How I Met Your Mother "P.S. I Love You" Review: Oh, Canada

How I Met Your Mother S08E15: "P.S. I Love You"

Like a box of assorted Tim Hortons Timbits, this week’s How I Met Your Mother was a deliciously enjoyable experience. "P.S. I Love You" didn't do much to advance the show's mythos, but it was probably one of the funniest episodes of Season 8 thus far.

After failing to get a girl’s attention on the subway, Ted went full Mosby, broke out both his yellow legal pad and his backup yellow legal pad, and started trying to figure out how to find his mystery subway girl. The girl, played by Abby Elliott, ended up finding Ted instead. With the aid of her own yellow legal pad and investigative skills, she—Janette—tracked Ted down at work, something that his friends pointed out was pretty stalkerish.

That's when HIMYM introduced us to yet another theory about life: the Dobler-Dahmer Theory. As Ted explained, there’s a fine line between love and insanity, and the Dobler-Dahmer Theory determines whether or not you should be worried. If the person trying to find you is a Dobler, she’s just like John Cusack’s character in Say Anything: You might find her outside your window with a boom box, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. If the person trying to track you down is a Dahmer, as in Jeffrey Dahmer, you should be concerned.

The talk of stalkers made Robin uncomfortable, and she revealed to her friends that she had once stalked someone to the point of being hit with a restraining order. When Robin wouldn’t reveal her target, Barney broke into her apartment, rifled through her diaries, and set off to Canada to discover just who this person was.

From this point on, P.S. I Love You became HIMYM’s Mount Waddington-sized ode to Canada. Barney began meeting with Robin’s exes in a Tim Hortons. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant chain, think Dunkin' Donuts but Canadian. (Seriously, they’re named after a famous Canadian hockey player.)

The chain of Robin’s exes lead Barney to Simon, Robin’s former boyfriend and Sandcastles in the Sand co-star, who advised Barney to check out the Robin Sparkles episode of MuchMusic’s Underneath the Tunes series. (MuchMusic is a real thing. It’s Canada’s MTV.) Returning to America, Barney tracked down a copy of the show and gathered the gang to watch it.

It turns out that Robin’s career as a Canadian pop star ended after she became obsessed with an unnamed guy, adopted the grunge personality of Robin Daggers, and sang "P.S. I Love You," her grunge song, at the 1996 Grey Cup. (Also a real thing. It’s Canada’s Super Bowl.) The event destroyed Robin’s career and to this day is remembered as a national tragedy. With cameos from Paul Shaffer, Jason Priestley, Luc Robitaille, Alex Trebek, the Barenaked Ladies’ Steven Page, k.d. lang, Rush’s Geddy Lee and Dave Coulier, the Robin Sparkles episode of Underneath the Tunes documented her awful her downward spiral into grunge, but failed to shed any light on the identity of her mysterious stalkee. When Coulier hinted that it may have been Alan Thicke, Barney tried to fight the TV icon, but got his ass kicked instead... while Thicke ate a Tim Hortons donut.

After Barney admitted that anyone could become obsessed with someone else, Robin agreed to reveal the object of her obsession was. "P.S. I Love You" was about... Paul Shaffer. With his initials in the song title, the answer had been there all along.

I guess we should talk about Ted’s storyline in this episode too, since it triggered this latest (and final?) installment of the Robin Sparkles tale. Thanks to the prodding of Marshall and Lily, Ted was forced to dig deeper into Janette’s meet-cute story about finding him on campus. That small matter of the fire drill, which brought Ted outside after security wouldn’t let Janette into the dorm? Janette actually pulled the fire alarm. That teensy fact that there wasn’t a fire alarm in the lobby to pull? Turns out Janette actually set a fire in a garbage can to set it off. But instead of running the opposite direction, Ted decided to dig further into Janette’s story. She'd gotten Ted’s attention on the subway because she was reading the same book as Ted, a book that she bought at the very same bookstore as Ted, just after he'd purchased his copy. Janette eventually revealed that she'd been following Ted since she saw him on the cover of New York Magazine... a year-and-a-half ago. So that's when Ted bolted, right? Nope. With Ted’s narration instructing us that “Before a man meets the woman he’ll marry, he’ll make one final, horrible mistake”—and that for Ted, that mistake was Janette—the couple started making out.

