Episode 1.10 - Pineapple Incident
Updated: Jun 16
Ted starts doing shots of something mysterious and then remembers nothing. Except for a pineapple, a fire, some numbers. He wakes up with a pineapple and a girl with shiny dark hair in his bed, and a sprained ankle.
The whole point of getting drunk is to not overthink things, so Ted drunk-dials Robin. BUT ROBIN ANSWERS THE PHONE WHILE SHE’S ON A DATE.
Lily and Marshall explain that Ted fell over while doing karaoke to Cheap Trick. (They really pay for the good music on this show) And that explains the sprained ankle, which is the third of the three mysteries Ted knows about at this point. We’re starting to figure this out in reverse, BUT THEN there’s a new mystery, a burnt jacket.
And then a fifth mystery, Barney is sleeping in the tub. “Porcelain keeps the suit from wrinkling” is a drunk guy’s idea of a good idea. That's mystery #5 solved pretty dang quick, but we still have mysteries #1, 2, and 4 unsolved.
So after spraining his ankle, Ted goes back to the bar, drinks some more, and calls Robin again. AND SHE ANSWERS AGAIN. Then we immediately solve the mystery of the burnt coat (Barney set him on fire as punishment for not being spontaneous enough). Mysteries #1 & 2 still remain.
THEN mystery number six appears: a mysterious number on Ted’s arm, written in sharpie. We solve that mystery quickly, too, though: It’s Carl from the Bar. Carl says Ted went to the bathroom, but then Ted comes back with another mystery: some bit about karaoke and whether or not he vomited. Ted tries to call Robin, but this time we see Ted’s side of the call, not Robin’s. But we saw Robin answer the phone twice before, so we have no trouble believing that this is Robin again. A perfect red herring.
Ted believes he hooked up with Robin, everyone gives him high-fives all around. So Ted goes to wake “Robin” up to talk to her about it, but then Robin calls him, meaning the girl in the bed is not Robin, so mystery number two is still a mystery, and so is the pineapple.
As soon as Ted gets off the phone with Robin, a new young woman named Trudy comes out of Ted’s room. We flash back to earlier in the night when Barney hit on Trudy, and suddenly we see Trudy in the background of all of Ted’s antics for the night. In fact, she’s the only one who knows that Ted didn’t vomit, so mystery number seven gets solved. And we also find out that Ted didn’t call Robin.
So, the writers said the biggest lesson they learned from this episode was to not write yourself into a corner. They were writing a story that was initially 13 episodes (this is #10), but they certainly hoped it would go on for years and years.
They close with “we never found out where that pineapple came from”, when they, in fact, reveal where the pineapple came from.
In a deleted scene from late in season 9, a recurring character (who is an antagonist to Ted, to some degree) keeps a pineapple on his stoop as a sign of hospitality. Ted stole it. We’ll put a link to that scene, which was released exclusively to Buzzfeed, on our show notes and the website, in case you haven’t seen it before.
But it’s a huge letdown!
Here’s what I learn from this episode:
Don’t write yourself into a corner. Never say never, and all that.
Don’t build something up to be bigger than it needs to be. Use your critique group for this. By the time season nine of this show comes around, I bet the writers were mostly beyond critique, surrounded by a lot of people who just thought everything they were doing was brilliant. But SOMEONE knew, and SOMEONE should have told them not to write in such a minor, trivial reveal to something that had been built up for nine years. It’s too big a buildup for such a tiny reveal. It honestly would have been funnier to be not revealed. Like if Ted finds out this character kept a pineapple outside his house in the city, and thought he stole it, but then the character says, Oh, no, I moved into the city in 2006, so that couldn’t have been you, leaving it a mystery
How to believably change your POV. This whole show, not just this one episode, plays with POV BEAUTIFULLY. Ted’s our main POV character, but in this episode he’s black-out drunk, so we absolutely believe that his POV is trash and useless to us. So we switch: first to Robin, then to Lily and Marshall, then to Barney, then to Carl, then to Trudy, then back to Ted finally.
How to use a POV shift to lay a red herring. Robin answers when Ted calls. We slide into her POV for both those calls, so when Ted makes a third phone call, the viewer assumes it’s Robin. It’s always been Robin, why wouldn’t it be now?
Swing for the fences!
How to piece together a story. They don’t reveal the entire mystery all at once. There are seven parts to it: the pineapple, the girl, the sprained ankle, the burnt jacket, Barney in a bathtub, the phone number on Ted’s arm, Ted’s vomit. They reveal them in that order, but they solve them in this order: ankle, jacket, Barney, number, vomit, girl, pineapple. What could have been 1 - 1, 2 - 2, 3 - 3, 4 - 4, 5 - 5, 6 - 6, 7 - 7 OR 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, instead became 1, 2, 3, 1, 4, 5, 4, 5, 6, 7, 6, 2, 7, 1. (we’ve got a visual down below, if that's confusing) The show runners were writing a caper together in 2019 and said they actually pulled out their old shooting drafts of the script and watched this episode over and over again to re-learn how to write a caper. The best capers and heists come together like this. They never lay out all the problems at once: they make you think they do, but then they add a couple in later, and they solve them all out of order.
Writing Prompt: Look at your main character (or do this with a favorite story of yours, as a diagnostic tool). You’re going to have two columns. Column A is “problems/mysteries” and Column B is “solutions/answers”. List out all the problems your MC has to face during the course of the story, in order, in Column A. List out the solutions to those problems in Column B, but place them in the order they are solved or revealed. If you’ve got each problem being solved as it comes up, you’ve probably got an episodic story that isn’t very engaging. A story that wraps up each problem as it arrives is very put-down-able. If you’ve got everything revealed with no solutions at the midpoint, then you’ve probably got a frustrating or confusing story. Try to mix things up and move them around to make it more engaging.