Life Lessons from How I Met Your Mother

Written by  //  January 25, 2011  //  Televised Entertainment in Review  //  No comments

Last week’s episode of How I Met Your Mother ended with a heart wrenching cliff hanger where Marshall’s father, his best friend, passed away. I screamed to the heavens, “Why!”  as the screen faded to black. The emotions were just overwhelming and the thought of having to wait a full week to see the conclusion was unbearable. As it turns out, it was a two week wait. Damn it!

This week’s, the show opens up at Marvin Erickson’s funeral in Minnesota. The whole gang, minus Marshall, are standing around in a semi circle trying to figure out ways to cheer Marshall up. Ted and Barney want to make Marshall laugh and scheme to find the funniest “nut shot” video on the internet:

Barney: We’re gonna get out bro a four star nad rattler. You search knees, feet, banisters, fire hydrants and diving boards. And I’ll cover bats, rackets, hockey sticks, golf clubs and riding props.
Ted: What about animals?
Barney: Uh claws, paws, talons, hooves, beaks and clenched monkey’s fists, we can do this!

Robin has become, Vice Girl, with the super power of getting Marshall through the day, providing all the necessary vices he needs. Her purse seems to have almost a magical quality to it:

Ted: You’re like Mary Poppins, if her magic purse was also filled with drugs.
Robin: “If?” Ted, the kids in that movie jumped into a painting and spent 15 minutes chasing a cartoon fox. “Spoonful of sugar?” Grow up.

Lily feels useless as Marshall’s mom hasn’t slept or eaten in days. She vows to help her in any way she can and eventually does by becoming her “bitch.”  Lily is verbally abused by Mrs. Erickson which in turn causes her to become tired and hungry.

Marshall is going through the roughest time in his life and it becomes worse when he finds out that his childhood nemesis, Trey, is going to be the reverend to officiate his father’s memorial service. Trey convenes the Erickson family to come up with an idea for the sermon he will give and everyone agrees that their last words with Marvin were touching and would be a great way to send him off with the exception of Marshall.   Marshall’s brothers and mother each have touching stories about their last moments and words with their father/husband while he is stuck with the statement that he should, “Rent Crocodile Dundee 3, it really holds up.” Marshall is almost furious that he wasted time with his father and that his last memory was such an insignificant one.

The gang still tries their best to cheer Marshall up and the plot chugs along for a few minutes while Marshall rants about his last few moments with his father.  He asks the group what their father was to die that day, “What would be your last words with him?” The group all have lackluster and pathetic stories to share.  Barney is the only one with no story to tell because he’s never met his father and shares with the group that he’s glad he won’t have to share that pain. Marshall then asks if anyone has a phone charger that he can borrow which Robin magically pulls from her purse. When the phone is charged, Marshall comes to the shocking discovery that he has a voicemail message from his father after their last words were exchanged (This makes sense because Marshall asks Ted to borrow his phone at the end of the last episode and hasn’t charged it since) He cannot summon the strength to call and listen to the message and is only stirred when his family begins telling of their last minutes with him. When Marshall rushes out of the church and into the snowy scenery his friends follow him and he finally makes the dreaded call. His fears are realized and he is shocked to find out that it is a pocket dial. He curses God and rants for five minutes about how that all of this wasn’t fair. He turns the phone on speaker  and the pocket noise plays loud for the group who have all either began to cry or seem to be just on the verge. The pocket noise suddenly stops and Marvin Erickson’s voice plays, “Marshall?”

Got chills?  I don’t blame you.

“Oh, looks like I’ve been calling you for almost five minutes. How does my pocket sound? (laughs) Well, sorry about that, buddy. Anyway, your mom and I had such a good time seeing you… I love you.” He later goes on to ask about a fungal cream but Marshall and everyone else agree that his father’s last words to him were, “I love you.”  And when Marshall finally goes up in front of the crowd of friends and family to tell of his the last memory with his father; he tells them about Crocodile Dundee 3 and keeps the rest for himself. There is a montage of everyone calling their fathers and family and telling them good things.  Barney calls his mother and tells her he is finally ready to meet his father (Another plot line which we thought was dead!).

Later on the group is sitting together drinking beers in the Erickson family home. Marshall says that he should have rented Crocodile Dundee 3 which Robin pulls out of her purse. He gets up and proclaims that he has to use the bathroom, “I really, really, love you guys. Now, I’m gonna go drop a deuce.” I think that’s the axis of How I Met Your Mother. There are a few moments that grab you and don’t let go and then it is either ruined or relieved with comedy. I think this time they just barely slide by dropping this line.

What did we learn from this episode? This episode which lacked humor and focused on the darker side of things, what was its point? The real question that’s asked from episode is what are your last words to your parents or loved ones if they were to die tonight? I know that after this episode aired I called my parents and let them know that I truly appreciated them and that I loved them dearly. We have to embrace the time we are given and let people know we care because no one really knows how long we’ve got.

So, if you guys were to die tonight, would you be okay with what your last words were? Would you be the “I’m gonna go drop a deuce,” or the “I love you guys”…person?

About the Author

Ace Wellington The Third

Zachary Flanagan, aka Ace Wellington The Third, is a writer based in Northern Virginia. As a film critic for Donnybrook he is "Ace Wellington" a mild mannered novelist by day and swashbuckling, nazi fighting, sex God by night - All the while filling you in on his favorite televised cinematic adventures. Follow Zach on Twitter @ZacharyFlanagan

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