How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, Episode 6
This season of How I Met Your Mother has been inconsistent at best so far; at worst, I have been on the verge of declaring the show in a slump. Tonight's episode swung just in between, serving up a mediocre, if ultimately almost entirely forgettable, episode of the show.

The A-plot, for what has to be the sixth time this season, focuses on the relationship of Barney and Robin. See, they aren't too good at being in a couple, and in case the first five episodes this season didn't convince you that this sometimes causes them trouble, here's a sixth. The two have developed a system for never fighting (Barney leaves the apartment or Robin gets naked) which works out fine until they are trapped on a ski lift together and get into a fight. They then cannot stop fighting, but pretend everything is fine for the benefit of their friends, and so they can still seem like the awesome-est couple ever.

Barney's arrogance has also sparked a fight between Marshall and Lily (who, for the life of them cannot have a separate story any more) over doing the dishes. Barney lays out an argument to fell Lily, but Marshall, whose legal prowess is dampened in front of her, simplifies it to, "I make more money than you"¦ Dance for me." Those two then become involved in an explosive fight, which leads to Ted winning he and Marshall's slap bet, in a call back that mocks how drawn out the Barney-Marshall one has been. As much as I love waiting for the next slap (and believe me, it's a reason to wake up in the morning), I enjoyed that this version took literally thirty seconds to resolve itself.

Relegated to the C-plot yet again, Ted has to deal with his neighbors having loud sex, which he euphemizes as playing the bagpipes (despite the fact that he has discussed sex countless times before on the show). Let's pause for a second to consider how Ted hearing old people have sex could even possibly be relevant to the story of how he met his future wife and the mother of his children. If that moment of thought didn't worry you that the show has lost a little focus these last few weeks, consider this: every episode in the series stellar first two seasons was fairly directly related to Ted's quest or to his development as a person that would make him the man he needed to be.

When Season 3 started to shift away from that master-plot, it was because Ted had his heartbroken and needed a break from the quest. Season 4 opened with the Stella arc, which definitively tied in, but since then, the show has largely been lost in a sea of Barney and Robin plotlines. I believe that Barney and Robin are a good couple, and I've been routing for their pairing since they bro'd out back in Season 1, but I never wanted them to be the show's focus. This series, despite its many tangents, is about Ted meeting the woman he will make a life with, and when the show loses sight of that for weeks on end, it is disconcerting to say the least. It was announced that creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas planned on doing 7 seasons a few years back, and I took that to mean they had a master-plan that was being carefully executed. This season so far makes me wonder if they aren't just treading water until they can bring up the next big development.

However, "Bagpipes" did something "Duel Citizenship" and "The Sexless Innkeeper" often forgot to do"”it made me laugh. Further, it did not outright anger me in the way the last two episodes did. Was it perfect How I Met Your Mother? Far from it. But at least it entertained me for 22 minutes before I went on to forget much of its happenings.

Grade: B


-"She keeps asking her to bagpipe him harder, but from the sound of it he's bagpiping her pretty hard already."

-"Why is there a bag of panties in your closet labeled "˜April 2008'?"

-"There was a small debate once about which of us was more awesome, but we just called it a draw and had sex."

-Segments from Marshall and Lily's hilarious multi-pronged fight: "I teach kindergarten. I mold the future leaders of tomorrow." "You eat cookies and glue stuff!""¦ "My mother doesn't hate you. She's neutral." Also to be noted, Lily's hilarious The Shining impression, and how much it scares Marshall.

-"I'll wash my manhood when I'm good and ready!" "Ok, where was he not sitting?"

-CONTINUITY POLICE: Robin does nicknames. She liked to call Ted "Teddy Bear" when they were together. Also, remember several episodes so far this season when Robin and Barney fought?
Tags: How I Met Your Mother
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