Natural History (How I Met Your Mother)

Natural History (How I Met Your Mother)
"Natural History"
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 8
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas
Production code 6ALH09
Original air date November 8, 2010 (2010-11-08)
Guest stars

Jennifer Morrison (Zoey Pierson)
Bob Odenkirk (Arthur Hobbs)
Dan Bakkedahl (Curtis)
Ted Jonas (Russell)
Kyle MacLachlan (George "The Captain" Van Smoot)
David Burtka (Scooter)

Season 6 episodes
  1. Big Days
  2. Cleaning House
  3. Unfinished
  4. Subway Wars
  5. Architect of Destruction
  6. Baby Talk
  7. Canning Randy
  8. Natural History
  9. Glitter
  10. Blitzgiving
  11. The Mermaid Theory
  12. False Positive
  13. Bad News
  14. Last Words
  15. Oh Honey
  16. Desperation Day
  17. Garbage Island
  18. A Change of Heart
  19. Legendaddy
  20. The Exploding Meatball Sub
  21. Hopeless
  22. The Perfect Cocktail
  23. Landmarks
  24. Challenge Accepted

"Natural History" is the eighth episode of the sixth season of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and the 120th episode overall. It aired on November 8, 2010.



Ted and the gang are invited to a gala party at the Natural History Museum thrown by George van Smoot, also known as "The Captain". While hobnobbing, Ted sees Zoey, with whom he is angry for writing a column criticizing his work at GNB regarding the Arcadian. It is usually positioned near crossword puzzles, which Ted solves every Saturday. At the party, Zoey introduces Ted to her husband, the Captain (Kyle MacLachlan). The Captain is not only much older than Zoey, but also obsessed with boats. Later, Ted corners Zoey and berates her for trying to ruin his career, angrily calling her a "bored trophy wife". At this, Zoey starts crying and tells Ted that she is unhappy in her marriage. Ted immediately feels sorry for her, and he tries to commiserate with her by ranting against GNB and their obnoxious work culture, at one point even calling them a bunch of "wieners and gonads". Zoey's tears are a ruse, however: She reveals that she had been recording the entire conversation, and then promises Ted that his remarks will be given prime space in the next day's newspaper. However, because of the museum's acoustic capabilities, Zoey overhears Ted tell The Captain that he respects her activism, even if she did betray his trust. The Captain tells Ted that Zoey has taped him as well, and even he feels that her habit of recording statements is irritating. He promises to erase the tape for Ted, as he is impressed by the fact that like "a real man", Ted has given himself a made-up name. After overhearing the conversation, Zoey breaks into real tears and promises to erase the conversation herself, resolving to play fair from now on.

Meanwhile, Barney goes on the prowl in the museum, pulling off pranks using various exhibits along with Robin. He admits being in the museum many years before when he accidentally damaged a blue whale exhibit. After catching Robin by surprise disguised as an Egyptian pharaoh, a security guard catches them in the act and brings them to the security office. Robin's skepticism about the blue whale incident prompts the security officer to check old records. One file, dated July 23, 1981, recounts the incident in full, but a check of the document reveals that Barney's guardian that day — his uncle, Jerome Whittaker — identified himself as Barney's father on the visitor form. Barney realizes that he may have been with his real father that day, who disappeared after. He asks Robin to keep quiet.

Marshall tells Lily that GNB has offered him a five-year contract. Lily, however, is still firm on her belief that Marshall will resign and pursue his dream of being an environmental lawyer. Lily also realizes that whenever she had asked Marshall about whether he would quit his job at GNB, he always responded with made-up words so that he could not be held culpable as a liar. In the ensuing argument, Marshall insists on staying in the company for financial reasons, and Lily storms out. While in another part of the museum, Lily visualizes an exhibit showing extinct College Marshall at their old Wesleyan dorm. She talks with College Marshall, telling him that his persona was the one she fell in love with many years ago and Corporate Marshall embodied everything he despised. Just then, the real Marshall appears and promises to work harder to provide a stable future for their family. Future Ted later reveals that Marshall does leave GNB in the future (with the camera pulling back to reveal an exhibit showing extinct Corporate Marshall), but the episode ends with Future Ted just saying, "but that's another story".


  • The episode continues the story arc about Ted's GNB headquarters project and Zoey's efforts to stop him.
  • College Marshall is "eating a sandwich," the show's euphemism for smoking marijuana, first revealed in the Season 3 episode "How I Met Everyone Else".
  • The newspaper page where Ted discovers Zoey's op-ed piece condemning his work also includes articles about the Dowisetrepla neighborhood and the cockamouse.
  • The revelation about Jerome Whittaker, Barney's father, refers to the episode "Cleaning House".
  • Ted mentions an architecture "fun fact". Ted loves architecture "fun facts", as is first seen in "First Time in New York".
  • Though the line "legen... wait for it... dary" is iconic of the show, this is the first time it is said by accident, with a genuine interruption.
  • Barney says "Challenge Accepted!", a line that he previously used in episodes such as "The Window" and "Baby Talk".
  • Lily's high school boyfriend, Scooter, is shown in one prom flashback scene. The moment they had broken up was previously shown in "Best Prom Ever".
  • The Captain's real name is George Van Smoot. The name 'Van Smoot' was also used in the episodes "Best Prom Ever" when Lily and Marshall get their dream house for their wedding, and again in "Robots Versus Wrestlers" when the group attend a party held by the Van Smoots.
  • Marshall uses his "Lawyered" catchphrase.
  • The imaginary newspaper headline shows Ted wearing the wizard costume that was seen in "Architect of Destruction".
  • Marshall was supposed to work for the NRDC, until he was side-tracked by the need to provide Lily and his future family some financial stability, as seen in "Life Among the Gorillas".

Barney's blog

In his blog, Barney presents a traveling exhibition called "Barney Stinson: A Life of Awesome", dedicated to himself.[1]

Cultural references

Critical response

Reviews of the episode have been positive.

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+ score, saying the episode tackled people's thoughts about their past and how they should let things go, which were explained well during the third part.[2]

DeAnn Welker of Television Without Pity gave the episode an A- score.[3]

Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a rating of 6.5 out of 10.[4]

Chris O'Hara of gave the episode a rating of 4 out of 5.[5]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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