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'How I Met Your Mother' 'Gary Blauman' Recap: A Bittersweet Goodbye

The next two Mondays are going to be two of the most difficult television viewing sessions in my pop culture life. After nine seasons, I’m going to have to say goodbye to How I Met Your Mother. Over the course of the show’s lifespan, I’ve gone from college student to pushing 30. Weirdly enough, I’m now older than Ted was during HIMYM’s inaugural season. This show has been a part of my life for almost a decade, and I really don’t know how I’m going to watch it disappear in just two weeks.

For HIMYM fans like me, “Gary Blauman” was a bittersweet episode. I don’t think any of us had been pining for the return of Taran Killam’s Gary Blauman, but HIMYM very effectively used the character as an instrument to not only show us another slice of Ted and The Mother’s life together, but it also used Blauman as a device to assure fans that there were happy endings in the future for many of our favorite characters.

When Blauman, Barney and Marshall’s former Goliath National Bank coworker who tried to pee on the conference room table when quitting the company, showed up at Robin and Barney’s wedding, Robin realized that he wasn’t on the reception seating chart and tasked Marshall with fitting him in. As each member of the gang weighed in on Gary Blauman, HIMYM jumped back into the past to show us why Ted, Lily, Barney, Billy Zabka and James either loved or despised the character.

Ted hated Blauman since he believed Blauman had challenged him to a battle of wills over a girl at party. Lily loved Blauman since he once stopped her from getting a giant Mark McGrath tattoo. Barney hated Blauman since he once not only helped himself to four of Barney’s fries but one of those fries was an accidental curly fry. Billy Zabka loved Blauman since he recognized Zabka not for his role in The Karate Kid but for his poetry books. And finally, James hated that he once loved Blauman, since it turns out Blauman was the guy James cheated on his husband with.

Even though Marshall passed on that judgeship, he was still able to rule on Blauman, declaring that he would be allowed at the wedding since Robin wanted Blauman there, and if there was one rule at a wedding, it’s that the bride always get what she wants. Unfortunately, Barney had gotten to Blauman first and told him to leave the wedding or else Zabka would crane kick him in the face. (“That’s not even my move,” Zabka protested.)

With it looking like Blauman wouldn’t be at the wedding, Marshall noted that there were so many people at his and Lily’s wedding who he thought were important parts of his life but who they wound up failing to stay in contact with.

 “And that’s how it goes kids, the friends, neighbors, drinking buddies and partners-in-crime that you loved so much when you were young, as the years go by, you just lose touch,” Narrator Ted told his kids.

That said, Narrator Ted pointed out that he had stayed in touch with several people that we’ve come to know during HIMYM’s nine seasons:
• Carl is still tending bar at MacLaren’s. It may be against bar code, but his son is right there at his side too.
• Ranjit made a few good stock picks and wound up owning his limo company.
• Janette, Ted’s crazy ex-girlfriend, wound up in jail for mailing jars of urine to Val Kilmer. While in jail, her psychiatrist was Kevin, the man who once proposed to Robin, and the two began dating.
• Patrice eventually had her own drive-time radio show, which Robin sometimes called.
• Zabka became the youngest poet to ever win the American Humanities Award for Literature.
• Zoey, Ted’s ex-girlfriend and Arcadian rival, still got herself on the news once in awhile, even if it was while being attacked by the very hawks she was protesting to save.
• Lily’s ex-boyfriend, Scooter, wound up marrying Lily’s stripper doppelgänger.
• The gang’s college friend The Blitz struggled with a gambling addiction, but eventually quit … one pull of a slot machine handler before a jackpot, though. Classic Blitz.
• Ted remembered that Blah Blah’s name was Carol.
• Sandy Rivers, Robin’s former co-anchor and boss, pushed it too far with workplace harassment and wound up covering the news in Russia.
• And finally, James and Tom reunited and went on to have kids. James even once told them the story of how he met their father: “It was at a party.” That wouldn’t have made much of a TV show.

In this simple montage, HIMYM showed fans that there were happy endings waiting in the future for many of its characters. At the same time, this was probably the last time we were going to see many of these characters. This was our goodbye with them. HIMYM has been saying goodbye all season, but this was first time that became obvious. With just 90 minutes of HIMYM left to go, there’s only so much time left. After “Gary Blauman,” there probably isn’t going to be an opportunity to revisit bit characters like Scooter or Sandy Rivers. This is it. We’re almost at the end.

The “Gary Blauman” montage was also a nice moment for members of HIMYM’s cast. Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris all got the chance to have their spouses on the show a final time, with Hannigan and Alexis Denisof (Rivers), Smulders and Killam, and Harris and David Burtka (Scooter) being couples. Too bad Josh Radnor and Lindsay Price (who played Cathy, Ted’s chatty ex) didn’t work out as a couple.

HIMYM once again used Ted and The Mother in the future as a framing device for the episode. When I say “once again,” please don’t read that in an exasperated tone. HIMYM can use Ted and The Mother in the future as a framing device as many times as the show’s writers want. I’ll never stop wanting to see Radnor and Cristin Milioti together as those characters.

