Murtaugh (How I Met Your Mother)

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How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 19
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Joe Kelly
Original air date March 30, 2009
Guest actors

Danny Glover (Roger Murtaugh, archive footage) Robert Wisdom (McCracken)

Season 4 episodes

"Murtaugh" is the 19th episode in the fourth season of the television series How I Met Your Mother and 83rd overall. It originally aired on March 30, 2009.


The episode begins with Barney recalling the events of the previous night to the rest of the gang, in which he was banned from laser tag by the game's owner for being too rough. He then reveals plans to break into the laser tag arena and throw toilet paper everywhere. Ted brushes it off, informing Barney that he is too old for laser tag. Ted then reveals the "Murtaugh List", a record of things he believes he has become too old to do anymore. Barney accepts Ted's revealing of the list as a challenge, and makes a bet with him that he can perform every item on the list within the following 24 hours. If he cannot, he will spend three hours listening to Ted talk about architecture, an idea so horrible even the thought of it causes him to twitch involuntarily.

Meanwhile, Marshall has taken on the role of coaching Lily's kindergarten's basketball team. He is extremely aggressive in training the children, doing such things as forcing them to run and throwing basketballs at them when they do not conform to his standards. A flashback shows his father relentlessly training Marshall, yelling at him aggressively. Lily is shocked by this, as her usual training tactics involve playing a guitar and allowing the children to do whatever they like.

Barney continues to try to perform every action on the Murtaugh List, contracting an ear infection and back injuries in the process, from self-ear-piercing and sleeping on a futon, respectively. During a conversation with Robin, Ted reveals that he would prefer being older to being younger. Upon hearing this, Robin and Barney make Ted his own list of things he would do when he was older. Another bet is made between him and Barney to see who can complete their respective lists first, thus introducing the "gentleman's agreement".

Lily grows tired of Marshall's hyper-competitive coaching and tells him off, forcing him to go easier on the children. During the game, they lose without scoring a single point, but Marshall realizes the value in playing for fun and makes up with Lily.

After being drugged at a rave, Barney is finally forced to accept the reality that he is growing older and gives Ted the victory. Having re-watched the complete Lethal Weapon series, Ted realizes that Murtaugh still did the things he claimed he was too old for, and decides that he has more to live for than waiting to grow older. He agrees to accompany Barney in covering the laser tag arena with toilet paper, despite winning the bet. Ted, Robin, and Barney are discovered by the laser tag arena owner, who pretends to be accepting of the situation before going to call the police and he walks away.


Marshall and Lily have a telepathic or "psychic conversation" because they know each other so well they can communicate without speaking.[1] The reason for this is that Alyson Hannigan had laryngitis and could not talk.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

  • The title is a reference to Roger Murtaugh, Danny Glover's character in the Lethal Weapon film series, who is constantly pondering retirement and moaning that he is "too old for this shit" (which becomes a running gag in the film series). This phrase is said again and again, though Future Ted claims the last word is "Stuff."
  • During the kindergarten basketball game, Ted mentions that Marshall's subsequent retelling of the events grew to include a Teen Wolf.[3][4][5]
  • The laser tag manager gives Barney one last chance but warns him he will be playing Duck Hunt if he does not behave. Duck Hunt is a video game from Nintendo that uses a light gun.[6]
  • After Robin confirms the gentleman's agreement between Barney and Ted, Barney storms out of the room and shouts his name. This is a reference to Leeroy Jenkins, who is popular from a viral video of him and his friends playing the computer game World of Warcraft where Leeroy Jenkins screams his name before running into the next area by himself.[7]

Critical response[edit]

The AV Club rated the episode giving it a B grade.[4]

Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 9 out of 10.[3]

Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade A-.[6]


  1. ^ "Mary the Paralegal". How I Met Your Mother. Season 1. Episode 19. 2006-04-24. CBS. 
  2. ^ Maureen Ryan (2009-04-10). "How 'How I Met Your Mother' dealt with 2 pregnant stars, and what's coming next on the comedy". Chicago Tribune. The reason that Lily and Marshall had a "psychic conversation" in the episode "Murtaugh" was because Hannigan had laryngitis and couldn't talk. 
  3. ^ a b Michelle Zoromski (2009-03-31). "How I Met Your Mother: Murtaugh Review. Riggs! I'm getting too old for this stuff.". IGN (News Corporation). Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  4. ^ a b Donna Bowman (2008-03-30). "How I Met Your Mother: Murtaugh". The AV Club. The Onion. Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  5. ^ Joel Keller (2008-03-31). "How I Met Your Mother: Murtaugh". TV Squad. Weblogs, Inc. Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  6. ^ a b Cindy McLennan (2009-03-30). "How I Met Your Mother: I Won't Grow Up". Television Without Pity. NBC Universal. p. 11. Retrieved 2010-04-20.  Rating A-
  7. ^

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