Let’s give it to the writer’s of the show. They’ve faced a lot of constraints with this season, but have worked creative ways to keep the show fun. This episode starts three days after the wedding with Ted and the Mother’s first date. It quickly goes into Ted telling a story about Gary Blauman (SNL’s Taran Killam, who is also Cobie Smulders’ husband). I always liked when the narration wasn’t coming from Future Ted to his kids, but was from a slightly different perspective. It’s safe to say this episode started off on a high note.
Gary Blauman shows up to the wedding despite his RSVP never showing up and Robin begins to freak out about the seating chart. Marshall, who has one of his classic moments where he thinks he is more suave than he really is, comes to save the day. As Marshall and Ted go to fix it, Ted tells his best friend why he hates Gary Blauman.
It all started when Ted read a Teddy Roosevelt biography and was trying to impress a girl who also read the book at a party in his apartment. (I’m pretty sure the girl is Lily’s friend from that episode when Lily and Marshall were trying to be more mature and have wine tasting parties.) However, Gary Blauman comes in, and the two are locked in a battle. Ever since, Ted has hated the Goliath National Bank employee.
That’s when Lily comes in and claims to absolutely love Gary Blauman. She loves him so much because in 2006 after she and Marshall had broken up, she was getting a tattoo of a butterfly on her shoulder when Blauman saw her, dragged her out, and talked some sense into her.
We flashback to three days after the wedding where Ted and the Mother run into her ex-boyfriend who she just broke up with the day before the wedding. She says it is too soon for her to be dating, but allows Ted to walk her home. She even lets him tell her the rest of the Gary Blauman story.
So now it’s Barney’s turn to explain why either loves or hates Gary Blauman. After a bit of a cliffhanger he decides he “loves that we get to ruin his weekend by kicking him out of the wedding.” Barney is clearly overly upset over something that should not matter to any normal person and proceeds to struggle through why he hates Gary Blauman. Once, when Barney was at the bar he ordered a basket of fries and Blauman showed up right when they were being delivered. When asked by the waiter if he wants anything, he says, “I’m good, thanks.” But he was anything but “good, thanks,” for he took four of Barney’s French fries. The thing that pushed Barney over the edge was that the fourth fry was an accidental curly; Marshall hilariously claims that “you take a man’s wife before you take his accidental curly.”
Even William Zabka gets involved. (He “hates to disagree with Barney,” but loves Gary Blauman because he reads Zabka’s poetry.) Then James claims he hates that he once thought he loved Gary Blauman. It turns out Gary was the man James had an affair with. So Ted realizes that the battle wasn’t between him and Blauman for the girl, but for the girl and Blauman for him. While Marshall makes his decision, Barney kicks out Blauman of his own accord, but the gang realizes they have to go find him because if the bride asks for something on her wedding day, she gets it.
Unfortunately, Ted and the Mother get to her apartment before they are able to find Gary Blauman and tell him he can stay. While there wasn’t a lot of screen time covering the date three days after the wedding, we get to see some real chemistry between Ted and the Mother. It feels awkward knowing that it is supposed to be magical, but that doesn’t stop it from actually feeling magical.
In between all of this, Future Ted begins narrating and tells his kids that when you grow up, you lose touch with people. But then he goes through the list of people he never lost contact with via a panning “two-minute date” montage. Carl is still working at the bar; crazy Jeannette was arrested for mex-boyfriend Kevin; Ranjit ends up owning the limo service; Patrice has her own drive-time radio show; William Zabka won a poetry award; Zoe is still protesting one thing or another; Lily’s ex-boyfriend Scooter is married to Lily’s doppelgänger; Blitz struggled with gambling, but eventually kicks the habit, only to get blitzed by an old lady who wins on his slot machine; Sandy Rivers is a news anchor in Russia; James and his husband get back together.
It was a legendary way to recap some of the more memorable characters through the show’s nine seasons. But it was nothing compared to the legendary kiss between the Mother and Ted to end the episode.
Nearly everything about this episode was terrific. I only knock it because it felt like sort of a recap episode, but at least it was a unique way to do it.
Adam Vitcavage is a Phoenix-based television critic who contributes regularly to Paste. When he’s not watching and talking about television he teaches literature at a high school. You can follow him on “Twitter”:http://twitter.com/Vitcavage.