Ted meets a cute girl, Holli, at MacLaren's. He brags to Marshall, Robin, Barney and the empty space where Lily should be that he got her number. Ted wants to call her right away, but Barney grabs his phone from him and reminds Ted that you have to wait three days to call a girl. When Ted protests that a three-day wait is insane, Barney tells him Jesus is the one who came up with it (right before he invented the high-five) and it's what He wants Ted to do. Ted promises to wait three days to call if Barney will just stop talking (which he doesn't). Ted never promised not to send Holli text messages though, and so he does. He starts out with a lame "Texty text," but their conversations heat up quickly. At home, Ted tells Robin he's really falling for Holli, but then he gets a text from her that was clearly meant for someone else. It reads: "Hey baby, picked up some takeout at Gennaro's. Be home soon. And then I want you to do me on the couch." Poor Ted.
When Robin goes to MacLaren's to meet up with Barney and Marshall, she sees that Marshall has a bag of take-out from Gennaro's and realizes that the guys have been pretending to be Holli. Barney swiped Ted's cell that first night that Ted and Holli met, replaced her number with his work cell number and they've been faking Ted out ever since, with some help from fellow MacLaren's patron Stan. They only strung Ted along as long as they did because they've been waiting for him to tell Holli he loves her. See, they want him to get all his awkward over-sharing out of the way on fake Holli before he calls real Holli. And also? They're having a lot of fun. Robin makes them promise to confess their chicanery to Ted, but of course they don't. Instead they have their fake "Holli" explain away the explicit text by saying that her friend Marsha grabbed the wrong phone and thought she was texting her husband Billy (wait for it; there you go).
Robin tells Ted the truth and they decide turnabout is fair play, so Ted sends "Holli" a text that he sometimes has gay dreams about his best friend. Marshall assumes Ted's talking about him. Barney insists Ted must have been talking about him. When they finally see Ted, they try to get him to reveal which one of them he secretly desires, so he wastes their time with a long, pointless story and then tells them that Robin spilled the beans and he knows about their shenanigans. PWNage! Holli meets him at the booth and they leave together for their first date. Holli, too, is an awkward over-sharer, hell-bent on commitment. And she does what I might have once thought was impossible -- she scares Ted off by mentioning love and marriage. Saget!Ted brings us home by explaining that although he didn't need to wait three days that time, Holly really did. "Like a lot of rules, there are times to follow them, and times to not. But I will tell you this: when I got your mother's number, I called her right away." Awwww.
It's another Lily-less episode, gang. It's cute, and fun, and yet? It's missing something. NAMELY: LILY! Alyson Hannigan's absence is keenly felt throughout the show. We know who's to blame, right? Yeah, Wee Denisof, we're looking at you. No bogarting your Mommy. She was ours first. We fell for her back when she was sporting Willow's hats and the softer side of Sears -- before she even knew your Daddy. You're just a new kid in town and yet you act like you own her. I hope they teach you how to share, because right now, kiddo? It's not your strong suit.
Barney, Robin, Marshall and NOBODY, sit at the booth, while Ted's up at the bar talking to Greenlee from All My Children. But I have to call her Holly right now. If you already watched the episode, you get why. If not, you soon will. Ted plugs her phone number into his cell and tells her he'll give her a call. She says she hopes he will and then leaves the bar. It's been a long time since I was single, and even longer since I was unattached, so I can't figure out why, if she really does want Ted to call, she leaves MacLaren's so soon. Maybe she has a "life" or whatever. I forget what that is. Anyhow, Ted does a little Saturday Night Fever-ish strut back to the table, bragging that he got her phone number. He flashes his phone at Barney, Robin, Marshall and NOBODY. "Check it out. Holly." Barney's impressed. "Girls whose names end in LY are always dirty: Holly; Kelly; Carly; Lily!" Oh fine, Barney, just rub it in. Marshall starts to take offense. "Hey!" He then gets lost in thought for a moment, then turns sheepish. "Oh, yeah. No, it's true." Barney then tell us not to get him started on girls whose names should end in Y, but instead end in I. "Those girls are like roller coasters. You've gotta wait in a long line, but once you get up there, you just hold on for dear life, and hope you don't drop your keys."
Ted decides he's going to call Holly immediately and make a lame joke about how it's been too long. Barney grabs Ted's phone from him and insists that a guy must wait three days to call a woman -- it's a rule. Ted says he has a new rule. "It's kind of crazy, but I call it: You like her? You call her." Oh bless you, Ted. From what I recall, guys like you were few and far between. Barney asks Ted to repeat that. "I'm sorry. I don't speak I Never Get Laid." Ted doesn't care. He thinks the Three Days Rule is played-out and crazy. "Who even came up with that?" Barney waits a moment, and then looks Ted straight in the eye. "Jesus." On my behalf, Marshall asks Barney to leave Jesus out of it, but it's too late.