"How I Met Your Mother" Definitions (TV Episode 2009) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Lily is sadder to learn that Barney and Robin aren't a couple more so than Barney or Robin. But after that, Lily catches Barney and Robin making out, the two who confess that they have been in a sexual relationship over the course of the summer, a fact they were hiding since they didn't want to make a big deal out of their undefined relationship. Lily thinks that Barney and Robin need to have "the talk" to define what they really mean to each other. They refuse since they are quite happy having sex and that's it. When Robin is forced to go on a date with Brad, Barney and Robin almost get to the point of feeling the need to have the talk. When they still can't go through with it, Lily, ultimately with some help from Marshall, comes up with a plan to force them to have the talk. Even if they do have the talk, will they come to any conclusions? Meanwhile Ted is preparing for his first day as a college professor teaching Architecture 101. He is trying to decide what kind of professor he wants to be: the stern authoritarian or the students' best friend. In the end, other aspects of the class may determine what kind of professor he is, at least to that class. As Ted relates this story to his children, he mentions that their mother was in that class.

  • As Ted begins his new career as a professor and is about to meet his future wife, Lily forces Barney and Robin to have "the talk" and define their new relationship.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • We left last season with Ted, a new professor, standing in front of a college lecture hall in which the mother-to-be of his children was sitting -- but we didn't know who she was. This season began with Old Ted reminding us of that.

    Flash back to the beginning of summer, though, when Barney and Robin hooked up after "a year of wrestling with their feelings for each other." This made Lily very excited, talking about double dates and their kids getting married. But Robin and Barney said they just weren't feeling a relationship.

    "It's not you, it's us," they Told Lily, who cried in bed that night about missing out on cooking lessons and camping trips, and the eventually telling of stories about their cooking lessons and camping trips.

    Marshall's gift to Ted before his first day of teaching was something that once belonged to his favorite professor of all time: a fedora and a whip. Robin and Barney left, talking about hot dates they were going on. Ted, Marshall and Lily, meanwhile, went out behind the bar to whip stuff. Cut to Marshall holding his cheek and Ted apologizing as the gang went back to the apartment, where they found Barney and Robin making out on the couch.

    "Woooooo!" Lily squealed, insisting they're boyfriend and girlfriend.

    They explained that after they kissed, they tried to have "the talk," about figuring out what their relationship was, but instead they made out. Lily insisted that they really have the talk.

    Ted had a little stress dream about his students not taking him seriously. Lily told him that the dream meant definitions were important, and Barney agreed with her at every turn until she likened the situation to Barney and Robin's need to define their relationship. Barney told Lily there was no need to define it. Then a guy at the bar named Brad asked Robin out and she couldn't say she had a boyfriend.

    Brad and Robin went to a hockey game and she explained that she didn't know what she and Barney were. He said they needed to have "the talk." Cut to Barney telling Marshall they didn't need to have the talk. Ted said he didn't think it was necessary -- because Robin was already Barney's girlfriend. He hearkened back to Barney's own rules, which he told Ted four years earlier, when they were both wearing tuxedos at the bar:

    The rules for making sure a girl isn't your girlfriend are "the same as the rules for Gremlins."

    1. Never get them wet -- "in other words, don't let her take a shower and 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."

    Barney realized he'd done all three of those things with Robin, and wondered if she was his girlfriend.

    Marshall said, "Just once I wish you guys would call me on tuxedo night."

    Back at the hockey game, Robin and Brad were caught on the Kiss Cam and the crowd chanted for them to kiss. Before they kissed, Barney showed up and punched Brad. Brad forgave Barney, saying he shouldn't go kissing another guy's girlfriend. But Barney and Robin got defensive again.

    Barney and Robin woke up in the morning to find that Lily had taken the door knob off Robin's bedroom door and locked them inside. She wouldn't let them out until they had the talk. She demanded they write the definition of their relationship on a piece of paper and slip it under the door.

    In his first day teaching, Ted went back and forth over whether he wanted to be cool professor guy or strict educator man. After introducing the class, Architecture 101, and himself as Professor Mosby, then Ted, then Professor Mosby, then T-Dog (before quickly adding, "Do not call me T-Dog"), a girl raised her hand. He remembered Barney telling him to take questions on the first day because it's a sign of weakness and proclaimed, "Please save all your questions until the end of the lecture." Old Ted helped us out, noting that if the girl had been allowed to speak, she would have told Ted he was in the wrong classroom. He was in an advanced economics classroom.

    He went on for seven minutes expounding on the glory of architecture, even asking at one point what the class was really about. A student said, "Economics," and Ted said he was part right, because an architect has to be "economical in his use of space."

    Ted asked another student, "Why do you want to be an architect?" The student replied, "I don't want to be an architect." An excited Ted responded, "Yes! It's not something you want to be. It's something you need to be. None of you have a choice!" Several students raised their hands and Ted shouted, "No questions!"

    Back at the apartment, Robin and Barney came up short of defining their relationship to Lily's satisfaction.

    Finally, the economics professor showed up, apologizing for being late. An incredulous Ted mocked the professor, wondering how 200 architecture students and the professor could all be in the wrong place. Finally, a student said, "T-Dog, you're in the wrong room, bro."

    Ted ran across campus, with the "Indiana Jones" theme song playing in the background.

    He later told Marshall and Lily about it and how he arrived in his real classroom 20 minutes late. He said it was better, because at that point he didn't think about what kind of teacher he wanted to be, he just started talking about architecture.

    Robin and Barney, still locked in the bedroom, decided to have the stupid talk after Marshall made pancakes and bacon and fanned the scent of breakfast under the door.

    They decided they weren't good at being friends or being in a relationship, but they were good about lying about being just friends. "Why not just keep lying?" Robin told Barney. She slipped a definition under the door and started telling Lily how much they loved being boyfriend and girlfriend.

    We could tell they kind of started to mean it. Lily let them out and Barney and Robin went outside giggling about how Lily "bought it." They walked away holding hands.

    As Lily, Marshall and Ted watched them walk away, Ted said, "You do realize they were lying, right?"

    "No, Ted," Lily replied. "They don't realize they weren't lying."

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