HIMYM Episode Review: S9E21 “Gary Blauman”


So gang, how are you feeling about that episode? My overall impression was that it was awesome, but with some segments here and there that we could have done without. I’m going to jump into the review and hopefully have time to comment later in the day…

We began on the Wednesday three days after the wedding, at 8 pm. It’s Ted and The Mother’s first date! I thought there was a mistake when they talked about how it’s a rule that guys wait four days to call (but we know it’s three). In S4E21 “Three Days Rule”, Ted mentions that when he met The Mother, he didn’t wait three days. He called her right away.

So my first thought was ohhhh noooo more continuity errors, but then I realized he must have called prior to that day to set up the date. So we’re all good, nothing to see here folks. Keep moving.

They head to a Scottish-Mexican fusion restaurant, which sounds even grosser than Marshall’s mom’s mayo salad. The place is called Pedro McKinnon, and they had a bagpipe mariachi band. I assumed this was a gentle nod to the mistake that the writers made in the S8E23 “Something Old”. In that episode Ted mentions a trip to Spain and interacting with a mariachi band. Only problem is that mariachis are a Mexican thing, not a Spanish thing. So it was nice that they paid tribute to their little mistake by including this incredibly odd eatery.

I was pleased/annoyed to note that people are wearing purple again. I’m honestly very tired of the back and forth with HIMYM color theory, but there’s one idea that I keep being drawn to. One of the strongest contenders in the question of The Mother’s name is currently Violet. I can’t make any better sense of the clues than that. There’s no uniformity and no common bond between characters/episodes that feature purple clothing thus far. Check out my article to peruse options for what The Mother’s name may be.

So Ted starts to tell the story of Gary Blauman, because what else would Ted do for a first date? The guy has got stories, that’s his jam. We jump back to the day of the wedding – we’re finally at the point where everyone is in their fancy attire! Robin is visited by Mr. Gary Blauman, whom we haven’t seen in ages. There was some confusion with his character, as Barney said he died after he quit his job and tried to pee on the conference table. But this was clearly Barney exaggerating (S3E15 “The Chain of Screaming”).

We also know that, at least at one point, this character was gay. Marshall mentions how his marriage with his husband is pending as of New York passing legislature allowing gay civil unions – I think that was in a season 5 episode. It was the one where Robin says she wants to focus on her career and then she meets Don. I believe it was Blauman that I’m thinking of, but it could be the Blitz. The Proffessor should know for sure :)

Anyway, I enjoyed the parallel between Cobie’s real life and her TV life. In real life she’s married to Taran Killam, who plays her gay guy friend on the show. On the show she’s married to Neil Patrick Harris, who is her gay guy friend in real life. I always like seeing cameos from significant others, so seeing him (and Scooter!) was nice.

So Robin finally has her wedding freakout – a CODE RED regarding where to seat Blauman. Marshall takes on the challenge but needs Ted’s assistance. I’m not sure why he needed help, as Marshall is quite proud of his seating skills and even brags about the Table 27 annual reunion. This begins a whole chain where characters overhear his name and then say “Wait – did you say Gary Blauman? I ____ that guy!” In Ted’s case, it was “I hate that guy!” We flash back to a few years ago, when Ted was obsessed with a Teddy Roosevelt biography he just read.

This part made me laugh, because I get super annoying when I’m involved in a great book (or TV show…)! I liked it when Barney said “That’s it! No more books, Ted. I don’t like the person you become when you read books!” The gang allows Ted one last fun fact about his new fave former president, and we think it’s all done with. But then we jump to a party around the same time, when they were celebrating something or another.

Ted finds a lady friend that also loved that biography! But alas, Blauman shows up and initiates a war of attrition for the lady’s interest. Everyone is exchanging Theodore Roosevelt facts at a rapid fire pace. Ted and Blauman have an excellent psychic convo where they insult one another using antiquated insults like “You’re Taft”! Nobody wants to be Taft after that whole bathtub incident in from history. Anyway, Ted says days passed and we have this obligatory scene where the men have beards now because so much time has gone by. I could have done without this part. It felt unnecessary.