Janette is clearly crazy, something Ted will have to deal with in next week’s episode. Until then, grab yourself a chocolate-glazed Tim Hortons donut and a Labatt Blue and enjoy the fact that Elliott’s character is Ted’s final girlfriend before he meets his future wife.


NOTES & QUOTES


– I loved the Dahmer version of Marshall’s “Will you go out with me?” song to Lily. It balanced sweet and dark to achieve just the right amount of creepiness.

– Ted after realizing he'd been tricked by Marshall and Lily: “Hold on— I’m beginning to think you guys didn’t come here to see my new lectern.”

– Barney: “No. I’m not Canadian. Not even a quarter canadian on my father’s side. Shutup. We’re not talking aboot me. About me. Whoa.”

– One of Robin’s exes mentioned that there are horrible family secrets on Robin’s mother’s side of the family. Will we learn more about those secrets?

– Barney on the allure of Tim Hortons: “They’re just donuts. Okay. They’re like two for a loonie. Dollar. What’s happening?”

– Dear Robin Daggers, I kind of love you.

– Trebek on Robin Sparkles’ Grey Cup performance: “That day is now known in music history as the day grunge was born.” Ted: “In 1996? In Canada? That seems right, Trebek …” Marshall: “Give him a break. He’s not a music guy.” Rush’s Geddy Lee: “That day is now known in music history as the day grunge was born.” Marshall: “Well, that’s a bummer.”

– Page: “To this day, if you ask Canadians where they were when Robin Sparkles lost it, not only can they tell you what Tim Hortons they were in, but what donut they were eating.”

– Priestley on what donut he was eating at that moment: “Crammed a Timbit into a strawberry-vanilla and invented the Priestly. Should've been the best day of my life.”

– Coulier on whether or not "P.S. I Love You" was about him: “It wasn’t me. Why does everyone always think it’s me?” I think "You Oughta Know" the answer to that one, Dave …

– Thicke on who "P.S. I Love You" was about: “I dunno. I always thought it was Coulier.” Couiler: “It wasn’t me. Stop asking. Geez. Cut. It. Out.” Bob Saget breaking character to shatter the HIMYM-Full House continuum: “Heh. I always liked that joke.”


What'd you think of the episode?

Comments (69)
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I absolutely loved this episode. It is hard for me to be objective however, as I used to live in Canada and my partners Canadian. I did wonder whether some of the references would go over peoples heads.
"We'd grab a sixer of Labatts and go behind the hydro station and she'd let me get under jacket over parka"
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I find it so odd that Tim Hortons needs to be explained... I thought it was funny on one of my earlier-in-life visits to the States when I first realized I hadn't seen a Timmy's in days. Also, although I am totally all for the doughnuts, I find Tim's is mostly about the coffee for most people. It's like crack.

