When we last heard from the amiable How I Met Your Mother gang , we were dealing with two big cliff-hangers: While Ted’s first day of architecture professorship hinted at the unveiling of his future wife, playboy Barney and wanderer Robin were creeping toward a real-deal relationship. Season five’s premiere predictably ignored the former possibility (because, you know, premature conclusion to ostensible point of the show and everything), to dive into the love life of the self-described Barman and Robin.
Flashing back from Ted’s first day of class, we’re told Barney and Robin decided to stay friends after kissing last season, allowing them to have exchanges like:
B: “Hey, you still seeing that guy?”
R: “Even better — seeing him naked!”
And then high-fiving. Only it turns out they’ve been hooking up all summer. They've kept this from their friends, mostly because they feared wet-blanket Lily would force them to define the relationship. And they were right! When the group stumbles on the couple's clandestine couch make-out session, Lily joylessly sets off on a campaign of boundary-forming. Barney and Robin explain how they’ve avoided having “the talk” by having bountiful sex instead (montage included) and then resume the make-out. (Side note: When did it become totally cool for Robin to mug out with Barney while former flame Ted was in the room?)
Ted’s big day arrives, and he’s all worried about what kind of professor he’ll be, but turns out he should have been worrying about what classroom he was in ... because he was in the wrong classroom. Moderately enjoyable high jinks ensue. Then he runs to the other classroom and everything is cool.
Meanwhile, Lily decides to lock Barney and Robin in the bedroom until they have “the talk.” They haggle for time, agree they can’t decide, and then just lie to the gang, fake-officially confirming their boyfriend-girlfriend status just to get out of the room (notable: They celebrate the decision with an early nineties NBA-style double high-five.) Ted informs Lily they were lying, and Lily creepily goes “No, Ted, they don’t realize they weren’t lying.” And the will-they-or-won’t-they season arc is set!
As always with HIMYM, the premiere slalomed between sharp, funny moments and cringingly broad sitcom fare. This episode came down decisively on the broad side, with repeated uses of the phrase “the talk” — “you need to have the talk”, “you don’t need to have the talk,” “dude, have the talk, then you get to have sex after.” Granted, we don’t know everyone, but we do know like fifteen or twenty people, and none of them talk like that.
As usual, the best bits came from the rightly celebrated Neil Patrick Harris. His analysis of a dream Ted has about a pretty coed is great: “You should have hit that! You already had your pants off, and you had a classroom full of people to cheer you on. And you can’t knock her up because it’s a dream. Class dismissed!” The topper came when he explained that “the rules for girls are the same as the rules for Gremlins”:
1. Never get them wet — in other words, don’t let them take a shower at your place.
2. Keep them away from sunlight — i.e., don’t ever see them during the day
3. Never feed them after midnight — meaning, she doesn’t sleep over, and you don’t have breakfast with her. Ever No, Ted — brunch is not cool.
Also, we’re pretty sure he made a Martin Lawrence reference.