Zoo or False

HIMYM episode 5x19 (107)

Zoo or False
First aired:
April 12, 2010
Pamela Fryman
Stephen Lloyd
Barney's Blog

Images (11)

Marshall comes up with a number of different outrageous and embarrassing stories to explain how he was mugged in Central Park, but which of his stories is the truth?


Marshall has to explain that he got mugged in Central Park on after he had ordered pizza because he didn't have his wallet. Afterwards Lily says she's going to buy a gun. In MacLaren's, Marshall explains that he was actually mugged by a monkey in the zoo but at first he says the "mugger" was naked while mugging him. Robin shows up and Marshall is about to recount the story when Barney says he wants to because it's "his story" (he wants to use it to pick up a woman.) Barney changes the story a bit and says the monkey was using a banana on the ground as bait to get Marshall near the cage, and then also says that the Monkey mugged him using a banana as a gun.

Robin then asks to interview Marshall for his mugging story. Barney is talking to a girl, Lisa, using the mugging story and then Sarah, a woman he had earlier convinced that he was Neil Armstrong, shows up saying "I thought you were supposed to be on a shuttle mission" and he says he was mugged and the mugger took his shuttle keys, then he attempts to talk his way into a three way by putting the two stories together. He ends up getting two vodka tonics thrown in his face while Lisa storms off.

Robin pitches it to her producer and she says it could go national making her famous. Barney explains that the three-way actually didn't happen but that they splashed their drinks into his face and he talks to Sarah saying that he really lied, then she says she's not actually 28 but really 31 causing Barney to not like her.

Marshall then says that the mugging really was not by a monkey. When Marshall is about to get interviewed he ends up not going through it and doesn't say what really happened to his wallet. Ted gets interviewed for his model building, but before Ted gets the interview the monkey steals one of the dolls from one of Robin's previous talk shows and he climbs the model building to the top while Mike the camera guy throws paper airplanes at it, making it look like the ending of the movie King Kong, and making them question if this is really happening (although it is heavily suggested that this may be one of Future Ted's lies, an attempt to liven up the story for his kids). But if Future Ted meant it when he said 'true story', then it certainly was legen- wait for it... dary! Legendary!


  • Barney wears the Threeway Belt when he claims he had a three-way with the two girls he lied to about being Neil Armstrong and getting mugged, respectively.
  • When telling the story to Marshall and Ted, Barney says "Just... O.K.?".
  • After Marshall calls Barney and Ted his "best friends", Barney insists "I am".
  • Barney rejects girls 30 and over in Slap Bet and Intervention.
  • Barney pretends to be an astronaut to seduce women in The Bracket and The Playbook.
  • Barney uses another friend's story for sympathy sex ("The Ted Mosby") in The Playbook.
  • Arthur the pizza guy first appeared in The Rough Patch.
  • Marshall and Lily's accidents at home include Marshall accidentally popping a champagne cork into Lily's eye in the Pilot. Marshall also accidentally stabbed her with a sword in The Duel.
  • When Lily mentions having just bought some "adorable strappy sandals" to Marshall, she adds that their new credit card works, referencing her shopaholic tendencies, first brought up in I'm Not That Guy.
  • Marshall quotes facts about monkeys. His fascination with primates was first mentioned in Life Among the Gorillas.
  • Ted references the Gazzola's trips that he and Marshall used to make, which they previously reminisced about, before undertaking another one, in Duel Citizenship.


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

Memorable Quotes

Barney: Because a lie is just a great story that someone ruined with the truth.

Marshall: I don't think I should have to pay because I don't really like pizza anymore.
Ted: Marshall, we have driven halfway across the country for pizza literally hundreds of times.
Lily: I've seen you eat pizza in the shower.
Arthur the Pizza Guy: Marshall, there's a picture of you on our coupons.
Barney: I'm not gonna say Marshall's a guy who eats a lot of pizza, but last time he went in for an examination the doctor said "Marshall, you gotta stop eating pizza." Marshall says "Why?" Doc says "So I can examine you."

Notes and Trivia

Allusions and Outside References

  • The cyclist remark by Lisa was in reference to Lance Armstrong.
  • The scene of the monkey on the Empire State Building with the doll is a reference of King Kong.
  • Ted acts out Sleepless in Seattle with miniature figures on his replica of the Empire State Building in his living room.
  • One of Ted's monkey jokes references to the iconic Curious George book series.
  • Marshall jokes he was robbed in 1947 at the corner of Abbott and Costello.
  • Barney is unwilling to believe actor Jack Palance is dead. Palance died in 2006.


Other Notes

  • The guest who breaks the small table on Robin's TV show has also appeared in Stuff​​, back then as the director and actor of the play Lily played part in.
  •  Barney (portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris) is called 'Neil' several times throughout the episode, and even says "Lady, my name is not Neil" to one of the women he hit on.
  • Alyson Hannigan once guest starred in That 70's Show as police cadet Suzy Simpson .  In one of the episodes of that show, Suzy remarked that she 'never joke[s] about guns' as she was briefly teaching one of the main characters how to use a pistol (in contrast to Lily who in Zoo or False was portrayed playfully using a firearm).  



  • Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club rated the episode with a grade B-. [1]
  • Amanda Sloane Murray of IGN gave the episode 9 out of 10. [2]
  • Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity rated the episode with a grade C+. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8 out of 10 stars. "...really? A monkey-in-a-zoo story?"


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