Ted's little sister, Heather, is moving to New York. Hurricane Heather has a history of irresponsibility, which Ted eagerly shares with his friends. That is, he shares it with all of his friends except Barney, who has been composing suggestive filk about Heather since he first saw her picture. Ted intentionally keeps Barney out of the loop about Heather's visit, but Lily can't keep secrets around Christmastime and spills to him, so he surprises Ted and the gang at Ted's apartment, and immediately charms Heather.
Barney assures Ted that he's only ever been joking about his sister. He then wheedles an invitation out of Ted to join him, Lily and Heather for dinner. Meanwhile, Marshall and Robin wander the city together. The holidays are making Robin homesick for Canada, so Marshall takes her to his favorite non-MacLaren's watering hole -- The Walleye Saloon. The patrons and staff are all from Minnesota and don't take kindly to outsiders, so Robin pretends she's from Bemidji. She soon falls in love with the bar, despite their tendency to tell Canadian jokes, and steals Marshall's thunder. In a fit of petty jealousy, he outs her as a Canadian, and she's shown the door.
Heather asks Ted to co-sign her lease, and Barney offers to help her get a job at GNB. Ted trusts neither Barney nor Heather, so Lily offers to pretend she's visiting Marshall at GNB, so she can spy on them. In the ensuing days, Ted is insufferable to Heather, even though she's acting responsibly. When Heather enters a shop to check out a new briefcase, Ted remarks upon her growth to Lily, who can no longer hold in her latest big secret. After Heather's interview, Lily went to see Marshall for a few minutes, and when she returned to Barney's office, she found him and Heather in a state of partial undress. They made Lily promise not to tell, which was a waste...
...Or was it? When Ted confronts Barney and Heather, he learns they were both pissed he didn't trust them so they set him and Lily up, so that she'd think she saw something, and report back to Ted. Ted makes up to Heather by buying her the expensive briefcase she'd been eyeing and co-signing her lease. Meanwhile, Marshall apologizes to Robin, reminds her how well-loved she is by the gang, and brings her to a Canadian karaoke bar, where he sings her number one hit.
"Little Minnesota" is a kid-free, Saget-lite, Mosby-enhanced Christmas extravaganza with a teaser so short you'll miss it if you blink. Robin walks into MacLaren's. Ted notices her lack of coat or even long sleeves and says, "It's freezing out there. Where's your coat?" Silly Ted. Super Canadian doesn't need a coat in New York. In December. The current NYC weather is nothing for her, or for Marshall, who agrees today is similar to a Minnesota spring day. "...If it weren't for all the taxis, and the skyscrapers, and non-white people." Ted asks if there aren't any black people in Minnesota. Marshall deadpans, "Not if Prince is on tour."
At MacLaren's, Ted tells Robin, Lily, and Marshall that his sister's plane got into NYC an hour ago. "Or as a meteorologist might say, Hurricane Heather has just made landfall." Lily protests that Heather's not that bad, but Ted won't be dissuaded from dumping on his little sister in a barroom, because he's...protective like that? Well, okay then. "Here's the back of Heather's baseball card: it took her six years to graduate from three different colleges, during which time she wrecked two cars, got married for five days, and lived in a tree for nine weeks, only to realize that no one had any intention of cutting it down. And now, Heather says she's moving to New York." Dear Self, these are the people who should not give your eulogy: Saget!Ted; current day Ted.
Lily seems impressed that Heather is taking such a big step, but Ted says she will never follow up on it. A few years back, she talked about transferring to NYU, then flaked out on the day of her interview. And we flashback to an unspecified day of yore, on which Ted calls Heather to inquire about his missing couch and TV. Cut to Heather who is body surfing atop the crowd at a concert. Seems she sold Big Brother's stuff for Nine Inch Nails concert tickets and a plane ticket to said concert -- in Spain.
My ancestors were Puritans from England. They arrived here in 1648 in the hope of finding greater restrictions than were permissible under English law at that time. --Garrison Keillor
Oh crap, it's Barney. Er... I mean, that's what Ted says when his phone rings and he checks the caller ID. He doesn't answer and explains that he's never let Barney meet his sister because... it's Barney, and his sister. As if that weren't enough reason on its face, Ted also recounts Barney's behavior when the Mosby family Christmas card arrives. And we...