Zoo or False

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This article is about How I Met Your Mother episode. For The Replacements series episode, see Master Pho / Zoo or False?
"Zoo or False"
How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 19
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Stephen Lloyd
Production code 5ALH22
Original air date April 12, 2010 (2010-04-12)
Guest appearance(s)

Collette Wolfe (Sarah)
E. E. Bell (Walter)
Matt L. Jones (Arthur)
Celeste Thorson (Lisa)
Collin Christopher (Simon)
Jon Dore (Mugger/Zoo Keeper)[1]

Season 5 episodes

"Zoo or False" is the 19th episode of the fifth season of the CBS situation comedy How I Met Your Mother and 107th episode overall. It aired on April 12, 2010. Episode hit season low with 2.8/9 rating and 6.88 million viewers.


When the gang discovers Marshall doesn’t have any money to pay for the pizza they had ordered, he is forced to reveal that he was mugged by a man (Jon Dore) with a gun in Central Park. Lily is worried, and aided by Robin’s gun-loving nature, expresses her interest to buy a gun for protecting herself. Marshall is frightened by this prospect, and then reveals he wasn't mugged; instead, he had visited the Central Park Zoo, and while standing close to a monkey cage, a monkey had swiped his wallet. The rest of the gang agrees the story is hilarious (with Barney joking the monkey had held Marshall at “gunpoint” with a banana), and Robin asks to interview him for her show. Although Marshall fears embarrassment, he agrees to help boost her show’s ratings. Robin gets the go ahead from her producers, who liked the story so much, they believe his story could gain nationwide attention. Marshall then privately explains to Barney and Ted that the monkey story is false, and that he really was mugged; he had made up the monkey to calm down Lily and stop her from buying a gun. Ted is unable to determine if Marshall is lying or not, while Marshall is unsure if he can lie about his monkey story on the news show.

Meanwhile, Barney is using the story of being mugged to pick up women. He is interrupted by a woman he had earlier convinced he was Neil Armstrong. He tells an even greater lie in an attempt to get out of it and suggests a threesome. Barney says the threesome was awesome but Marshall and Ted do not believe him, noticing he has been splashed with vodka tonic and even has lime in his hair. Barney continues to believe his own version of events. Barney tells how disappointed he was when he found out the woman he lied to admitted she was not actually 28 but 31 years old, and that people want to believe the lie. Barney explains to Marshall a lie is "just a great story that someone ruined with the truth".

The next morning, Ted brings along a scale model of the Empire State Building he had been working on; Ted had asked Robin to interview him about it, but she refused, but Ted brings it in case Marshall is unable to talk about the monkey mugging. Marshall is rattled when Robin reveals they have brought the monkey from the zoo as well, and the monkey will be separated from its mate Milly for committing the crime. Marshall finally refuses to talk about it, causing Robin to cut to a commercial and question him as to why. Bombarded with everyone asking him what really happened, Marshall then says “I’m going to bed,” before leaving, with the Future Ted saying they never did find out what really happened. Ted tells Barney he would be better off if he stopped telling lies but Barney replies Ted will someday tell this story and lie to give it a better ending. Robin is forced to interview Ted about his model, but as they are about to start, the monkey breaks free and snags a small doll nearby. It then proceeds to climb to the top of Ted’s model, with the cameraman throwing paper aeroplanes at the monkey to get it off. Ted is left in disbelief that the ending from King Kong is being recreated before him, while Future Ted simply states "True story".

Critical response [edit]

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club rated the episode "Zoo or False" with a grade B−.[2] Bowman claims that, although the script included many promising comedic elements, they "never seemed to settle into rhythm or find their natural relationship". The genuinely funny elements were overshadowed by a "lack of natural interaction or real emotion", originating with the cast's "unconvincing gales of laughter" at the idea of being mugged by a monkey. That stated, Bowman praised the episode addressing the line between a story and a truthful account, and a number of specific jokes in the episode.

Amanda Sloane Murray of IGN gave the episode 9 out of 10.[3]

Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade C+.[4]

References [edit]

  1. ^ "How I Met Your Mother - Episode 5.19 - Zoo or False - Press Release". 
  2. ^ Donna Bowman (2010-04-12). "How I Met Your Mother "Zoo Or False"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  3. ^ April 13, 2010 Amanda Sloane Murray How I Met Your Mother: "Zoo or False" Review. Mugged by a monkey. http://tv.ign.com/articles/108/1083437p1.html
  4. ^ Cindy McLennan (2010-04-12). "How I Met Your Mother: Why Can't You Do It? Why Can't You Set Your Monkey Free?". Television Without Pity. NBC Universal. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 

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