As much as I love Marshall and Lily on How I Met Your Mother, parenthood has made them corny. They still have their chuckle-worthy moments (i.e. Marshall and his toy racers), but they’re becoming farther and fewer between as we see them struggling with the typical newborn baby TV tropes. Lily and Marshall used to be an atypical TV couple but in becoming parents, they’ve also become average.
A Marshall and Lily focused episode like “Nannies” doesn’t work quite as well as it used to. Perhaps, that is because their story seems complete. They’re married, employed, and living in New York with their first child. The futures we’ve seen in store for Marshall and Lily on How I Met Your Mother don’t stray much from what they’ve already got. Even if Lily’s story with her father was touching, it didn’t seem all that important in the overall HYMIM story and there was no Ted narration telling us why this would be significant later on down the line.
Obviously, Marvin is a part of Lily and Marshall’s lives now, but I’m not all that interested in seeing that part of their lives all the time. If Lily and Marshall are to maintain their awesome couple status, they need to be pulled out of the stereotypical parent problem story lines and be thrown back into the quirky world of friendship that we used to see in episodes like “The Naked Man,” “Slap Bet,” and “Best Burger in New York.” They can even bring Marvin along for the ride.
Rebounding from his breakup with Quinn, Barney launched “Bangtoberfest” to “celebrate innovation” in the art of picking up ladies. It was mostly the same Barney sleaze ball stuff, but the tie in to Lily and Marshall’s favorite two nanny applicants paid off well. Barney scamming Julie Jorgenson away from Lily and Marshall and then ending up in bed with Mrs. Buckminster were some of the best gags of the night.
Still clinging to their doomed relationships, Ted and Robin spent their time competing over who was happier in their relationship. Through it, we got a better idea of the discontent in their relationships – Victoria was a slob and Nick was an emotionally needy boyfriend. Ted’s narration let us know that both their relationships would implode within the month, so we’ve got some story progression to look forward to.
“Nannies” was not terrible, but it was not How I Met Your Mother at its best. Part of it was due to the fact that there’s no big mystery left in Lily and Marshall’s story for us. While we’re anxiously awaiting the reveal of Robin and Barney’s marriage, and discovering Ted’s future wife, these sort of Marshall and Lily centered stories will probably always feel like b-story material.