there is nothing noble about fighting; he has gotten into plenty of fights with his brothers. Ted and Barney mock Marshall's playful horseplay in his family. Ted notes he has never been in a fight and heads out, Barney in tow. Barney sees it as a chance to impress Robin. However, they find that Doug has dispatched the three men on his own.

Doug doesn't realize that Ted and Barney didn't help him. Barney convinces Ted to keep quiet about the two of them missing the fight and even punches Ted and himself in the face to cover up their non-involvement. Doug offers everyone but Marshall free drinks and excitedly tells everyone how Ted and Barney had his back. They revel in the attention, especially Barney who is particularly interested in the affections of Robin who is very impressed.

Meanwhile, Marshall maintains that he has taken the high road, but Ted, Barney and Robin mock him for being unmanly. That night in bed, Lily confirms that Marshall did the right thing and asks him to come give a talk to her class about not fighting. However, even Lily's students mock him for not fighting.

Back in the bar, Ted and Barney regale the story of the fight to a couple of girls. However, seeing a few guys sitting in the booth again, they find they may have to start a second fight. Fortunately, the two guys have heard of the two: they are there to serve them a summons. The guys they "beat up" are suing for assault.

Ted and Barney immediately go to consult their lawyer: Marshall. Marshall exaggerates the punishment for such an offense and they admit that Doug was the only one involved in the fight. Marshall takes great pleasure in telling Robin about how Barney was leading them on. Later, Marshall tells the gang about how he convinced the guys they "beat up" to drop the charges by explaining how unmanly Ted and Barney really are. However, this means that Doug now knows that Ted and Barney "threw him under a bus".

Out in the alley behind the bar, Doug confronts Barney and Ted. Barney runs away in fear. Marshall points out it was obvious that Ted didn't help in the fight. Doug understands that it was just him in the fight but is hurt that Ted and Barney didn't have his back. He insults Ted by saying, "no wonder your fiancée left you." Ted punches him.

Having never been in a fight before, Ted didn't realize how much he would hurt his hand by punching Doug in the face. Doug punches Ted right back and knocks him out. Ted has learned his lesson. He would later explain to both his own kids and Lily's class about how he learned that one should never get in a fight.

Of course, Ted leaves out part of the story: After punching out Ted, Doug was himself punched out by Marshall. Turns out that Marshall did a little more than roughhouse with his brothers. Their fights were bloody and violent including smashing furniture and throwing hot chocolate in each others faces. Future Ted suggests that his kids never get on Marshall's bad side.


  • After Future Ted explains that Doug was always "just around", he is seen in the background while Barney and Ted play "Have you met Ted?" in the Pilot, passing by as a pencil goes up Barney's nose, as seen in Miracles, and standing next to Barney as he prepares to pick up a lesbian, as seen in I Heart NJ.
  • While Marshall insists that he has had many fights with his brothers, in Sweet Taste of Liberty, he says he's never been in a fight, and in Cupcake he says that he "isn't much of a fighter".
  • The "fights" Future Ted lists having had include sword fighting with Marshall in The Duel, getting punched in the face by Rick Garrido in No Tomorrow, and rough-housing with Punchy, as seen in Sandcastles in the Sand.
  • In Best Prom Ever, while Ted is helping Marshall stuff envelopes for his and Lily's wedding, Marshall promises Ted he would have his back if he got in a fight.
  • The incident with the goat is alluded to in MilkThe Goat, and The Naked Man.
  • In a flashback to Ted and Marshall in college, they are seen "eating a sandwich".
  • Robin brings up her attraction to hockey players, referenced in The Platinum Rule, as the reason why she finds fighting sexy.
  • When Ted asks if Marshall told the guys suing them that he was in "one of the premiere mediæval chamber groups in the little Ivies," he pronounces "mediæval" in the unusual way that leads to his intervention in Intervention.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Future Ted mentions that "the thing with the goat wasn't for another few months", foreshadowing the events of The Leap.
  • In the flashforward to Thanksgiving dinner at the Eriksen's house 3-5 years later, Marshall's father is nowhere to be seen, foreshadowing the events of Bad News. Also, the Eriksen Seven Layer salad, which Lily is tasked with making in Belly Full of Turkey, can be seen on the table.
  • Robin again mentions her attraction to hockey players in Perfect Week. Her getting turned on by violence is brought up again in The Magician's Code - Part One, where, in the story of "The Worst Cab Ride Ever", she starts smiling uncontrollably when the cab driver and the street window cleaner start fighting.


