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How I Met Your Mother S09E21: "Gary Blauman"

As the wise poets Death Cab For Cutie once wrote, "But we just talk about the people we've met in the last five years, and will we remember them in 10 more?" The great lesson of How I Met Your Mother's highly entertaining "Gary Blauman" is probably one of life's greatest lessons, and it's that some friendships and relationships are meant to last forever, but most of them are not. Most of the people we meet are just passing through our lives on their own path to some far-off destination. Ted's journey toward meeting the Mother was full of these transitory relationships, which means they've all been a part of our lives for the last nine years. But come March 31, it'll all be over. Will we remember Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin, Barney, and the Mother for the rest of our lives? Maybe. It depends on whether or not we make the active choice to keep their memory alive, and whether or not we pay our Netflix bill. But relationships and friendships are very seldom permanent fixtures in our lives. It's not because we're a**holes (okay, it's not completely because were a**holes), it's just a fact of life. Which is why, as Ted said, that when we find those relationships we want to keep and hold on to, we need to be proactive and make it happen.

Ted's first date with the Mother was three days after the wedding, and in pure Ted fashion, he attempted to take her to a Scottish/Mexican fusion restaurant, and when that didn't work out, spent the entire date walking around New York while telling her a story about Gary Blauman (Taran Killam), a seemingly unimportant character who arrived at the wedding only for Robin to realize there wasn't a place for him to sit at the reception. From there, the episode became a series of flashbacks inside a flashback as each of the gang recalled a time they interacted with Blauman which caused them to either love him or hate him. 

Ted hated him because he thought he was fighting against Bauman to win a date and/or sex with a girl who shared his love of Teddy Roosevelt. Lily loved him because he stopped her from getting a full tattoo of a butterfly, which turned out to be just the beginning of an entire back tattoo of Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath surrounded by butterflies. Barney also hated him, because Blauman had the audacity to eat four of his french fries, including the accidental curly, which everyone knows is just something that you do not do, while Billy Zabka adored him because Blauman loved and appreciated his poetry. But the biggest kicker of all was the discovery that Blauman was the man James had an affair with, thus ruining his marriage. 

After Barney threatened Blauman with bodily harm if he didn't leave the wedding, Marshall ruled that Robin's wish was the only wish that mattered because it was her wedding day, and you don't eff with the bride on her wedding day. As the gang attempted to salvage the situation and apologize to Blauman for being unwelcoming and rude, he decided they were jerks—which they were—and drove off leaving them to ponder their relationships with the people in their lives at that exact moment. As Marshall wisely pointed out, he thought the people present as his wedding were people he'd be friends with forever, but he hasn't seen most of them since that day.

It was this revelation that led to one of the most elaborate scenes the series has done outside of the two-minute date in "Ten Sessions." As the camera panned around in a single shot, we caught a glimpse of  what happened to certain characters from the gang's past over the years. Carl's still the bartender at MacLaren's, Scooter married Lily's doppelgänger, Kevin is now Jeanette's therapist, Patrice has a call-in radio show (which apparently Robin frequents), Billy Zabka won the American Humanities Prize for Literature, James and Tom worked out their differences, Sandy Rivers is doing the news in Russia, BlahBlah's name is actually Carol, Biltz still has bad luck, Ranjit is a baller, and Zoey's still protesting shit, but now also getting attacked by birds. This was a fun, sweet way to bring back as many former guest-stars as possible, and an even sweeter way to examine Ted and the Mother's first date. 

Ted has always been the character to make the first bold move in relationships, but it was the Mother who kissed him first this time. He'd already resigned himself to not be That Guy, the Ted that we've come to know and love despite his pretentiousness, despite his sometimes gag-inducing optimism and persistance. By having the Mother make the big gesture—especially after having told him it was too soon since she'd only just turned down her ex's proposal three days earlier—it was just another sign that she's the one Ted's supposed to be proactive about. She's the one he needs to do everything in his power to keep in his life. 

As we get closer and closer to the series finale, it's getting more and more difficult to watch this series from a completely objective point of view. This journey has been a part of our lives for the last nine years, and I've come to look at Ted and the rest of the gang as a permanent fixture I can always count on to bring me laughter and warm my icy heart on Monday nights. Tonight's "Gary Blauman" really drove the point home that it's all coming to an end soon. The episode perfectly balanced the saccharine with the hilarious, and continued the series' recent streak of mostly excellent episodes leading up to the finale. After tonight, though, I've realized that Ted and Marshall are right; some relationships are fleeting, but How I Met Your Mother has made a lasting impression on my heart, and it'll probably continue to live on in there for many years to come.


– "This is the Robin's hair of seating charts!"

– "Have I ever told you how I met your father? It was at a party."

– "Oh, but he was not good thanks! He was not good thanks at all!"

– Seriously though, who just eats another dude's accidental curly?

– Neil Patrick Harris's delivery of the entire speech about the french fries was perfect. Ever since Modern Family premiered and started dominating the Supporting Actor category at the Emmys, NPH has been largely shut out of the race, and that's terribly is unfortunate. Even when HIMYM has stumbled, NPH has always been a constant pleasure to watch. Not having him on my TV week after week is really going to force me to up my stalking game.



Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 3/31/2014

Season 9 : Episode 24

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