On last night’s episode, “Stamp Tramp,” Marshall runs into Brad, an old friend from law school, who looks like he needs a helping hand. Meanwhile, Barney attempts to get back into his comfort zone (the single life) by choosing a new strip club with the help of Robin, who also happens to be his ex.
When Brad tells Marshall that he hasn’t had a job for two years, Marshall immediately sees this as an opportunity to exercise his “nice guy” characteristic, putting in a good word for Brad at his job in hopes of landing him an available position. While Marshall holds nothing but good intentions, his “stamp of approval” has consequently become meaningless since he always approves of everything, like the restaurant that had recently bumped up its grade from an F to a D.
Although Marshall and his boss, Honeywell, get along far from perfectly, Marshall believes in Brad. The interview turns out to be a disaster, with Brad mentioning things like consulting his psychic. Marshall begs Honeywell to give him a second chance, and he does, but that fails when Brad comments on Honeywell’s (lack of) height.
The “stamp of approval” theme is carried throughout this episode: Ted begins to realize, with the insistence of his friends, that he is a “piggy-back stamper.” In other words, he doesn’t seem to have original ideas, although at first he’s sure he does. On the day of Marshall’s big case, he sees Brad in the courtroom and the puzzle pieces all finally fit: Brad deceived Marshall into thinking he was homeless, when in reality he was working for the opposing firm all along, giving Brad a chance to take photos of Marshall’s team strategy.
Later, Ted has a breakthrough with Lilly in the living room. As he is sulking over being a piggy-back stamper, one of his college videos shows him giving Lily the “ultimate stamp,” encouraging college-aged Marshall to spend more time with Lily. Toward the end of the episode, we learn that Barney chooses Mouth Beach as his exclusive strip club destination, since Robin’s choice of Golden Oldies didn’t fly well with him.