For “Gary Blauman,” the show didn’t jump very far into the future, setting Ted and The Mother’s scenes just three days after Barney and Robin’s wedding. The couple was on their first date. Ted had planned on taking The Mother to a Scottish-Mexican restaurant, but when they arrived to find live music, the couple bailed. The Mother wondering how hard it would be to find a place that didn’t require a reservation prompted Ted to launch into the story of Gary Blauman, which was probably the first time she ever had to listen to one of Ted’s never-ending stories.

Ted’s story was interrupted a few times, though, with the first interruption coming when The Mother spotted Louis, her ex-boyfriend and almost fiance. The Mother revealed to Ted that she had only broken up with him that Saturday … and that there was an engagement ring involved in the breakup. Seeing Louis caused The Mother to decide she wasn’t in a good place to start dating again. Ted offered to walk her home and used that opportunity to keep telling the story of Blauman.

The second interruption came when Ted and The Mother reached The Mother’s apartment. We’ve already seen one heartbreaking moment on the steps of this apartment when we watched Ted hypothetically dash inside during “The Time Travelers” to express his love to his future wife and hope for an ominous 45 more days. There was no way HIMYM would once again crush Ted at this apartment building, right?

Ted and The Mother said goodnight to each other, and The Mother began to make her way inside her apartment. In a very un-Mosbyesque move, Ted started to walk away.

“Eight years earlier, I probably would’ve given some embarrassing speech, confessed my love, and scared her off, but I didn’t because somehow I just knew this was all going to work out,” Narrator Ted told his kids. Ted wasn’t going to allow this to be a reenactment of his first date with Robin. Not this time.

And he was right. The Mother stopped Ted. And then The Mother and Ted shared their first kiss. After watching Ted hook up with random skanks for years (sorry, Robin), we got to see the first kiss between Ted and The Mother. Ted was right. Things were going to work out. The Mother asked Ted if he wanted to walk around some more and started to lead him down the sidewalk. Ted paused.

“What are you doing?” The Mother asked him.
“Remembering this,” Ted said.

HIMYM fans won’t forget this moment either. Would I have loved to see the show’s final season packed with The Mother scenes? Definitely. That doesn’t mean I’m not impressed with what HIMYM has done with her story. Despite all the time wasted on Daphne, Marshall being stuck on the road, Barney’s parents and Billy Zabka, HIMYM found a way to make The Mother a real character. The show spent one episode giving her a backstory and found ways to weave her story into the rest of the gang’s, even going so far as to make her the catalyst that pushed Barney to fight for Robin.

We’ve seen Ted and The Mother get engaged. We’ve seen them rush to the hospital for the birth of their son, Luke. We’ve seen their first kiss. And we’ve seen Ted and The Mother have a very teary conversation about mothers missing their daughters’ weddings. (Please don’t let the final reveal be that Ted, after years of searching for this woman, lost The Mother, HIMYM.)

Now we just need to see how Ted met The Mother. These last 90 minutes are going to be tough.

LAST EPISODE: "Daisy" • NEXT EPISODE: "The End of the Aisle"

Notes and quotes 
I saw some chatter about Barney once saying that Gary Blauman died after quitting GNB. HIMYM co-creator Carter Bays took to Twitter to clear up that confusion, tweeting, “Oh and just to say it: No, Blauman wasn't dead. Barney was lying to make a point.”

Marshall critiquing Robin’s seating chart: “This is the Robin’s hair of seating charts.”

For a guy who shaved off most of his hair the day of his wedding, Marshall is the last person who should be critiquing Robin’s hair.

Barney in response to Ted’s Teddy Roosevelt obsession: “That’s it, no more books, Ted. I don’t like the person you become when you read books.”

Lily’s breakup song is Sugar Ray’s “Fly.”

Marshall: “Oh, the fact that Ted got a butterfly tattoo, will you ever stop being hilarious?”

Ted in response to The Mother avoiding her ex-boyfriend: “Forgive me, I’m a little bit of a detective. it was a bad breakup?”
The Mother: “Pretty bad.”
Ted: “Bad like there was a big fight?”
The Mother: “Bad like there was a big ring.”
Ted: “Bad like this happened in the past year?”
The Mother: “Bad like it happened Saturday.”
Ted: “So bad …”

Ted on the rules of curly fries: “You don’t take a man’s accidental curly.”
Marshall: “You take a man’s wife before you take his accidental curly.”

Apparently getting a basket of regular-cut fries with few accidental curly fries is the dream. I thought going to jail for your best friend was the dream.

Barney to Gary Blauman: “You can stay. Billy won’t kick you in the face.”
Billy Zabka: “It’s not even my move. If I was going to do anything, I’d sweep the leg and put you in a body bag. Everyone knows that.”
Blauman: “What, is that from one of your poems?”
Zabka: “Thank you for that.”
'How I Met Your Mother' 'Gary Blauman' Recap: A Bittersweet Goodbye Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 3/17/2014 Rating: 5

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