How I Met Your Mother Episodes

2005, TV Show

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

Season 5, Episode 19
Episode Synopsis: Marshall gets mugged, prompting Lily to want to get a gun, so Marshall comes up with a crazy story about the crime in the hope that it will change her mind.
Original Air Date: Apr 12, 2010
Guest Cast Matt L. Jones: Arthur Collette Wolfe: Sarah E.E. Bell: Walter Bob Saget
Full Episode
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Season 5, Episode 19
Paid | iTunes
Length: 21:34
Aired: 4/12/2010
Also available on Amazon Prime and VUDU
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How I Met Your Mother Episode Recap: "Zoo or False" Season 5, Episode 19

This week, Marshall's wallet is stolen, and he's pretty shaken up about it. So is Lily, who now wants to get a gun for protection. Marshall's even more freaked out about the idea of a gun in his home, so he changes his story so that Lily won't be so panicked. However, the lies keep adding up until finally Marshall is forced to come clean about the incident. Meanwhile, Barney experiences his own struggles with the truth.

We open on a shot of Marshall crying in Central Park as Future Ted voices over that he realizes that his kids (and the viewers) occasionally wonder how many of his stories are true. He admits that there's a fine line between a good story and an outrageous fib. And no one knew how to work that line better than Barney.

Cut to MacLaren's, where Barney has actually managed to convince a blonde girl that he's Neil Armstrong. Yes, that Neil Armstrong. He gets past the age issue by telling her that the spaceship "traveled through a wormhole...or gamma rays...something...I started aging backwards." Unbelievably, she falls for it.

Later, in Ted/Robin's apartment, Barney regales the group with the tale of this latest conquest. Ted asks Barney why he feels the need to lie all the time. But before he can answer, Robin enters, whining about how much she hates her job. Her guests have been terrible lately, and she's desperately in need of a good interview. Ted offers to go on her show, since he's been commissioned to build a scale model of the Empire State Building for a recreation of the Manhattan skyline. Robin asks him if that was the thing he was playing with the other night. Ted insists that he wasn't playing, he was working. (Zip to a flashback of Ted reenacting the final scene of Sleepless in Seattle — with dolls. Ha. Of course Ted would love that movie.)

Just then, the pizza they've ordered arrives. Lily asks Marshall if he has any cash. Marshall says he doesn't want to pay for it because he doesn't like pizza. When the rest of the group points out how this is blatantly not true, Marshall admits that he doesn't have his wallet because he was mugged earlier.

Lily freaks out a bit as Barney asks how it happened: "Was he wearing a black skull-knit cap and a five-o-clock shadow? Did he say, 'Stick 'em up?'" Marshall responds sarcastically, "Yes, Barney, because I got mugged in 1947 at the corner of Abbott and Costello." He explains that he was cutting through Central Park on his way home from work when he was held up by a guy with a gun. "It was completely terrifying," he says. Barney repeats this, since he's decided that he's going to use the story to score later on.

Still a little freaked out, Lily comments that she doesn't know how she'll be able to sleep that night. Robin pulls a gun out of her purse and tells Lily to sleep with it under her pillow for security. Marshall says that they don't need a gun because he's fine and he just wants to move on. Lily agrees — until Robin takes her to the shooting range. Now she wants a gun.

Later at MacLaren's, Lily informs Marshall of her desire to own a gun. He's completely not happy about this and points out that it's safer to not own a gun, especially considering how many times he's inadvertently injured her. (We're then treated to a montage of household accidents involving Marshall and Lily. While I'm thrilled that they included the champagne cork incident from the pilot — and wow, Jason Segel looks young in that shot — I can't believe they left out the time when Marshall stabbed Lily with a sword in Season 1's "The Duel." Come on, show, can we please have your excellent commitment to continuity back? Pretty please?) Lily starts to cry and tells Marshall that she couldn't handle it if anything happened to him. Realizing how upset Lily is, Marshall backpedals and tells them that he wasn't held up by a guy. In reality, he cut through the Central Park zoo and got too close to the monkey cage...and was mugged by a monkey. The rest of the gang (including Lily) dissolve into giggles and immediately start cracking jokes.

Robin joins them at MacLaren's, and Barney gets her up to speed (with some embellishments). Robin comments that it's a great story and asks Marshall if she can interview him for her show. Marshall reluctantly agrees, on the condition that she doesn't make a joke out of the fact that he got mugged by a monkey.

