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How I Met Your Mother "Nannies" Review: We're Back to Treading Water

How I Met Your Mother S08E03: "Nannies"

Remember last week when I mentioned that How I Met Your Mother has a reputation for treading water sometimes? Well, this week’s episode’s arms must be exhausted.

What'd "Nannies" really accomplish? After hiring a nanny to watch baby Marvin while Lily returned to work, Lily’s dad surprised everyone by actually being a good grandfather, earning his daughter’s trust. Barney tried to rebound from breaking up with Quinn by throwing himself back into single life, only to discover he’s not able to charm the ladies as easily as he used to. And finally, Ted and Robin argued over who was in a better relationship, only to quietly realize their relationships with Nick and Victoria are pretty crummy. Boom. That was the entire episode.

HIMYM's season premiere gave off the impression that the series was planning to keep things moving this season, that it didn’t have any time to waste. The show is most likely ending after this season, and there is (was?) a certain amount of urgency to wrap up the story Ted’s been telling his kids for the last seven years. But "Nannies" didn’t take us anywhere. In last week’s episode, Ted announced the dawn of the Autumn of Break-ups, so we already knew that Ted and Robin won’t stay with Victoria and Nick. Also, I’m pretty sure we saw Barney struggle with returning to his womanizing ways after he broke up with Nora the first time.

If HIMYM is going to insist on going back to taking things slow, can we at least get to know its characters? Going into this season, people really, really liked Victoria. Some liked her even more than they liked Robin. Ashley Williams had always great on HIMYM, and there was a lot of potential with her coming back for Season 8. But tonight's episode transformed Victoria from the girl of Ted’s dreams into a caricature. She leaves dishes in the sink and doesn’t flush the toilet? Thanks for the character development, guys.

And what’s the deal with Nick? Are we supposed to feel anything toward him? What was the point in bringing back a semi-established character if he’s just a plot device? I would love to see Robin get one final, great romance before she reunites with Barney, but I guess that’s not going to happen. Poor Robin. Don left her to take the job she passed up. Kevin wanted to have kids. And now Nick is a cryer.

What I’m really trying to say here is, HIMYM showrunners, you guys are blowing it. I know you love this show—how could you not? We love this show too, and if Season 8 is our last year with Ted, Robin, Marshall, Lily, and Barney, we want our final months together to be great. We’re invested. Stop introducing characters who don’t matter. Don’t bring back fan favorites like Victoria only to tear them down. If you need Ted to have a crappy girlfriend, bring back Blah Blah or the awful girl who went for the Naked Man. Don’t ruin a character we loved. We’ve followed these folks for seven years; we’ve experienced heartbreak with them and cheered them on. We want to see their story get the ending it deserves. Please stop treading water. Please start being legendary.

Notes and quotes

– I’m always mixed on Chris Elliott’s Mickey. It was nice to see Lily learn that her dad wasn’t always an awful father, but unlike Marshall’s dad, Mickey is kind of one-dimensional. He does something dumb, Lily doesn’t trust him, he redeems himself. We saw this last season when Marshall and Lily moved to the suburbs and Mickey reluctantly helped Marshall find the fuse box.

– While some of Barney’s efforts failed, Bangtober allowed us to once again hear the “Bang, Bang, Bangity Bang” song.

– Barney to Robin about his Bangtober swag: “Robin, I expensed seven grand on merch. This is happening.”

– Robin to Lily after learning Lily’s dad’s house burned down: “I had no idea Naked Man Who Runs Into Inferno to Rescue Potato Salad was Mickey.”

– Okay, baby Marvin is pretty cute. Nice work, Marshall and Lily, on creating an adorable fictional baby.

– Mickey to flashback Lily when trying to figure out which horse to bet on: “When’s your birthday?” Sad Lily: “Today...”

– Ted and Victoria are already making plans for weddings in the future? According to Barney’s rule, you don’t make plans with a girl that will take place further in the future than the amount of time you’ve been dating the girl. How long have Ted and Victoria been dating now? Five months? Ted once dumped Stella after she invited him to her wedding’s sister six months in advance, even though they had only been dating for three months. Where’s the consistency, HIMYM?

–, the site that Marshall and Lily were using to find a nanny for Marvin, is a real site. Well, not real as in a real site where you can actually find a nanny, but real as in it exists on the internet. After leaving Barney in a Dumpster with a wrongfully placed pacifier, the nannies apparently turned into a warning to all prospective nannies to not date Barney Stinson. The site lists a few of Barney’s aliases, including Swarley, Lorenzo Von Matterhorn and Ted Mosby, while also pointing out that Barney is not “endowed like Tommy Lee,” “a SNASA engineer whose mission is to intercept a sn-asteroid,” or “the inventor of cookies.”

– Barney to Marshall and Lily after they exposed his nanny scheme: “I’d introduce you to little baby Edgar, but, one, he’s napping, and, two, he doesn’t exist.”

– I was really hoping Mrs. Buckminster would turn out to be a Mrs. Doubtfire-type character. In retrospect, that would’ve made it really awkward after Barney slept with her.

– Is this the first time a HIMYM character who was shown eating a sandwich was actually eating a sandwich? I was worried that Mickey had gotten high and then took Marvin to the park.

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Bill Kuchman
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