How I Met Your Mother Wiki
How I Met Your Mother Wiki
Natural History

HIMYM episode 6x08 (120)

First aired:
November 8, 2010
Pamela Fryman
Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Barney's Blog

Images (15)

The gang attends a black tie fundraiser at the Natural History Museum and Ted sees a whole different side of Zoey when she introduces him to her husband. Barney and Robin dare each other to break the museum law: touch all of the exhibits.


Thanks to Goliath National Bank, the entire gang is invited to The 133rd Annual Natural History Museum Autumn Spectacular. On the taxi-ride over to the event, they predict how their college-selves would react to their formal attire, given how at the time they were "pretty anti-establishment", even going so far as to make fun of people in suits and tuxedos. A flashback is shown of Lily and Marshall in Ted and Marshall's dorm room sitting on the floor "eating a sandwich", where classmate Russell walks in wearing a tuxedo. Marshall and Lily make fun of him for wearing the tux, not letting him say anything. When he leaves Ted walks in and asks them if they have seen Russell, as he has to drive him to his mom's funeral. Then the camera cuts to their horrified faces, realizing what they just did.

At the museum, Lily recounts how as a child, she snuck under the rope of a room that was closed for cleaning. Barney claims that when he was six, he removed a rib from a triceratops and used it to knock down the giant blue whale in the museum. None of the gang, especially Robin, believe him. Arthur arrives and introduces them to a school friend of his and the host of the event, George Van Smoot. However, George prefers to be called "The Captain."

Barney and Robin trying to touch as much as possible in the museum

As The Captain leaves, he tells them not to touch anything, so Barney takes this as a challenge, and begins by poking one of the exhibit statues. Robin, who watches him do it, tries to raise the bar by rubbing the entire body of the statue. The two then decide to creatively touch many other exhibits.

While Robin and Barney are racing around the whole museum, Marshall tells Lily that Arthur offered him a five year contract with GNB. Lily tells him to tell him no later, as doing it now could cause a scene. She assumes Marshall still has dreams to be an environmental lawyer, and plans to quit. Marshall, however, has decided he wants to accept the contract and continue working at GNB. He no longer wants to be an environmental lawyer, and hasn't for the past two and a half years. Lily is shocked to learn this, and has trouble accepting this "new" Marshall.

Ted tests out an acoustic feature of the museum; because of the way the main room is designed, if you stand in a certain spot it's possible to speak to people on the other side of the room while whispering. He has some fun by whispering random words to people that can't see him, until he spots Zoey on the other side of the room.

Earlier that day, Zoey had written an article about him, slandering him for his work with GNB and his plans to tear down the Arcadian. He approaches her, asking why she's there, and the two start insulting one another. They stop once The Captain approaches, and Zoey introduces him as her husband. Ted openly mocks The Captain's unique nickname and his interest in boating, but The Captain doesn't seem to notice. As The Captain leaves, Ted calls Zoey a spoiled trophy wife, and Zoey vows to destroy him.

They part, but he later finds her talking to a man and woman, where the man is wearing a monocle and Ted looks amazed at the man. She takes him aside into a private room, asking what he wants from her. Ted tells her she should just go back to her perfect life, and leave him alone. Zoey starts to cry, claiming her life is not perfect. She got married at 22, and hates everything about boats, claiming she gets sick on boats, looking at boats, even the word makes her sick. But boats are her husband's greatest passion. The reason she loves the Arcadian is because it makes her feel solid, when the rest of her life is so shaky.

Ted sympathizes, telling her that the Arcadian is a great landmark, and badmouths GNB. Zoey quickly stops crying and pulls out a voice recorder, showing she just caught Ted badmouthing GNB on tape, and plans to use it to destroy him.

A security guard approaches Barney and Robin, who are now dressed in the costumes of two of the exhibits, and takes them away to his office. The guard chastises them, and recounts all the pranks people have previously pulled on the museum, including a a six year old knocking down the blue whale. Since Robin didn't believe he actually knocked down the whale, Barney asks the guard if he knows the name of the kid who did it, to prove that he definitively did do the act.

