Jenkins (How I Met Your Mother)

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For the character this episode was named after, see Jenkins (How I Met Your Mother character).
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 13
Directed by Neil Patrick Harris
Written by Greg Gerard & Matt Zinman
Production code 5ALH13
Original air date January 18, 2010 (2010-01-18)
Guest appearance(s)

Amanda Peet (Real Jenkins)
Edward Flores (Male Jenkins)

Season 5 episodes

"Jenkins" is the 13th episode of the fifth season of the CBS situation comedy How I Met Your Mother and 101st episode overall. It originally aired on January 18, 2010. The episode hit a season high with 10.52 million viewers and high overall ratings.

The episode is directed by starring actor and first-time director Neil Patrick Harris.


Ted and Marshall walk into a college bar, and Ted is worried about meeting his students there. Marshall goes to the bar often to maintain his skeeball high score. Marshall tells him that Jenkins, a particularly quirky co-worker who has been the subject of a number of funny office stories that Marshall has told the group about, will be joining them. Because Marshall neglected to mention Jenkins's gender, Ted pictures Jenkins as a goofy fat man, and is therefore taken by surprise when Barney announces his intention to sleep with "Jenkins." He finally gets a resolution when Jenkins arrives and turns out to be a woman.

The next day, Lily unexpectedly shows up at Marshall's workplace, and finds out that Jenkins is a woman. However, she is not jealous or upset that he neglected to tell her Jenkins' gender. Ted and Robin theorize that in every relationship, one person, is a "reacher", and one is a "settler", who settles for the less attractive partner. Marshall asks Lily to classify herself and she says "settler."

To prove that he can date more attractive women, Marshall plans to show Lily how Jenkins flirts with him. At his workplace, Jenkins kisses Marshall on impulse. Marshall runs home and apologizes to Lily, but she dismisses him as lying to make her jealous. Jenkins later apologizes to Marshall, saying she was drunk from a late-night drinking game. She plans to apologize to Lily, which Marshall eagerly urges her to. Lily calmly listens to Jenkins' apology, then proceeds to beat her up. Future Ted mentions that Marshall never tried to make Lily jealous again.

In a separate story, Robin encounters fans of her pre-morning news show. At the college bar, one of Ted's students compliments her for her work. The next day, she interrupts Ted's class to announce that she is the show's host. After she leaves, the class explains to Ted that Robin is so hesitant when she presents that her constant interjections of "but...umm" are the basis for a drinking game.

Ted and Barney test the game the next night, watching Robin's show, and get smashed. After Robin brags about her wide viewership, Ted explains the reason. That night, Ted joins his class for the game. Annoyed by the truth, Robin decides to repeat the phrase "but...umm" excessively, making those playing the game drink much more than usual. In another bar, Jenkins plays the same game. The next morning, she is still drunk, which leads to the incident where she kisses Marshall.

During the next day's class, Robin interrupts again, startling the hungover Ted and his students.


Neil Patrick Harris made his directorial debut with the episode. This is especially unusual for the show, as Pamela Fryman directed the majority of the episodes before this.[1] Of the previous 100 episodes, 94 were directed by Fryman, 5 were directed by Rob Greenberg and 1 was directed by Michael Shea, making Harris only the fourth different person to direct an episode of the show. Harris summarized the experience describing it as [sic] "Equal parts overwhelm, education, and exhilaration."[2] Harris' role is smaller in this episode due to directorial duties.

Critical response[edit]

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club rated the episode with a grade B+.[3]

Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.5 out of 10.[4]


  1. ^ "Neil Patrick Harris Directs Episode of 'How I Met Your Mother' Airing 1/18". Retrieved 2010-01-30. Though a series regular, this will mark Harris's directing debut, and a rarity for the show as Pamela Fryman has directed 92 of 'How I Met Your Mother's' 97 episodes. 
  2. ^ Retrieved 2010-03-06.
  3. ^ Donna Bowman (2010-01-18). "How I Met Your Mother: Jenkins". The AV Club. The Onion. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  4. ^ Brian Zoromski (2010-01-19). "How I Met Your Mother: Jenkins Review. Reachers, settlers, and full-on lady wood.". IGN (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-30. 

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