After the intro, everyone's got their food but poor, starving Robin. Hers will be right out. They love the burgers and seem to be taunting Robin with their enjoyment -- everyone but Marshall, that is. "When you've had the best burger in New York City, every other burger tastes like my grandpa's feet. But you guys eat up. Enjoy...my grandpa's feet." Sushi's sounding better and better. Robin is not familiar with the burger story, so Marshall fills her in. Eight years ago, he and Ted had just moved to the city, and he was afraid to leave the apartment. Ted finally forced him out, and to his wonder and surprise, he loved New York and didn't find it scary at all. Just as he started to get hungry, he found the tiniest burger joint, tucked between a taxidermist and a triple X bookstore. At that, Barney does his best Carnac the Magnificent, holds his napkin to his head like a hermetically sealed envelope and says, "Named two places where things get stuffed." Marshall continues his story, but Barney upstages him by ripping the edge off the napkin and blowing into it, just like Carson used to do with the envelope. In a sub-par episode like this one, it would probably serve them well not to remind us of someone as funny as Carson.
Flashback to the year 2000 and Marshall is served the burger. We get extremely gross close ups of Jason Segal chewing. If Stella were in this episode, I'd get her to check out those moles, stat. We see him gaze up in appreciation and he catches site of celebrity photos on the wall, including one of Regis Philbin. Okay, "celebrity" photos. Marshall runs back to his apartment and startles a sleeping Ted who whacks him over the head with the baseball bat Marshall had been using for protection when he was afraid to be in New York. After he recovers, he proselytizes to Ted about the burger joint and they rush back out into the night, but never find it. They're so unfamiliar with the city that it takes three hours and assistance from a very helpful drag queen to find their apartment. Marshall says, "Wait, Bette Noire was a drag queen?" Bête noire. Get it? Had she only dumped them at a joke store, where they could have picked up something funny to distract the audience. Robin says, "Where do you think it was?" and Lily replies, "Probably tucked between her legs." You can almost hear the writers. "This episode isn't funny enough. I think it should be funnier. Where's the emergency joke list? 'Drag Queens'? Check. 'Penis jokes'. Quick, make a penis joke. Have one of the girls make it. That will be shocking." Ugh. Barney reminds the crew that getting a home equity loan at Goliath National Bank is not a drag. Lily looks at him funny and Marshall warns him off with his eyes as if to say, "Don't give away the surprise ending where you find me a job at Goliath National Bank." It's sad when I'm laughing the hardest at the coincidence of this episode airing the day the world ran out of money. Wait 'til tomorrow, Barney.