I didn't really know MuchMusic was only Canadian, but I don't watch it anyway. I also only learned about the Grey Cup after moving to Saskatchewan. Silly Melonheads and their football.
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few comedic episodes this season, actually didn't find watching HIMYM all too bad, hopefully the remainder of the season will be as good if not better.
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Oh lord but all the cameos that were used when describing Robin's destruction were completely lost on me. Google got a workout after that episode!
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I agree I think that humor wise this was great.
Finally a better use of the supporting cast! I loved the Lily and Marshall use, I thought it was the best in weeks.
Wasn't my favorite Robin Sparkles storyline but it was a fun episode.
Hopefully now we can focus on more serious stuff?
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Freakin' best episode ever!! Loved it a million times over!!! Totally a Proud Canadian watching that one - totally picked the right jokes to make.
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I'm still not convinced it wasn't Dave Coulier.
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why was it that the only stalkers in the show were women. I mean barney's doesn't count because he didn't stalk anyone and his obsession was clearly for comedic effect and to bring robin sparkles 4 to the audience.
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actually the show does admit that barney is a "dahmer". he's just not creepy because robin is in love with him. hence the theory
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What a fantastic episode! I've laughed a whole lot, Ted once again got a decent funny storyline, Marshall and Lily's plot didn't include sex or something like that and the show presented us with yet another delightful theory. Fantastic! Also, P.S. I Love You is Robin's best song, and, since it's probably the last one, that closes it. Honestly, the previous ones were cool, but I feel the urge to keep listening to P.S.. Also, about Janette, I wanna see how she's gonna accept getting dumped next episode. I hope that will happen next episode.
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I really enjoyed this episode, it reminded me of the HIMYM from earlier seasons. And I definitely dig Robin Daggers better. Loved the PS I love you video as well!! I'm not that excited about the crazy stalker storyline, and we already know it can only end in disaster. Let's see what they come up with.
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If Janette lasts for more than an episode, I'm going to be seriously disappointed in the series. She's no good and there's no reason Ted shouldn't have already realized that.
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Probably the best episode of the season. I hope that Janette is the last girlfriend. I'm getting tired of Ted and all his girlfriends. Please just put him the background. Robin Daggers's music video was just gold. Loved the bit with the shirtless old man who was in black and white for no reason.
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They didn't actually say she was the last girlfriend before the mother, only that she was the crazy he had to meet before the mother. Point? There could be more effing girlfriends...
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– Thicke on who "P.S. I Love You" was about: "I dunno. I always thought it was Coulier." Couiler: "It wasn't me. Stop asking. Geez. Cut. It. Out." Bob Saget breaking character to shatter the HIMYM-Full House continuum: "Heh. I always liked that joke."

THIS. WAS. CLASSIC!!!
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I was laughing so hard at that. My wife was confused as to why it was so funny. And why I was laughing earlier at the "You Oughta Know" joke.
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I've seen Alan Thicke play hockey in a charity game. I'm not surprised he beat up Barney; when will he learn not to take on hockey playing Canadians?
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I'm hoping the Janette "mistake" lasts for a few episodes, apparently she has been stalking him for a year and a half, so when they break up, they can flashback through different scens and have her spliced in doing something creepy or disruptive. Especially the scene where Ted, Lily and Robin were all hiding out in Barney's apartment looking to steal the playbook.
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As a Canadian I found this episode to be one of the best, when I wasn't smiling (which I was doing the whole episode) I was laughing. Alot of jokes americans would get but there were a few details that only a Canadian would pick up on.
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I love Robin Daggers
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I admit I've thought HIMYM has been struggling for a while now. But this episode was one of the best of the shows entire run, imo. So much awesome. Just to name a few things: Narrator Bob Sagat breaking the Fourth Wall to make a joke about what Dave Coulier said, accurately parodying 90's grunge videos and even making the comment about old guys with no shirt in black and white film for no reason, all the Canadian guest starts (Geddy Lee!!! FTW!!), and Robin Daggers P.S. I Love You song being a total ripoff of Canadian Alanis Morrisette's own 90's hit, "You Oughta Know" (both musically and in lyrical theme). If they couldn't get Alanis to do one more Canadian cameo, at least they did the next best thing by alluding to her most famous song so heavily. The whole thing was just brilliant, I thought.
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ROFL when they showed the old guy with no shirt in black and white film for no reason.
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Well, especially Coulier constantly saying that he doesn't know why it was about him. Best part.
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Im Canadian, and while this episode was filled with stereotypes, it was hilarious. We Canadians have no problem poking fun at ourselves and this was no different.

I will say this though:

-Most people in Canada dont say aboot, we say about.
-Most people in Canada dont say Loonie either, we say dollar
-A donut at Tim Hortons cost 80 cents, so no, you cant get 2 for a dollar.
-I always joke about how I could be anywhere in Canada and could throw a rock in any direction and hit a Tim Hortons. Its an obvious exageration, but seriously they are everywhere.
-Canadians are polite (for the most part) but we r tough as nails...just ask Barney.

