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How I Met Your Mother Recap: Why Aren’t There More People Named After Dikembe Mutumbo?

Last night, an ominous begging — another ultimately inconsequential baby-making problem, and one of many such issues promised on the long road to Marshall and Lily's inevitable successful conception (in the season finale?) — gave way to a satisfying 22 minutes. Did you turn your TV off too early? Here's what you missed.

This time out, Lily and Marshall are squabbling about (ugh) what to name their theoretical child. And then HIMYM, as if actually monitoring our waning interest level, immediately pulls us back in with a bunch of NBA jokes. So, yes, Marshall wanting to name his kid Shaquille, Hakeem, or Dikembe was great … but LeBron? These days? (Has he not seen this crazy ad?) And why not honor a player from his native Minnesota Timberwolves? (If Garnett's too obvious, how about Christian? JR? Latrell? Googs?) Still, the bit was great. And then it got better, with Lily excusing all manner of normal boy names because she associates them with nutso kids in her class. The pencil stabbed through the thigh was insane enough, so major points for that even more insane thinly veiled “Jeremy”-style school-shooting reference.

Finally we get to the real crux of the situation: Marshall's only suggesting boy names because he can't imagine actually having a girl. This is tried-and-true territory, but HIMYM handles it well — mostly thanks to a fantasy sequence in which future plastic-surgery-addled Barney dates future Marshall's stripper daughter (Barney: “Who's your daddy?” Marshall's daughter: “You are! 'Cause of all the sex we have.”) Creepily accurate!

Eventually Marshall talks it out with his parents via iChat (shout out to Jason Segel's character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall?), and his dad makes it clear: Eriksens don't have daughters! Again tried-and-true, but not quite as cleverly done: Marshall eats pickled herrings and dips his balls in ice (?) in order to land a boy. Turns out Lily's been doing the same, only the exact opposite in order to land a girl. Which leads to both the totally solid gag of Lily blow-drying her vagina, and another easy reconciliation on the bumpy road to baby-making. Works for us.

And over on the B-plot: Robin's bubbly new co-anchor Becky (played by Broadway and Nashville veteran Laura Bell Bundy) is annoying the crap out of her by using a weird little-girl routine to get love from both the show's cameraman and, understandably, known wimp Ted Mosby, who's into the idea of having someone to protect. (Ted tries to kill a spider for Becky, but “only wounded it.” Then he saw it limp into his bedroom, so he had a restless night on the couch. Excellent.) This leads to a totally realistic-sounding conversation about Ted and Robin's relationship: She never made Ted feel needed, and that was bad. Or was it?! Same question to Barney, who says “you're the most amazing, strong independent woman I've ever banged.” (Bonus: “No guys gonna say whose your daddy to you. You're your own daddy. And mommy. And weird survivalist uncle that lives in a cabin blaming stuff on the government.”)

That's two funny episodes in a row! Or have we just been in a good mood recently?

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS