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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: For whom the wedding bells toll

September 20, 2010 |  8:30 pm

99506_FOX_1304b “Kids, there are two big days in any love story: The day you meet the girl of your dreams and the day you marry her.”

That's how Monday night's “How I Met Your Mother” season premiere started. After a summer summer of telling TV reporters and critics that Season 6 would be a return to the show's early seasons, co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas delivered a solid episode that got things off to a promising start with a sweet Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) story and a classic “Mother” twist ending, but back to the beginning first.

The episode started with a flash forward to a wedding. Marshall brings a nervous Ted (Josh Radnor) a beer. Could this be Ted's wedding day? Back in the present day, a nervous Ted is trying to work up the nerve to approach a hot girl at the bar. When Cindy (Rachel Bilson) shows up and greets the girl, Ted realizes that she may be Cindy's perfect-for-Ted roommate, but getting to her will be even harder now since he and Cindy didn't end things on good terms. Cue flashback to Ted and Cindy having an awkward exchange on campus.

“Oh, hi, Cindy,” she says mockingly before sticking out her tongue at him. Bilson was so adorable in this quick scene that once again I was left wondering why she doesn't have her own TV show. Back at the bar, Cindy spots Ted and apologizes to him for her behavior. She realized he wasn't what she wanted, and she wasn't what he wanted. Believing he's got an in now, Ted goes for it and approaches Cindy and her friend, but Cindy beats him to it and plants a big kiss on her friend! Totally did not see that one coming! Turns out her date with Ted was so bad, it made her reevaluate her sexual orientation. So no, the friend's not the mother, although both she and Cindy become mothers to a girl in the future. I love these little future glimpses of the girls that Ted had crossed paths with. Now we know where Stella (Sarah Chalke), Maggie (Joanna Garcia) and Cindy end up. I'm sure some Victoria (Ashley Williams) lovers, who are holding out for her return, are curious what happened to her.

Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily are trying to make a baby, but Marshall's father is getting in the way. Lily is upset that Marshall told his overly involved, no-boundaries dad about their baby-making attempts. I was siding with Marshall until he revealed that his dad and mother were going to come live with them for three months. Bad move, Marshall. Lily insists that he tell his father that they've decided not to have a baby.

“You want me to give my dad a stroke?!” Marshall exclaims.

“Only if you want to give this a stroke,” Lily replies, motioning at her body. Nice move, Lily. But after a brief heart to heart with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) – yes, Barney – who tells her he'd be on the phone with his dad all the time if he had his number, Lily realizes Marshall and his dad both just care too much. And Marshall reassures her that she could never let him down, even if she can't have a baby. This is the kind of emotional, touching and funny Marshall and Lily storyline I can get behind. More of this, less of the nagging twosome who attacked last season.

Robin (Cobie Smulders), however, seems to have progressed backward. Upset over her breakup with Don, which was months ago – was she really that into him? – she's looking like a homeless person and eating Cheetos found in her hair. To quote Bilson on another show, “Ew!” Still, it's pretty hard to make Smulders look terrible, even in dirty sweatpants and hair that looks like it hasn't been brushed in weeks. Robin gets her groove back when Barney insists that she's past her expiration date. To prove him wrong, she not only sundresses up, she white-sundresses up.

“Robin, you do look super hot,” Barney says, admiring her.

“Oh, do I?” she asks.

“Yeah, you do,” he replies, a little softer and more genuinely this time as she pops a Cheeto out of her purse. Also, notice the way Barney checks her out when she isn't looking. I think there's still a chance for these two.

The episode ends back at the wedding, where Lily comes and says the best man, Ted, is needed. In the voiceover, Ted tells his kids this is the day he met their mother, and then it begins to rain. The “I'm hoping it doesn't rain” at the beginning of the episode was great foreshadowing to the infamous yellow umbrella. So if this isn't Ted's wedding, then whose is it? There's only so many people who would make Ted their best man, I think. My mind immediately jumped to Barney's and possibly Robin's wedding. But then why is Cindy's roommate there? Did Cindy make Ted the best man at her wedding?

Readers, what do you think? Are you pleased with this new chapter in the mother mystery? I must admit I was expecting a bigger reveal about the mother. Cindy's surprise liplock upstaged the ending for me, but at least we now know when Ted meets the mother and, supposedly, it's not too far off.

— Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)


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Photo: Ted (Josh Radnor) runs into Cindy (Rachel Bilson) at the bar. Credit: Eric McCandless / Fox.