Ted's line about making a mistake before meeting the mother was telling. I think he will meet the mother in the finale and next season will be about courting her and explaining to us why she is the best woman for Ted.

Great episode 9/10

O and...Toronto, Ontario - Double Chocolate (actually ate one while I was watching the show...go figure).
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1. I loved the Tom Horton's jokes. I visited Canada last summer and they are pretty much everywhere.
2. Where was Jessica Glitter for the documentary on Robin Sparkles?
3. I hope at Robin and Barney's wedding their first dance is to "Sandcastles in the Sand" or a slow rendition of "Let's go to the Mall".
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Tim Horton's Not Tom.
Good call on Jessica Glitter.
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Yeah, accidentally pressed 'o'.
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this episode was full of so much win!!!! i think i;m one of the five people in the world who still loves the barenaked ladies but i love that they had steven page in there, and dave coulier doing the "cut-it-out" gag followed by freaking danny tanner commenting on it was awesome!
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I hope they find a whole bunch of music from Robin Daggers....
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Also.. gotta say... an 8PM network sitcom with a hot chick (implied lesbian) wearing a t-shirt saying "VAGetarian" was kind of out there.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't mind it. But I think the networks are starting to push back. First the 50-shades-of-Sheldon spanking and now this.
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As for Robin's mother... I hope they go somewhere interesting with that. We hardly heard much about her... I think the only time I recall was when Robin mentioned her mother + father brought the dog in to be put to sleep and came back with a tortoise.
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i agree, that;s the one thing on HIMYM they;ve never explored is robin;s mother, because she;s not dead, sometimes robin has mentioned her or been on the phone with her, so why in seven years have we never seen her?!
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I have seen every episode of Full House (I'm a huge fan) and I still didn't put together Bob Saget's joke until two in the morning last night, at which point I screamed. I can't believe myself.
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Would someone explain it to a poor clueless swede, please?
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Bob Saget and Dave Coulier were on Full House together and that was one of Joey's (Dave's character) signature jokes on the show.
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I only caught it because the narration was off-kilter for that one part, and I was kinda thinking "What?" So I had to rewind it, and realized what they had done there.
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yeah that had me in stitches too, especially cause i watched an episoe of full house after watching HIMYM!!!
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To elaborate on the Dobler-Dahmer theory... it was better said as: if both parties share an attraction, a borderline act could be sweet (boombox under the window a-la Dobler). But if one party isn't that into the other... that same act of love/devotion/whatever is scary+creepy+stalkerish. Marshall's spontaneous song flashback was a perfect example.

Also, I gotta say... I really dug the Goth/Grunge Robin look. Even the review's glam-shot was quite nice.
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Next thing you know there'll be an old man, half-naked, in a black-and-white shot for no reason! Loved this episode!
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Hey Americans, is the "aboot" bit still doing it for you? How A-B-O-U-T the "eh" jokes? And the painfully inaccurate accents? You are cognizant of the fact that Mounties only wear their red ceremonial uniforms for, you know, ceremonies, right?

I'm not opposed to making light of stereotypes. They're a great source of comedy. Where would we be if we couldn't narrow down entire groups of people to their lowest common denominators, and make humorous observations about said denominations? A place I don't want to be, that's where. But you guys have freaking tapped the well on the ones I listed above. You need more "Canadians are afraid of the dark" and less "Canadians love hockey." (Keep fighin' the good fight, Echild.)

Now on the other hand, the Tim Horton's doughnut (that's the traditional/correct way of spelling it) joke was spot on hilarious. You're not a true Canadian until you have a favourite Timmies doughnut. (Toronto, Ontario. Honey Crueller.) Kudos to the writers for actually getting the name of the doughnuts sold at Tim Horton's right. There must be at least one Canuck on staff.

The highlight of "Canadastravaganza" for me was definitely Jason Priestly's "Crammed a Timbit into a strawberry-vanilla and invented the Priestly. Should've been the best day of my life." Haha! The Canadian in me couldn't help but laugh.

