Who Wants to Be a Godparent?

HIMYM episode 8x04 (164)

First aired:
October 15, 2012
Pamela Fryman
Matt Kuhn
Barney's Blog

Images (9)

When Lily and Marshall can’t decide on godparents for Marvin, they put the gang to the test to see who would make the best one.


After hiring Mickey as Marvin's nanny, Lily and Marshall go to the bar to celebrate their first day together in five months with the gang. They ask the others what's going on in their lives. Robin, Ted, and Ted however find themselves conflicted – Lily and Marshall have implemented an “eight or higher” rule, since Marvin's birth: meaning the three childless pals cannot come to them with problems that are not a level eight or higher. For Ted, this means he can’t bring up the fact that Victoria’s father wants Ted to pay for the wedding he helped Victoria leave. For Robin, this means she can’t talk about how unstylish Nick’s moped is. And Barney can’t tell the gang about the chick he banged the night before (who in Barney's mind, was at best a six, six-and-a-half). The three decide to keep these issues to themselves

After a short drink, Marshall and Lily leave (much to the dismay of the others) to spend some time alone together on the street. However, a close brush with a taxicab forces them to consider preparing a last will and testament, designating a guardian for Marvin in case either or both of them die (which saddens Lily at the mere mention of the word). The two argue over possibly designating Marshall's mother Judy, or Lily's parents as the guardian. They finally decide that Marshall's brother Marcus would be a suitable choice, since he is a great dad. However, when Marshall calls Marcus to tell him about their decision, they are shocked to learn that Marcus has left his wife and kids to become a bartender at a beach-side bar. Ted, Barney, and Robin then all volunteer to be Marvin's guardian and throughout the rest of the week, keep coming over to the apartment and compete to win over Marshall and Lily’s affection, Ted and Robin by purchasing larger and larger stuffed teddy bears, Barney by singing crude “bro”-versions of children’s tunes in various costumes.

Still struggling to choose who to pick as guardian out of the three, Lily and Marshall hold an impromptu game show called "Who Wants to Be a Godparent?" in order to make their decision. The object of the game is to tell Marshall and Lily how they would handle various hypothetical situations with Marvin. Points are given for the best answer and the one with the most points gets to be Marvin's guardian. Ted, Barney, and Robin continue to make trite answers to various questions until after playing several rounds of the game, a disagreement begins between the three competitors, causing Lily and Marshall to get angry with them for not appreciating how hard it is to be a parent. Offended, Barney responds by saying that neither Lily or Marshall knows what it means to be a friend anymore. Ted and Robin continue by stating that Marshall and Lily rarely spend time with the group and are apathetic to what is going on with their lives unless it's an "eight or higher." The couple tell them they don't have time to listen to their dating problems and the only important thing in their life is Marvin. The other three then walk out of the apartment.

After the others leave, Marshall and Lily realize that they don't know what is going on in their friends' lives and haven't been good friends lately. They come to the bar to talk to Robin, Ted and Barney and tell them that they are revoking the "eight or higher" rule, as they want to know what is going on in their lives. All of them then spend the night together hanging out and "close down" MacLaren's for the first time in months.

The next morning, Robin and Ted step up to take care of Marvin when he wakes up early in the morning so that Marshall and Lily can go back to sleep. Marshall and Lily then decide to name all three of their friends as Marvin's legal guardians.


  • Marshall and Lily imposed the "Eight or Higher" rule in The Magician's Code - Part Two.
  • Barney says "God I come up with a lot of good stuff!" which is said in other previous episodes, such as The Pre-Nup.
  • The suit jacket Marshall wore is the same one from the 'Story of the Cursed Pants', in The Magician's Code - Part One.
  • Marshall's love of games, first seen in Game Night, is focused on again.
  • Robin Scherbatsky Sr. sending Robin to a boy's school follows the theme of him wanting a male child, which was first briefly touched on in Zip, Zip, Zip, and further detailed in Happily Ever After and then Mystery vs. History.
    • Another reference to Mystery vs. History is Robin knowing how to bow hunt.
  • On the game wheel is "Tooth Fairy, Santa, Bigfoot", an issue Marshall and Lily discussed in Cleaning House (Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny) and Tailgate (Bigfoot).
  • Barney's "Booty Call Phone" seems to be a less active version of his phone in Rabbit or Duck.
  • Marshall's mother has an issue with Lily. It's been referred to in The Stinsons and again in Last Words.
  • When Marshall and Lily have fights, Marshall eats as a result of him being angry, as seen in Dowisetrepla.
  • Barney says that if Marvin had to be in Ted's care, the poor kid would still be a virgin at the age of 13. Barney once falsely claimed he lost his virginity at the age of 12 in First Time In New York, despite it truthfully being at 23.
  • When Lily and Marshall say "death is all around us", they say it just like Marshall did in Disaster Averted.
  • When Ted raps with Marvin about 'birds and bees' he goes into beat boxing which sounds terrible. This was the first pointed out in The Perfect Cocktail, when Lily says "It only sounds good to you."
  • When Barney walks into the bar with a stroller, Robin says "You think you can bribe them with a stroller? They already got one foo", referring to the stroller she gave to Marshall and Lily in Good Crazy.



For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Who Wants to Be a Godparent? images.

Memorable Quotes

Barney: The boobs on the bus go up and down, up and down, up and down. The boobs on the bus go up and down
Marshall: *Closes the door. About three seconds later, he opens it again.*
Barney: All through the town.

