Third Wheel

HIMYM episode 3x03 (47)

Third wheel - ted can take his pick
First aired:
October 8, 2007
Pamela Fryman
David Hemingson
Barney's Blog

Images (8)

Ted bumps into an old one-night-stand and is presented with the possibility of a threesome. Robin's personal rules for a first date backfire.


Ted calls Barney from the bathroom in MacLaren's to explain that he is about to "go for the belt" which Barney cannot believe. Half an hour previously we see Barney and Marshall playing tennis on the Wii when Ted, suited up and about to leave, tries to get them to come with him. Engrossed in their game, Barney and Marshall say they will follow shortly.

Robin and Lily are also dressed up and Lily explains she got the boots Robin is wearing in a shoe sale "footwear feeding frenzy" but after asking if the boots are a bit high for her dress, Robin explains her new 'no shave' policy, which Barney ridicules. Ted calls Barney from the bar, but the guys can't make it down due to their Wii Tennis tournament. Ted then runs into Trudy from The Pineapple Incident and while chatting, Trudy's competitive, sorority sister Rachel appears and the three of them have drinks.

Ted calls Barney again to explain the situation that's arising and to ask which girl he should go for, Lily takes Barney's phone and tells Ted she will come down to see and let him know but when she arrives she says that both are giving him the green light. Meanwhile, Robin is on a date with a British surgeon and over-flirting to comical proportions, but then she calls Lily and tells her to bring a razor as she is about to break her 'no shave' policy.

Rachel and Trudy insinuate to Ted about their plans for a threesome (or as Ted puts it, "the tricycle") and Ted explains to Lily and Marshall about the ongoing competition between himself and Barney for The Threeway Belt, a replica wrestling belt that Barney bought some time ago, which would be awarded to the first one to pull off 'the tricycle'. Marshall is upset he wasn't included in the tricycle competition and tries to convince everyone he could win, while Rachel, Trudy, and Ted decide to head up to the apartment.

Robin calls Lily again to ask for a razor but Lily cannot leave the apartment due to Ted's situation and so Robin is forced to pay $50 to a waitress at the restaurant to get her a razor from a nearby pharmacy.

Ted tells Barney, Lily, and Marshall that he is bringing the girls upstairs, so they hide in Ted's room. Ted goes to hang up the girls' coats but runs into the rest of the gang in his room, where Barney attempts to sabotage Ted's plans and insists that the belt is his birth-right. Barney tells the story of how he almost rode the tricycle the year before but a spilled glass of red wine scuppered his chances. As Ted protests about Barney's interference, Lily takes a closer look at the girls and recognizes Rachel from the earlier shoe sale incident as she snatched a pair of boots from Lily's grasp.

On Robin's date, the waitress gives Robin a razor but without any shaving cream and so she is forced to improvise in the bathroom with some butter, however she slips and knocks herself out on the bathroom floor, leaving her date waiting outside.

As Rachel and Trudy attempt to step things up with Ted, he suffers an attack of nerves and tries to end things abruptly. When he confronts the gang in his bedroom, Barney defends Ted's actions by explaining that this problem is not uncommon and is actually what ended his tricycle efforts the previous year, the nerves caused him to deliberately spill the wine and run out.

Seeing the opportunity Ted has, Barney decides to coach him into winning the belt and tells Ted to open proceedings with a foot massage and then use "the mortality angle", but by the time he leaves the bedroom the girls appear to be gone. When he hears giggling coming from Lily and Marshall's room, Ted peers in then enters with a smile on his face. Cutting to the next day in the bar, Barney, Ted, Lily, and Marshall are sitting discussing the night and Barney demands to know what happened, though Ted will not divulge any information (even when physically offered the belt), which annoys Barney to no end.

The final scene recaps events at the restaurant the previous night, where Robin's date asks the waitress to check if Robin is still in the bathroom. Peering in to see Robin sprawled, semi-conscious on the floor, she tells him no one is in there and the window is open. Seizing the moment, the waitress then leaves with Robin's date and Robin finally comes out of the bathroom to try and salvage the date, only to note that her head is bleeding, before collapsing again.


