Tailgate (How I Met Your Mother)

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How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 7
Episode 13
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Production code 7ALH13
Original air date January 2, 2012 (2012-01-02)
Guest actors

Bill Faggerbakke (Marvin Sr.)
Chris Elliott (Mickey Aldrin)
Will Sasso (Doug)
Kal Penn (Kevin)
Alexis Denisof (Sandy Rivers)
Chasty Ballesteros (Tina)

Season 7 episodes

"Tailgate" is the 13th episode of the seventh season of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and the 149th episode overall. It aired on January 2, 2012.[1]


After celebrating New Year's Eve, Marshall visits his father's gravesite to carry on their tradition of tailgating. However, his attempts to have a private moment with his father are derailed when his brothers arrive with the same idea in mind, and nearby mourners at another funeral gradually drift over and join Marshall's tailgating party. Nevertheless, Marshall narrates the story to his father's grave of how he, Lily, Ted, Barney and Robin spent New Year's Eve.

Lily and Marshall are decorating the baby's bedroom in East Meadow when Marshall learns that Lily has not yet told her dad that she is pregnant. Marshall convinces her to call her father, who is in Chicago at a board-game convention, but Lily is disappointed with her father's nonchalant reaction and that he immediately hung up afterwards. When Marshall decides to narrate the "Enigmas of the Mystical"—his favourite childhood book—Lily admits she can't believe any of the stories. Realizing that Lily is upset, Marshall apologizes and explains he acted that way because his dad made him believe in the magical. Lily reveals that her dad taught her not to believe in anything but herself.

In the meantime, Ted and Barney turn Ted's apartment into an impromptu bar, calling it "Puzzles", after becoming frustrated with how difficult it is to get to MacLaren's during the New Year's Eve crush. They recruit Kevin to man the bar, and Doug (the MacLaren's bouncer) to act as their bouncer. They initially plan on providing drinks at reasonable prices, but are eventually forced to gradually increase the price when they have trouble managing the rowdy patrons, who eventually all leave.

Robin is called into work on New Year's Eve because Sandy Rivers, the TV anchor, begins drinking on air when the female producer for World Wide News breaks up with him, and he eventually disappears entirely. Robin struggles to get Sandy back on air, but close to midnight he disappears again. She calls Kevin in despair, and he convinces her to take Sandy's place, even though he later finds a comatose Sandy in Ted's bathtub. Robin takes his advice and Kevin, Ted, and Barney watch Robin as she anchors the New Year's Eve broadcast. Future Ted reveals that this became the turning point in Robin's career.

On New Year's Day, many people have gathered where Marshall is tailgating on his father's grave, when someone accidentally calls him Marvin (his father's name), saying Marshall is just like his dad. Marshall recalls how his father always welcomed people at all their previous tailgate parties, and asks his brothers to join him, deciding that private moments are overrated. In New York, Lily opens the door to her house and unexpectedly finds her father with a giant teddy bear. He reveals that right after he heard her news, he drove all night from Chicago to see her and tells her how excited he is for her. A tear-struck Lily thanks her father and hugs him.


"Time is Coming" by The Elected

Barney's blog[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Marshall's father talks about the Roswell UFO incident and SPAM.
  • In the 1986 flashback, Marvin is wearing an apron with the name of Fran Tarkenton, who was a quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings football team in the 1970s.
  • The logotype for "Puzzles" is similar to that of the TV series Cheers, which was already referenced in the episodes "Swarley" and "Everything Must Go". Additionally, Barney and Ted's "Puzzles" song is similar in style to the Cheers theme.
  • Ted mentions the novel Ulysses by James Joyce.
  • The book series Enigmas of the Mystical that Marshall plans to read to his child is a parody of the Time-Life Books Mysteries of the Unknown series, with similar TV commercials and title fonts. The TV commercial is voiced by Neil Ross.
  • Marshall hosts a tailgate party during the Bears vs. Vikings football game on January 1, 2012. This game was actually played on January 1, 2012; the Bears won 17 - 13.

Critical response[edit]

The A.V. Club graded the episode at B+.[3]


  1. ^ "'How I Met Your Mother' season 7 episode 13... | Gather". Entertainment.gather.com. Retrieved December 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Barney's Blog: Puzzles!". January 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ Donna Bowman (January 2, 2012). "How I Met Your Mother: "Tailgate"". avclub.com. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 

External links[edit]