The guard pulls out the security file detailing the incident, confirming every detail of Barney's story, proving to Robin that he did knock down the whale as a child. The guard confirms the event actually occurred, and that Barney was reprimanded and returned to the custody of his father. Barney gloats to Robin about his deed before becoming shocked to hear that Jerome Whittaker, the man Barney knew as his Uncle Jerry for his entire life was really his father.

Later that night, Barney and Robin are alone at a table. Barney reveals that the last time he saw his Uncle Jerry was the day he knocked down the whale, July 23, 1981, because his mom got mad he let Barney destroy the whale. Robin tries to convince him that maybe the security guard was wrong, that Jerome Whittaker really was Barney's uncle. Barney stops her, because he can feel that Jerome Whittaker really is his father, and asks Robin not to tell anyone.

Later on, The Captain sees a crestfallen Ted, and offers to erase the voice recording of Ted badmouthing GNB once Zoey's asleep, commenting on how annoying her voice recorder and her temper tantrums are. Ted turns down the offer, saying that he respects her for standing up for what she believes in. Future Ted explains to his kids how, unknown to Ted and The Captain, Zoey was standing in the perfect acoustic spot in the room, and overheard their entire conversation. Later, Zoey pulls Ted aside, and tells him she erased the tape. Ted thanks her, and the two dance.

By herself, Lily wanders the museum and talks to the "College Marshall" exhibit, explaining how she wants to be with College Marshall, not the Marshall he's become. College Marshall remarks that he's now "extinct", but the current Marshall hasn't changed where it counts. The real Marshall then approaches Lily, and apologizes that he's not going to be an environmental lawyer, but promises that he'll use the extra income he'll earn at GNB spoiling her and their kids. They reconcile, and walk off while College Marshall insults "corporate" Marshall.

Later, Marshall is seen working at GNB, indicating that he accepted Arthur's contract. Future Ted confirms he kept working at GNB, but the job wouldn't last forever and Corporate Marshall would go extinct, just like College Marshall... But that's another story.


  • The New York Times paper containing Zoey's anti-GNB op-ed also includes an article on the Cockamouse, previously seen in Matchmaker.
  • The other New York Times article shown with the op-ed is about Dowisetrepla, the area that Marshall and Lily live in - mostly in reference to the sewage treatment plant - as seen in Dowisetrepla.
  • When Marshall asks Lily is she's okay with him getting paid a lot of money and spoiling her and their kids, she says "we'll make it work." She said the same thing in the Pilot when Marshall revealed that he likes olives, somewhat debunking the Olive Theory.
  • Marshall's career conflict between environmental and corporate law has been referenced previously numerous times, including in Life Among the GorillasI'm Not That Guy​​​​​, and The Chain of Screaming​​​​​.
  • Lily recounts how she broke up with her high school boyfriend Scooter at prom, previously discussed in Best Prom Ever.
  • Ted previously annoyed the gang with Architecture Fun Facts in First Time In New York, and random strangers on the bus in Subway Wars​​​​​.
  • Barney's father issues have come up previously in many episodes, including ShowdownThe Stinsons, and Cleaning House​​​​​.
  • College Marshall is seen "eating a sandwich." Future Ted first used this as a euphemism for smoking marijuana in How I Met Everyone Else​​​​​.
  • On the way to the museum, Marshall is ecstatic that they're all wearing tuxedos. Marshall is seen getting upset at Ted and Barney, in Definitions​​​​​, for never inviting him to Tuxedo Night.
  • Robin is seen holding a stuffed penguin. Her fondness of penguins was previously mentioned in Robin 101.
  • Ted's love of crosswords was previously referenced in Robots Versus Wrestlers.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of The Captain.
  • The theoretical Metropolitan newspaper article about Ted calling GNB "wieners and gonads", contains a statement from Arthur Hobbs announcing their new corporate mantra "New is always better." This running gag is first mentioned in Architect of Destruction.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Ted accepts the Captain's standing offer to join him on his boat in The Mermaid Theory.
  • Zoey and the Captain get divorced by Oh Honey​​​​​, where she and Ted start dating. This also means that Zoey's reveal of being unhappy in her marriage is true.
  • Barney eventually meets his father in Legendaddy​​​​​, and him being in Barney's life until he was six is mentioned in Hopeless.
  • Future Ted hints that Corporate Marshall will eventually go "extinct", foreshadowing him quitting GNB in The Exploding Meatball Sub​​​​​ and transitioning into environmental law in The Naked Truth​​​​​.
  • Though Zoey promises to erase the recording of Ted bad-mouthing GNB and praising the Arcadian, she eventually uses it against him at a hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Committee in Landmarks.
  • Ted's use of fanny packs is first referenced in this episode, it's featured much more prominently in Something Old, when Marshall and Lily make fun of Ted for traveling through Mexico with one in college.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Natural History images..

