A review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I send you to the British Columbia Military School For Boys...

Through the early part of this "HIMYM" season, I've been trying to weigh positives and negatives of each episode, and "Who Wants To Be A Godparent?" was the first one where the positive column was longer than the negative one. The show is much broader than it was once upon a time (Barney's womanizing antics in particular have crossed the line from inappropriate but clever to being plain skeevy), the writers are completely squandering the return of Victoria(*), and the contest to be a godparent completely ignored everything we know about Robin's interest in raising children. Yet I found myself enjoying the episode more often than I didn't.

(*) At first, I didn't want to accept the fan theory that the writers only brought Victoria back so they could make us hate her — and, as a result, so we wouldn't compare any Ted/Mother scene with our memories of the greatness of Ted/Victoria — but it's kind of hard to think of a more plausible explanation at this point. How do you bring back this actress who fit in so well with both Ted and the group, and use her this way all season?

Even though we've seen Marshall and Lily interacting with the gang too much in the previous episodes (albeit sometimes tag-teaming, or with Marvin in a Baby Bjorn), the conflict of balancing your friends with your new baby is a universal one, and the kind of story the show has always told much better than time-bending shenanigans about when/how/if Ted meets his future wife. (For other examples — albeit better ones, from the show's golden years, check out season 1's "Okay Awesome" or season 2's "Single Stamina," both of which also dealt with how Lily and Marshall are different from the rest of the gang.) The game show was amusing enough — Robin's tortured, gender-bending childhood remains one of the show's great underutilized resources — and I was pleased when it ultimately turned out to be less about Ted, Robin and Barney's desire to care for Marvin than their desire to spend extended quality time with their pals. This show is ultimately more about this group of friends than it is about Ted's quest for the mother of his children, Barney growing up, etc., so stories that spin out of how the five characters interact with each other are always welcome, particularly at this late date.

Add in a few other nice touches (the fast-forwarded Marshall/Lily arguments, Cobie Smulders apparently borrowing a leather cat suit from the "Avengers" wardrobe closet, NPH's sad and quiet delivery of the conclusion to the "Wheels on the Bus" parody) and you have the least objectionable episode in quite a while. At this point, I'll take that.

What did everybody else think?