How I Met Your Mother

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: C+ | 2 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
Why Can't You Do It? Why Can't You Set Your Monkey Free?

MacLaren's: The guys continue their conversation about not being mugged by a monkey. Barney doesn't like the new-old monkey-free version of the story and keeps trying to reinsert the monkey into it, but Marshall explains that he made up the story so that Lily wouldn't get a gun. "The truth is, it never happened." And while he's fine lying to his best friends (insert Barney claiming sole ownership of the label), Marshall can't lie on TV. Barney asks Ted to determine if Marshall is telling the truth or not. He leans right into Marshall's face and stares, but all he notices is his cologne. Barney's decided to continue saying it happened. Ted points out that Marshall can't risk Robin's credibility and allow her to report on it if it's not true. Barney argues that reporters lie all the time. "A lie is just a great story that someone ruined with the truth." We flash back to Barney at the bar with the two women. He admits that the three-way story didn't go exactly the way he said it did.

MacLaren's Flashback: Sarah and Lisa throw their drinks in Barney's face when he proposes a three-way, and then stomp off. Barney calls after Lisa, but when the brunette stops, he realizes he means Sarah. He apologizes for lying about being Neil Armstrong. Sarah admits that she was less than honest, too. She's not 28. She's 31. Barney looks nauseated. The accompanying horror-movie music drowns out whatever she's confessing here: "And if we're being completely honest, I went to the doctor the other day, and..." I should care more about that than I do. Back in the present, Barney whines about having bedded a 31 year old, rather than a 28 year old "with sun damage." He then stresses to his friends that people want the lie -- they need the lie. "You were mugged by a monkey, just as sure as I had that three-way." He rises to reveal he's wearing the Tricycle belt. "I am the greatest, in the world." Lily enters, realizes he's wearing the belt and gives him five. She mentions how great she's sleeping, now that she knows that Marshall got mugged by a monkey, and then heads up to the bar. Once she's gone, Marshall changes his tune, again, and says he was actually mugged by a monkey. Barney lets out a triumphant "Yes!" Ted doubts this story. He examines Marshall's face for signs of a lie again, but again is distracted by Marshall's cologne. "It's intoxicating."

Come On GET UP New York set: Ted's got his Empire State Building model in the wings, covered by a sheet, just in case Marshall punks out of his interview at the last moment. Marshall and Lily are already seated and ready for their segment, but Robin has a surprise. She's had the zookeeper bring in the monkey, Captain Bobo, so that Marshall can face his attacker. Because of the incident, Captain Bobo will be sent to a wildlife sanctuary. Lily is excited, imagining Bobo will like it there. The zookeeper says it won't be so happy. The move will separate him from his longterm mate, Milly. With her name sounding so much like Lily, Marshall can't help but over-identify with the beast. Lily is off camera when the interview begins. Robin asks Marshall how the whole thing went down, but Marshall tries to deflect attention to Ted's sheeted model. Robin cuts to commercial so she can ask Marshall what the hell he's doing. Marshall tells Robin and the zookeeper that he wasn't mugged by the monkey. But when Lily overhears, he swears by the monkey mugging story. He waffles between the two tales for a while, and once the pressure becomes too much, he leaves the studio without confirming either one. "All right. Here's the truth. I am going back to bed." Saget!Ted tells the kids that they never found out what really happened to Uncle Marshall's wallet. "But we do know this: Aunt Lily never got a gun; Robin's credibility remained unimpeached; and Bobo and Milly lived out their days together, in the Central Park Zoo." I'm thinking Uncle Marshall has got to be a monkey's uncle, because at this rate, Ted is never going to meet the mother.

Since her whole segment has fallen apart, Robin gives in and tells Ted to get ready to be interviewed. He's already miked up and made up. Before Ted takes his seat on the set, Barney comments that he's sticking to the monkey story and he's keeping the "banana on a string" detail. Ted says, "Enough with the lies. You can't just tack on a new ending because you're not satisfied with how a story wraps up." Huh. I'd always figured Ted was way into fan fic. Joking aside, did anyone else's stomach flip when Ted said that? I mean, Ted is loosely based on Carter Bays who, I think, is still unmarried. What if? Nah. I'm not going there, not when I'm already feeling snarly. Dear Writers: Just in case -- if this was a trial balloon for a game change of that kind, I'm standing here with a bigass needle.

Anyhow, as Ted takes his seat, Simon is in the background, blow drying (!!!) his dolls' hair (while the FBI, I presume, is searching his house). Barney tells Ted that one day, he'll see things Barney's way. Meanwhile, we hear the tinkling beginning of The Rolling Stones' song, "Monkey Man."

And now, it's time for one of the most fantastical sight gags I can recall -- certainly on this show, and maybe ever. Saget!Ted sets it up. "And then, kids, you'll never believe what happened." Mike points out that the monkey is out of his cage. Bobo climbs up on Simon's doll table and snatches a miniature blonde doll. Simon yells out. Bobo leaps from the doll table to scale Ted's Empire State Building (model) with his own, faux Fay Wray wrapped in his tail. When the zookeeper can't get Bobo down, Mike says he can do it. A la King Kong Mike sails his paper airplanes right at Bobo, who is either kissing or trying to eat the dolly. Cut to the interview chairs. Robin and Ted watch with their mouths hanging open. Ted: "Is this really happening?" Barney, who is inexplicably behind them, sips his coffee and smiles. "Sure is, Ted." As the paper airplanes continue to assault poor Bobo, Saget!Ted says, "True story." Hee!

I was hard on this episode, so let me point out that I did love that last scene. It was so stupid it was brilliant. It did, however, make me feel like they somehow came up with that scene, and decided to write an episode around it. I know people on the boards have said the same thing. As I noted in the recaplet, 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. Since so much of this episode happened at Robin's studio, where was Don, who gets damn little story or screen time, considering how much hype there was in introducing him? If he's going to be important to Robin in some way (and he'd better be, after the way he was trumpeted at the beginning) then let's get to it, already. And while I've got my Irish up, why after all the teasing this season, does it seem we're getting further and further from meeting the mother?

Okay, bitching aside, I think it is possible this episode might be the setup for future issues between Lily and Marshall. In the cold open, Marshall was sitting on the park bench with his head in his hands. At the end of mugging version 1, the mugger walks off. We don't see what Marshall does after that. I've never been mugged, but I'm thinking he'd high tail it out of the dark park after such an encounter. He squeals like a stuck pig and runs away after the monkey pickpockets him in the monkey version of the story. When I put that together with the fact that John Dore played both the mugger and the zookeeper, and add to that Lily's offhand comment about buying new sandals with a new, working credit

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How I Met Your Mother

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