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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Laughs at a funeral

January 17, 2011 | 10:18 pm

100042_FX_0320b As Marshall's (Jason Segel) friends attended his dad's funeral in Minnesota, it reminded me how much we turn to laughs during hard time. As guys, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Ted (Josh Radnor) attempted to make Marshall laugh by showing him videos of guys being hit in the groin. It didn't work, but there were plenty of laughs to be found during the episode. I found that the comedy worked better for me than the drama, which was a bit heavy-handed at times, especially during the Marshall-yelling-at-God scene. But nothing bad can be said about Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan's acting, which was in fine form during the heavier moments. Anyway, here are some of my favorite funny moments:

1. Lily (Hannigan) trying to be there for Marshall so much that she even offers to pee for him. “Halfway through the pee, I'm like, 'This doesn't even make sense,'” she says.

2. Robin's (Cobie Smulders) bag of goodies, which has everything Marshall will need, including cigarettes, alcohol and firecrackers. Ted remarks that it's like she “crammed Tijuana into a purse.” Robin even starts to develop a reputation at the wake for someone who can get things. “I gotch ya,” she tells a man who needs vodka and dirty playing cards. “You're like Mary Poppins if her magic purse was also filled with drugs,” says Ted.

“If, Ted?” scoffs Robin. “The kids in that movie jumped into a painting and spent 15 minutes chasing a cartoon fox. Spoon full of sugar? Grow up.” I am never going to look at “Mary Poppins” the same way again.

3. Danny Strong as Trey, “the toughest bully in school,” as Marshall describes him. He's also possibly the tiniest bully ever. Trey sitting between Marshall's even larger brothers was a nice sight gag. So how did Tiny Trey – I've decided that's his nickname – administer his noogies? He made Marshall carry a step ladder! “Your lunch money finally ran out,” Trey replies when Marshall expresses surprise that he's a reverend now.

4. Harris' delivery of “I'm peeing my pants!”

5. Robin's “They grow them large here!” after she discovers the “momma” she got drunk is actually 15-year-old cousin Daphne. Barney promptly gives back a paper with her phone number.

6. Lily letting Marshall's mom, Judy, use her as a punching bag. “That dress makes you look like a Kansas City whore,” Judy says. She also tells Lily to make some of her snooty “tofu sushi bagels.”

7. The consistency of the bizarre Erikson diet. Cheese, mayo and jelly bean salad, anyone?

8. As Marshall reflects on his dad's last words to him – “Rent Crocodile Dundee 3. I caught it on cable last night and it totally holds up” – his friends remember their own sad, funny last words with their fathers. For Ted, it was uncomfortable sex talk with his divorced dad at his bachelor pad. Lily's came from her incarcerated father, who's thought of a new board game: Tax Evasion, amusingly only for ages 6-10. Robin got another “I'm disappointed in you” speech followed by “I wish I didn't have to keep lying to my friends that you're in a coma” and finally, “Happy Birthday, RJ.” And after all that soul-crushing disappointment, she squealed, “You remembered my birthday!” For a story about meeting a mother, a lot of the show is about the characters' often complicated relationships with their dads. Marshall's grief even finally gets Barney to call his mother and tell her he's ready to meet his father, getting the ball rolling for what should be a very interesting storyline for Barney, not to mention Emmy bait for Harris.

9. Marshall's dad's actual last words to him: “And let me know if you find my foot cream. That fungus thing is acting up again.” Thankfully, there was a “I love you” before that, so Marshall and the gang just agree to pretend they didn't hear the fungus part.

10. Marshall gives his friends some last words should he not come back: “I really, really, really love you guys.” Awww... “And I'm going to drop a deuce.”

Readers, what were your favorite funny moments from the episode? Were you moved with laughter or just moved? And what are you hoping Marshall's dad's death means for the rest of the gang and their dads?

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

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Photo: Marshall (Jason Segel) gets a voice mail from his dad. Credit: Matt Kennedy / FOX.