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How I Met Your Mother: Bad News

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The anti-baby crowd vowing to stop watching "How I Met Your Mother" as soon as Lily delivers a mini-Marshall got their wish for at least another week, but at what cost?

Marshall may have survived Monday night's fertility scare with a reassuring visit to Barney's bearded doppelganger, Dr. Stangel, but his failure to impregnate Lily had fatal consequences. How else are we to take the news at the end of the episode that Marshall's father died of a heart attack before learning that Marshall was not sterile?

I hope everyone's happy now. Of course, this could backfire on the anti-baby crowd if Marshall decides to dive into Operation Babymaking with a renewed sense of purpose.

At the very least, we may be subjected to a very special episode of How I Met Your Mother where Marshall deals with his grief over dad's death.

Before we get there, though, at least we got an answer to the question, "I wonder what Neil Patrick Harris would look like if his hair was dyed black and he sported a beard?"

Even after Lily and Marshall confirm that Dr. Stangel is not a costumed Barney out to get a look at Lily's babymaking parts, we get the inevitable punchline at the end where Barney dresses up as the good doctor in an ill-fated attempt to convince Marshall that the only way to regain his virility is to join Barney at a tri-county laser tag competition. (Don't go back and read that last sentence. It will just make your head hurt.)

Before Barney's big reveal and the bad news about dad, we get some inevitable jokes about Marshall's inability to deliver a sample in the same doctor's office bathroom where a line of skeevy guys just did the same. Then there's the bit where he tries to finish the job at home, only to be distracted by his mother hollering on the other side of the door about the new two-piece bathing suit she bought.

Somehow, I remember the "mom banging on the bathroom door asking what you're doing in there" scene being a lot funnier when Philip Roth used it in "Portnoy's Complaint." In any case, the flurry of masturbation jokes mark some type of milestone for a network TV show airing in what used to be known as "family hour."


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I need someone to tell me

I need someone to tell me the significance of placing numbers counting down from 50 to 1 throughout the episode.  I noticed numbers being prominently displayed early on and then could barely focus on the actual storyline for trying to find numbers in the scene (I re-watched and still couldn't find 38).  Best I could figure it was a countdown to the bad news?

The HIMYM countdown

Yes, apparently it was a countdown to Marshall getting the news about his father. I totally missed it during the show. Didn't know anything about it until after I had deleted the episode and saw people talking about it on Twitter. I can't tell you *why* they did that, though...

HIMYM Countdown Tumblr

All of the countdown moments are here:


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About the blogger

Assistant sports editor Lorenzo Perez has bounced back-and-forth between The News & Observer's news and sports department several times since joining the newspaper in 1999. His latest assignment has him working with The N&O's ACC writers and online news. E-mail Lorenzo.