Shortly thereafter we are back at the wedding, and Lily overhears them talking about Gary Blauman. She LOVES that guy! Turns out she has a pretty good reason. Back in 2006, when her and Marshall were broken up, she aimed to get a breakup tattoo. She was heavily inspired by her breakup song, “Fly” by Sugar Ray. Ted comments that she really doesn’t know how to do breakups, and then we see something I had been waiting for – a Marshall and Lily high five. To me that high five means all is well in Marshall&Lilyland. That’s love, bitch!

Lily’s tattoo looked pretty normal to me – like a butterfly in profile view. But apparently it’s just half a butterfly, and she’s been “using cover-up and strategically placed straps for a long time” to keep it on the down low. There was a nice moment where we all reminisced about Ted’s tramp stamp and how it will basically never stop being hilarious. Something that confused me, though…Lily says that Blauman saved Marshall “from a lifetime of looking at Sugar Ray every year when we do it on your birthday”. Does this mean that Lily and Marshall are now at the point where they only have sex a couple times a year? I just can’t imagine that. 

I thought maybe it was in reference to a specific position, but from what I can gather it is just a reference to later on when they are actually old old and not as amorous as they are these days. But can you really imagine Lily in particular getting less frisky as she ages? I sorta see her as an inappropriate old lady that lets herself pinch cute guys on the bottom. But I digress – let’s jump back to the Ted and The Mother first date!

The couple is walking around the block when suddenly The Mother spots an ex – Louis – and hides behind a van. She pulls Ted to hide with her, and I was glad to see Ted as the normal one on a date for once. She did the weird thing, but Ted has done so many weird things that he isn’t scared away by it. She tells Ted that she’s not ready to date, and again, Ted gets it.

This is beautiful character progression for Ted. Old Ted would have given up right then, and lamented his bad luck through at least a full episode. Older Ted would have pushed too hard, too fast, and frightened her away (as he mentions at the end of this episode). But Current Ted has tempered himself and learned how to let things be. FINALLY. I spent the entirety of the date waiting for Ted to Ted it up and I was SO HAPPY that he didn’t. The Mother is ready to go home, but she lets Ted walk her home so she can hear the end of the story. Ted’s stories are so addictive!

Okay we have to jump around some more. This episode had a whole lot of back and forth but I didn’t mind it so much. Yes, some of the Blauman stuff was (in my opinion) unnecessary, but it also brought a lot to the table in terms of plot progression and explanations. So I will take it! Now it’s time for Barney to say “Did you say Gary Blauman?!” He follows that with a misdirection by saying “I…love…that we have the opportunity to destroy Gary Blauman’s weekend by kicking him out of the wedding!”

So what’s Barney’s beef with Blauman? Oh nothing, just a little matter of theft….fry theft, to be exact. Blauman committed some unpardonable sins in Barney’s mind. First, he took not one, not two, not three, but FOUR fries from Barney’s order. Didn’t even ask! Didn’t even bother to order his own, just blatantly stole them from under The Barnacle’s nose. The worst part, though, is that the last fry was no ordinary French fry. No no, the fourth and last fry that Blauman stole was an accidental curly!

How dare he…and what is that?! Ok, so it’s just a curly fry that has been mixed in with regular fries. But it somehow feels like you’ve stumbled upon a treasure when you find one in your order. I don’t even like fries that much and I understood the horror of having your accidental curly stolen by a brute like Blauman. 

Then we find out that Billy Zabka knows of Gary Blauman also, because Billy Zabka is in like every flippin’ episode now and has something to say about everything and everyone. I’m a little Zabka-ed out at this point, but it was nice to see someone acknowledge his poetry. It’s hard to hate on Blauman when he seemed legitimately unaware that Zabka even had a movie career. The next person to comment on Blauman is a big one, though. James hates that he once thought he loved Gary Blauman!