The cameos were awesome (except the unusually wooden Paul Shaffer), and all in all it was a very funny episode, but I rolled my eyes on more than one occasion. Good effort, HIMYM.

CANADIAN NOTES:

- Comparing the Grey Cup to the Super Bowl is like comparing a championship football game to a capitalistically whored out spectacle of absurdly mammoth proportions which happens to include a (usually far more exciting) championship football game.
- The price of two doughnuts is closer to a Twoonie than a Loonie ... Ugh. Our currency deserves to be ridiculed.
- I'm pretty sure Americans like "donuts" more than us. Have you seen HBO: The Weight of the Nation?
- Comparing MuchMusic to MTV is like comparing ... Okay, MuchMusic is pretty much the same thing minus the increasingly and surprisingly good original programming.
- Did we ever have Grunge in Canada?
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Bob and Doug McKenzie painted a pretty broad brush for most people when they think of Canadiens. SCTV, Kids in the Hall, and the seemingly endless list of comedians on tv shows all feed into the stereotype, but in a harmless, laugh at themselves kind of way. We don't make fun of the French Canadiens because that would just be piling on the helpless kid in school. I for one have always thought of Canada as the really cold suburbs of the US. with hockey.
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I totally agree with you all these stereotypes are getting old you need to come up with a few original ones or I will go insane! But Comparing MTV to Much is not right considering Much plays 100% more music than MTV does, plus we have MTV Canada for that crap reality programing stuff
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Literally minutes after I read your comment, I got a business call from Canada. She said "aboot" at least three times.
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Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, but the percentage of our country that actually pronounces it "aboot" is significantly smaller than the percentage of Americans with southern accents. I suppose we should portray American characters saying "y'all" on our TV shows more often.
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Jeez...HIMYM told me Canadians were polite.
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I didn't think I was being impolite. Y'all need to lighten up ... Now I'm being impolite. Sorry.
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I heard the "aboot" and "eh" just last night from relatives.

I don't bother laughing about it though. To me, it's just like how some people I know pronounce the word "roof" (top of a house) differently... they'll say it almost like "ruff"

Different people, different regions, different dialects and such.
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My favorite Canada-digs were in "Due South" At one point, Constable Fraser points out that they ran a background check (or something) on their computers... and one of the co-stars (seriously) asked "Canada has computers?" Great show. Oh, and "Canadian Bacon" had some good ones.

That being said... yeh it is a bit lame. While I DO enjoy the HIMYM digs where Robin will talk about something common in Canada and is surprised nobody in NY knows about it (a mountain, a big restaurant chain, a hockey player, etc) that's about it. In Barney's case... he's still "coping" that he's 1/4 Canadian, which was a big deal since he's always mocked them.

Then again, I do have relatives up in Canada and a couple of them... really have a strong accent and drop the frequent "Eh" in there. Not all of them, just 1 or 2 relatives out of a dozen.
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I agree, the true Canadian stuff always cracks me up more than the fake stuff the HIMYM writers toss in there. The biggest Canadian laughs I had from HIMYM were Robin being excited she met Mason Raymond, and nobody knowing who she was talking about, or talking about Harvey's restaurants, or tonight when she was like "You guys get MuchMusic here?!"

It's always funnier cause it's true.
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Ah, Due South. That was Canadian humour done right. But that's probably because it was Canadian made. We're masters of self-deprecation.

Good call on Robin's constant surprise that New Yorkers are ignorant of most things Canadian. Those jokes usually make me smile.
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My wife actually danced in the '96 Grey Cup halftime show as a kid. I can't believe she didn't tell me about the Robin Daggers performance.
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Robin Daggers is kinda hot.
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So, here is my theory on who the mother is. I think she has been cast all along, and just asked to keep quiet about it.

There was an episode where Ted said something about living in New York, and walking past the person you are going to marry 3-4 times before you ever meet. I don't remember the episode, and I don't remember the exact quote, but it was something like that.

