“Single Stamina” is a bad time for Barney. It’s winter in New York and the couples are in hibernation mood, leaving Barney alone. After multiple failed attempts of trying to excite the gang to go out, Barney announces his brother is in town. The gang explains to Robin James is just like Barney only gay, as she has yet to meet him and they don’t want her to be surprised. James opens the door and we are shocked to find he is black, played by Wayne Brady. After Ted explains he was playing a joke on Robin by not telling her James was black, James convinces the group it is their duty as New Yorkers to go out and party for the kids in Wyoming who can’t.
At a cocktail bar, we are educated about the differences between couples and singles. Singles have what is known as “single stamina” meaning they stay on their feet for maneuverability, drinks shots of liquor and are generally in a positive mood. Couples on the other hand have what’s known as “couples coma” due to the fact they only want to sit down, sip wine and complain about being tired. While Ted and James demonstrate how perfect they are as wingmen, the couples vegetate in the middle of the room. Lily and Robin complain about putting on bras to go out, causing a stranger to hit on Lily. After Lily destroys the guy’s confidence, Marshall mentions girls don’t know the courage it takes to talk to them. Robin defends Lily saying guys don’t know how bad it is to get hit on leading Ted and Marshall to sarcastically make fun of how horrible it must be to have men buy you drinks, want to have sleep with you and to drink fruity drinks that are delicious and guys secretly enjoy.
After James turns down free drinks from a guy, the gang start to speculate his is in a relationship. The group break the news to Barney but he doesn’t believe it until he notices James texting in the corner. Barney confronts James and he admits he is dating a man named Tom. Later that night, James finds a distraught Barney at MacLaren’s. Barney divulges he doesn’t support marriage, gay or straight, and even turns down James’ offer to be his best man. The next evening, Barney seeks solace from the group but is instead met by Ted explaining he has to support his brother no matter his personal beliefs. Barney agrees and takes the group and James to a gay bar to celebrate the engagement.
While at the gay bar, Barney’s ulterior motives surface and he does his best to lead James astray. Meanwhile, Lily and Robin are excited to not have guys hit on them because Marshall and Ted are receiving all the attention. Marshall and Ted are flattered at first but quickly become frustrated by the amount of attention they attract. Lily and Robin contradict their earlier opinions and confess to missing the attention causing the couples to abandon Barney an James for a sports bar. James confronts Barney about his ulterior motives, leading Barney to share his true feelings of abandonment and loneliness but he quickly changes his opinion when James informs him he is going to be an uncle.
A year later, Barney gives his best man speech at the wedding. Marshall and Lily leave due to their early curfew and we a treated to the fact they are married in that time frame. Robin and Ted decide to stay a bit longer and leave the group to dance.Barney chats with his nephew and tells him he is going to teach him how to live, after he turns 21 of course.
“Single Stamina” focuses on Barney with some small tie ins from the rest of the group. I love the juxtaposition of Neil Patrick Harris playing a straight character and Wayne Brady playing his gay brother. The duo work well as a comedy team, highlighted by their ability to wing-man for each other. I also enjoyed the role reversals between Ted and Marshall, and Lily and Robin. The dissection of “single stamina” and “couples coma” was a treat and my bet is it could be backed by science. Where’s Mythbusters when you need them?
My favorite scene was when James asked Barney if didn’t support gay marriage and Barney responded with, “No. Marriage!”