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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Little girls made of sugar and spice

October 25, 2010 | 11:24 pm

99749_D0247b Is it easier to raise a boy than a girl? Marshall (Jason Segel) seems to think so. His list of possible baby names only includes boy names, most of which Lily (Alyson Hannigan) vetoes thanks to the bad memories and paint stains the little boy rascals she teaches have left. Boys are no picnic, but Marshall worries that he doesn't know how to raise a girl and will screw her up somehow. Then she'll become a stripper and end up marrying an overly botoxed, kind of Ken Doll-esque — how shiny did Neil Patrick Harris look? — older Barney. Truly a horrifying image. Instead of being the guy who sings to the hottest girl at his high school about wanting to get up on her, which we glimpsed Marshall and his buddies doing in a hilarious flashback, complete with jean shorts and ponytail, he'll be the one trying protect his daughter from that kind of behavior.

Marshall's father gives him some instructions for conceiving a son: 1.) Avoid lemons, aka girl fertilizer. 2.) Eat pickled herring before you're about to do it. 3.) Dunk your stuff in ice. 4.) Point Lily due North. Lily, of course, wants a girl and is doing the exact opposite. Honestly, it all sounds counterproductive to conceiving any kind of baby to me. When their friends Stuart and Claudia — nice bit of continuity see them again — decide to name their baby Esther, which is also the name of a stripper that is able to do something too disturbing for words, Marshall and Lily realize they have no control over their baby's gender. They just want a healthy baby.

If Marshall and Lily want some baby practice maybe they should hang out with Robin's (Cobie Smulders) co-anchor, Becky (Laura Bell Bundy), who's perfected the “little girl act.” Robin and Lily don't understand why it's so charming. “Who's your daddy?” Barney counters. The girls think it's disgusting. You don't see guys talking like little boys while picking up girls. Barney accepts the challenge. The group could not care less, but his failed attempts are amusing. “Do you want to wrestle with our special bathing suit places?” he asks one woman in a little boy sing-song voice.

Ted (Josh Radnor) ends up taking Becky on a tour of New York, which upsets Robin enough that she punches him in the throat. Becky makes him feel needed, something Robin never did when they were dating. Whether it was a pizza order, makeout session or break-in, Robin always “got it” and took over. Ted, she's a gun enthusiast. Maybe you should be happy she rifled up and took care of the person trying to break into the apartment. Robin goes to Barney's to ask him if she ever made him feel needed. “No, I didn't feel like you needed me at all,” he says, but it's a compliment to the “least needy woman” he's ever met. Robin is her own daddy. “That is what makes you the most amazing, strong, independent woman I've ever banged,” he adds. Take that sweet-for-Barney sentiment and Robin fingering his robe, and it almost seemed as if there was going to be something more between the two. But Robin just wanted to know about the crazy woman in Barney's apartment. Just as Barney had accepted defeat, he found “his mommy.” Challenge completed!

Readers, would you like Marshall and Lily to have a boy or girl? Were you charmed or annoyed by Becky? Bundy's a talented comedic actress, who managed to play both sides of the coin perfectly, I think. I hope they find a way to get her to sing on the show too. (Bundy played Elle Woods on Broadway.) Did you sense a moment between Robin and Barney?

— Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

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Photos: Co-hosts Becky (Laura Bell Bundy) and Robin (Cobie Smulders). Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS.