How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014)
Frequently Asked Questions
The title of the theme song is "Hey Beautiful," and it's by The Solids, an unsigned band led by the show's creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. The song is available on iTunes, and can be heard in full on the band's MySpace page.
http://www.tunefind.com/show/how-i-met-your-mother OR http://www.beawesomeinstead.com/how-i-met-your-mother-music/ OR http://have-you-met-ted.com/music/
Yes, the kids have explicitly called Ted their father. Here's just a couple of instances:
"Dad, can't you just skip ahead to the part where you meet Mom? I feel like you've been talking for, like, a year." - the daughter, "Where Were We?" (Season 2 Premiere).
"Dad!" - both kids, not buying Ted's story about how Robin's sister Katie's life turned out, "First Time In New York."
Ted's statements about how the kids "would never have been born" had the sequence of events that led him to the mother not occurred ("Right Place, Right Time") is evidence that he's the biological father of the children.
A flash-forward to 2015 in "Trilogy Time" reveals Ted to have an infant daughter at this point, while the opening and closing scenes of "Unpause" (set in 2017) show The Mother in labor with their second child, a son. (The episode also reveals the names of Ted's children to be Penny and Luke).
Craig Thomas, co-creator of HIMYM, revealed in an interview with TV Guide (http://www.tvguide.com/news/craig-thomas-mother/071112-02) that MacLaren's is based on McGee's Pub on 55th and Broadway in Manhattan, not far from the Ed Sullivan Theater (where he and co-creator Carter Bays worked as writers for The Late Show With David Letterman).
HIMYM has had to address the possibility of cancellation at least twice (and perhaps three times) so far in its run.
The first instance is something that's common to most scripted TV shows (a little TV industry primer follows): When commissioning a TV series, broadcast networks usually put in an initial order to the production company for 13 episodes or so. If the series is launched in the fall and brings in satisfactory ratings, the network will order additional episodes for the season (aka "being picked up for the rest of the season," or "picking up the back nine" for a full season of 22 episodes). Otherwise, if the show isn't an instantly-yanked disaster, the network will allow the rest of the initial 13 episodes to be produced, and will typically burn them off (i.e. air the episodes even though it's a doomed, "lame duck" series), though in some cases some episodes are not aired on the original network and instead air on a cable partner, shown online, or put on the DVD release of the series.
So like most any freshman series, HIMYM had an initial order of 13 episodes. And as with any series that have ongoing subplots, the writers of HIMYM were particularly motivated to provide a reasonably satisfying conclusion if those 13 episodes were all they were going to get.
And what was the 13th episode? "Drumroll, Please." And if you watch the episode, one can see where it would have provided a satisfying ending--Robin winds up unhappy, but one can see where she was instrumental in bringing Victoria and Ted together (a prerequisite of the whole story, at least if it were to end this early in the game), Lily and Marshall having a moment in the previous episode that they feel is a landmark in the journey to their wedding day, Barney being awesome as usual, and Ted and Victoria getting together in a very romantic fashion. All the episode was missing to become the finale of the show was a final voiceover from Future Ted saying "and that, kids, was how I met your mother"--something that could've been added had the situation required it.
The show was renewed for a second season before production on the first season was finished, so a "contingency" wasn't needed for the end of the first season--in fact, they made the season finale a cliffhanger.
The end of the second season wasn't as sunny, and the finale even aired before official word of HIMYM's renewal came down. So what we got in "Something Blue"--bittersweet but slightly reassuring and satisfying to some extent, with Ted's narration providing a little closure to the mother mystery without actually revealing the mother, and a memorable final punctuation mark (not a period, exclamation point or question mark, but a nice ellipsis) courtesy of Barney.
While HIMYM's renewal also came too late in the third season, it seems that the ratings boost from Britney Spears' appearance may have given the producers enough confidence in a renewal that they gave the show a little cliffhanger as well, though it's also conceivable that they would have been content with the "question mark" ending with the further assumption that Stella was the mother.
In total, eight slaps. However, the original agreement was for five.
The bet occurred because Marshall originally bet Barney the reason Robin hated going to the mall was because she was secretly married at a Canadian mall. Barney wagered she had done pornography. Upon finding a videotape of Robin under the name "Robin Sparkles," Barney slapped Marshall, thinking the tape was porn when he saw a teenage Robin "ask" a teacher to get out of detention. However, when it turned out Robin Sparkles was Robin's 80s teen pop name (in the 90s) and the tape was her music video Let's Go To The Mall, Lily...acting as Slap Bet Commissioner...ruled Barney had wrongly slapped Marshall and had to make amends.
Initially, in "Slap Bet," Barney agreed to let Marshall slap him 5 times at any time as opposed to taking ten slaps at the time of the bet.
1) In Season 2, Episode 9 "Slap Bet," shortly upon Barney choosing the "five slaps any time" option.
2) In Season 2, Episode 16 "Stuff," bringing Barney's one-man play to an abrupt end.
3) In Season 3, Episode 9 "Slapsgiving," after the Thanksgiving embargo is lifted.
4) In Season 5, Episode 9 "Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap", after Marshall's announcement that no slap will occur during Thanksgiving.
In "Disaster Averted," Marshall and Lily renegotiated with Barney. In order for Barney to remove the ducky tie he was forced to wear since "Ducky Tie," Marshall would be given three additional slaps to use at any time, bringing his total slaps to eight:
5) In Season 7, Episode 9 "Disaster Averted," after Barney removes his ducky tie.
6) In Season 7, Episode 9 "Disaster Averted," another slap is delivered directly after the last.
7) In Season 9, Episode 14 "Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra" A slap is delivered in the early morning hours on the day of Barney's and Robin's wedding, in the woods, "a few weeks" after the night Marshall told Barney the story of how he learned "the slap of thousand (or million, depending on how you interpret it) exploding suns".
8) In the penultimate episode, as they are standing at the altar one minute before Robin walks down the aisle, Marshall slaps Barney to snap him out of a moment of panic.
The slap bet is complete.
You can visit the http://theslapbetcountdown.com website and note that the next slap is scheduled for Slapsgiving once again.
One of HIMYM's conceits is that the entire story is being told in one sitting; the kids are wearing the same clothes (except for the pilot, a discrepancy we're supposed to ignore because there are often changes between a series' pilot and the subsequent episodes*), and have on occasion alluded to how long Ted's been droning on.
The problem is that actors Lyndsey Fonseca and David Henrie have been growing up; one can even see the difference between their Season 1 footage and Season 2 footage. So all the footage we've seen (and will probably ever see) of the kids was shot in Seasons 1 and 2, with what apparently is a small library of reaction shots to be used in future episodes. Since many of these episodes were/are yet to be written back when they shot the footage, the kids won't be specifically reacting to stories in the future, footage from the pilot was recycled in "Last Cigarette Ever" in order to reuse the "What!" reaction of the kids. The creators of the show have acknowledged this limitation, and believe that now that the show is well-established, viewers only need an occasional reminder of Ted's framing narrative (the non-interactive shots that we've seen since Season 3). It is also in keeping with the children's characters that they would become progressively less and less interactive as the story continues and they, not being interested in it to begin with, become progressively more and more bored.
There is one instance of a pre-recorded reaction to a future episode: A scene with the kids that directly relates to the identity of the mother was shot in Season 2 under very secure/secret conditions. This scene was saved for the show's finale.
She says: "Ach Du meine Güte, gar nichts klappt mehr, aber überhaupt gar nichts mehr" (Oh dear, nothing is working out anymore, absolutely nothing).
(thanks to IMDB HIMYM fan dancer_in_the_snow for the answer).
In the first season, the font used was Century; from the second season onward (and on the DVD packaging of the first season), the typeface is Dax.
Alyson Hannigan (as well as Cobie Smulders) was pregnant during Season 4, and early in March 2009 left the show to have her baby. Her absence is partially explained at the beginning of #4.20 ("Mosbius Designs") when she is so offended by a joke Barney tells that she refuses to hang out with the guys for four weeks (presumably she still spends time with her husband and with Robin offscreen).
Hannigan gave birth to daughter Satyana on March 24, the week that #4.23 ("As Fast As She Can") was produced. The season finale (#4.24, "The Leap") was filmed in January to accommodate the actresses' pregnancies and to ensure Lily would play a role in the season finale.
In "Mosbius Designs" (#4.20) Barney tells Lily a joke that offends her so much that she refuses to hang out with the gang for four weeks (this was done to accommodate actress Alyson Hannigan's maternity leave; the season finale #4.24 was shot in advance, making a "return appearance" possible). The audience hears the setup ("What's the difference between peanut butter and jam?"), but not the punchline--Future Ted's narration obscures Barney's words.
