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'How I Met Your Mother': NYC vs The Garden State

October 7th, 2008 9:46am EDT
How I Met Your MotherI never thought I would ever entertain the idea of living in New Jersey. Ever. That is until Marshall (Jason Segel) gave his extremely convincing monologue on why New York is terrible. But, before we get to that ...

Ted (Josh Radnor), hates New Jersey. He absolutely despises it. Why is this a problem? Ted's fiancé, Stella (Sarah Chalke), lives in New Jersey with her daughter and is expecting Ted to move in with them. For people that do not live in New York City, New Jersey might as well be another planet when it comes to seeing your friends that happen to live there. For some reason the East River -- dividing Manhattan from Queens and Brooklyn -- seems small enough that a halfway-in-shape person with a good running start could leap over it (this is not true). On the other hand, the Hudson River is more comparable to the Atlantic Ocean. Sure, you can cross it, but it is such a pain in the ass (it involves a "special" subway called the PATH) that is best reserved for special occasions and holidays.

Monday night's episode was, perhaps, the greatest debate on the differences between New York and New Jersey. When the entire gang -- Ted, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), Marshall, Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) -- visit Stella for a night of entertainment in New Jersey, things soon get ugly when the evening becomes a game of Scrabble in Stella's basement. This, happens to be when Ted learns of the news he will be moving to the Garden State after, incorrectly, assuming Stella and her daughter would move to Manhattan.

Ted and Stella exchange verbal spares over the respective qualities of New York City and New Jersey. For every Woody Allen that Ted cites, Stella counters with a Bruce Springsteen (yes, in my humble opinion, she wins that round). Not to mention Stella's encounter with an old lady and her cat, which winds up in her face, outside Papaya King -- a restaurant Ted used as a positive example -- on 86th and Lexington (she wins this round, too, because that particular Papaya King happens to be one block from where I currently reside and, yes, I can see that happening to her there).

Lily enters the argument and uses Marshall as an example of someone who initially hated New York but now loves it. The only problem with this strategy, as Lily found out, is Marshall still hates New York. In what may go down as one of the funniest moments in How I Met Your Mother history, Marshall delivers the monologue of all monologues denouncing the city that never sleeps. In fact, he uses that that city nickname to acknowledge that, yes, it does in fact never sleep. But he likes to sleep!

Not to mention New York City is physically too small for him. He would move to New Jersey alone just for the grocery stores, as opposed to the bodegas where he knocks over produce just trying to turn around. This is true. I am six feet tall (I know what you are thinking, but, I am not a person who is really five-foot-ten that says he is six feet. I am a legit six feet) and I swear this city is built for someone who is five-foot-eight. Like Marshall, I feel like a clumsy giant when trying to walk through doorways. In the Midwest I actually felt short at times, here, I am Robert Wadlow.

By the end of the episode Ted realizes, for the sake of Stella's daughter, New Jersey is, indeed, where they will live. It is a sacrifice he will make. Unfortunately, Ted may be moving across the Hudson, but Robin -- who took a new job at a more respected news agency -- ends the episode with the shocking news that she, to the shagrin of Barney, will be moving to Japan. Honestly, if they both move Barney will probably see her more often than he sees Ted.

Check back weekly throughout the season for recaps.

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Mike Ryan
Story by Mike Ryan

Starpulse contributing writer