In the Season 3 episode "No Tomorrow", Ted mentions that she was in the bar with him and Barney. At one point, he bumps into a girl, and they have a "moment". She is then never seen again.

The girl from the bar fits the hairstyle and build of the girl from the Season 1 episode where the matchmaking firm found him a match. He scanned through pictures of her that had the face taken out. Why would they take the face out if that wasn't going to end up being the mother?

In the Season 5 episode "Definitions", he mentioned that she was in the class that he thought was his, but actually was an Economics class. I scanned the shots of the room, but all the girls were too far away to see if you could pick her out. However, my wife noticed that there were two guys wearing the exact same bright blue shirt, and in between them was a girl who resembled the girl from the bar.

Knowing HIMYM, this would absolutely be something the writers would do. I think that once he meets her, there is going to be a montage of flashbacks to the times that they've seen each other before.
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I doubt she's been cast since way back... a sitcom can't keep a secret like that.

I'm sure they HAVE probably shot some past-scenes where there's a woman in a certain dress and X-colored hair who is/was supposed to be the mother.

Then they will re-shoot those scenes again (if they haven't already) with the final/real actress wearing the same dress and her hair a certain way. The viewers will all be like "OMG I remember that scene" but the "original" scenes will have had different actresses. Not that you could tell since the faces were obscured or seen too briefly.


Kind of like when in Scrubs, they introduced Elizabeth Banks's character. Only in THAT case they digitally inserted her into existing scenes where there wasn't anyone before.
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It would be funny if they digitally insert the mother into past scenes, just like they did with Doug the bartender in the episode "The Fight".
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That would be one way to go, but I think it takes a lot more creativity to have it planned out over 8 years.

Doug the Bartender was a 1 episode guy, and it made sense to do that for him. However, the mother is the main focal point of the entire show, and it would be amazing writing if she were already in the show a few times over the course of 8 years, and it still has not leaked out to the public who she is.

If any show would do such a thing, it would be HIMYM.
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I think they might have actually cast her a long time ago.

I saw a few interviews to the creators of the show and the cast and other stuff (one of those dvd extras I think) and they said that the scene of the show where they reveal the mother is already taped (in case something happens to any character and what not) and the only people there were the 2 kids, ted, the mom and one camera guy.

Again, I'm not 100% sure, but I'm about 95%... So they can easily have done it. HIMYM is the only show that would dare and put the resources, time and brains to pull off something like that.
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I don't remember my source either, but the final reaction of the kids has already been taped, so maybe the the mother is in that scene too ?
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It would make sense, considering the kids are now 8 years older. It wouldn't have cost them much money to film one scene together in case the show lasted long enough to need it.
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Clarification: Canada didn't just make a coffee chain and name it after Tim Horton because we love hockey. Tim Horton himself started the chain and his popular name was used to make it successful. It's still incredibly Canadian, but I felt it was important to clarify that we don't just make things so we can name them after hockey players.
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There goes my idea for Crosby's Coffeehouse.
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I'm sorry can somebody explain to me the "cut.it.out." joke? is it a reference from another show? thank you
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Dave Coulier and Bob Saget were both on the show "Full House". Dave Coulier's character "Joey" was a ventriloquist and comedian. That whole "Cut. It. Out." bit, with the hand gestures included, is something his character is probably best known for.
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thank you to you both
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That's mostly right, except the "Cut. It. Out." bit didn't originate with Full House. Coulier was doing it before he was "Joey". He played himself on a Nickelodeon show called "Out of Control" a few years before Full House.
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Oh, I didn't know that! Cool info, thanks.
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I saw Joshua Jackson's name on that long list and had a glimmer of hope for a cameo...but to no avail :(
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Although it wouldn't have fit in with the Canada theme I was totally expecting Shaggy to pop up and say 'it wasn't me'
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Of all the hockey players who have ever professionally played the sport, Luc Robitaille seems to be the most willing to guest star in things. This, Bones, Phineas & Ferb, and that's just off the top of my head.
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