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How I Met Your Mother Recap: Museum of Natural History Got Us Falling In Love

Our streak of referencing female-fronted rock bands from the seventies ended at a measly two, so today we’re starting a new title-referencing-trend: contemporary artists who owe Michael Jackson a huge debt. That should broaden up our reference pool. Oh, right, the episode: it was good!

Setting the whole thing during a fancy charity party at the Museum of Natural History got the ball rolling right: within that contained space, we got three solid plot-advancing story lines, plus lots of people wearing tuxes and dresses. Ranked in reverse-enjoyment order:

Lily-Marshall: Yep, more contrived marital issues! This time, Lily’s mad cause Marshall wants to stay at Goliath National Bank and get paid well rather than go be a lawyer for gorillas or whatever. Look, when Lily and Marshall actually broke up in the earlier seasons, that worked because we knew they’d eventually get back together and because every long-term relationship is due for a good strong stretch of that kind of domestic strife. They were never a will-they-or-won’t-they, though, so now with the prospect of a baby looming, the writers feel forced to delay the inevitable with these little tiffs. Jim and Pam are perfectly happy; Marshall and Lily are allowed to be perfectly happy too! The wrap-up, though — with Lily accepting Marshall’s life compromise while conversing with college Marshall (much respect for more sandwiches standing in for bongs) — we liked.

Ted-Zoey: Are we crazy, or is Ted killing it this season? The “stand-one-one-side-of-the-room-saying-vaguely-gross-things-that-are-then-heard-on-the-other-side-because-of-an-architectural-quirk” gag got us every time, and when he flipped out on the monocle guy there was legit glee in Josh Radnor’s eyes. (Also, Mosby’s half Jewish? Was this previously established? Anyway, welcome to the tribe!) Last night we find out Zoey is married to a kooky, rich old dude self-nicknamed the Captain (played by Showgirls’ Kyle MacLachlan), which is why she’s at this particular party despite being a hippie protester stereotype. After some more back-and-forth bickering (we say again: why would the lead protester on a building project focus on the architect?), Zoey and Ted share a moment: she overhears him defending her passion to the Captain (via previously established architectural quirk). They have a dance, they lock into each others eyes passionately, and the camera pans out slowly, heavily indicating falling-in-love-ness. Uh oh!

Barney-Robin: After that wacky montage of BarRob (what celebrity joint-couple name did we end up giving them when they were dating?) running around touching things illegally in the museum, its time to say out loud what everyone's thinking: Barney-Robin spinoff! The big finale was great: the security guard apprehends the two and is then goaded into checking his files on Barney’s crazy-sounding story about how he took down the giant blue whale when he was a kid. It’s true! But then, through the files, we also find out that Barney’s real dad is his uncle. Yeah, that part wasn’t as funny.

Photo: Matt Kennedy/FOX