There are multiple minor variations to the punchline as found by searching for the joke on Google, but in essence, the punchline is: "I can't peanut butter my [slang for male organ] up your [slang for buttocks]." In the footage we see Barney mouth the words "peanut butter," but his other words don't quite jibe with the known punchline, which may mean he told a variation of the joke that was even more offensive than the commonly accepted punchline.
During Robin's relationship with Ted in Season 2 (in the episode "Stuff"), Robin sent her dogs away to live on her aunt's farm in upstate New York (really, it's not a euphemism). Even though her initial reason to send them away (Ted was uncomfortable with them reminding him of Robin's ex-boyfriends) is no longer a factor, presumably she has found it more convenient to live without them...or they're really happy out there and don't want to move back.
In real life they got rid of them because Josh Radner is allergic to dogs.
Co-creator Craig Thomas' wife was a big Buffy fan, and when Thomas asked for her "blessing" to have a character based on her in the new sitcom he was creating, she agreed on the condition that they get Alyson Hannigan to play the part. This almost became a show-stopper when Hannigan read the script and said she didn't want to do another single-camera series: her experience with Buffy's grueling shooting schedule (some days running as much as 14 hours) was not something she wanted to repeat. She was assured that--despite the fast-and-loose nature of the narrative--HIMYM was indeed a three-camera show. And the rest is history...
Aside from Hannigan (and, retroactively, Neil Patrick Harris), the list of HIMYM actors known for their appearances in Joss Whedon's productions include:
Alexis Denisof (Alyson Hannigan's husband): Wesley in "Buffy" and "Angel" and Senator Perrin in "Dollhouse"; Sandy Rivers, Robin's co-anchor in Season 1. He also plays Robin's boss at her new WNN job in seasons 6 & 7.
Amy Acker: Fred in "Angel" and Whisky/Dr. Saunders in "Dollhouse"; Barney's rain-dancing ex Penelope in "Come On," Season 1.
Morena Baccarin: Inara in "Firefly"; "Crazy Eyes" Chloe in "Swarley," Season 2.
Tom Lenk: Andrew in "Buffy" and "Angel"; Scott the barista in "Swarley," Season 2.
Harry Groener: Mayor Wilkins in "Buffy"; Ted's mom's boyfriend Clint in "How Lily Stole Christmas," Season 2.
Danny Strong: Jonathan Levinson in Buffy; Trey in 'Last Words' Season 6
Seth Green: Daniel 'Oz' Osbourne in 'Buffy' and 'Angel'; Daryl LaCorte in 'The Final Page Pt1' Season 8
Lesser-known actor crossovers include:
JP Manoux: Bellman in "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been," ("Angel," #202); Not Moby/Eric in "The Limo" (Season 1).
Caroline Lagerfelt: Spike's mother Anne in "Lies My Parents Told Me" (BTVS, #717); Bridal shop lady in "Cupcake" (Season 1)
Pat Crawford Brown: a creepy old lady in "Doublemeat Palace" (BTVS, #612); Thelma, the old lady on the plane with Lily in "Three Days of Snow" (Season 4)
Rachel Bilson: Colleen, a Potential Slayer in "Dirty Girls" (BTVS, #718); Cindy, the Mother's roommate, in "Girls vs. Suits (Season 5)
Ian Abercrombie: techno-hunter in 'Homecoming (BTVS, 3.5); Ben Franklin in HIMYM 'The Goat' Season 3.
Kal Penn; Robin's therapist throughout HIMYM season 7; one of the cave men beer drinkers in 'Beer Bad' (BTVS 4.5) plus Shamen in Fez in 'That Vision Thing' (Angel;TS #302)
Ray Wise; Robin Scherbatsky Senior in HIMYM season 7; Howard Lipman in 'Dollhouse' ('The Left Hand')
Cobie Smulders: In the film Avengers directed by Joss Whedon
Phil Lewis; Mr Platt the guidance councillor in Buffy 'Beauty and the Beasts'; loan officer in HIMYM 'DOWISETREPLA'.
Eric Bruskotter; Brian in Angel 'Provider' and George in HIMYM 'Little Minnesota'.