So we finally discover what was up with James and the giant divorce (worst kid’s book ever, am I right?) He slept with Blauman, Tom found out, Tom kicked James out of the house, and now their kids are from a broken home. So that’s totally all Blauman’s fault except actually no, that’s on James. No one is to blame for him cheating except himself. I was worried that they wouldn’t touch on that, but later Blauman calls him out and specifically says that James needs to stop blaming other people for his own problems.

I liked how Ted and Marshall had these totally confused looks on their faces like wait, what? Blauman is gay? Ted was so triumphant as he took another look at his Blauman experience from a different perspective. Now he (I assume) loves Blauman, because who doesn’t like when someone thinks you’re hot? That’s how Ted interpreted that scenario, but I guess there are alternate explanations. Maybe Ted and the hot girl were actually battling for Blauman. Maybe Blauman is bi, who knows!

So now everyone is conflicted about WTF to do regarding Blauman, so Judge Big Fudge steps in. He carefully considers the case, but realizes that one wedding law trumps all. If it’s for the bride, it’s a yes. Whatever she wants, she gets, and in this case, the bride wanted Blauman. We don’t know the nature of their friendship yet – I guess we probably never will – but I don’t mind. I don’t need every little detail of Blauman’s interpersonal relationships for the past 5+ years.

Before we proceed with the rest of the review, I will just note that this upcoming scene is where I started to fall apart. Ted and The Mother are standing outside her building, and everything was just TOO similar to S1E1 “Pilot” when Ted and Robin are outside her building. Back then Ted didn’t see the signs, he didn’t realize that he was getting the signal to kiss Robin, and he totally screwed everything up. This time Ted knows when to say goodbye, and he doesn’t bother with an elaborate explanation of why he would be a good boyfriend. 

Ted just says “Well, I guess this is where I leave you.” It’s such a poignant moment because this, this exact point right here is where it has gone wrong SO MANY TIMES. When you’re single for a long time, it can feel like relationships (or potential relationships) always sputter out at the same place. We’ve been right here with Ted when things turned sour a million times before, but we know that this time it’s different!

Or do we know that? I kept forgetting. I honestly was worried that Ted would mess this up and make me stress out even more for the remainder of the show. But Ted says goodnight, and walks away. That is probably the hardest lesson for him to learn, the hardest feat for him to conquer. Doing nothing. Letting go. Letting life happen on its own schedule, and not on some preconceived idea of the appropriate Ted time. It’s something that most of us struggle with, and it was truly a joyful moment to see Ted finally get it right.

Eight years earlier, I probably would have given some embarrassing speech, confessed my love, and scared her off. But I didn’t, because somehow I just knew this was all gonna work out.

And she calls to him! He walks away, but she calls to him. Now Ted isn’t chasing – he’s making the most of the moment. The Mother asks him to finish his story, and the saga continues…

Now we’re back to the wedding day again. James gets his wedding ring back from Barney, and goes to get Tom back. Marshall reminisces about how he cared so much about everyone at his wedding, but he’s barely in touch with many of them now. Then Ted gives the kids some words of wisdoms that had me openly crying:

And that’s how it goes kids. The friends, neighbors, drinking buddies and partners in crime you love so much when you’re young…as the years go by, you just lose touch. That being said, I did manage to keep track of a few people…

(Cue Corina openly weeping ugly tears of happy sadness at this point)

Ted tells us how some of our favorite characters ended up, and that’s when it fully hit me that this show is ending. For reals. Like it is leaving, and not coming back. They are showing us the end game scenarios for characters because it’s….almost….over. I’m going to avoid focusing on that for now, though, and instead take note of how happy everyone seems to be in the future:

Carl is still behind the bar at MacLaren’s, and it’s a family business now. His under-age son was right there with him, keeping customers in line.

Jeanette got arrested for mailing jars of urine to Val Kilmer (but not that Val Kilmer, apparently?) and she was forced into mandatory court appointed therapy. Surprise – her therapist was Kevin! They ended up together in what is I guess the healthiest relationship she ever had. 

Ranjit had some good stock picks and now he owns the limo company – hooray! I did not see his wife there with him but I am assuming she’s still alive because I don’t want to think about anyone at all being dead.

