Has 'How I Met Your Mother' Lost its Way?

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On this week's How I Met Your Mother, Marshall has to explain to the group that he can't pay for pizza because he was mugged and forced to give up his wallet at gunpoint. In a bout of protective fury, Lily becomes a gun fanatic, prompting Marshall to change his story. So instead of being held at gunpoint, Marshall tells everyone that he was pick-pocketed by a monkey—or, as the group says, "mugged by a monkey." (If you're wondering whether or not the delivery of this phrase made it worth 26 repetitions in 15 minutes, it didn't. And yes, I counted.) In the end, we don't find out what really happened to Marshall, and everything pretty much stays the same for the group.

Episodes like "Zoo or False" make me wonder if the creators of How I Met Your Mother regret having such a singular purpose to the show. In other words, nothing in this episode got us even remotely closer to Ted meeting his future wife. So, are they just killing time? Was this a feeble attempt to give Marshall depth? And at this rate, how old are Ted's kids going to be by the time they figure out how their dad met their mother?

At one point in the series, it seemed like every episode found at least a tiny way to relate to the title of the show. Had this episode been funnier, it would have been worth the diversion. But it wasn't, and it left me contemplating big "what is the point of it all" questions, which is something a sitcom should never, ever, provoke its audience to do.

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Lindsey Bahr is a writer based in Chicago.

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