|Episode no. Season 4
Written by Joe Kelly
Original air date November 24, 2008
|Directed by Pamela Fryman|
Production code 4ALH09
"The Naked Man" is the ninth episode in the fourth season of the television series How I Met Your Mother and 73rd overall. It aired on November 24, 2008. The episode is titled for a "move" that male characters attempt throughout the episode as a means of seducing female characters, which is merely surprising them by being naked.
Ted ponders how long it will take to recover from being left at the altar by Stella, asking for advice from Lily, Marshall, Robin and Barney. He soon finds out himself as he begins to talk to a woman he always sees at the elevators at work, Vicky. Slowly they get to know one another, until Ted blurts out that he got left at the altar. He recovers and asks her out on a date, which she accepts.
Ted comes home later that day, passing by Robin talking on the phone outside. When he enters his apartment, he finds Mitch, Robin's blind date, sitting naked on the couch. After hearing from Lily that the blind date had been going badly, Ted returns and confronts Mitch again, who tells Ted about his "move", The Naked Man: on a first date with no possibility of a second, one takes advantage of a distraction in order to strip and surprise one's date with nakedness in the hope of receiving sex by means of humour, pity or sheer spontaneity. Ted tells the gang about the move's effectiveness (Mitch assures him that it works "two out of three times, guaranteed"), but they don't believe it, thinking Robin may end up shooting Mitch instead. Taking the notion seriously, they storm back to Ted's apartment to find a makeshift "Do not disturb" sign hanging from the doorknob and realize Robin is indeed having sex with her horrific blind date.
Convinced that The Naked Man works, Barney believes it will revolutionize the one-night stand, much to the chagrin of Lily, who still believes Barney has feelings for Robin. Ted's still amazed that The Naked Man worked on Robin. Marshall calls her a slut, saying that the only reason to have sex with someone is true love (mostly because he was recently strong armed into reading The Notebook by the secretary's book club at work). Everyone disagrees, and Lily claims she can name at least 50 reasons to have sex with someone; everyone but Marshall helps make a list, and he gets increasingly angry when he learns how many points Lily uses on him. Barney tries to convince Ted to do The Naked Man with Vicky on their upcoming date; later, he gets himself invited up to a girl's apartment and attempts The Naked Man himself. As Barney's getting ready, he calls Ted to let him know that he's going through with it. To his surprise, Ted is too, after Vicky was rude to a waiter and otherwise demonstrated herself to be a mean-spirited person, and he realized that there was no future between them. After debating which pose to display themselves in, Ted finds a volume of Pablo Neruda's poetry in Vicky's apartment and decides to put his clothes back on. When he finds out that the book isn't even hers and she has no appreciation for it, he busts out The Naked Man, while simultaneously Barney does the same for his date, and Lily does with Marshall.
Meanwhile, Robin calls Mitch for a second date and, despite not even knowing his surname, attempts out of sheer pride to discover some form of connection between them to justify her sleeping with him. Mitch calmly assures her that they have no connection, and tells Robin that he has been on the "Not-a-Slut Date" before with women who, like Robin, were called out by their friends for only sleeping with him because he was naked.
Back at the bar, Ted tells Lily and Marshall at the bar of his success with The Naked Man, and they tell him that it worked out for them as well. Robin, still trying to defend herself, brings Mitch with her to the bar. Marshall takes back what he said, to Robin's relief, and she immediately loses her (faked) interest in Mitch, to his relief. Ted thanks Mitch for the move, saying it brought him back. Marshall decides to call Barney to see how it worked for him; the girl answers Barney's phone, and reveals that she was appalled by the move and angrily threw Barney out of her apartment naked. Mitch sagely observes that the technique worked "two out of three times". After Mitch leaves, Ted proposes a toast to his hero, The Naked Man.
Meanwhile, Barney roams the streets naked trying to get home. He comes across some suits on a rack outside a store and is relieved, but upon closer inspection finds them to be of cheap quality, so he continues to roam naked.
Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club graded the episode A−. Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade A−. Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.5 out of 10.