Nancy Lenehan; Pat in Buffy 'Dead Man's Party' (BTVS #302) and Cheryl Whitaker (Barney's father's wife) in HIMYM.
Adam Paul; Mitch aka 'The Naked Guy' on HIMYM and 'Skanky' Vamp in Buffy episode 'As You Were'.
thanks to HIMYM fan Riina_K for information on the lesser-known crossovers
Alexis Denisof, Alyson Hannigan's husband, plays the recurring character Sandy Rivers, Robin's co-anchor at Metro News One and World Wide News.
David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris' husband, plays Scooter, Lily's high school boyfriend, in multiple episodes.
Taran Killam, who plays Barney's colleague Blauman in multiple episodes, is Cobie Smulders' significant other; the two had a child together and became engaged in the spring of 2009.
Lindsay Price appeared in the 2007 episode "Spoiler Alert" as Ted's chatty girlfriend Cathy; the two started dating sometime afterwards, and were together for about a year before a reportedly amicable breakup in November 2009.
Fandom is divided into two camps on this issue: Those who believe it's the four-letter "c word," and those who believe it's the five-letter "b word."
The "c word" camp's argument is that the "b word" has been used repeatedly on the show (even by Lily herself) with no major negative reaction, so the word must be significantly more offensive, particularly to women, to get the reaction it did from the different people exposed to it in this episode.
A now defunct section of the official CBS HIMYM website had a glossary ("Motherspeak") that defined "grinch" as "a four-letter word you can never call a woman."
Those in favor of the "b word" note the rhyme shared by the two words, and contend that context plays enough of a part in the offensiveness of the word that Future Ted would censor it in this instance and not in others.
The creators once mentioned in an interview that the incident in this episode was based on real-life events, and the word in the real-life instance was the "b word."
HIMYM T-shirts with the phrase "I just awesomed all over the place" were sold beginning the summer of 2010. While this is an awesome slogan, Barney has not actually said this exact phrase on the show. The actual quote is as follows, from Season 2's "Something Blue," after the happy newlyweds drive off, and Barney still thinks Robin is pregnant:
BARNEY (to Ted) "You're gonna miss out on a lot of awesome stuff. You'll be at home with the kid, while I am out awesome-ing. All over the place." (to Robin) "And you're going to get fat."
The differences may not be obvious at first glance, but HIMYM isn't like its fellow CBS sitcoms; it's actually a hybrid of the traditional "three camera" show shot in front of a studio audience (like "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory"), and the increasingly more common "single camera" shows like "The Office" and "30 Rock" that are shot and edited not unlike TV dramas and theatrical films. HIMYM is shot to look and sound like a three-camera production (a stylistic choice by the show's creators and producers), but is actually written and produced in a similar fashion to single-camera shows. There is no studio audience; early in the show's run, the laughs were recorded from an audience brought in to screen the finished product prior to airing, but now this archived laughter from earlier recordings is used in later episodes (yes, that means it's "canned").
One notable exception was "Hooked," an episode recorded in front of a private audience that included television critics.
The following article sheds some light on HIMYM's hybrid process, and why it makes the show distinctly different: http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2007/01/how_i_met_your_.html
Ted, Marshall, and Lily were all born in 1978:
- All three are portrayed as incoming college freshmen in flashbacks set in 1996.
- Lily's senior prom in "Best Prom Ever" took place in 1996.
- "How I Met Everyone Else" establishes that Lily, Ted and Marshall graduated from Wesleyan in 2000.
- Ted turns 30 in "The Goat" (set in 2008) and 31 in "The Leap" (set in 2009). "The Goat" establishes his birthday as April 25, though "The Leap" ostensibly takes place in May.
- Lily turns 32 in "Say Cheese" (set in 2010). This makes her older than Ted by a few months, though dialogue in "The Goat" seemed to imply that she and Marshall had not turned 30 yet. In "The Front Porch" Ted yells at Lily for breaking up him and Robin, and says, "You met the love of your life in a dorm hallway when you were 18." Lily went off to college in 1996, and met Marshall, placing her birth year as 1978.
- In "The Yips," Marshall says he is 29. This episode aired in November 2007. This places Marshall's birth year around 1978 or 1977.
