It was all fun and games on this week’s How I Met Your Mother. Literally. Marshall invented “Who Wants to be a Godparent?”—which also serves as the episode title—to determine which one of his friends would be Marvin Wait For It Ericksen’s godparent if he and Lily both die.
Stand-alone episodes in this series are not new. There have been countless episodes that focus on one subject never to be mentioned again. But the show does a great job of recalling past episodes to make it feel connected. While Marshall and Lily figuring out who their godparent will be is important, it doesn’t move the main plot forward. We don’t get to see Barney and Robin moving closer together or Ted moving further away from Victoria. It’s tricky because a lot of the weight of the episode falls on the actors to make us forget it has been seven-plus years and we still don’t know who the mother is. This time, it works.
Marshall’s knack for inventing games is one of the character’s most loveable qualities. Putting himself in a situation where he gets to dress up in a ‘70s-inspired plaid blazer and act as a cheesy game show host is something he was born to do. Barney may have become the wildly popular fan favorite, but Marshall also has the ability to carry an entire episode.
There’s really no linear story going on in this episode, just a slew of hypothetical flash forwards that explain how either Ted, Barney or Robin will raise baby Marvin. Some are hilarious (Ted’s Professor Info-saurus) and some fall flat (the repetitive joke that Barney will turn Marvin into a ladies’ man). It’s well-balanced and reveals a lot about the characters. We even get to see Ted’s future kids react to his dinosaur hand puppet; a great way to tie it all together.
While it’s in its eighth season and has slipped a little bit, the show isn’t grasping for straws when it comes to making us laugh. It’s episodes like this one that make us less frustrated that we don’t know who the wife is and eases the anxiousness about the inevitable reveal. We can’t always get emotionally invested episodes that make us laugh; sometimes we need these easy bottle episodes to provide some relief. HIMYM does a great job of placing them in very strategic places throughout the season to keep the pace exactly where they need it to be. And four episodes in was a great break.