How I Met Your Mother Episode 05-03 Review

We start with a reaction shot of the kids, and “Old Ted” teling them that over the years, Uncle Barney’s been called a lot of names ranging from “Jerk” to “Barack Obama, Junior.”  Well, that actually was on a business card Barney was handing out himself.

But they never thought they’d hear him call “boyfriend.”

Robin tells Ted and Lily that it’s still weird to her, despite the fact that she’s said it a hundred times.  Ted  says that’s just because anything you say a hundred times sounds weird.  And then he starts ths really annoying thing where he repeats “bowl,” over and over again.

To their credit, the girls ignore him, but Robin still thinks Barney’s been single too long.  Like the other night, she woke up in the middle of the night to find Barney fully dressed and sneaking out the window.  It’s happened three times.  Plus, he leaves her when she wants to talk.  Lily says that it might be because she’s had some pretty incredible boyfriends (including “bowl boy”).  Robin thinks he just might not have the boyfriend thing in him.  Is it a bad idea?

Cut to Ted and Barney at the bar.  Ted’s giving Barney a quick run-down of the conversation.  If Barney doesn’t want to lose Robin, he’s going to have to step it up.  Barney says doesn’t believe him, but over the next few weeks, he becomes the perfect boyfriend.  Robin is convinced he’s cheating.  Since Barney’s left his briefcase at home, Robin wants to open it.  Lily talks her down.

Marshall runs in from the basement storage area having found “Mabel,” the barrel he’d used as a nightstand for years in college until they’d found about Lily’s tragic barrel resin allergy.  Marshall wants to give it away to a good home.  Robin knows a rodeo clown, but she doesn’t think Lenny would go for it.  That’s okay, Marshall says, he’s going to put it in “The Bermuda Triangle.”

We’ve all done this at some point iin our lives.  Don’t deny it.  There’s some household item you want to part with and yet you can’t figure out how to do it.  Maybe it’s the dresser you got as a kid, maybe it’s the recliner your grandfather left you.  Either way, the simplest and easiest method of disposal is to put it on the street with a big sign that says, “FREE!”

That, my friends, is the Bermuda Triangle, and that’s where Mabel is heading.

Robin still ends up opening the briefcase with a sledgehammer she just happens to find in Ted’s apartment.  A composition book makes her think that Barney’s cheating on her with a college girl, but when she reads the notes, she learns that they’re all about her.  Marshall slips up, and Robin wants to know about the notebook.  Turns out Barney’s been taking “Robin Lessons” with Ted.

It all started a few weeks ago when Barney realized that Ted was right and he would lose Robin if he didn’t start changing.  Since they couldn’t talk about it at the bar, and since Robin lives with Ted, they needed somewhere else to talk.  Ted needed “professor practice too,” so they break into his classroom.  Barney keeps asking to have class outside.

Lessons include:

1) Robin facial expressions (the most important being the scary mad face: avoid at all costs and RUN)

2) Diffusing the bomb (distractions before mad)

3) “You’re an idiot,” means “I love you” in Robin-speak.

4) Surprising erogenous zones

5) Top 5 things never to do around Robin

Barney’s convinced he didn’t learn anything, but when the pop quiz comes it turns out that he does.  Then Ted tries to walk out and he pulls a Dead Poets Society and stands on the chair.  Cute.

Poor Mabel’s time on the street corner doesn’t go well.  Except for the dog that pees on her, she spends hours out there, alone, looking forlorn and practically begging someone to take her home.

Robin shows up at the class, and she’s ticked.  Everyone’s in trouble, except for Shin Ya (he’s just auditing the class).  Robin claims that Ted doesn’t know anything.  Case in point, she was faking it with the erogenous zones.  She tells Barney if they can’t figure out how to be together in an honest way, she doesn’t see the point in trying.

A little while later, Robin’s at the bar alone, when Ted comes in to apologize.  She’s impressed by how much he remembers.  He tells her that he was only trying to put his knowledge of her to good use.  She asks if she’s fooling herself, and he tells her that Barney was on his way to a B+ since it’s the first time he’s ever seen Barney work so hard to keep a woman.  She comes out of the bar, and he tells her that he’s done with the class.  He throws the notebook on Mabel and tells her that he’s been with a lot of women, but he’s scared that she’s going to dump him.

And that’s when she tells him that he’s an idiot.

Robin realizes that the notebook has a lot of information about her.  They decide to retrieve it, but it’s already disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle.

Bumper scene: Ted’s in class, talking about the Flat Iron building and showing his slides.  Susan raises her hand and tells him that he’s showing a picture of a woman drinking beer on the toilet.  She’s Daniel Birnum’s wife, Ted tells them, a troubled troubled woman.

After the brilliance of last week’s episode, I kind of figured it was going to have to be a truly stellar effort to even compare.  Sadly, this week’s episode seems to have been a very rare misstep for the Mother Lovers.  There were some funny moments, but the quips and quotables just weren’t flying like they have been recently.  It’s a shame, too, because this was an episode that could have used the very best of NPH, and the writers just didn’t give him, or anyone else for that matter,  the material to work with this time around.

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