Season 5 kicks off with Barney trying something totally different: a relationship with Robin. Alas, the happily-ever-after is not meant to be…yet. After the breakup, Barney jumps right back into the dating scene, but a hurt Robin takes time before falling for Don (Benjamin Koldyke), her once-reviled coanchor. They end things when he takes a job in Chicago…that she first turned down. But this season isn’t all relationship drama: Marshall finds time to dole out the fourth slap of the slap bet on Thanksgiving, a.k.a. ”Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap,” while Ted becomes an architecture professor and buys a fixer-upper where his family will eventually live. With no long-term girlfriend this season, he goes on an ill-fated date with Cindy (Rachel Bilson), who we learn is actually The Mother’s roommate (and a future lesbian). Throughout, Lily and Marshall struggle with whether they are ready to start a family. The season wraps with Lily asking Marshall to ”put a baby in my belly.”
Best Episode: ”Girls vs. Suits” Ted realizes it’s not Cindy but her roommate who’s perfect for him, and viewers get the most revealing glimpse of The Mother — her foot! — to date. MacLaren’s hires a hot bartender (Stacy Keibler) who doesn’t go for guys in suits. Barney tries to don T-shirts, but by episode’s end he’s got the whole cast singing an all-out love song to, what else, suits.
Best Sound Bite ”You just gotta make [grading papers] fun. For example, every time I spot a grammatical error, I do a shot. I’m trashed right now, and I blame our public-school system.” —Ted