Vulture accurately summed up season 8 of How I Met Your Mother thus far in their recap last week: Because the writers are waiting to hear whether or not they get one more year, every episode so far has been a throwaway. (With the exception of the brief glimpse of The Mother we saw in the season premiere.) Watching them stall is so frustrating, especially when we get forgettable episodes like 8×04 “Who Wants To Be A Godparent?”
In short: Marshall and Lily need to appoint a godparent for little Marvin, and the only reasonable way is to construct a huge game show in their living room to determine how Ted, Robin, and Barney would respond to situations like telling Marvin his parents have died in a horrible way (thus putting him in one of their care), the “birds and the bees” talk, and tackling the issue of Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Over the course of this tedious game, Marshall and Lily realize that for almost half a year they haven’t been involved in their friends’ lives, and so at the end they decide to make all three of them joint godparents.
The middle portion, with the titular game, could’ve been a lot funnier. Last week I referenced Marshgammon, and let’s not forget the brilliant Chinese Deal or No Deal game from the Atlantic City episode. The gang’s responses were all predictable: Barney would usher thirteen-year-old Marvin into manhood by taking him to Amsterdam; Ted would use the dinosaur puppet Professor Infosaurus to talk (or rap) his way through any awkward conversation; and Robin uses the game to cry about her issues with her own dad.
But what most frustrated me about each person’s answers was that they all described futures that don’t exist. Look, we know that Robin and Barney get married. Some fan theories hold that Barney is dead in the future; whether or not that’s the case, if the Stinsons were the ones to take care of Marvin, their choices would be a lot different. Hedonism wouldn’t be Barney’s first go-to, neither would getting back at Robin’s dad.
The same goes for Ted! At the end of 7×20 “Trilogy Time,” Ted tells his kids that by 2015 not only has he met The Mother, but she’s given birth to his daughter. In these scenarios, Marvin is anywhere from 8 to 13, which means they’re set in 2020-2025. Ted’s kids would both be just a few years younger than Marvin, so it wouldn’t be just lonely old Ted crying about some girl who wouldn’t call him back. In fact, if Marshall and Lily had died, poor Marvin would be stuck on the couch with his cousins hearing the endless story of how Ted eventually met The Mother.
I don’t know why, but this disparity really rubbed me the wrong way and made it almost impossible to enjoy the middle part of the episode. Now, we all know that HIMYM is a show about unreliable storytellers, Ted above all: He often forgets or omits details, so technically it makes sense that he, Barney, and Robin would be envisioning their futures with Marvin compared to the lives they’re living now. I just wish the writers could’ve found some tricky way to show us the characters’ canon futures — married, with kids and different jobs — and work Marvin into them as the hypothetical.
To add insult to injury, we did get a brief look ahead to 2030, where Ted tries to entice his kids with Professor Infosaurus. The thing is, it’s clear that it’s footage from back when they shot all of Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie‘s parts circa 2005, with the footage of Josh Radnor waving around the puppet added through CGI. (Because I refuse to believe that the writers planned that lame joke eight years ago.) It was just bad editing and another reminder that we’re no closer to meeting The Mother.
The best part of the episode:
Next week’s episode “The Autumn of Break-Ups” gives me hope that we’ll finally start to move forward, as Ted and Victoria will be seriously evaluating their relationship and he will eventually realize that she’s not The One. It should be noted that we went through yet another episode without seeing hide nor hair of this woman Ted supposedly loves.