How I Met Your Mother Wiki
How I Met Your Mother Wiki

Little Minnesota

HIMYM episode 4x11 (75)

Little minnesota - the bar.png
First aired:
December 15, 2008
Pamela Fryman
Chuck Tatham
Barney's Blog

Images (6)

Ted's sister, Heather, is moving to New York and Ted tries to keep her away from Barney. Meanwhile, Marshall takes Robin to the bar he goes to when he’s feeling down, but she fits in a bit too well with the Minnesotan-theme.


Robin enters MacLaren's wearing an unseasonal t-shirt and explains to Ted that the cold weather doesn't affect her because she's from Canada. Marshall agrees and compares New York in winter to a spring day in Minnesota, except for all the taxis, skyscrapers and non-white people. Upon returning from the bar Ted explains that his sister Heather has arrived in New York and is planning to move there. He explains to the group that Heather is something of a screw up (having taken six years to graduate from three colleges, during which she crashed two cars, got married for five days, and lived in a tree nobody was planning on cutting down for nine weeks) and expresses his doubt of her ever actually moving to New York, telling them of the time she sold his possessions to buy tickets and travel to a Nine Inch Nails concert in Spain. When Barney calls he ignores it and Lily explains that he has been keeping Heather and Barney apart for the years she has been visiting New York, because he sings Christmas songs about banging her.

Heather arrives and the group discovers Barney waiting for them at Ted's apartment with a rented swivel chair he brought for the occasion and a glass of brandy. Because of her inability to keep secrets, Lily admits tipping off Barney of Heather's arrival and reveals Robin's Christmas gift for Ted.

Barney is hurt that Ted tried to keep him away from Heather and explains that he never intended to act on all the inappropriate jokes he made. Ted explains that he does not trust Heather or Barney, though he relents and invites Barney to dinner with them on Sunday.

Robin is homesick and so Marshall takes her to the Walleye Saloon, a Minnesota-themed bar that he goes to when he is feeling homesick. Unfortunately she likes it so much that she ends up pretending to be from Minnesota to win the friendship of the bar patrons, much to Marshall's frustration. His frustration grows when she claims his story about the 1999 NFC championship game as her own and boils over after she beats his high score on the Fisherman's Quest video game, at which point he unmasks Robin as a Canadian.

Over dinner, Heather and Ted discuss her decision to move to New York to work in finance and she asks him to co-sign the lease of an apartment she found. However, his lack of faith in her proves an obstacle. Frustrated with Ted's insensitivity, Heather and Barney stage a fake sexual encounter after their interview at Goliath National Bank and ensure that Lily walks in on them, knowing that she won't be able to keep it a secret from Ted.

Heather and Barney persist in taunting Ted until he confronts them at MacLaren's, claiming that Heather has never changed her attitude. Barney explains the plan to the surprised Ted and Lily, at the same time revealing that he kissed Ted's mother. Heather storms out to find a hotel, expressing her anger at Ted's refusal to accept that she has grown up.

Eventually Ted makes up with Heather and co-signs her lease, telling her he wants to get to know the new her. Marshall apologizes to Robin for outing her as a Canadian, and reassures her that despite her lack of job or boyfriend she still belongs in New York with her friends. To help ease her Christmas homesickness he takes her to a Canadian-themed bar, the Hoser Hut where he sings Let's go to the Mall much to Robin's shame.