  • Ted suits up. After Lily mentions a shoe store where a "footwear feeding frenzy" occurred, Barney wonders what would happen if "a guy walked into that store wearing a suit of boots?"
  • Ted slept with Trudy in The Pineapple Incident, which occurred about two years prior, as stated by the flashback, which shows them making out and Ted holding the mysterious pineapple.
  • Barney uses his favorite number, asking if the total age of the participants in the tricycle is under 83.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Marshall demands to know why he was left out of the competition for the Threeway Belt. He shows his dislike at being left out of things by Ted and Barney again in Little BoysDefinitions, and Unfinished.
  • Barney has a more serious case of seduction dysfunction in The Yips.
  • The gang mocks how long it takes Ted to prepare his hair in The Platinum Rule.
  • Robin learns more about Lily's shopping habits in I'm Not That Guy.
  • Lily immediately agrees to bring a razor when Robin mentions that her date has a British accent. She loves to use British accents so much that the others hold an Intervention.
  • Marshall and Barney discuss the former imagining having sex with a woman other than Lily in Double Date.
  • Lily's dislike of fraternities and sororities for one having rejected her is shared by Marshall in The Naked Truth.


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

Memorable Quotes

Marshall: Why wasn't I told about the belt? I can go for the belt!

(Barney, Lily and Ted laugh)
If Lily woulda' die before me, then I could ride tricycle!

Lily: If I die, I would just come back and haunt your penis...

Barney: FYI, doesn't matter baby. Guys just want to get on the green, they don't mind going through the rough.
Regarding Robin's unshaven legs

Barney: [To Ted] You cannot claim [The Threeway Belt] before I do. That would be like Jimmy Luthor capturing Lex Luthor while Superman watches impotently from the bedroom.
Marshall: But Barney, you've done way dirtier stuff than Ted. You're disgusting.

Ted: That's why I live by three words, "Don't. Postpone. Joy."

Ted: If a complete degenerate like Barney choked, what chance do I have?

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • In the episode Ted says he didn't call Trudy as he was embarrassed about what happened. However, in The Pineapple Incident, Ted says that he left Trudy a message but she never called him back.

Allusions and Outside References

  • After Showing Ted "The Belt", Barney gives himself a crown for sleeping with one of the cast members from Days of our Lives, an American soap opera.
  • "The Belt" is represented by a replica of the Winged Eagle design wrestling championship belt from 1988-98, from the WWF Championship.
  • Marshall and Barney are playing Wii.
  • Ted invites the girls to listen to a Wilco CD.
  • Barney says that losing the belt to Ted would be like "Jimmy Olsen capturing Lex Luthor while Superman watches impotently from the bedroom".
  • Ted calls Barney Tom Petty.
  • Barney calls Ted Neil Armstrong.
  • Ted tells Marshall, "See you on the other side", most likely a reference to a line in Ghostbusters (Venkman to Ray).


  • Passenger Side - Wilco
  • Air on a G String - Bach
    • The music that is playing in the background at the restaurant during Robin's date is the same music that Ted's blue instrument string quartet played in the first season finale.

Other Notes

  • Busy Phillips, who guest stars as Rachel, starred with Jason Segel on Freaks and Geeks. She is the third Freaks and Geeks cast-member to guest star on How I Met Your Mother.
  • An extended "How it DIDN'T happen" sequence (bloopers) was released by CBS, it depicts Barney, Lily and Marshall engaging in their own three-way, after Ted leaves the room. It is revealed to be a mere joke because after this sequence announcer says: "Find out What Really Happened".
  • In Brazil's Netflix, this episode is called "Três É Demais" (Three is too much). This is also the translated name that the show Full House got in the country. Bob Saget, who does Future Ted's voice, starred in Full House.



  • Donna Bowman of The AV Club rated the episode A-. [1]
  • Omar G at Television Without Pity gave the episode a B-. [2]
  • Staci Krause of IGN gave the episode a rating of 8.3 out of 10. [3] The review also mentions the official website included an explanation of what really happened.
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 7.5 out of 10 stars. " 'It's a tricycle', and Marshall has been riding the unicycle."


External Links

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