How I Met Your Mother Review: "Zoo or False"

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This season of How I Met Your Mother has relied a little too heavily on slapstick gags and milking a single, running joke. Fortunately, it's survived this long because they work.

Even in standalone episodes like Monday's "Zoo or False," with no advancement of The Mother story line, Marshall and Barney and their absurd behavior carried it all the way.

This in spite of one of the dumbest plots in TV history.

To sum up, Marshall gets mugged. Lily's freaked out and wants to get a gun for protection. To stop her, Marshall says he got robbed by a monkey at the zoo. All hilarious lies.

Barney added a terrific subplot with his efforts to go to increasingly ridiculous lengths to score chicks, including claiming to be a famous astronaut a generation older than he.

People want the lie, Barney says. They need the lie.

Also funny was how Robin loved this monkey business so much, and her pathetic show is so bad, that she thought it would be a good idea to have Marshall on the program.

It worked. How, we have no idea, it just did. How I Met Your Mother may be in a class by itself, at least among non-animated comedies, for making something out of nothing.

Marshall Mayhem

Other random thoughts and observations:

  • Our favorite quotes appear below, but perhaps the best scene didn't even involve a quote. Marshall's "accidental injuries" flashback in which he KO's Lily? Wow.
  • Barney's alter ego of Neil Armstrong was actually confusing to us in our sleep-deprived state, as we thought the girls were called him Neil, as in Patrick Harris.
  • Love the Three-Way Belt, how it was included so nonchalantly, and how Lily approved of the thing almost casually. Barney would absolutely have that made.
  • Marshall and Ted are really duking it out for most pathetic honors.

Not our favorite episode by any measure, but definitely another good installment. Follow the jump for our favorite How I Met Your Mother quotes from last night ...

Robin: Are you reenacting the last scene from Sleepless in Seattle with little dolls?
Ted: How long have you been standing there?
Robin: Ten seconds.
Ted: Yup, just the last scene. | permalink
Ted: You did not convince her you were Neil Armstrong. The moon landing took place seven years before you were born.
Barney: Ted, baby doll. Minor hurdle. | permalink
Marshall: It was completely terrifying.
Barney: It was completely terrifying.
Marshall: What are you doing?
Barney: Rehearsing. I'm totally going to pretend it happened to me later. | permalink
Lily: He naked-muggered you?
Barney: I'm not even going to ask where he was keeping the gun.
Ted: You sure it was a gun? | permalink
Barney: We knocked space boots. Houston, we have a moaner! Other space-related double entendres! | permalink
Marshall: This is not that uncommon! You know, in Thailand, in China, in Costa Rica, and in many other places where monkey crime is an extremely common occurrence, their social dynamics are predicated upon stealing!
Lily: You got mugged by a monkey! | permalink
Ted: Are you sure it wasn't a monkey standing on another monkey's shoulders wearing a trench coat? | permalink
Barney: People like being lied to. They just don't like finding out they've been lied to. | permalink
Barney: Did the robber have five o'clock shadow and a ski cap?
Marshall: Yes, because I was robbed in 1947 at the corner of Abbott and Costello. | permalink
Barney: I'll believe Jack Palance is dead when I see the body. | permalink
Barney: People want the lie. They need the lie! | permalink
Pizza Guy: Marshall, there's a cartoon of you on our coupon. | permalink
Barney: I love to travel myself.
Random Girl: Where's the best place you visited?
Barney: Hawaii's nice. A buddy of mine lives in Seattle, that's a good spot. But the best place I have to say, the moon. Hi, Neil Armstrong. | permalink
Random Girl #1: Why you calling him Neil?
Random Girl #2: That's his name. He's Neil Armstrong.
Random Girl #1: The cyclist?
Random Girl #2: I thought you were supposed to be on a shuttle mission.
Random Girl #1: I thought you just got mugged.
Barney: Okay, I can do this ... I was on my way to the launch pad, when I was mugged... and the mugger took my space shuttle keys! (pauses, pleased) Nailed it, who's up for a threeway? | permalink


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (18 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


It's a comedy show not Oprah! Not every episode need to be emotional.I agree though this storyline is too much in to impossible but season 5 has more entertainment than previous seasons.


Terrible episode in a terrible season. Back at the end of s3 when this show was on the bubble I remember being concerned about losing my favourite show, I needn't have worried, it was already gone. Gags are not stories no matter how it's delivered. This is a shadow of the show that used to be.

Steve marsi

@himymfanfan - added it!


I LOVE this episode, you missed Barney's Neil Armstrong quote though. I'm looking everywhere for it! I can't believe Barney got dissed by TWO hot girls.


this show needs to get cancelled if episodes like this keep being made. far cry from what made us all tune in - emotional connection to the characters with realistic plots and real characters. now, you're right, it relies too heavily on ridiculous plots and abonimable gags; and, while you argue it works because of marshall and barney's behavior, i think it does anything but. it was painful to sit through this episode, remembering when in seasons 1 and 2, there was effort put into the writing and that the characters were more than cardboard cutouts.

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How I Met Your Mother Season 5 Episode 19 Quotes

People want the lie. They need the lie!


Marshall, there's a cartoon of you on our coupon.

Pizza Guy