Barney was born in 1976. "Game Night," which flashes back to 1998, shows Barney intending to leave for the Peace Corps, which means he was probably out of college by then; In "Columns," set in 2007, Barney gives his age as 31. "Zoo or False" further confirms that he was born seven years after the first moon landing in 1969.
Robin was born in 1980. "Robin 101," set in 2009, establishes her birthdate as July 23 and gives her age at the time as 29.
The Mother was born in 1984. "How Your Mother Met Me" establishes that the day Marshall and Lilly got engaged and Ted met Robin (both of which occurred in the pilot episode, which the newer episode established to take place in September of 2005) was the day of her 21st birthday.
The episode that raises this question is Season 2's "Arrivederci Fiero," where there's a scene where Ted learns that Barney can't drive and proceeds to teach him, with disastrous results. Some viewers have taken this to mean that Barney *never* learned to drive, and are confused when they see other episodes that have shown Barney driving (Season 4's "As Fast as She Can" most prominently among them), as well as references set before "Arrivederci Fiero" that seems to contradict the scene (In "Come On," Penelope mentions making out in the back of Barney's car; Barney takes Ted's mom to the airport around the time of Season 2's "Brunch," as referred to in "Little Minnesota" and seen in flashback in "Home Wreckers").
The thing to keep in mind is that the driving lesson scene in "Arrivederci Fiero" is a *flashback* to sometime "last year"; if Ted didn't misspeak, that means sometime in 2006. Barney has a car by the Season 1 finale, "Come On," assuming that it wasn't part of some ruse; either way, he's definitely driving by "Brunch," and apparently drives a truck soon after "Arrivederci Fiero" in the episode "Moving Day" (granted, he only drove it a short distance to the back of MacLaren's, but Ted didn't seem to take Barney's supposed inability to drive into consideration). That leaves a sizable window of time in the first half of 2006 (i.e. the last half of HIMYM S1) in which Barney was able to learn to drive. Given that Barney is both impulsive and obsessively driven (no pun intended), it's possible that he got over his fear of driving and mastered the skill very quickly.
In "Twin Beds", Ted steals the blue french horn again when he and Barney are fighting over Robin.
In "Hopeless," Robin runs into a crush (played by Michael Trucco) whom she had first met while she was with Ted. The evening ends with the two not getting together, but Future Ted tells us that "it wasn't the end of that...more on that later."
The writers hoped that Trucco's character would be one of Robin's major love interests in the subsequent season; however, "Fairly Legal," the show Trucco was a regular on, was renewed for a new season, making him unavailable to HIMYM in the capacity that they originally intended. The character of Kevin (Kal Penn) was created as Robin's new romantic foil for Season 7.
In the first half of Season 8, Trucco was booked for an arc as Robin's boyfriend Nick on the show, finally paying off the original setup.
Yes. Conan O'Brien won a charity auction for a walk-on role, and that was his appearance. http://www.vulture.com/2012/02/did-you-catch-the-very-famous-extra-on-tonights-how-i-met-your-mother.html
Considering that there is a large chunk of time between when we know Ted, Lily and Marshall graduated from Weslyan and when the show started, as well as the prerequisites to be a practicing architect in a city like New York - both stated by Ted within the context of the show, and the general real world logistics - it stands to reason that, given he had time to do so after getting his undergrad degree, Ted has met all the basic academic needs to at least be a practicing architect; which likely means at least a masters degree.
As for Columbia, keep in mind that Tony pulled some strings, but also a need for him to have a PhD to be an instructor there is not a given. Ted is also refereed to as Professor Mosby in season 8, indicating he didn't bother to pursue his PhD at this point.
In bonus scenes released on the Season 9 DVD, it is revealed that in his drunken state, Ted took the pineapple from The Captain's front porch. While leaving The Captain's house in Farhampton from S09E20, "Daisy," Ted notices a pineapple on The Captain's front porch. The Captain explains it is an old sea captain's tradition that a pineapple on your porch is a sign of hospitality and that he keeps one at both his Farhampton home and his home in New York City. This triggers Ted into remembering he stole the pineapple off what had to have been The Captain's porch in New York City.
"How I Met Your Dad" was a prospective spinoff of HIMYM, it was ultimately not produced.
The "Tracy Theory" is based on the concluding scene of the Season 1 episode "Belly Full of Turkey," where Ted meets a stripper who introduces herself as "Tracy," upon which Future Ted's narration chimes in, "and that, kids, is how I met your mother." The kids react with shock, and Future Ted quickly reveals he's kidding.