Memorable Quotes

Lily: So you'll probably quit GNB in a couple of years, right?
Marshall: Affirmatootly.
Lily: And become an environmental lawyer?
Marshall: Yepskerdoodles.
Lily: By the way, do you like this scarf?
Marshall: Posititoachidoachmecoachipapoachey.
Marshall explains he technically didn't lie to Lily, since he responded with made-up words.

Zoey: My life isn't perfect. (Zoey begins to cry.) I got married at 22 to a man who calls himself "The Captain". I hate boats, Ted. I do, I hate them. I can't be on them, I can't be near them, I can't even think about them without getting seasick. You want to know why I want to save that building? Because when I look up at the Arcadian, I see something big, and solid, and right now everything else in my life just feels like I'm on a boat. I know it's crazy to care that much about a building...
Ted: It's not crazy at all, I'm the same way. Look, Zoey, the Arcadian should be a landmark, it should. The lion-head stonework is iconic. I hate that we have to tear it down, I hate working for GNB. They're a bunch of wieners and gonads.
Zoey: Ted, that was... really easy. (Pulls out a voice recorder.) This should be useful.
Ted: You tricked me!
Zoey tricks Ted into badmouthing GNB.

TheCaptain: I hear my wife got you pretty good.
Ted: She caught me on tape trashing GNB.
TheCaptain: Ohh that damn recorder... Try being married to that. You're a good guy Galactic President Superstar McAwesomeville. Tell you what, when Zoey goes to sleep, I'll find that tape and erase it for you, no hard feelings.
Ted: Really? You'd do that to your own wife?
TheCaptain: Sure, why not? I mean, I'm glad she has these little causes, they keep her out of trouble, but... When she throws a temper tantrum and it gets in the way of someone doing their job, that's a problem.
Ted: No, you know what? Don't erase the tape. And for what it's worth, I don't think she's throwing temper tantrums. I just think she's standing up for what she believes in. I respect that.
FutureTed: Kids, there is an amazing architectural phenomenon in the Natural History Museum. If you stand in the right spot, you can hear a conversation, all the way across the room.
Zoey overhears the entire conversation between her husband and Ted.

Guard: Stinson was reprimanded and returned to the custody of his father, Jerome Whittaker.
Barney: No, uncle. Jerome Whittaker's my uncle, Uncle Jerry.
Guard: It says father, he even signed it and checked the box for father and everything.


Robin: When was the last time you saw him?
Barney: It was that day. July 23rd, 1981. My Mom got pretty mad that he let me destroy a New York City landmark. He never came around any more after that. I think he moved away.
Robin: Maybe the security guy had it wrong, I mean you never know-
Barney: But you do know, you do know, that's the thing, you know. He's my Dad.
Robin: Barney, do you want to-
Barney: I don't want to do anything. Don't tell anyone about this, okay?
Barney learns the identity of his father.

Zoey: Ted, this is my husband.
Ted: Yeah, old stuff's great!

