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'How I Met Your Mother': To be a Canadian or an American

October 20, 2009 |  7:31 am
Disclaimer: I love Canadians. I love their country, or at least the one part that I've visited. I'm even addicted to one or two of their shows.

But I also love when “How I Met Your Mother” makes fun of Canada, so I went into “Dual Citizenship” hoping that resident Canuck Robin (Cobie Smulders) wouldn't lose her Canadisms. Barney agrees with me.

“It's provided us with a lot of laughs,” he said.

According to the show, Canadisms are wearing summer clothes in winter, undecipherable Canadian lingo and hanging out in Canadian bars. It's the last one that gets Robin in trouble. After breaking a guy's nose with a chair at the bar – go Robin! -- he files assault charges, which could get her deported. The only way to avoid deportation is to become an American citizen. Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) quickly jumps at the chance to help her study. But underneath it all, I totally saw Barney for the softie that he is. He doesn't want to lose Robin to Canada.

Robin nails all the practice questions even though Barney claims the American citizenship test is harder than the Canadian test, which he says consists of two questions: Do you want to be Canadian? Really? But then Barney administers the real test of being American, which includes mistakenly identifying Queen Elizabeth II, an eagerness to sue and knowing who plays Ernest. I appreciated that “Mother” took some shots at Americans too. I'm surprised there wasn't a geography section because we all know how well Americans do on that subject.

Robin defends her answer that Ernest is played by Jeff Foxworthy – I can sort of see the resemblance – by “sticking to her guns and belligerently insulting” Barney when he corrects her. And with that, Robin is truly ready to become an American. That is, until the best-named bar on TV, Hosers Hut, lures Robin back into its Canadian clutches. One thing leads to another and Robin is sleeping on the floor of a Toronto hotel room. Barney “jumped on a plane and flew across the Atlantic” (there's that bad American geography!) after Robin declared she was never coming back to the United States. How scared did Barney look at the thought of Robin leaving forever? If that doesn't convince you Barney's a softie, he then declares that Canada needs to “quit letting awesome chicks like Robin Scherbatsky get away” on top of a table at Tim Hortons, the Canadian Starbucks. The declaration is followed by a flag-planting innuendo, of course. After feeling like a woman with no country, Robin decides to become a woman with two countries and get dual citizenship. Lovers of Canada jokes, rejoice.

Ted (Josh Radnor) and Marshall (Jason Segal) also did some traveling in the episode, taking a road to Chicago for one final slice of the disgusting pizza they loved in college. Much to Ted's annoyance, Marshall has gone from an “I” to a “We” – “We no longer have a hemorrhoid problem,” he says of his doctor's appointment – and invites Lily (Alyson Hannigan) along. With the way Marshall and Lily have formed to join one homogeneous glob, you'd think Marshall could have helped retain some water so Lily didn't have to pee every five minutes. The trio stop at a bed and breakfast, where Ted tricks Marshall into driving the rest of way to Chicago with just him. Lily is so pampered back at the B&B that she doesn't even notice Marshall's gone. That's one good masseuse. The guys return just in the nick of time. Wouldn't want to have that pizza-induced stomachache – the mushroom moved! – on the road. Hope they brought Pepto-Bismol along with that jerky and Tantrum.

But the best part of Ted and Marshall's road trip was seeing the dearly departed Fiero again in flashbacks. And a nice touch of continuity with The Proclaimers' “I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles),” which we learned was stuck in the tape deck in “Arrivederci, Fiero.”

Readers, were you excited to see the Fiero? Do you think Robin made the right choice by getting dual citizenship? Would you jump on a plane to bring her back to the States? My answers: Yes, yes and yes.

– Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)


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Photo: Robin (Cobie Smulders) gets riled up at a Canadian bar. Credit: Karen Neal/Fox.