Saget!Ted opens the show by telling the kids that "Uncle Barney" has been called a lot of names by a lot of women, over the years. A brief montage shows Barney getting drinks thrown in his face by various women, as they refer to him with all the names you'd expect: jerk, bastard, Barack Obama, Jr. Hee. In that last bit, Barney's response is, "Mmmm hmmm, and yes we can." Saget!Ted's point is: "But there's one name we never expected to hear him called." We cut to Robin at the apartment, saying, "Boyfriend? Barney Stinson is my boyfriend. I've said it about 100 times, but it still sounds weird to say." Lily listens as Ted replies that anything sounds weird if you say it a hundred times. "Bowl." He then continues to repeat the word bowl, while Robin and Lily do their best to ignore him and continue the discussion. Robin thinks Barney has been single for too long. She's caught him trying to sneak out of her window at 4:00AM, on more than one occasion. She has to remind him they're not having a one nightstand and that it's okay to stay, before he will flop back down on the bed. And when she's upset and needs someone to hear about her bad day, he sweetly encourages her to call Lily and then find him at the bar when she's ready to have sex. Robin's not touchy-feely, either, but she would like to see a little more effort on Barney's part. Lily allows that he doesn't stack up and notes that Robin has had some pretty incredible boyfriends. The remaining Robin/Ted 'shippers give up the ghost, when the camera pans to Ted, who is still conducting his bowl bowl bowl experiment. Robin looks at him and without missing a beat says, "No, that's not it." She wonders if Barney just doesn't have it in him to be a good boyfriend. "Maybe this whole thing's a big mistake." Ted cocks his head. "Bowl?"
MacLaren's: Ted fills Barney in on Robin's concerns and tells Barney that if he wants to keep her, he's got to be more attentive to her emotions, and be "present." Barney nods, and scratches his cheek. "Yes! Totally. Only thing -- and this is just me -- I'd like my testicles attached to my body, rather than rolling around next to some eyeliner, in Robin's purse." He glares at Ted, and picks up his drink. "Stinson out." As he leaves the booth, we cut to...
The Apartment: Saget!Ted narrates that then a funny thing happened. "Over the next couple of weeks, Barney was thoughtful, considerate, sweet -- in short -- the perfect boyfriend." We see Barney bring Robin breakfast in bed, and give her flowers and otherwise behave like a guy who actually likes a girl. Then we flash to the present: Robin tells Lily Barney must be cheating on her. Lily tries to rise to Barney's defense, but as soon as the words, "Barney's not the kind of guy..." leave her lips, she realizes how preposterous it sounds, and tells Robin to continue. He's been working late, yet not at the office, and yada yada, so Robin wants to find evidence that Barney's got someone on the side. He left his briefcase home today, so Robin, somehow thinking she's in a Lucy and Ethel sketch (and that she -- not Lily -- is Lucy) wants to find Ted's sledgehammer and bust it open.
Lily, who this week is plot driven rather than character driven, puts on the brakes. "Stop. Stop. Eye contact! Listen to me. Robin Scherbatsky is many things: friend; confidant; occasional guest star in some confusing dreams that remind me a woman's sexuality is a moving target, but she is no crazy, jealous stalker-bitch." Just as she wrests the briefcase from Robin's grasp, Marshall enters. He's huffing and puffing because he's been cleaning their stuff out of the basement storage area, in attempt to make room for Robin's stuff. He apologizes for not doing so when Robin first moved in, but she didn't even know there was storage, and I'm not going to put any more thought into this B-plot than the writers did, so there. Still panting, Marshall shows Lily his great find. It's a whisky barrel. Lily feigns nostalgic delight as we learn that "Mabel" the whisky barrel has been with Marshall since college, and they only put it in storage after Lily discovered she had a rare "barrel resin allergy." She gives Robin the evil eye, to convince her to go along with this ridiculous excuse that Marshall -- the naïf lawyer -- holds as gospel. When Robin asks Marshall if he needs a hand throwing it out (rather than asking him why he'd bring something so big and heavy all the way up from storage to the apartment in the first place), Marshall is appalled. "Mabel is like family." He's going to put her in the Bermuda Triangle -- his and Ted's nickname for the spot on the curb in front of the apartment. Anything they've ever put there has been immediately scoffed up by a passerby. Surely, the Bermuda Triangle will help Mabel find a good home. Marshall is his usual childlike, adorable self, and his hair looks AWESOME, but I just don't have the patience for this part of the story.
After he leaves, Lily asks Robin if she's ready to go. Robin says yes, but then grabs a sledgehammer from out of the writer's ass and smashes open Barney's briefcase. She finds a composition notebook, and is shocked that Barney's skank-on-the-side isn't a dumb skank-on-the-side. But when she opens the notebook, she realizes it's full of notes about her. Her birthday, Canucks fandom, and white lie about her age (she's 29 but tells people she's 26) are all there in black and white. Marshall returns all excited to watch Mabel in the Bermuda triangle, because usually stuff he and Ted put out there gets taken before they know it. He grabs binoculars off the shelf and waits -- all a-tingle. When a guy walks right by Mabel, Marshall rationalizes why he didn't take it. Then he turns to see what the girls are doing. "What are you guys doing with Barney's secret Robin notebook?" His face falls as he realizes his error. "Let me rephrase that. Have you two ladies lost some weight?" Yes, yes they have. Having a baby does that to a girl. But no one's told the wardrobe department, so good on you for noticing, Marshall. Robin asks Marshall why Barney would have a notebook full of info about her. As Marshall struggles for the right words, Saget!Ted explains that Barney's been taking a nightschool class. We flash to Ted's classroom at Columbia. He's teaching Barney: Robin 101: How to Date Robin Scherbatsky.
The Apartment: After the break, Marshall explains why Ted is teaching a class about Robin. "It all started a few weeks ago..." We flash back to the scene between Barney and Ted at MacLaren's. Barney leaves the booth with his "Stinson out." He leaves his empty glass on the bar and heads towards the door, turns around, sticks his arm out, gets a fresh drink, and sits at the booth. "Stinson back in." He wants to know -- hypothetically of course -- what kind of changes he'd have to make to be a good boyfriend to Robin. Ted says there's so much to know, and as soon as he tells Barney never to cry in front of Robin, "And whatever you do, don't cry in front of her four times," their confab is interrupted by Robin who asks them what they're talking about. Simultaneously, the guys answer, "Fantasy football," then give each other high fives with their eyes. Back at the apartment, Marshall explains that since they couldn't talk about Robin at the apartment, or the bar, they decided to meet in Ted's classroom. And we jump to...
Ted's Classroom: Barney is about as attentive as you'd expect, and mostly asks to draw boobs on the chalkboard and/or have class outside. Ted holds Barney in check though, because he needs practice teaching. Ted also catches Barney fiddling with his cell phone. When he calls him out on this, Barney says, "What? I'm