As Future Ted's voiceover told us in the opening moments of Monday's season premiere, there are two big days in any love story: the day you meet the girl of your dreams, and the day you marry her. And so the episode "Big Days" opened with one of those; a wedding… a little ways down the road. This is one of the things that makes How I Met Your Mother so enjoyable-- the time jump. It makes the storytelling more interesting and often elevates the comedy to a bigger place. And it certainly has helped craft this group of friends into more than just the here and now. We've seen Ted, Barney, Robin, Marshal and Lily as kids, in college and even old and gray. So this time jump served as a "welcome back" to viewers. Welcome back to a new year, for sure, but hopefully it's also a welcome back to a more consistent season.

Last season was fun, but the series had lost its focus just a bit. There was no continuing arc that would lead us to meeting Ted's future wife, only hints here and there. Robin and Barney hooked up and broke up in a series of episodes that felt ill advised. And Lily and Marshal had little to do but be Lily and Marshal. Monday's premiere episode was quick to return focus to the series, using our familiarity with these characters, great writing and lots of laughs.

- CBS
The mystery wedding at the top of the episode was a nice red herring. You almost immediately think its Ted's due to the voiceover and his nervousness and you sort of expect the rest of the episode to start telling the tale of how we get to that moment. Instead, the end of the episode revealed that Ted is only the best man at this wedding and that this is where he will meet his own future bride. So right away, with episode one of the season, we know where Ted meets his children's mother and we have something to move towards. And whose wedding is this? Between Barney and Robin, my money is on Robin. And let's be clear, it can't possibly be Barney and Robin.

The other major storyline putting the season in line right at the start was Marshal and Lily's first attempt at conceiving a child. This had a lot of great moments, including Marshal's walk to the elevator with his co-workers cheering him towards doing it with his wife. I also loved how two weeks of "not playing with himself" affected Marshal, including his hilarious, over-the-top breakdown discussing his father's involvement in his life. Clearly from the end of the episode, conceiving is not going to be a quick and easy process for the pair, so there's much to look forward to this season as they deal with the trials and tribulations of starting a family.

Though less of a focus, Barney and Robin weren't left out of the fun. Barney had plenty of opportunities to be Barney in "Big Days." His ode to sundresses was a great start, and the rules of "dibs" fit right into what we would want from this character, including almost learning the history of "dibs" starting with Sir Walter Dibs. Robin had a pretty straightforward "depressed from her break-up" storyline, but her sloppiness was played up perfectly, as was her transformation back.

"Big Days" felt like a fantastic step forward, while effortlessly reminding us of all the great things How I Met Your Mother has to offer. This season premiere set up a number of things for the rest of the year. We now have much to look forward to, and I hope these great laughs continue to come with it.

IGN Ratings for Big Days
Rating Description
out of 10 Click here for ratings guide
8.5
OVERALL
Great
(out of 10)
Related Links

Connections for How I Met Your Mother

Popular TV shows in this genre:
1. Monty Python's Flying Circus
2. The Office
3. The Big Bang Theory
4. How I Met Your Mother
5. Community

Popular TV shows on this network:
1. The Big Bang Theory
2. Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
3. How I Met Your Mother
4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
5. Survivor