How I Met Your Mother Episodes

2005, TV Show

How I Met Your Mother Episode: "Definitions"

Season 5, Episode 1
Episode Synopsis: In the fifth-season opener, the friends discover that Barney and Robin are secretly a couple; and Ted stresses over his first lecture as a Columbia professor.
Original Air Date: Sep 21, 2009
Guest Cast Abhi Sinha: Guy #2 Kimberly Matula: Girl Michael Busch: Student Joe Manganiello: Brad Dale E. Turner: Professor Calzonetti Bob Saget
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Season 5, Episode 1
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Length: 21:31
Aired: 9/21/2009
Also available on Amazon Prime and VUDU
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How I Met Your Mother Episode Recap: "Definitions" Season 5, Episode 1

In the Season 5 premiere, Ted starts his new teaching job at Columbia University. But the big story is Barney and Robin. In last season's finale, they kissed... but then what? Can two commitment-phobes make it work in a serious relationship — if that's what they're even calling it?

Future Ted explains that when he started as a professor at Columbia, there were two things he wishes he'd known ahead of time. The first, as we all remember from the season finale, is that The Mother was in that classroom. The second thing... well, that's the story of this episode.

Cut to MacLaren's, where Lily and Marshall have just learned about the Barney-Robin kiss. "Wooooo!" Lily shrieks. (My thoughts exactly.) Actually, Lily gets a little too excited, going on and on about the new "couple" and how they can go on double dates together. Maybe even their kids will get married. But her enthusiasm isn't shared by everyone. Robin and Barney let her down easy, explaining that they're just "not feeling it," but they've decided to remain friends. Oh, those big fakers. Lily looks slightly let down at the bar, but by the time she gets home, she's in full-blown heartbreak mode, sobbing in bed with Marshall while downing a gallon of butter pecan ice cream.

Fast-forward to the Friday before Ted's first day at his new job. At MacLaren's, Marshall presents Ted with a gift that used to belong to his favorite professor. And because Marshall is awesome, it's totally an Indiana Jones fedora and whip. Ted is blown away. "I'm Indiana Jones. I'm Indiana Jones!" he yells. To make the night even better, Marshall suggests going out into the alley and whipping stuff. Robin and Barney don't join in, though. Robin has a "date" (uh huh), and Barney is going for seconds with a hookup. Fakers! Lily looks horrified.

Out in the alley, Marshall is freakishly excited about Ted's whip... until it catches him in the face. Ouch. They head back to Ted's apartment, with Marshall berating Ted about how the whip is not a toy... but his scoldings are cut short when they enter the apartment and find Barney and Robin getting hot and heavy on the couch. Lily's face lights up, and she speaks for a huge portion of the show's fanbase by shouting, "Wooooo!"

Robin and Barney reveal that they've been hooking up all summer. But they immediately put on the brakes when Lily calls them "boyfriend and girlfriend." They explain that they tried many, many times to have The Talk and figure out what they're doing, but they always got, um, distracted. Besides, as Barney so eloquently puts it, "The Talk sucks." Lily insists that they need to define their relationship, but they're not having any of it.

Cut to Columbia, where Ted is starting his first day of teaching. He's in his uber-pretentious element, until one of his students raises her hand to question his credentials. Another points out that he's failed as an architect. Other students chime in to ask him where his fedora is and why he isn't wearing any pants. Ah. Dream sequence. Ted wakes up and starts freaking out to Barney, who's in Ted's room (!) looking for condoms.

The next day at MacLaren's, Ted asks the gang for advice. Barney tells Ted that taking questions on the first day is a sign of weakness. Lily stresses that definitions are important, and that Ted needs to make it clear that he's the teacher and not his students' friend. Robin already knows where this is going and rolls her eyes, but Barney enthusiastically chimes in: "Exactly!" Lily continues and says that nobody's happy if things are unclear, then turns to Barney and snaps, "Define the relationship!"

Annoyed, Barney takes Lily up to the bar for a one-on-one convo. He asks her why she can't just let them be happy. "You're not happy," she says, and tells him again to define the relationship. "Why?" Barney retorts. "Give me one good reason." Unfortunately, Lily doesn't have to give him a reason, because at that moment Brad walks in (Brad!!) and asks Robin to go to a hockey game with him. She starts to say that she can't, and he asks her if she has a boyfriend. She looks at Barney, who's at a loss, and unhappily responds, "Nope, no boyfriend." So now she's agreed to a date with Brad. Oh, this should go well.

The date occurs the next night at a hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Robin turns to Brad and says, "You're probably wondering why I've been quiet all night." Brad looks confused, and then we get a flashback to 30 seconds earlier, when Robin was on her feet, screaming about a lousy play. Heh. She says she feels weird being out with Brad. He immediately thinks they're having The Talk, and thinks it's a good thing. He tells her that he's looking for something serious — I wonder what happened with Kara? — and then starts to overshare in a way you should never overshare on a first date before Robin cuts him off and explains that she feels weird because of Barney. "Sounds like you guys need to have The Talk," he says.

At Ted's apartment, Barney is having a similar conversation with Ted, Marshall and Lily. Marshall says The Talk is great — it's a five-minute conversation and you get to have sex afterward. Ted says that he doesn't think The Talk is necessary because Robin is already Barney's girlfriend, by Barney's own rules that he set four years earlier on Tuxedo Night. On that night, Barney had stated that the rules for girls are the same as the rules for gremlins:

1. Never get them wet (or let them take a shower at your apartment).
2. Keep them away from sunlight (or don't spend time with them during the day).
3. Never feed them after midnight (breakfast, and especially brunch, is a serious no-no).

These three rules separate "girls" from "girlfriends." Stunned, Barney reports that he's done all three of those things with Robin. "Does that mean she's my girlfriend?" he asks.

