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Episode: The Pre-Nup (Season 8, Episode 3)
Synopsis: Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) is celebrating “Bangtoberfest” after his breakup now that he’s newly single. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) search for a new nanny and are reluctant to give the job to Lily’s dad (Chris Elliott), who has moved in after burning down his house. Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) compete to see whose relationship is better and stronger. Marshall and Lily are struggling to find the right nanny because the best one they found, a British woman named Mrs. Buckminster, is too expensive and the ones in their price range are pathetically unqualified. Meanwhile, “Bangtoberfest” is off to a rough start because Barney wants a new way to pick up girls with new lines. He finally finds a new way, but it interferes with Marshall and Lily’s new nanny. When the couple find a great nanny in their price range, who grew up knowing Marshall’s family in Minnesota, Barney seduces her and ruins their plans.
As Ted and Robin compete to see whose relationship is stronger, they realize the flaws in their current relationships. Nick (Michael Trucco) is way too emotionally needy and Victoria (Ashley Williams) is a slob, but they decide to make their relationships last. Barney feels bad about ruining Marshall and Lily’s chances with the young nanny from Minnesota, so he pays for Mrs. Buckminster and bribes Marshall with a race car set. But Lily decides that she doesn’t want a nanny because she doesn’t want to give up taking care of the baby. Later, Lily’s dad takes care of the baby after Lily falls asleep. They then realize that he was a great father that took care of Lily when she was a baby.
First of all, kudos to the writers for working this weekend’s game between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns into the episode. I’d say it was impressive the way they predicted the Browns sucking and Robin calling out Ted on it, but everyone knows that the Browns suck.
Marshall and Lily’s story completely carried the episode in humor and emotion. Seeing what happened to Lily as a kid and their dealings with the nanny produce laugh-out-loud humor that holds up even on multiple viewings. Barney’s “Bangtoberfest” story had its moments like when he wielded the t-shirt gun and Marshall played with his toys, but the supposed climax of that storyline where all the nannies he interviewed beating him up fell flat despite it’s best efforts to build up to it. Ted and Robin’s competition had some better moments like when Ted told Robin that Victoria keeps tampons at his apartment and when Robin calls Ted’s bluff when he says that Victoria’s parents are dead, but it could have been better.
I was originally going to give this episode a straight B, but upon reflection, Lily and Marshall’s storyline was loaded with laughs and there was a very sweet moment at the end of the episode. Chris Elliott had been hit and miss in his appearances but, as you’ll see when you read on, he’s an integral piece in the funniest parts of this episode.
Barney’s story had the potential to be funnier, but the writers did a great job of integrating “Bangtoberfest” into Marshall and Lily’s nanny search. What’ll be interesting to see is whose relationship ends first: Ted and Victoria or Robin and Nick. I’d have to guess Robin and Nick because there was such a build-up to Victoria’s return and the fans clamored for it so strongly (she ranked #1 in our Girls We Wish Were the Mother list). Victoria’s only been a major part of two of the three episodes so far this season. Meanwhile, we didn’t even know Nick existed until the season premiere. I just hope we get to see plenty of Victoria before she leaves.
At the race track, Lily’s dad asks a very young Lily for some help with a bet.
Lily: “What’s wrong, daddy?”
Lily’s dad: “Daddy can’t pick a horse to save his freakin’ life. All I need is just one lucky number. Hey, when’s your birthday?”
Lily: *rolls eyes* “… today.”
That scene at the race track was the biggest laugh, but this one was a close second, showing how great Chris Elliott is on the show.
Marshall: How do you feel about spanking?
Nanny: For eight bucks an hour, you can do whatever you want to me.
Lily’s dad: *talks while coughing* I’m available.
Lily: Dad, we know.
Lily’s dad: *talks while coughing* I wasn’t talking to you.