How I Met Your Mother is back in season 1 form. Maybe that’s because it’s one of the only shows around where the characters are actually evolving. Who knew you could do that and still be funny? Thank the T.V. gods for these writers.

The premiere started out exactly where last season’s finale left off. Ted proposed to Stella, Barney realized he loved Robin, and Marshall was bored and unemployed. Shocking…Stella said yes. It wouldn’t have made any sense if she turned down Ted but it is kind of quick. This is just what Marshall keeps trying to get through to Ted. But, of course, Ted knows that he loves Stella and that’s, supposedly, all he needs to know.

So they’re lovely and happy and Ted cooks a delicious dinner for the two of them to celebrate. And then Stella stares forward and falls off her chair like she’s dead. Relax, I said like she’s dead. Turns out she’s allergic to peanuts and that’s just what Ted’s secret ingredient is. Guess he should know a little bit more about the lovely doctor. After he gets her home from the hospital, that is to his home (who is watching her daughter all of these times?), he dives head first into trying to get to know her better. Are you really surprised? You know our Ted is too intense for slow. Anyways, turns out possibly-soon-to-be Mrs. Ted has never seen Star Wars and since this is our boy’s favorite movie of all time, it’s imperative that his future wife love it, too.

So Ted and Marshall set out to have Stella watch, and subsequently love, Star Wars. Of course, she doesn’t know this is a possible deal breaker and so she mistakes Ted’s staring at her as some form of foreplay instead of his gauging how much she’s enjoying the movie thus far. But she’s not a stupid girl and so she figures out what he’s trying to do. And since she’s not a timid girl, either, she kicks him out so she can watch it in peace. Have I mentioned I really like Stella. It just makes me sad because do you really think the ‘Mother’ would come on so early? Me neither, sadly enough. Back to the story. So Stella finally finishes the movie and comes in to tell Ted that she loves it. And then as soon as he walks out the room she confesses to Marshall she hated it. Though at first he’s a little wary of anyone who, first, could hate Star Wars, and second, could lie to his best friend, Stella wins him over by saying she would pretend forever if it would make Ted happy. Collective awww.

There were quite a few other collective aww moments and not too surprisingly for those of us who watched last season’s finale, many of them came from Barney, who has a new and shiny heart full of feelings. Though he tries, and fails, to hide his new love for Robin, the ever astute Lily knows something is up. So it’s only natural for Barney to call on Lily for help. And of course she helps him. After all she’s a kindergarten teacher and helping emotionally fragile and confused children is what she does best. Though she tells him what to do; be honest, ask Robin on a date, etc., Barney just can’t do it. He calls but gets nervous and leaves a high pitched squeal on her voicemail. He answers her calls with a hilariously deep voice and then asks her when her first period was (Lily told him to ask her something about herself, something personal). Hijinks ensue but in the end, Barney says it was all a joke and runs into his bedroom. Side note: Neil was totally robbed at the Emmys.

Lily knows that Barney really does love Robin, though, and she is determined to help him reveal his feelings, however awkward that encounter may be. There is one condition: he has to stop sleeping around with all the bimbos and only concentrate on Robin. So Lily’s big plan is to invite Barney and Robin out and then leave them to enjoy each other’s company. It actually works and Barney is such a gentleman that he doesn’t even check out the waitresses’ enormous chest under her inappropriately revealing top. Freaky, right? But really it’s sweet to see some one actually grow. Of course, Robin is totally oblivious to the fact that Barney only has eyes for her and so she tries to be the best wing-woman possible to repay him for being such a great friend and listening to her talk about work all night. And so she sets up Barney with the afore-mentioned waitress. Robin leaves and Barney turns down the waitress.

Seriously? Have you never seen the show? Of course Barney goes home with the waitress and when he recounts the evening to Lily, she tells him he has to choose between Robin and the bimbos. In true Barney fashion, he chooses the bimbos because “they make him happy and he loves their vacant, trusting stares and unresolved daddy issues.” Lily leaves in defeat but we know Barney loves Robin. After all, he turns on the TV just to see her every night. Seriously so sweet.

I’m giddy about the advancements happening with our favorite new group of friends this season. People moving forward, who knew that was even an option for writers anymore? Oh, and by the way, if you ever hear Marshall and Lily say “chimmichanga,” it’s time to cover the little ones’ eyes.

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