Main article: The Fight (gallery)
  • Doug asks the guys to help him fight some guys.
  • Recalling his horrible year, Ted agrees to fight.
  • Robin finds fighting very hot.
  • Barney agrees to fight to impress Robin.
  • Barney and Ted go outside, but Doug's already fought them all.
  • Doug blacked out while fighting, and thinks Barney and Ted helped him fight.
  • Barney and Ted hit each other to make it look like they were part of the fight.
  • Barney and Ted are congratulated by people in MacLaren's Bar.
  • Robin flirts with black-eyed and suddenly sexy Barney.
  • Everyone teases Marshall for not fighting.
  • Marshall hates people questioning his manliness.
  • Barney and Ted flirt with girls at MacLaren's Bar.
  • Barney and Ted get sued for fighting.
  • Barney and Ted ask Marshall for legal advice.
  • Marshall lies and tells them they could get serious jail time.
  • Barney and Ted come clean; they didn't really fight.
  • Robin starts flirting with Barney; Marshall tells her they faked the fight.
  • Robin comes up with a bad excuse to leave and slowly walks away.
  • Marshall tells Barney and Ted they're no longer being sued.
  • They realise that because of them, angry Doug is now being sued instead.
  • Doug confronts the gang and insults Ted.
  • Ted punches Doug.
  • Doug hits him back in retaliation.
  • Marshall steps in and knocks out Doug.
  • Future Ted tells his kids never to fight, as Doug serves beers to the gang.
For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:The Fight images.

Memorable Quotes

Robin: There are plenty of legitimate reasons to get in a fight. It might not be pretty, but in certain situations you gotta do what you gotta do.
Ted: Right, I forgot, she thinks fighting is sexy.
Robin: No, I do not... a lot! Look, I come from a culture of hockey players. If a guy can throw down it's somewhat, way hot. And scars? Hello! If a guy's got a scar, he's got a Robin, and if he's missing teeth, I'm missing my pants!

Robin: Marshall looks good, has he lost weight?
Lily: Bitch don't even...
Robin turns to Lily after the fight

Marshall: You know what, Doug, I will gladly pay. And you know why? Cause that's what grown-ups do! They pay for their drinks and they don't get into fights. You know what I was doing while you guys were out there being immature? I tell you what I was doing-
Barney: -your nails?
Marshall: Hahaha, no. I was doing-
Ted: -a relationship-quiz in this month's Cosmo?
Marshall: NO, I was doing-
Barney: -Your best not to cry when Big came back for Carrie at the end of the Sex and the City movie?
The guys taunt Marshall for not talking part in the fight

Lily: Okay, okay, okay, stop fighting!
Kid 1: Why?
Lily: Because it's stupid and juvenile.
Kid 2: We're six; we are stupid and juvenile!
Lily breaks up a fight between two of her kindergarten children

Doug: Look. I always got your back. All I ask in return is you got mine. But you know what? You don't. You can't be counted on... No wonder your fiancee left you...

Robin: Barney, I've been looking for you. I got tickets to this hockey game tonight. It's stupid. You want to go? It might go kind of late, so, maybe, after the game we can grab a drink.
Marshall: Robin, get this. You know that fight? These guys faked the whole thing.
Robin: Oh, I forgot! Tonight is no good. I-I can't go to that hockey game tonight, I got that that that that that that.
Robin was interested in Barney after he and Ted get involved in a fight, and invited him to a hockey game, but after realizing they faked the whole thing, she lost interest and goes to her room

Ted: What are you doing?
Barney: What I should have done a long time ago!
Ted: What?
Barney: I don't know! I just punched myself in the eye! I don't even know what I'm saying!
Barney making it look like he and Ted have been a fight.

