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How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Fifth Season

Cast: Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segal, Neal Patrick Harris.

(US: 21 Sep 2010)

When a show has a character as dynamic and ridiculous as Barney Stinson, with an actor as strong as Neal Patrick Harris, it’s hard not to give him more and more to do. Season five of How I Met Your Mother gives Harris the opportunity to show a great deal of range, including a full musical number in “Girls vs. Suits”.

At the beginning of the season, Barney has hooked up with Robin in the coupling that had been in the cards for several seasons. The pair has great chemistry, leading each other to impressive degrees of craziness, as seen in “Duel Citizenship”, where Robin goes on a Super-Canadian bender before deciding to become an US citizen (while keeping her Canadian citizenship, dontcha know.)

Season five also includes a great deal of self-referentiality, with sequel episodes like “Slapsgiving 2: Return of the Slap” and onesthat draw on a great deal of previous continuity, like “The Wedding Bride”, which takes a tweaked telling of Ted’s relationship with Stella and turns it into the most beloved romantic comedy movie, ever.

Sadly, the show’s momentum and purpose (finding the mother of Ted’s children) strays throughout most of this season, only occasionally showing Ted moving forward on his quest to find true love.  Episodes like “The Window” and “Girls Vs. Suits” do add to Ted’s story, but this season really shows the cast and crew taking their sweet time getting to the ending, which has seemed close for years now.

The real highlight of the season is Girls vs. Suits, which included a full-cast musical number starring Neal Patrick Harris as he sings the praises of his eternal friends and wearable wingmen—his suits.  Harris is in his finest form, and the season might be worth it for that episode alone.

This DVD set includes a strong helping of extras, from cast/creator commentaries which focus on the individual episodes as well as how they fit into the overall mythology of the show.  The real gems are the videos, from “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit” to Ted’s “Super Date” and Marshall’s “Best Night Ever”, and the making-of-featurettes.  There is a series review for newcomers and casual viewers as well as the customary blooper reel.


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