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How I Met Your Mother recap: Bagpipes etiquette

Faithful viewers of "How I Met Your Mother" know that Barney Stinson loves the word "awesome" and everything it represents. Neil Patrick
Harris' suave man about town craves nothing more than to be awesome at whatever he pursues, whether it's laser tag, suiting up for a one-night stand or whatever the heck he does for Goliath National Bank in his corner office.

So it's no surprise that he thinks he's awesome now at relationships, boasting that he and Robin have supplanted Marshall and Lily as the best couple. Naturally, this leads to the introduction of another indispensable term in the How I Met Your Mother lexicon: New Relationship Smugness.

What to Watch on Monday: Too late to right a "Trauma" wrong?

How I Met Your Mother (8pm, CBS) - Overly confident in his role as Robin's boyfriend, Barney starts giving relationship advice to Marshall, which ends in disaster.

Trauma (9pm, NBC) - A show so much better than its sister show "Mercy," "Trauma" was unfairly canceled last week by NBC, a network which seems to be giving up on dramas. (Maybe "Trauma" can move to cable like NBC's inexplicably canceled "Southland.") While "Trauma" isn't perfect, there's something great here every single week -- at least one moment in each show that stops you dead in your tracks. What will it be tonight? Nancy and Glenn (right) discover what it's like to be on the receiving end of emergency help, while Rabbit gets a big surprise on the job. 

For the Love of Ray J 2 (9pm, VH1) - Hip hop singer Ray J gets a second season to try to find true love. Apparently the contestant he impregnated during the first season wasn't "the one."

Big Bang Theory (9:30pm, CBS) - Sheldon tries to teach Leonard the fundamentals of football, and Raj and Howard have a kite fight.

Castle (10pm, ABC) - A dead rock star is discovered staged in a scene from her own music video, and lyrics from one of her songs finally breaks the case open. 

How I Met Your Mother recap: Neutered in tweed

While Monday night's episode leaves unanswered how many billable hours Marshall wastes uploading slide shows of uncomfortably lame double dates, at least Ted proves he can overcome the romance-killing powers of a professor's tweed jacket.

Call it "Revenge of the Sexless Innkeeper," or "The rare 'How I Met Your Mother' episode where the subplot makes up for an otherwise weak storyline."

How I Met Your Mother recap: Robin 101

When you're floundering in the early stages of a romantic relationship, how cool would it be if your partner had an emotionally secure ex willing to share all the personal do's and don'ts to avoid fights and to keep your partner happy? OK, maybe that would be a bit creepy in the real world, but in sitcom land, that's Comedy 101.

So with Barney still struggling to adjust to his new boyfriend role with Robin on Monday's episode of How I Met Your Mother, no one blinks when he turns to his pal Ted, who dated Robin for a year or so, for a class on dating her. The "no one blinks" goes especially for Robin, who fixes her ex- and current boyfriend with her patented wide-eyed stare of anger after she discovers Barney's secret Robin notebook.

What to Watch on Monday: James Earl Jones on "House"

House (8pm, Fox) - James Earl Jones plays an ailing African dictator charged with crimes against humanity who arrives at the hospital for treatment. Also, House gets involved in a feud between his new roomie Wilson and Wilson's neighbor.

How I Met Your Mother (8pm, CBS) - Robin thinks Barney is cheating on her already, but really he's just getting info from Ted on how to be the most awesome boyfriend ever.

Castle (10pm, ABC) - A young model is savagely murdered, leading Castle and Beckett into the ruthless world of high fashion.

CSI: Miami (10pm, CBS) - Calleigh (Emily Proctor) has to testify against Delko, which endangers his CSI future. Cheryl Ladd guest stars.

How I Met Your Mother recap: Stripper doppelganger

Talk about value. Monday night's episode of How I Met Your Mother didn't provide viewers with just one boring blind date for Ted. As an added bonus, we got to sit through Ted's boring blind date twice.

