Definitions (How I Met Your Mother)

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How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 1
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Production code 5ALH01
Original air date September 21, 2009 (2009-09-21)
Guest actors

Brett Ryback (Guy)
Kimberly Matula (Girl)
Abhi Sinha (Guy #2)
Laura Ornelas (Girl #2)
Dale E. Turner (Professor Calzonetti)
Joe Manganiello (Brad)
Michael Busch (Student)

Season 5 episodes

"Definitions" is the first episode of the fifth season of the How I Met Your Mother TV series and 89th episode overall. It originally aired on September 21, 2009.


Future Ted explains how nervous he was his first day of teaching, when he was trying to figure out what kind of teacher he would be; formal disciplinarian or laid-back peer. Before the first class, Marshall gives Ted the gift of a worn leather fedora and whip, just like fictional college teacher Indiana Jones (in the alley later, Marshall is caught by the whip in the face).

That night, Ted has a dream about his first day. As he starts the class, a girl raises her hand. She asks him who he thinks he is. A second student asks why he is teaching the class when he himself is a failure at architecture. A third student asks why he doesn't have a hat and a whip. Another student quickly asks why he isn't wearing any pants. Ted wakes in a panic, only to find Barney rifling through his nightstand for condoms.

At the actual first day of class (with Future Ted having already revealed that his future wife was among the students), Ted starts writing, "Professor Mosby" on the board, but forgets if the word "Professor" has one "F" or two. This starts him off on a spiral of anxiety, alternating between stern authority figure, and laid-back buddy. The same girl depicted in his dream raises her hand, but following Barney's advice, Ted is not taking questions during the first class. She was attempting to tell him he was in the wrong classroom. Future Ted later informs that girl is not the mother.

Students start answering Ted's questions about architecture, trying to dissuade him, but he only takes it as a challenge, and reworks their answers into positives. The real teacher eventually shows up, and humiliated, Ted runs across campus to his actual classroom. After being so embarrassed, Ted doesn't have the energy to think about what kind of teacher he'll be, and simply starts teaching.

Meanwhile, Barney and Robin have spent the summer sleeping together, but without any discussion about their relationship ("the Talk"). After the events of "The Leap", Lily is ecstatic to have another couple to double date with, but the two quickly tell her they are not dating. They then lie to the gang all summer while hooking up secretly. When the gang walks in on the two of them making out on Ted's couch, Barney and Robin talk about how much they hate talking about relationships and feelings. Later that night, Marshall's law school buddy Brad ("World's Greatest Couple") asks Robin out on a date to a hockey game.

At the arena, Robin is enthusiastic about the game, but admits that she feels weird going out with Brad, because she has feelings for Barney. Brad tells Robin she needs to have "the Talk" with Barney, and suddenly, they are put on the JumboTron for a public kiss. Back at the apartment, Ted tells Barney that Robin is already his girlfriend according to his "Gremlins" rule. During a tuxedo-themed night at the bar, Barney explains you cannot get a woman wet (let her shower in your house), expose her to sunlight (date her before sunset), or feed her after midnight (breakfast together), or she will turn into your girlfriend. Marshall laments being left out of the occasion. Barney rushes to the arena and interrupts the New York Rangers "Kiss Cam" by ineffectually punching Brad in the face. After apologizing, he and Robin are still unable to admit that they are dating.

Back at the apartment, after another night of sex, Robin tries to leave the room, but the doorknob detaches. Lily is outside, having sabotaged the door, and is waiting for them to have "the Talk." Robin and Barney pass a few notes under the door with vague explanations, none of which satisfy her (punctuated by Marshall cracking the whip and yelling "Not good enough"). Lured by Marshall's ploy of fanning the smell of fresh breakfast in front of their door, eventually Robin and Barney decide to lie and say that they are boyfriend and girlfriend, but their lie clearly has elements of sincerity. Lily lets them out, prompting Marshall to crack the whip and yell "Good enough!". Robin and Barney leave the apartment hand-in-hand to go to brunch. Ted tells Lily that they're lying to her, to which she responds that they don't realize they're not lying to each other.

Later that night, after being left out of Tuxedo Night, Marshall shows up dressed to the nines at MacLaren's.


Cultural references[edit]

  • Barney brings up the movie Predator in explaining how to pick the proper tie.[1]
  • Barney compares women to Gremlins explaining the same rules apply.[2]
  • One of the fake definitions Barney and Robin write to Lily about their relationship reads "Barnman and Robin", referencing Batman and Robin.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Donna Bowman of The AV Club rated the episode B+[1]

Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 9 out of 10.[2]


  1. ^ a b Donna Bowman (September 21, 2009). "How I Met Your Mother: "Definitions"". The AV Club. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Brian Zoromski (September 18, 2009). "How I Met Your Mother: "Definitions" Review". IGN (News Corporation). Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Barney's Blog". Archived from the original on 30 August 2011. "Barn·man and Rob·in [barn-man and rob-in] – A delightful and humorous play on words meant to equate Barney Stinson and Robin Scherbatsky with popular comic book superheroes Batman and Robin" 

External links[edit]