Ted: So, Captain, how did you get that name anyway?
The Captain: Gave it to myself. A real man chooses his own name.
Ted: Well, pleased to meet you, Captain. I'm Galactic President Superstar MacAwesomeville.

Robin: You wanna dance? Let's dance.
Barney: I live for the dance
Robin: Get your other hand, off my ass.
Barney: Sorry, sorry.

Ted: If I wanted to make it personal, I'd call you a bored little trophy wife who likes to play activist when the shops on Fifth Ave are closed.
Zoey: You're going down.
Ted: Down where? To the yacht club? I'd love to, but wait I'm half Jewish, is that going to be a problem?

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • Lily mentions that she dumped Scooter before the picture, but in earlier episodes, he was dumped on the dance floor, after the picture.
  • In the newspaper article "Wieners and Gonads", the partial sentence "not be reached for comment, but when asked about the incident Goliath National Bank president Arthur Hobbs" is written down twice in a row.
  • In Last Cigarette Ever, Marshall tells Ted and Barney that Arthur Hobbs is the new head of the legal department. This would imply that Arthur isn't Goliath National Bank's president, but in the newspaper article that briefly pops-up on screen, it is written "Goliath National Bank president Arthur Hobbs."
    • Of course, the events of Last Cigarette Ever took place a year before the events of this episode, Arthur Hobbs may have become president since.
  • The invitation to the 133rd Annual Natural History Museum Autumn Spectacular has the date November 9, 2010. This is incorrect, as it is stated that the event is taking place on a Saturday, but November 9 was a Tuesday in 2010. The newspaper with Zoey's op-ed has the correct date of November 6.

Allusions and Outside References

  • Ted encounters an old man with a monocle. His line, "Good luck killing James Bond," refers to SPECTRE boss Blofeld.
  • George Van Smoot and Arthur Hobbs have a history, having worked on the play Guys and Dolls.
  • Barney and Robin's first prank at the Egyptian pharaoh refers to certain endurance challenges on Survivor, which also airs on CBS.
  • George Van Smoot mentions Zoey's constant use of the recorder. Kyle MacLachlan, who plays George, always spoke into a microcassette recorder in his part as Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks.
  • Barney's burn of "Who's the Master, Leroy?" is a reference to the movie "[Last Dragon|The Last Dragon]"
  • Ted mentions Phish; Lily and "College Marshall" discuss Jane's Addiction.
  • The story takes place in the American Museum of Natural History, even referencing the museum's blue whale model in the Hall of Ocean Life and their other Habitat Dioramas. It was filmed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
  • Ted is revealed to be half-Jewish in this episode, like his real-life counterpart Josh Radnor. Although Ted could be joking to embarrass Zoey.
  • In Zoey's op-ed piece about the Arcadian, the list of royalty that have stayed at the Arcadian includes the Dukes of Hazzard.


  • La Javanaise - Madeleine Peyroux

Other Notes

  • This is the first episode Jerome Whittaker is mentioned.
  • Barney knocked down the blue whale 23rd of July, 1981 the same day as Robin's 1st birthday (she was born 23rd of July 1980).
  • The crossword shown in the New York Times seemed to be non-sensical, mostly in the numbers. Its unclear if this is a code or just randomized.
  • The architectural phenomenon in the Natural History Museum described by Ted is real.  In the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County where the episode was filmed, an indentation in the ceiling of the Hall of American Mammals causes an echo effect between two spots - near the American bison and near the grizzly bear. [1] 



Featuring an interview with Ron Nicolosi, Eben Ham, Gita Isak, Elena Frank and Angus McCelland.


  • This episode premiered to 8.678 million viewers. [2]
  • Donna Bowman at the A.V. Club gave the episode a B+. [3]
  • DeAnn Welker at Television Without Pity did not give the episode a rating. [4]
  • Robert Canning at IGN gave the episode a 6.5 out of 10. [5]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8.5 out of 10 stars. "...Barney has a great love for natural history."


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