Barney: I know this hurts a little buddy, but you'll love again someday, because time will heal a broken heart, but not that bitch's window.

Robin: Alright, kid. Here's the deal with the deal: Your mom and dad are done, ski bellyflopped off a subway platform. Mom: busted open like a piñata. What was left of your dad hung around for a few days. Anyway, plug's pulled, organs donated, long story short, I'm your new mommy now.
Robin explaining Lily and Marshall's demise to Marvin.

Robin: You know where you're headed, chief? The British Columbia Military School for Boys. Of course, you're actually a boy, so at least you won't have to shave all your hair off and burn your girly clothing in an old oil drum while your father stands there and laughs at you through the flames.
Marshall: I think Robin wins this round... Because we love her and she's in a safe space. Right guys?
Robin disciplining Marvin with tough love.

Barney: It will be legen- no I'm not waiting for it, and neither should Marvin, so maybe you two should just die right now -dary!

Young Marvin: Cheer up, squirt. There are plenty of other wonderful women out there.
Ted: (crying) But I thought that she was the one.
Young Marvin: I'll be at Uncle Barney's.
Young Marvin consoles a crying Ted after failing in another relationship

Marshall: Guys, guys, guys! Okay! All right! Obviously, none of you knows what it really means to be a parent.
Barney: Well obviously, neither of you know what it means to be a friend anymore.
Marshall: What are you talking about?
Ted: Think about it. This is the most we've seen you two in five months.
Robin: You don't seem to care what's going on in our lives unless it's an eight or higher.
Marshall: Well, what do you expect? We have a baby now.
Lily: Yeah. The days of closing down MacLaren's are over. Unless you want to get up with us at 5:13 in the morning with a screaming baby.
Ted: So that's it? The the end of an era, just like that?
Marshall: Look we're sorry if-if we don't have time to sit around the bar listening to silly little dating problems. When you have a baby, it's not just the most important thing in your life, it's the only important thing.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • Victoria says that her dad blames Ted for her running out on her wedding, however after Klaus also left the wedding Ted made it seem like Victoria left because Klaus called off the wedding.
    • Although it is possible Victoria told her father the truth.
  • It is stated several times that Robin does not want kids. However, she competes in the competition to see who Marvin's godparent will be, meaning that she would raise a child if Marshall and Lily died. Also, Marshall and Lily said that they were nervous that Barney would pull ahead and win the competition, meaning they would not want him to be the godfather. Thus, the only logical choice for a godparent is Ted.
    • But Robin did say she might want kids one day but she can't physically have children.
    • Also, Robin competing to win the title of godparent may not be an indication that she wants to have kids; it's very possible that she got wrapped up in the competition and very much wanted to win for the sake of winning.
  • Marshall winks at everyone to let Robin win after the Discipline round, however, in Legendaddy, one of Marshall's gaps is being unable to wink.
    • Although, it shouldn't be ruled out as character development, such as Barney's driving Arrivederci, Fiero-As Fast As She Can, or Robin with sentimental items like memory albums Intervention-Farhampton. But Marshall has actually showed to be a good winker in many episodes before the sixth season.
  • In False Positive, Barney says that he frequently sleeps with 6s, but in this episode he said it was kind of uncommon.
    • Not really a goof, considering that Barney has a rather tenuous relationship with the truth.
  • Marshall's brother, Marcus, is portrayed as a good parent and husband when in previous episodes (such as in Tailgate) it's shown that he still lives alone with his mother without any signs of having a family. Also, Marshall's oldest brother, Marvin Eriksen Jr., previously seen with a family and kids, is not mentioned as a possible guardian.
    • Given that his wife was already pregnant when their son was 2 months old it is likely they had a big family, if they had a big family it might not have worked to add another kid to the family.
      • Also possible they simply couldn't get the actor for Marvin Jr. and switched their characters' back stories.

Allusions and Outside References


Other Notes

  • The episode was originally entitled "The Bro Code for Parents", despite the book not actually being mentioned in the episode. [1]
  • The categories that appear on the wheel are: "Our Demise", "Diaper Daily Double", "Birds and Bees", "Tooth Fairy, Santa, Big Foot", "Bedtime story", "Learning to Drive", "Discipline", "Potty Training"
  • The scene where Robin has trouble pulling the life-sized teddy bear inside the apartment was not intended for the bear's arm to be ripped. Chris Kurumada (the prop assistant) was pulling the bear too much that Cobie Smulders accidentally tore it, which left Jason Segel to joke "Was that supposed to happen?"
  • In each of Robin, Barney and Ted's scenarios in Marvin's room the furniture changes to items related to the character speaking
    • Robin: Canada Chair, Gun lamp, Ice skates
      Barney: Motivational poster (Greatness)
      Ted: Picture of New York skyline



Featuring an interview with Matt Kuhn.


  • The episode received 7.93 million viewers.[2]
  • Donna Bowman of The AV Club gave the episode a C+. She called the episode "Passable, but not what we should be expecting from a show that’s set itself much higher standards of creativity."[3]
  • Max Nicholson of IGN gave the episode 4.3 out of 10, saying that "If a TV show had multiple sharks to jump, HIMYM's "Who Wants to Be a Godparent?" would have been one of them."[4]
  • Ethan Alter of Television Without Pity gave the episode a D-. He describes the game show sequence as "a lengthy, cringe-inducing montage of Ted, Barney, and Robin acting like maroons". [5]
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a B-
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8 out of 10 stars. " argument..."


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