Later, Barney bursts into Ted's apartment to tell him and Marshall about his latest scoring attempt. He used the "I just got mugged" story on a girl in the bar. All seemed to be going well, until the blonde girl from earlier comes up to him and says, "Neil? Neil?" repeatedly in a (weirdly meta) attempt to get his attention. The new girl asks why the blonde girl is calling him Neil. Blonde girl replies that he's Neil Armstrong. New girl: "The cyclist?" (I admit, I giggled at that one.) For once, Barney is caught in his lies. He tells Ted that the story ends in a three-way, but in reality, the girls just threw their drinks in his face. "The story's better with my ending, okay?" Barney insists.

Robin enters the apartment and tells Marshall that her boss loves the monkey mugging story. It might even get picked up to go national, which would be a huge boost to Robin's career. Marshall looks pained, and after Robin leaves the room, he admits to Barney and Ted that he wasn't actually mugged by a monkey — he just said that so Lily would stop wanting a gun so badly.

Later, at MacLaren's, Marshall explains to Ted and Barney that he can lie to them, but he can't lie on national television. Ted and Barney don't know what to believe. Barney still thinks Marshall was mugged by a monkey and is just embarrassed about it. Besides, as he points out, people like to be lied to. What they don't like is finding out that they've been lied to. Case in point: The blonde girl from earlier in the episode lied to Barney about her age. She said she was 28 when she was actually 31. (Horrors!) Barney says that he was perfectly happy thinking that he was scoring with a 28-year-old who happened to have some sun damage. (And that the three-way happened. He's wearing the belt to prove it.) And he's also perfectly happy believing that Marshall was mugged by a monkey. But Ted points out that if Marshall's lying and Robin reports it, her credibility could suffer.

Just then, Lily enters and tells Marshall that she slept great the night before and can't believe she wanted to buy a gun. After she leaves, Marshall tells the guys that the monkey-mugging story is true after all. Now Ted doesn't believe him. (And your recapper is more than a little confused.)

The next night, the whole gang goes out to the taping of Robin's show. Ted has brought along his mini Empire State Building, covered in a sheet, just in case Marshall decides he can't go through with the interview. And it's not looking good for Marshall, who has to actually face his attacker during the interview after Robin invites  the zookeeper and the monkey onto the show. The zookeeper informs Marshall that they have to send the monkey — Captain Bobo  —to a wildlife sanctuary because of the incident. Unfortunately, this means that Captain Bobo will have to be separated from his mate, Mille. Overcome with guilt, Marshall tries to redirect the interview to Ted and his building before finally crumbling and admitting that he wasn't mugged by Captain Bobo. Lily tells him that if that's the case, she's going to get a gun. Marshall backpedals and says that he was mugged by the monkey. Robin orders him to tell his story to the audience. Marshall backpedals again. This goes on for a while, until finally Marshall shuts down and leaves the set. Future Ted tells us that they never found out what actually happened to Marshall's wallet. But. Robin's credibility remained intact, and Lily never bought a gun. And Captain Bobo was allowed to remain at the zoo with Millie.

In need of a guest, Robin reluctantly invites Ted and his building onto the set. Barney muses that the end of the story wasn't very satisfying, and that he plans to embellish it when he tries it later with girls. Ted tells Barney to stop lying, but Barney says that one day Ted will be telling this story, and he'll see things Barney's way. And sure enough, you'll never believe what happens. The monkey gets loose, steals a doll from another guest, and climbs the Empire State Building. The camera guy makes a few paper airplanes and throws them at the monkey.'s King Kong. And it's a funnier gag than it has any right to be.

Thoughts? I wasn't expecting to enjoy this episode, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It had a lot of cute moments and some very funny dialogue. It was nice to see Barney actually get shot down for once — that's an aspect of the show that's been lacking this season. Plus, monkeys are cute. But am I the only one wondering where Don was this week? I'm not a big fan of the guy, but you'd think he'd show up and advance that plot a bit in an episode that relied so heavily on Robin being at work. What did you think? Discuss!

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This week, Marshall's wallet is stolen, and he's pretty shaken up about it. So is Lily, who now wants to get a gun for protection. Marshall's even more freaked out about the idea of a gun in his home, so he changes his story so that Lily won't be so panicked. However, the lies keep adding up until finally Marshall is forced to come clean about the incident. Meanwhile, Barney experiences his own struggles with the truth... read more

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Premiered: September 19, 2005, on CBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (1,937 ratings)
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Premise: A man named Ted tells his kids how he met the love of his life, through flashbacks, years in the future. The bored kids sit on the sofa and listen as dad regales them with tales of his pursuit of romance.



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