More importantly, though, Barney and Marshall discover a Russian stripper who could pass for Lily's twin, assuming that Lily's twin was also kin to Barbara Mandrell, judging by the dancer's permalicious 'do.



How I Met Your Mother recap: Dating Gremlins

Any serious TV scholar can rattle off a list of shows that moved into Boringville after a pair of romantically star-crossed characters hooked up: Moonlighting, Frasier, Scrubs, Dora the Explorer ...

So one has to worry whether the fifth season of How I Met Your Mother will derail on the blossoming romance between Barney and Robin or Ted's quest to, you know, meet the mother of his future children.

In Monday's opening episode, no one is more intent in killing the joy in Barney and Robin's carefree hookups than Lily, who is determined to make them define the relationship. 

What to Watch on Monday: Network premieres kick into high gear

House (8pm, Fox) - This could very well be the best 2 hours of television this week, if not this whole season. The "House" season 6 premiere picks up where season 5 left off: House is inside a mental institution recovering from his Vicodin addiction. The strong supporting cast tonight includes Andre Braugher as House's doctor, and Lin-Manuel Miranda as House's roomate. This is one you don't miss.

How I Met Your Mother (8pm, CBS) - CBS is all new tonight, and their sitcoms get things off to a strong start. On HIMYM, the gang finds out that Barney and Robin are secretly dating, and Ted begins his teaching career at Columbia. A brand new (and widely trashed) sitcom starring Jenna Elfman ("Accidentally on Purpose") follows at 8:30. Then it's "Two and a Half Men" and "Big Bang Theory" at 9 and 9:30.

Heroes (8pm, NBC) - The fourth season premiere of "Heroes" is a two-hour event tonight. Claire gets some unwanted attention at college thanks to an odd death.

Dancing with the Stars (8pm, ABC) - Expect this to win the night. The 9th season opens with 16 contestants, more than in any other season. Some of the stars competing this season are Donny Osmond, Tom DeLay, Melissa Joan Hart, and Michael Irvin

CSI: Miami (10pm, CBS) - Season 8 begins tonight with Delko fighting for his life after being found unconscious in the Everglades at the end of last season. At some point, Horatio will dramatically remove his sunglasses and thoughtfully recall how the team came together during a case 12 years earlier, when Delko found a dead body in the trunk of a car.

Castle (10pm, ABC) - It will be so nice to see smart alecky Nathan Fillion again! In the 2nd season premiere of "Castle," Kate and Castle argue over his interference in her personal life, but put aside their differences to investigate a dead man found in a tree. Also, Castle has a book deadline looming.   

Late Show with David Letterman (11:30, CBS) - President Barack Obama is Dave's guest tonight.

How I Met Your Mother finale: Still no mother

Another season of "How I Met Your Mother" slipped away without the Bob Saget voice-over telling the viewers (or Ted's kids) how Ted met his kids' mother.
But at least we learned at the end of Monday's season finale that he met her in the university architecture class he started teaching after giving up on his professional career as an architect, after getting his butt kicked by a goat.


One more thing we learned: you could make a killer drinking game that involves chugging a beer every time you spot a new prop used to camouflage actress Alyson Hannigan's pregnancy.

How I Met Your Mother: Not the one

Ted left us with a cliffhanger last week suggesting that his ex-fiancee Stella, the blonde-haired dermatologist with a striking resemblance to "Scrubs" Dr. Elliot Reid, is indeed the mother of his two future children who Bob Saget is always boring in the show's voice-overs.

Thankfully, that turned out to be another game-delay ruse setting up Monday night's "How I Met Your Mother," as Ted ended up playing relationship doctor for Stella and her karate-loving boyfriend Tony. Because as much as I appreciate actress Sarah Chalke's ability to tart it up with a French-playing accent in the obligatory HIMYM fantasy-scene, I can't reconcile her playing the love of both Zach Braff's life on "Scrubs" and Josh Radnor's poor, vanilla-bland Ted.

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