Patrice has a morning radio talk show that had a familiar voice calling in – Robin, saying that “sometimes I feel like he doesn’t listen”. So unless someone else has Robin’s exact voice and uses the same DAMMIT PATRICE catchphrase, Robin is still alive as of 2030 and presumably still with Barney. I’m not sure why she would swap him for some other guy that doesn’t listen. So unless they specifically demonstrate otherwise I will not be considering any dead Robin theories. 

Zabka became the youngest poet ever to win the American Humanities Medal for Literature, and now he’s working on a collection of travel essays. I honestly did not care how he turned out but now that I know, I’m glad. Good for you, Zabka. You’re the best!

Ted still sees Zoey on the news sometimes as she fights the good fight against the man. It doesn’t always work out well for her, but she keeps trying. Ted is right, it is nice to know that she’s out there.

Scooter…Scooter, Scooter, Scooter. We saw Cobie’s real life husband so of course we had to see Neil’s real life partner (fiancé) also. How did Scooter get over his love for Lily? He found someone that was the next best thing…Jasmine, AKA Stripper Lily, AKA Lily’s doppelganger! That’s a cheesy resolution but I adore it. It’s a sitcom, it can get silly like that without losing too much in the translation. This episode in particular felt like it was done by a deft hand, which I appreciated.

Blitz had a brief gambling addiction, but he broke it when he finally walked away from a slot machine…an old lady took his place and immediately won big. Aw, man!

Sandy Rivers is still being very Sandy Riversish and sexually harassing women he works with. He’s been relegated to Russian news but he hasn’t changed his ways. I guess he’s their problem now.

James got Tom back! They are together as of 2030 and we see their kids as young adults! I guess by that point Eli and Sadie are young adults, or maybe almost out of their teens? I’m too lazy to do the math right now. Addition is hard. :)

Good ol’ Gary Blauman drove away from the wedding, but he came back. Then came yet another deep speech from Ted that had me crying even more:

You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why, when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.

Now we’re back at the first date, and we’re staying there for the rest of the episode (like 2 more minutes, but hey, I was glad to get settled in one place/time) There’s another moment where Ted tells The Mother goodnight, and then things almost feel like they’re in slow motion. The Mother leans in, and it’s so obviously the moment when she wants him to kiss her. She’s giving him the signal, but it’s a totally different situation than the one he was in with Robin so many years ago. 

The Mother said she isn’t ready to date, so Ted doesn’t go for the kiss. When she leans in, though, and makes the first kiss contact, he embraces the moment. He doesn’t rush her and ruin it. He doesn’t stop to obsess over the timing and how she probably needs space and is this the right thing to do and blah blah blah. (Speaking of, I forgot to mention that Blah Blah’s name is actually Carol!)

In this moment, Ted trusts that destiny, the universe, whatever, will work out. He trusts that The Mother can make her own decision, and when she goes for the kiss, he is glad to participate. He doesn’t second guess her or think that she probably isn’t ready – he gives her appropriate credit and trusts in her decision. Luckily, her decision was to kiss Ted. Ted is finally at a good place, doing the right thing, and it all came together for him at just the right time, with the right person. Isn’t that what we’ve been hoping for him to experience this whole time?

The episode ends with The Mother wanting to walk around more with Ted. He agrees, but pauses as she starts to walk away. She asks what he is doing, and his response is simple: “Remembering this”. Because he knows that she’s the one, and he knows that this precise moment will define the rest of his life. He just needed a second to be in that moment, and not the past or future, to appreciate what was happening. 

By the time the previews for next week aired I was completely destroyed. I can’t even image what I looked like but it was the face of emotional devastation. It was the epitome of all things bittersweet. This week’s episode gave me hope for the remaining episodes to come…did you feel the same? 

Reposted with permission from Ted-Mosby.com (Written by me)

4 thoughts on “HIMYM Episode Review: S9E21 “Gary Blauman”

    1. That was pointed out to me over at Ted-Mosby.com but I’m still a little confused. I feel like it was more a reference to doggy style the position, which could be either type of intercourse. But you are probably right since that’s the way everyone else seems to be taking it.

