This week on How I Met Your Mother: It’s The Amazing Race, New York style! What does that mean? Apparently, a whole freakin’ lot of Maury Povich. Who knew the man was such an NYC staple? Plus: Marshall turns his journey across the city into a musical “Marshall Versus the Machines” adventure.

Here’s the up, down and all around of last night’s “Subway Wars”:

Plot Points:

The gang gives Robin a hard time for not being a “real” New Yorker (“That’s adorable. You’re from Canada.” – Ted), so they have a contest to see who can get to a steakhouse the fastest to spot Woody Allen.

Along the way, goofy things happen. Like Marshall writing a cowboy folk song in his head to motivate him to run the seven miles. And Barney pretending to choke so that he can take a ten thousand dollar ambulance ride to the steakhouse, only to learn that the ambulance is taking him in the wrong direction (to the nearest hospital). Meanwhile, Lily fails to Jason Bourne herself through the subway system, Robin almost commits manslaughter when she steals a woman’s cab, and Ted discovers that he is that boring weirdo on the bus.
And everyone sees Maury Povich. It’s like a live-action game of Where’s Waldo?

wheres-maury-himym.jpgThere he is.

Of course, it’s more than just a silly race to a steakhouse. The “journey” represents something different for everyone:

subwaywars2-himym.jpgFor Ted, it’s about self-acceptance: He may have gotten one “boring” review as a professor, but most of his students loved him. Sure, he’s an architecture dork. Get over it.

For Marshall and Lily, it’s about not seeing getting pregnant as a “race”: They both want to win to prove that their bodies are up to the baby-making challenge. They realize that’s ridiculous and vow to stop putting so much pressure on their pregnancy skills.

For Robin, it’s about getting back on top: Don dumped her, her new co-anchor is outshining her, and the “city is rejecting her like a bad organ transplant.” When she wins the contest (and gets to dine with Marshall’s hot friend Max as her prize) it’s the final sign to Robin that she is a real New Yorker, tough enough to get through the hard times.
And for Barney, it’s about not being such a self-involved a**hole: Meaning he remembers that to be a friend, you need to actually listen when they have problems. And sometimes let them win when they’ve been crying. Congrats, Barney: You just graduated from 5th grade Friendship.

What We Learned:

  • Maury Povich can either teleport or has four clones running around New York City. Both of those scenarios mean he would be a more interesting guest on his own talk show than the people who are usually guests on his talk show.
  • According to the gang, you’re not a “real New Yorker” until you’ve seen Woody Allen, stolen a cab, cried on the subway without giving a crap what anyone else thinks, and smashed a cockroach with your bare hands. I don’t live in NYC, but those of you who do: Is that logic sound?
  • Marshall is still the best: “Machines are over-rated, and someone needs to take them down a peg.” And this lyric in his folk song was the best: “He brought the jukebox back to life with his Fonzarelli arm.”
  • Mini-Marshall standing in a urine-soaked pregnancy test: Creepy.
  • When Barney chokes, he sounds like a dying horse. And yells “Elizabeth”?
  • Between Marshall’s old west graphics, the gang’s heads on the map of New York City, Ted’s floating/exploding text reviews and mini-Marshall in the pregnancy test, the special effects budget for this How I Met Your Mother episode was probably one of the biggest in its history.


“Of a man who dared to race machines with nothin’ but his feet … “

Best of Barney:

“Puffy cheeks, smudged mascara, stuffy nose … that girl was just crying. She’s so sad and defenseless. Anyone have a condom?”
About Woody Allen: “Why would I do that? I’ll just see him at poker on Tuesday.”
While choking: “ELIZABETH!”
“I’m sorry, I never apologize.”
Lily Bonus: “And really learn how to ski, not just go up and get faced in the lodge.” (Because I can relate to that.)

Verdict: Two out of five servings of carrots and peas. As a one-off episode, this episode had its share of lighthearted fun, especially for Jason Segel, who shines every time the HIMYM bosses let him sing. But the so-called “lessons” were tired and expected. Barney remembers to be decent? Ted learns he’s a socially awkward nerd? Robin has a hard time in New York but eventually feels like she belongs again? Marshall and Lily have pregnancy problems but realize it’s out of their hands? We’ve been there, all of there, before. And as far as celebrity appearances, sorry Maury, but you’re no Alan Thicke. All in all, I was entertained, but “Subway Wars” won’t go down in history as one of HIMYM‘s most epic journey episodes.

What did you think of How I Met Your Mother 6.4, “Subway Wars”?

Bonus Question: What’s your best celebrity spotting story?

(Images courtesy of CBS)  

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.