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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How I Met Your Mother 9x21: Gary Blauman


In a testament to not judging an episode by its DVR description, this turned out to be much better than I was expecting when the episode synopsis had me questioning the logic of shoehorning in another "heretofore unseen but he's been there all along" friend of the gang three episodes from the end, as if there aren't more important things to be covering. In execution, however, the idea worked better, as Gary Blauman (who has made brief appearances before) was merely a vehicle to tell the story of Ted's first date with the Mother as well as an excuse to give us a series wrap on a bunch of supporting players from the past.

Now, I wasn't exactly dying to know what the future holds for Carl the Bartender or that Blah-Blah's name was actually Carol, but the montage at the end of the episode was exactly the kind of thing I like to see from a show as it nears the end, especially a show constructed like this one, when the ending is planned out with plenty of advance knowledge and in which the futures of various characters can be revealed without breaking the model of the show. We know the broad strokes, at least, of what the future holds for the main characters; only fitting then that we learn a little bit about the futures of the various supporting players in their lives as well. That it came in a mostly funny episode that sidestepped most of the season's biggest problems, all the better.

Other Thoughts
It's a bit of a deep cut, but this isn't Blauman's first appearance. I had to look it up, but he's appeared before, always played by Taran Killam (who's married to Colbie Smulders). He works at GNB, which explains why he was in the orbit of all the main characters at one time or another. 

Finally! Some actual momentum towards the actual wedding on the wedding day. The guys are suited up, Robin's in her dress, guests are arriving. 

Nice of Jennifer Morrison, who couldn't make the earlier "girlfriends of Ted's past" segment, to pop in for a brief reprise of Zoey. Ditto Kal Penn, who was largely underutilized by the show during his brief tenure. 

I would assume this is probably also our last "flashback"episode of the season, with significant time given over to events that took place in the past, and as such, may very well be the last we see of Ted/Marshall/Lily/Robin's apartment, and maybe even McLaren's (though I suspect they'll work McLaren's into the final ep somehow).

"The Accidental Curly" was very HIMYM-y, in a good way, one of the show's better efforts to create a term for a thing (a la the Hot/Crazy Scale or The Ewok Line) in a long time. And the guys are right: regular fries with a few accidental curlies is indeed the dream.

Just to be clear: this episode involved SagetTed telling his kids the story of his first date with their mother, during which he told HER the story of Gary Blauman's arrival at the wedding, at one point of which he told Marshall a story about the party where he faced off with Blauman in Teddy Roosevelt trivia. That's...a lot of storytelling layers, even for Ted.

How exactly did the story of Blauman connect to the idea of getting into a restaurant without reservations? Because Blauman's RSVP card got lost? Seems like a stretch, even for Ted.

If memory serves, Ted was set to leave for Chicago immediately after the wedding, so presumably there must have been enough of a spark when he met the Mother to delay his move long enough to go on a date with her a few days after the wedding.
Though the Mother-centric episode established this already, this one made it clear that Ted and the Mother are both starting their relationship at an odd time, only days after letting go of someone else.

The callback to the pilot, and Ted not chasing after the Mother with a grand romantic gesture, was appreciated, as was his exclaim of delight when she called him back. 

James, the anti-Ted: Have I ever told you how I met your father? It was at a party.

Lily: Gary Blauman saved you from a lifetime of looking at Sugar Ray every time we do it on your birthday
 
Billy Zabka: If I was going to do anything it would be sweep the leg and put you in a body bag, everybody knows that.

3 comments:


  1. I will break pattern and not gripe about the kids being told the story of Ted and the Mother's first date before the all-important moment of "met".
    Rather, I'll praise the episode for providing some nice wraps and callbacks as the end approaches, even though like you I wasn't necessarily looking for them, because that is what this show does and usually does well. I will repeat that it would've been nice to start these flashforwards involving the Mother earlier in the series' life, however, because I can see that working in doses both large and small, apart from the potential weirdness of juxtaposing such flashforwards and "present-day" Ted's dating.

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  2. @Blam: I will repeat that it would've been nice to start these flashforwards involving the Mother earlier in the series' life, however, because I can see that working in doses both large and small, apart from the potential weirdness of juxtaposing such flashforwards and "present-day" Ted's dating.

    And honestly, while that weirdness would be a concern, it'd easy enough to sidestep. If they started flashing forward to time with the Mother earlier, there's nothing to say they'd have to do it every episode - so the stretches of time where Ted is in a serious relationship, you just don't flashforward to any time with the Mother, but during his dating downtime (which happened plenty) or an episode that doesn't involve his current girlfriend-du-jour, they could do stuff with the Mother in the future.

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  3. @Teebore: // so the stretches of time where Ted is in a serious relationship, you just don't flashforward to any time with the Mother //

    Plus which I'd like to think the conceit would've made better use of Ted overall. Barney's conquest / playbook / challenge approach to women, hooking up rather than dating, left him plenty of time for other facets of his character to be explored. It's a similar enough situation with Marshall and Lily, already coupled, and to a lesser extent Robin. Ted's core was always the search for the love of his life, though, which made the amount of time we spent with ladyfriends who weren't the Mother a bit (?) unseemly, even apart from the fact that he's telling some version of all this to his children. Had regular flashforwards to him with the Mother been a thing, we could've had less of the parade of not-Mothers.

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