Fan consensus, however, is that there's nothing that definitively establishes the mother's name as Tracy, and the "Tracy Theory" is typically disregarded:
- We know what we see and hear on the screen isn't necessarily what Future Ted tells verbatim to his kids, unless we actually hear Future Ted say it (one example: Ted and Victoria's last day together in "Cupcake"). In other words, just because we heard the stripper say "I'm Tracy," doesn't mean that Future Ted told his kids, "She said her name was Tracy."
- The kids' shocked reaction in that scene would've happened regardless of whether Future Ted mentioned the mother's real name or not. Future Ted defused the situation before the kids might've uttered something like "but her name's not Tracy!"
- Considering the series' previous "contingency mothers" (people who would've been the mother had the show been canceled at particular times) were Victoria and possibly Stella, the creators are certainly open to a mother who isn't named Tracy.
So while there's no ruling out "Tracy," there's nothing definitive about it either.
It turns out that the mother's name was, in fact, Tracy. It could be that the writers named her that as a shout-out to the fan theory.
Ted is an architect and university professor. As an architect, he once worked for a big firm, but in Season 4 he gets fired from his firm and decides to become self employed, setting up a firm called "Mosbius Designs." After his one major project falls through, Ted decides to take up an offer made to him by his ex-fiancée's current fiancé Tony to teach architecture at Columbia University. In Season 6, in addition to his teaching position, he is working for Goliath National Bank, designing their new headquarters to be built on the site of an old building called The Arcadian.
Lily is an art consultant for the Captain, the eccentric millionaire who used to be married to Zoey Pierson, whom Ted dated. For most of the series' run, Lily was a kindergarten teacher. For a time (early in Season 2, when she returned from studying art in San Francisco) she worked as a waitress in a Hawaiian-themed restaurant and as an administrative assistant in Ted's architectural firm before returning to teaching. In Season 8 she is hired by the Captain to be his art buyer ("The Ashtray").
Robin is currently an on-air talent for World Wide News, a national cable news channel. In the first season she was a reporter, then a news anchor for a small-time local cable station ("Metro News One," presumably based on real-life station NY1), but quit for a brief stint at Tokyo Ichi (think CNN meets a Japanese game show) in Japan before quitting that job and returning to New York. She went through a period of unemployment but, with Barney's help, was hired by Channel 12 to host their 4 a.m. morning news show, "Come On Get Up New York." In Season 6 she leaves Channel 12 to become an associate researcher for World Wide News, a major news network. Later on, in Season 7, she becomes a co-host for World Wide News along with Sandy Rivers.
Marshall currently works for Honeywell and Cootes, one of the largest environmental law firms in the country. He was a law student in Season 1 and 2, with some time spent interning in the legal department of Barney's company Altrucel; after passing the bar, he worked for the corporate law firm Nicolson, Hewitt and West, but quit partway into Season 3. In Season 4, he takes on a job in the legal department of Goliath National Bank, a company recently acquired by Barney's company, a position he maintains until late in Season 6, when he quits to seek work that is more in line with his passion for saving the environment. Aside from brief stints volunteering for the NRDC and representing Zoey Pierson in her attempt to save the Arcadian, he remained unemployed until Season 7 when he was hired by Garrison Cootes to work for his law firm. At the end of Season 8/the beginning of Season 9, he accepts a position as a judge.
Barney works for Altrucel, a large evil corporation (who prefer to be recognized as the company that puts the fuzz on tennis balls), but what *exactly* he does for the company remains a mystery, a running gag for the show (upon being asked what he does for a living, Barney immediately chuckles and dismisses the question with a "please.") He has since apparently been assigned to work directly for Goliath National Bank, Altrucel's newest acquisition. One of Barney's titles is the "head of the search committee" at GNB, but it is not necessarily his full-time position at the company. Barney's official title is finally revealed in the last season: Barney literally does PLEASE: Provide Legal Exculpation And Sign Everything. In other words, Barney's company was setting him up to be a fall guy, signing off on all his company's shady, illegal dealings in exchange for a large salary. In the end, Barney got the jump on his boss (the same guy who stole his girlfriend Shannon, from back in his hippie/coffee shop days, away from him) by working with federal agents to implicate him for some good, old-fashioned revenge.