Lily: Robin, I'm scared.
Robin: Yeah is Doug seeing anyone?
Lily: Are you seeing anyone? You really should!

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • In the episode Sweet Taste of Liberty, Marshall is afraid of getting into a fight with a man who seems to be hitting on Lily because he has never been in a fight before. However, in this episode it is revealed that he's been in plenty of rough fights before with his brothers.
  • Although Doug blacked out the actual fight he saw that Ted and Barney didn't have any injuries, it should have been weird for him to get in a fight with guys only for them to be more injured after the fight was over than they were during the fight.
  • In Cupcake, Marshall, when talking about Lily's French friend, says that he's "not much of a fighter, but I knew I could take this little dude."
    • Marshall could have been being modest, or he might have genuinely thought he wasn't very good at fighting (especially if all of his brothers were stronger than him, despite being strong himself; he also considers himself to be short due to being the runt of his family despite being 6'4")
  • When recounting his prior physical encounters, Ted claims he's been hit once, in No Tomorrow. However, in We're Not From Here, he was robbed and, while the robbing was not shown, afterwards when talking to the police he had a black eye, and in Return of the Shirt, Natalie attacked him with her Krav Maga skills.
    • Ted might only be counting this as a fight because he actively participated,
  • Ted says that Stella left him for Tony, a Tae Kwon Do instructor, but in Shelter Island Ted says he is doing karate.
    • Tony could be doing karate as well as being a Tae Kwon Do instructor. It is also possible that Ted doesn't understand that the two are different.

Allusions and Outside References

  • Before going out into the alley to fight, Ted says "It's clobberin' time," referencing the catch phrase of comic book character The Thing from The Fantastic Four.
    • Interestingly enough, Ted and the Thing are both the only Jewish character in their respective groups.
  • The scene where Marshall is actively brawling with his brothers (especially the angle of his punching shot) is reminiscent of the brawling scenes from the movie Fight Club. It is also discussed in the Eriksen's Fight Club featurette in the Season 4 DVD set. Similarly Barney punching himself and then Ted is reminiscent of the main character's first fight with Tyler in Fight Club.
  • Barney uses the names of sitcoms that focused on African-Americans from the 1970s and 1980s to fake a conversation, specifically using Good Times, Gimme a Break!, What's Happening!!, Diff'rent Strokes and What's Happening Now!!.
  • At the end of the episode Marshall uses a lightsaber to carve the turkey, referencing Star Wars.
  • Marshall makes fun of Barney for getting a mani-pedi "once a month", to which Barney makes a correction replying, "Weekly, Wolverine. Some of us care." Wolverine is one of the superheroes in the Marvel Comics series X-Men, and one of Wolverine's most distinguishable characteristics is his retractable claws.
  • The way Doug is inserted into several previous scenes to establish him as having always been around is a reference to Scrubs, where the character of Kim Briggs was similarly inserted into old footage in order to claim that she was there the whole time. In this case, the lack of prior reference to him is explained as Future Ted simply failing to mention him until it was relevant. Unlike on Scrubs, Doug does not go on to be a major character.


Other Notes

  • The German episode title is "Weicheier", meaning "Sissies". The French episode title is "Le combat des Braves", meaning "Battle of the Brave".
  • International Airdates: Australia: March 9, 2009 on Channel 7; Germany: January 2, 2010 on ProSieben; United Kingdom: February 11, 2010 on E4.
  • In the last scene of the episode, when Marshall is cutting the turkey with the lightsaber, his entire family is shown, except for Marvin (his dad) because he died.



  • Donna Bowman of the The AV Club rated the episode B+. [1]
  • Michelle Zoromski of IGN rated the episode 8.2 out of 10. [2]
  • Television Without Pity gave the episode a rating A. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 7 out of 10 stars. "...'Where do you find these people?'..."


External links

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