"Zoo Or False" examines our perceptions of truth, even as it plays with them. The episode centers on one particular tall tale and subsequent versions thereof. The facts are these: Marshall either doesn't want to or can't pay for the gang's pizza. Eventually, he says he doesn't have any money on him because he got mugged. This news sends Lily into a tailspin. In fact, she later goes to the firing range with Robin and decides she wants a gun (a pink Beretta to go with some new strappy sandals she just bought). Since Marshall is always accidentally injuring Lily, he's afraid to have a gun in the house, but Lily says she's getting one and that's that.
Once it becomes clear how undone Lily is over the mugging, Marshall tells her and the gang that he was actually mugged by a monkey at the zoo. The monkey reached through the bars of its cage and grabbed Marshall's wallet right out of his pocket. After the gang engages in an exhaustive round of monkey-related jokes (see weecap), Robin asks Marshall if she can interview him on her show. She's been hating her job recently, and she thinks this is just the sort of human interest piece that might nab her some national attention.
Once Robin's producer okays the segment, Marshall tells Ted and Barney he wasn't mugged by a monkey. He says made up the story to placate Lily -- to keep her from getting a gun. Marshall says that although he can lie to them about it, because they're his best friends, he can't lie on TV.
And yet, he goes on Robin's show, ready to lie, at least until the zookeeper tells Marshall that they'll be sending the monkey, Bobo, off to a wildlife sanctuary. This will separate Bobo from his longterm mate, Milly. At the sound of Bobo's mate's name, Marshall over-identifies and then tells Robin and the zookeeper that he wasn't mugged by the monkey. But when Lily overhears, he swears by the monkey mugging. He waffles between the two stories for a while, and once the pressure becomes too much, he leaves the studio without confirming either one. Ted is there to pinch-hit as a guest, and I'll explain that in the weecap.
There was no end tag as such, but the final scene was so outrageous, I'll save it for the full weecap, too. Right now, I'd like to talk about this episode, and this season. Is it just me, or is something...missing? This was a cute, amusing episode. It poked lightly at the audience, but more in a tickling way than a nasty one. It was a clever acknowledgment of something the audience has known for some time: Ted is not a reliable narrator. Everyone got along. No one was so annoying that I had to put him or her into a timeout. And yet, this episode did nothing for me.
I've felt for some time now that HIMYM should have been planned out as a five-year show. Just when it feels like we should be diving down deep, instead we're still killing time, splashing around in the shallow end. Don is given a big build up, turns out to be a drunken lout, and then we're told (but not really shown) that he's not the drunken lout we've seen, but actually a great guy, and then we hardly see him in any way that matters. We meet the mother's roommate, see the mother's ankle, even, but we hear nothing about her after that. Barney and Robin are shoved together after seasons of build up and then ripped apart, act like their relationship and break-up meant nothing, and then have an emotional coming to terms about Barney's inconsiderate behavior, long after the audience vowed to forget the whole terribly mishandled pair. And now we're left with this monkey business. If I weren't covering this show for TWoP, this might be where I stopped watching. I hope that changes. I hope, at the end of the season that I'm hugging this show tight, and promising to never lose faith again. Right now, I'm wishing I'd watched Dancing With the Stars, even though that Kate Gosselin is still on.
I'll hit the crazy big finish, as well as the jokes and quotes in the weecap, so check back tomorrow. In the meantime, come on over to the forums, where, yes, we have no bananas.
"Zoo Or False" examines our perceptions of truth, even as it plays with them. The thing is -- does it justify our ongoing devotion?
Nightfall; Central Park Bench: Marshall sits with his head in his hands (which I'll try to remember to address at the end) as Saget!Ted narrates: "Kids, you may be wondering how many of these stories I'm telling you are true. It's a fair question. After all, there's a fine line between a good story and a baldfaced lie." And Kids, because you may be wondering, there are light years between a good episode, and this one. Flash to...
MacLaren's: Barney chats up his latest mark, a pretty blonde named Sarah (Collette Wolfe) as Saget!Ted continues: "I've never met anyone who could work that line better than your Uncle Barney. Heck, he could jump rope with it." Barney convinces Sarah that he's Neil Armstrong, and is now currently aging backwards, because he went through a wormhole or some gamma rays on his way back from the moon. I'll be right back, after I stick my head in the oven, but only because it has an electric rather than a gas range. Damn it.
The Apartment: Ted, Marshall, and Lily listen to Barney's bragging. No matter how many space-related double entendres he throws at them, they don't believe any girl fell for such a story. Ted: "Why do you feel the need to lie, all the time?" In response, Barney pulls out his cell phone, producing the pictures to prove that he and Sarah "made sweet love." Great, that phrase has now lost what little meaning it retained.
Robin comes in, bitching about her job. Marshall thought she'd be psyched, because she just interviewed the mayor, but Robin reveals it was only "Mayor MacWoof" (E. E. Bell) who wears a dog-costume and teaches kids not to litter. In a flashback, we find out he didn't do either of those things on Come on GET UP New York. Instead, he shilled insoles (from Bon 'Appy Feet). When the "mayor" tries to demo the shock absorbency of the insoles with a hammer, he smashes the prop table. Robin yells, "Cut," but cameraman Mike (who seems to be the new Ranjit, but no Ranjit -- if you feel me) has long stopped paying attention to the interview segment, and is, instead, flying paper airplanes across the studio. "Sorry, Robin. I got bored." Robin doesn't blame him. I think. I'd rewind, but I have to get my paper airplane out of the lamp on my occasional table, before it catches fire. Robin is dying to do one decent, newsworthy interview. Ted's ready, willing, and able -- and not because he caught seven peanuts in his mouth -- in a row (Marshall is impressed). No, he's been selected to build a scale model of the Empire State Building for the largest recreation of the New York skyline in the world.