During the (actual) Super Bowl, Neil Patrick Harris did a promo shot for the show and network, in character, as Barney Stinson. He held up a sign that read:
People who called it got a message along these lines:
That, Lebron, is how you shoot a free throw.... Hey, Barney Stinson speaking. A recording? No. This is really me. Anyway, glad you called, because you sound really special... What are your hobbies... Oh my God, I like that too! Wow! I'm really feeling a connection, here. You know, I never do this, but what the heck? Let's meet up at MacLaren's Bar at [Various times on October 12, 2016]. I can't wait to meet you. I love you.
So, is October 12, 2016 a date that will having meaning in the future? I don't know. And after this episode, I don't care. Let's get right to it and through it. You ready? Okay.
"Rabbit or Duck" opens with the rest of the gang at Ted's place, watching the Super Bowl. On the TV, we see a shot of Barney holding the same sort of sign NPH used during Super Bowl spot, except the colors and phone number are different (1-917-555-0199). Ted says, "Well, that explains where Barney is." Robin calls dibs on his wings. That's the way to take it in stride, girl.
Barney joins the gang at MacLaren's and declares himself the winner of the Super Bowl, because his phone hasn't stopped ringing since he and his sign were shown on TV. He proclaims his phone is now magic, as he has "infinity" chicks calling him. Ranjit (RANJIT!) is there. Barney explains: "I've enlisted Ranjit's services as my personal driver because, for the next week, I'll be sleeping with hundreds of women, and I don't want to take the subway because -- you know...germs." And that, kids, is when your Uncle Barney became dead to me. All right; I'm exaggerating. But for the rest of the episode, he is flat, lifeless, charisma-free, and unappealing. I'll get back to that, though. Ted can't believe Barney's going to hook up with these women. When did Ted develop amnesia? Anyhow, Barney tells the gang to keep an eye out for a woman in a red sweater. "Based on her texts she's dirty, dyslexic, and wants to 96 me. Semi-colon, end parenthesis." He's emoticonning at us. Out loud! Ted imagines Barney's not going to be getting quality girls with this stunt, so of course a lovely young woman (Asian, with some boob) walks up to Barney. She's probably not named Cook Pu. On his way out, Barney holds up his ringing phone ("Turkey in the Straw" is his ringtone) and gloats. "Magic phone, guys. Magic phone," as he leaves with his... should I still call these women dates? No? I didn't think so, either. Okay. He leaves with his worn-out joke, and the flat, tattered remains of what was once a multi-dimensional character who occasionally exhibited actual development.