Back at the hockey game, the Kiss Cam has managed to find Robin and Brad. Brad suggests that they kiss, and if Robin feels bad about it, it means that she's meant to be with Barney. Robin sighs and says, "Why not?" Why not? Because you're in a sitcom, Robin! These things never go well. They pucker up anyway, but before their lips can make contact, Barney appears out of nowhere and punches Brad in the face. Aww. Brad could easily take Barney and Barney knows it, but he just couldn't help himself. Brad's not upset, though. "I shouldn't be kissing some other guy's girlfriend," he says. And still, still, Robin and Barney are in denial.

Finally, it's Ted's real first day at Columbia, and more than anything else, he wants to make a good first impression. He starts to write "Professor Mosby" on the blackboard, but freezes up when he realizes that he can't remember how to spell "professor." "Does 'professor' have one 'f' or two?" He starts to write a second 'f' and glances back at the class. A particularly helpful student shakes her head. Ted hesitantly changes it to a capital "e" and looks back once more. The same student nods her head slightly. Hee!

In Robin's room, a shirtless Barney apologizes to Robin for punching Brad the night before. Walking to the door, she tells him not to worry about it, but then stops short as the doorknob breaks off in her hand. Turns out Lily's locked them in and won't open the door until they've had The Talk. She tells them that they need to define their relationship, write it down, and slip it under the door. If she likes what she reads, she'll release them. "We're not having The Talk," Barney protests as he puts his shirt on. Robin spitefully tells Lily that she and Barney will spend the whole day having sex instead of talking. Barney immediately takes his shirt back off. Bwah! Lily tells them that Marshall is there, too, so she won't be missing out. "Hey, guys," says a clearly uncomfortable Marshall.

Back in Ted's classroom, Ted still hasn't decided whether he wants to be an authoritative professor or a cool, hip guy. So his opening remarks to the class end up being a hysterical mix of both. The girl from the dream raises her hand to ask a question. Ted remembers Barney's advice to never take questions on the first day, and announces that all questions would have to be held until the end. Bad idea jeans, Ted. Turns out that girl — who is not the mother — was trying to tell him that he was in the wrong classroom. All the students were actually there for Economics 305, not Architecture 101. Oops. So Ted proceeds to embarrass himself for the next seven minutes in front of about 100 economics students, including the titular Mother. Future Ted teases us by starting to say where she was sitting, but then he decides to finish the story instead. After attempting to instill 100 incredulous students with architecture-related wisdom, he tells them that if they don't really want to be an architect, they can leave. To his shock, every single student gets up and heads for the door. Fortunately, the econ professor arrives at that moment, tells the students to sit back down, and informs Ted that he's in the wrong classroom. So Ted actually ends up 20 minutes late on his first day. Not the most auspicious beginning to a teaching career. But we're treated to a shot of Ted tearing across campus — to the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" theme music — so no complaints here.

Back at the apartment, Lily and Marshall get various non-answers from Robin and Barney, like "We're just hanging out" and "We're seeing where things are going." They deem each answer "not good enough." Marshall wants to give them points for "Barman and Robin," but Lily overrules him.

Ted comes home and regales Lily and Marshall with his embarrassing first day. But the good news is that by the time he got to his real classroom, he didn't have time to think about pretentious ways to inspire the students. Instead, he just talked about architecture. And he enjoyed it. Good on you, Ted.

Marshall attempts to speed up the Barney-Robin Talk by cooking up delicious breakfast food and using a fan to waft the bacon-y aroma into Robin's bedroom. Hungry, Robin and Barney finally decide to have The Talk. And surprise surprise — neither of them are terribly good at it. Barney hasn't been a serious relationship in a long time, and Robin is not good with relationships and feelings. Except for Ted of course, who's apparently ruined her for other men. (Or at least that's how Future Ted likes to imagine the conversation went.) In the end, they agree to lie to the rest of the gang for simplicity's sake and tell them that they are, indeed, boyfriend and girlfriend. Through the door, they very fakely tell the others that even though they're both afraid of commitment, it's worth the risk. "Because she's awesome," Barney says, gazing at Robin. And he is not lying here. Neither is Robin, when she looks at him and reciprocates: "And he's awesome. And he looks nice in his suit."

Gloating over their victory, Robin and Barney leave the apartment to grab some brunch. Lily, Marshall and Ted watch them go. "You do realize they were lying, right?" Ted asks. "No, Ted," Lily says, smiling. "They don't realize they weren't lying." On cue, Barney takes Robin's hand as they turn the corner.

What a pitch-perfect season premiere! Wonderful handling of the Barney-Robin dynamic — I think this storyline is going to be a lot of fun to watch as it plays out. Plus, we got more rules from Barney! And a healthy dose of Ted at his pretentious best! The appearance from Brad, whom we haven't seen since Season 2, was just the icing on the cake. It almost made me forget about the show and NPH walking away empty-handed at the Emmys. Almost.

So what did you think? Was the premiere worthy of the four-month wait since "The Leap"? How do you feel about Barney and Robin as a couple? Did Lily overstep her boundaries by forcing them to define their relationship? Do you think Ted will make a better professor than architect? Was The Mother really in that first econ class, and when will Ted finally meet her? Talk all about it in the comments! — Angela Dalecki

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In the Season 5 premiere, Ted starts his new teaching job at Columbia University. But the big story is Barney and Robin. In last season's finale, they kissed... but then what? Can two commitment-phobes make it work in a serious relationship — if that's what they're even calling it?

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Premiered: September 19, 2005, on CBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (1,937 ratings)
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Premise: A man named Ted tells his kids how he met the love of his life, through flashbacks, years in the future. The bored kids sit on the sofa and listen as dad regales them with tales of his pursuit of romance.



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