Season Two Episode Descriptions and Writing Prompts
2.1 Where Were We?
Episode Summary: The gang tries to help Marshall get over Lily. Barney takes him to a strip club, and Ted takes him to a Yankees game. Marshall finds a credit card trail that leads to Lily's hotel in the city, but the guys try to keep him from going to see her.
This Week P Stands For: Pickup, picking up where we left off
Stuff to Track: The chain of events that actually leads to him meeting the mother. This episode has step two: dating Robin
Writing Prompt: Brainstorm a bunch of ways that your character could get over their grief and which secondary character would introduce which method to your MC
2.2 Scorpion and Toad
Episode Summary: Barney teaches Marshall how to pick up women. When things start to go sour for an awkward Marshall, Barney steps in and wins the women over... for himself. Lily returns from her art experience. While helping her look for a new apartment, Ted gets sick of hearing about Lily's amazing summer in San Francisco.
This Week P Stands For: Perception (is reality)
Stuff to Track:
Writing Prompt: Write a scene full of dialog that can be interpreted two very different ways. The words your characters say must stay exactly the same, but the context, emphasis, and perspective will change the entire meaning.
Episode Summary: When Ted, Robin, and the gang spend the weekend with his parents, Ted is stunned when a family secret that changes things forever is unveiled at brunch. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily find it difficult to control themselves when they are forced to spend time together with Ted's parents.
This Week P Stands For: Plop(ping you right into the middle of the story)
Stuff to Track: This is the only reference to anyone in Ted’s family being Catholic, it’s the first mention of Ted’s cousin Stacey, first mention of Virginia’s Frank
Writing Prompt: These both came from https://writing-prompt-s.tumblr.com/ Pick one, and write the story that leads up to this moment.
You made it to the semi-finals of a nationwide elite wizardry competition. The crowd loves you, and the esteemed judges regarded you as the dark horse of the competition, with your unorthodox approach. There’s just one problem; You don’t know how to use magic. You never did. Link.
You and your significant other are running for your lives from a slasher killer. Suddenly your partner ducks into a door and locks it behind them leaving you behind. You slump against the door preparing for the worst. The killer walks up and says “Wow what a jerk. You ok?” Link.
2.4 Ted Mosby, Architect
Episode Summary: After Robin insinuates that Ted's job is boring, Barney sets out to convince his buddy otherwise. As the guys test out the pick-up line, "Ted Mosby, Architect" on the ladies, they realize it really works. But when Robin hears that Ted is parading around town picking up girls, she is hot on his heels to discover the truth.
This Week P Stands For: Personalities
Stuff to Track: Brad shows up for the first time (as does Kara, but she’s a less important character throughout the series), the bouncer from Okay Awesome is back as a bouncer at the same club entrance (different club name)
Writing Prompt: What would your MC do if they knew they could get away with it, with no consequences?
2.5 World’s Greatest Couple
Episode Summary: Lily moves into Barney's apartment. It works well at first, as Lily gets rid of Barney's conquests by pretending to be his wife. Barney throws her out when he's disappointed to find that they slept in his bed together without having sex.
This Week P Stands For: Pairings
Stuff to Track: PLEASE (again),
Writing Prompt: Take two characters who don’t interact much in your story. Write a scene with just the two of them, exploring how they would interact together.
2.6 Aldrin Justice
Episode Summary: Barney takes it on himself to please Marshall's disgruntled law professor, while Lily gets a job at Ted's architecture firm and tries to teach his boss a big lesson.
This Week P Stands For: Preface
Stuff to Track:
Writing Prompt: Write an expository prologue for your story. Keep it to two pages, but give us all the cool information about your world and your character’s backstory, but in as dry a way as possible. Come back to this prologue (which should definitely not be in your book in this format!) as you revise to make sure all this stuff is on the page in a more natural way, using one of the four methods described in this podcast episode.
Episode Summary: Barney is mistakenly called Swarley at a coffee shop and his friends call him Swarley all day. Marshall starts dating a woman and they really hit it off, but Barney and Ted tell him he has to dump her because she has "crazy eyes".
Gina’s note: neither Darci nor I love the overuse of the derogatory term “crazy” in this episode. We’re gonna say it a lot, because it’s the crux of the episode. Please know that WE KNOW you shouldn’t refer to a woman as “crazy” and while we can make some excuses because this aired fifteen years ago, we also can recognize that characters like Ted, Marshall, and Barney could very well use this term, in this way, today, in the 2020s. It’s not the wokest of terms, but it is also extremely realistic usage from a character standpoint.
This Week P Stands For: Protagonist
Stuff to Track:
Writing Prompt: Write Chloe’s rom-com story. If you haven’t watched this episode, then write a short story in which a well-known villain or antagonist tells their version of events. Why they were justified and why the hero was totally wrong all along.
2.8 Atlantic City
Episode Summary: Marshall and Lily, together again, decide to elope to Atlantic City, and they gather Barney, Ted and Robin to take part in the wedding.
This Week P Stands For: Pared-Down Worldbuilding
Stuff to Track:
Writing Prompt: Write a short story in which your characters play a game that isn't universal. Describe the elements of the game that need to be explained, but keep the focus on the story itself.
2.9 Slap Bet
Episode Summary: Barney uncovers Robin's secret past and the real reason behind her strong aversion to malls, which leads Barney and Marshall to make a bet.
This Week P Stands For: Payoffs - Red Herrings
Stuff to Track: Marshall gets five punitive slaps and uses the first right at the end of this episode (also - bonus points for all of Lily’s hair changes in the mini-flashbacks)
Writing Prompt: Pick one of the other theories Ted has in this episode (arrested at a mall, dumped at a mall, found out a traumatizing secret at a mall, traumatized via a freak accident at a mall, mauled at a mall) to be Robin’s true secret. Use different red herrings than this episode uses (retired porn star and married in a mall) and plot out a story with the same trajectory as the episode. Use the four steps we listed to throw your audience off-track for as long as possible (1. Brainstorm on the page 2. Put some outrageous possibilities on the page 3. Distract the audience immediately 4. Fudge reality a little bit at the last second)
2.10 Single Stamina
Episode Summary: Barney's brother James (Wayne Brady) visits and Robin, the only one in the group who's never met him, is surprised. But James has a surprise for Barney that he finds hard to accept.
This Week P Stands For: Progressivism
Stuff to Track: Robin and Ted have single stamina at James’ wedding :( , plus another BIG spoilery foreshadow happens at the wedding, too
Writing Prompt: Adapted from 826Digital, a partner of WNDB. Spend 5 minutes writing about what LGBTQ labels mean in your story’s world. Identify your core cast of characters and spend some time delving into what these labels mean to your characters and how their identities manifest in the story, especially if they aren’t involved in a romance.