With baby Marvin now foisted off on his irresponsible (except, conveniently, around infants) Grandpa Mickey -- and, by the way, where exactly is Mickey supposed to be crashing in this two-bedroom apartment? Is he bunking with the baby? Sleeping in the shower? Laid out flat on the fire escape? Never mind I don’t actually care -- his terrible parents Lily and Marshall are able to steal away for a couple of hours to catch up on the lives of their terrible friends. But it turns out that they don’t particularly care about their terrible friends’ lives (they’re not the only ones) and instead use their precious free time to aimlessly roam the streets of New York sans stroller. Whilst aimlessly roaming, they’re almost run over by a taxi thus setting off the episode’s A-plot (actually, this is its only plot): what’s going to happen to baby Marvin if Mom and Dad unexpectedly kick the bucket. Gee, what positively cheery subject matter. Dead parents and orphaned kids -- welcome to Season 8 of How I Met Your Mother.
Anyway, in a tizzy over their (imagined) demise, Marshall and Lily log onto a site that helps worried Moms and Dads prepare their last will and testament. They fill out the first few blanks with no problem, but hit a road block when its time to name a guardian for Marvin. Marshall proposes his mom, an idea that Lily promptly shoots down. Then Lily proposes her mom, an idea that Marshall shoots down. Then Mickey’s name comes up and they both shoot that one down. (Fortunately, Lily’s father isn’t anywhere within earshot to hear his name dragged through the mud. Come to think of it, neither is Marvin. He must have followed Mickey down the black hole Chris Elliott hides out in until the guest star checks clear.) They do both agree that Marshall’s brother Marcus would be a fine guardian… until a phone call reveals that the devoted family man has abandoned his wife and adorable tykes to operate a tiki bar in some Caribbean getaway. Missed opportunity for a "Kokomo" shout-out there, writers.
So by process of elimination, that only leaves -- you guessed it! -- their three terrible friends, two of whom have already made it clear that they don’t want children, while the other’s bad parenting (specifically his desire to regale his future children with long, boring stories that have yet to show an ending or a point) is the reason this show exists. In other words, Marshall and Lily are royally screwed. But that doesn’t stop Marshall from organizing a "fun" little parlor game whereby Robin, Barney and Ted compete to show which of them would be the better substitute parent. (Forcing Robin to participate in this charade seems especially cruel of her supposed pals given what we learned about her reproductive abilities last season. But hey, emotional continuity is for losers, right?) What follows is a lengthy, cringe-inducing montage of the three acting like maroons opposite an older, orphaned Marvin as they tackle such various scenarios as "Breaking the news that his parents are dead" and "Filling him in on the facts of life." Is this really what we’re reduced to watching at this point? Poor Marvin is better off remaining in Mickey’s black hole so he doesn’t have to see how bleak his future is if he stays in this household.
Anyway, the game inevitably ends in angry recriminations as Marshall and Lily yell at their friends for not appreciating how tough parenthood is, while they yell at them for not caring enough about their petty personal dramas. Just when it looks like the autumn of break-ups might include our central gang, the new parents get over their self-righteous indignation and decide to have an old-fashioned night out at the bar, listening to the other three complain about their petty personal dramas. In return, their friends (well, Ted and Robin anyway… Barney walks through the front door and keeps going) wake up with Marvin at 5 AM the next day, because two hung-over strangers walking into his room won’t freak the kid out at all. And then in the kicker, Marshall and Lily list all three of their pals as their child’s guardian, explaining that they want to make sure that he stays “in the family,” which should make their actual families feel really great about themselves. Yes, that was a real half-hour of television that aired last night. Four episodes down, 20 to go.
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