The Upper Peninsula of Minnesota

During a Christmas vacation binge of How I Met Your Mother (we’re already on Season 6), I couldn’t help but get distracted by Marshall’s story in the Desperation Day episode about his family spending time in the Upper Peninsula when he was a kid.  Something didn’t sit right with me as soon as I heard that story.  It’s a known fact that Marshall’s family is from Minnesota (in fact, that’s where the episode takes place), so Marshall’s story would imply that Minnesota has an upper peninsula.

Mind you, we have some family in Michigan, so I am already very familiar with one pretty famous place called the Upper Peninsula (located in Michigan, of course).   I immediately darted to a computer to search whether Minnesota has an upper peninsula, and of course, could not find a single Google result.

So why the mix-up?  We are looking at a prime case of writer screw-up.  Some intern at CBS didn’t do her fact checking, and this episode of How I Met Your Mother will forever go down in history as one that miseducates the American public (and the rest of the world) about U.S. geography.  Minnesota does not have an upper peninsula, and has never had one.  The only U.S. state that is split into two peninsulas is Michigan.  Now back to the show.

P.S. To drive this home, here is another curious fact.  Minnesota actually has something called the Northwest Angle, a tiny piece of land bordering Manitoba, Canada.  It’s separated from mainland United States by the Lake of the Woods and is not reachable from Minnesota by land, but it would be a stretch to argue that Marshall meant the Northwest Angle when he said “the Upper Peninsula.”