  • Lily's difficulty keeping secrets was previously demonstrated in Purple Giraffe​​, when she lets slip what Robin thinks of Ted.
  • Heather selling Ted's couch and TV might account for the unexplained couch switch between Come On​​ and Where Were We?​​. That said, she could not have sold them and flown to Spain between Ted finding Marshall on the street in the former, and them going up to the apartment in the latter.
  • As with Ted's parents in Brunch, Lily and Marshall know Heather because they have been friends with him for a long time. Robin is a newer friend, and Ted has prevented Barney from meeting Heather; they meet her in the episode.
  • Marshall sings "Let's Go to the Mall", Robin's first song as Robin Sparkles, which the gang found out about in Slap Bet​​, at karaoke at the Hoser Hut.
  • In Single Stamina​​, Ted mentions celebrating with his sister when she got married, despite hating her new husband for wearing socks and sandals.
  • When Robin hijacks Marshall's father-son story about the 1999 NFC Championship, she mistakenly tells it from Marshall's perspective, saying her dad told her "a small part of me died inside, son", to the confusion of the other patrons. It was established in Happily Ever After​​ that Robin's father had expected a son, and treated Robin as a son instead of a daughter. So she could have explained it more truthfully than she did.
  • Marshall is revealed to hold the high score on "Fisherman's Quest", referencing him being unusually good at games, as first mentioned in Game Night.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Robin not wearing cold weather clothes in the winter comes up again in Duel Citizenship.
  • Marshall seems to be a sore loser when it comes to games, getting upset when Robin beats his score in this episode, and in The Front Porch​​, he says he doesn't like Lily's "Front Porch" imagining of Ted and Robin married and Robin beating him at bridge in their old age.
  • While Ted is desperate to prevent Barney and Heather from hooking up, he ironically sleeps with Barney's half-sister Carly (albeit without knowing they were related) in Ring Up.
  • Barney mentions having kissed Ted's mom after driving her to the airport. He later tells the whole story, though clearly exaggerates it, in Home Wreckers​​, revealing that it occurred soon after the events of Brunch​​. After repeatedly claiming to have slept with Ted's mom, as seen in The Fortress and Ring Up, he eventually admits that they did only kiss in Unpause.
  • Barney again rents a swivel chair to dramatically confront Ted in his apartment in Architect of Destruction.
  • There is a photo of Paul Shaffer at the entrance to the Hoser Hut. We find out later in P.S. I Love You that Robin was obsessed with Paul Shaffer during her teenage years.
  • Marshall supporting the Minnesota Vikings is established, and is referenced again in several episodes, including Last Cigarette Ever, Jenkins​​, Bad News and Last Time in New York.
  • A rendition of the song that was first sung in the Hoser Hut was later used in The Rehearsal Dinner.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Little Minnesota images.

Memorable Quotes

Barney: Pulling down her pants

Yanking off my own
Underneath the mistletoe
I'll make your sister moan
Oh, Heather's hot! Heather's hot!

We'll go all the way!
Barney, to the tune of Jingle Bells in 2005

Barney: I wish I could see her naked,

I wish I could see her naked,
I wish I could see her naked

And down on all fours
Barney, to the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas in 2006

Barney: Ted has a little sister,

Gets hotter every day.
And if I ever meet her,
With her boobies I will play!
Sister! Sister! Sister!

What? I can celebrate Hanukkah too.
Barney, to the tune of I Have a Little Dreidel in 2007

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • In The Mermaid Theory it becomes apparent that Marshall has avoided hanging out with Robin alone because he is afraid that she will turn into a mermaid. But here they are seen hanging out together without any awkwardness.

Allusions and Outside References

  • The way Barney greets the other characters in the swivel chair in Ted's apartment is very similar to a scene in which the notorious villain named Blofeld greets James Bond in the 007 movie "You Only Live Twice" (1967).
  • Marshall's comment about Prince being on tour may be a reference to a Chris Rock joke about the only black people in Minnesota being Prince and Kirby Puckett. Puckett died in 2006.
  • The patrons of the Walleye Saloon curse the tragic missed field goal by Gary Anderson in the Minnesota Vikings 1999 NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. Marshall even mentions Anderson's retirement in Canada.
  • Vikings jerseys worn in the Minnesota-themed bar bear the last names of series star Cobie Smulders, episode writer Chuck Tatham, episode director Pamela Fryman, and series co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas.
  • Marshall is wearing a #70 Minnesota Vikings Number. Number 70 was in honor of retired Jim Marshall.
  • The "possible gill screen" line when Robin is playing Fisherman's Quest is a reference to The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a documentary about the game Donkey Kong in which a 'kill screen' is when a player's score gets so high that the game glitches and kills the player suddenly.
  • In the Walleye Saloon, there is a NFL Blitz/NBA Showtime 2-in-1 arcade cabinet next to the door. In between this cabinet and Fisherman's Quest is another 2-in-1 cabinet, containing Deer Hunting USA and Turkey Hunting USA.


Other Notes

  • This episode marks Heather's first and only appearance in the show.
  • The German episode title is "Im Exil", meaning "In Exile". The French title is "Little Minesota". The Italian title is "Nostalgia di casa", meaning "Homesick".
  • International Airdates: Australia: March 16, 2009 on Channel 7; Germany: January 9, 2010 on ProSieben; United Kingdom: February 18, 2010 on E4; Czech Republic: November 9, 2010 on Prima COOL



  • Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave the episode a grade B-. [1]
  • Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 9.8 out of 10. [2]
  • Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity gave the episode a grade A-. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 7.5 out of 10 stars. "We could count on Lily to blab."


External Links

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