  1. Dear Ms. Writes,

    You seem to enjoy various “How I Met Your Mother” theories. With the finale upon us, it gives little away to observe that “Love In The Time of Cholera” and “How I Met Your Mother” are in detailed correspondence, or at least they were, for many years. To save typing, I will refer to “Love In The Time of Cholera” and “How I Met Your Mother” as “the novel” and “the show” respectively.

    The novel is Ted’s Favorite (Season 1, Episode ). The show has a running joke about doppelgangers (Season 5, Episode 24). Perhaps this is no coincidence. The novel tells the story of a love-triangle among, Fermina Daza, Florentino Ariza and Juvenal Urbino. These are the true doppelgangers for Robin, Ted and Barney, on the show. In fact, the novel provides doppelgangers for many of the show’s major characters — (salute) Major Characters!

    Robin Scherbatsky and Fermina Daza are doppelgangers. Fermina is raised by a harsh father. He has a shadowy background. He is outraged by Fermina’s first adolescent romance. Fermina is sent to a convent, where her burgeoning femininity is suppressed. Robin is raised by a harsh father. He has a shadowy background (Season 8, Episode 13). He is outraged when pubescent Robin kisses a hockey teammate (Season 4, Episode 6) . Robin is sent to military academy, where her burgeoning femininity is suppressed (Season 8, Episode 4). In exile, at the convent, Fermina loses faith in organized religion. Robin does not believe in miracles (Season 3, Episode 20). In the novel, Fermina sets herself a deadline for getting married. On the show, Robin suggests that she and Ted should mary at age 40 by default (Season 4, Episode 17). Ted agrees. In the novel, smoking is one of Fermina Daza’s salient character traits. On the show (Season 2, Episode 18), smoking is revealed as one of Robin Scherbatsky’s salient character traits; she is arguably the most committed smoker among the major characters — (salute) Major Characters! For a while, Fermina’s house was FULL of animals, which became a point of contention, in the novel. Early on (Season 1, Episode 1), Robin’s apartment was FULL of dogs, which became a point of contention on the show (Season 2, Episode 16). At one point in the novel, Fermina’s entire menagerie of pets is killed, except for a tortoise. This is like the substitution of a tortoise for Sir Scratchewan, on the show (Season 3, Episode 20). Infertility is a major plot point for both Fermina and Robin (Season 12, Episode 7).

    Ted Mosby and Florentino Ariza are doppelgangers. In the novel, Florentino is a hopeless romantic who falls in love with Fermina at first sight. On the show, Ted is a hopeless romantic, who falls in love with Robin at first sight (Season 1, Episode 1). Florentino initially lacks the courage to approach Fermina; he watches her from afar and schemes of ways to meet her. This is classic Ted. In the pilot, he is devising a complicated scheme for meeting Robin, when Barney initiates “Have you met Ted?” preemptively. Ted then stages three parties in hopes of casually meeting Robin (Season 1, Episode 2). Early in the novel, Florentino declares his eternal love and devotion to Fermina at an inappropriate moment. Fermina is shocked and sends Florentino away. On the show, Ted says “I love you” to Robin on their very first date. She is shocked and sends him away (Season 1, Episode 1).

    Music figures prominently in the courtship of Fermina by Florentino and the courtship of Robin by Ted. In the novel, Florentino serenades Fermina with a violin concerto, which he composes in her honer. On the show, Ted (repeatedly) steals a blue French horn for Robin (Season 1, Episode 1). Ted later surprises Robin with a string quartet, in her apartment (Season 1, Episode 22). Ted ultimately offers to steal an entire orchestra for Robin (Season 2, Episode 22).

    Barney Stinson and Dr. Juvenal Urbino are doppelgangers. In the novel, Dr. Urbino provides a stark contrast to the romantic idealism of Florentino Ariza. This is precisely the contrast between Barney and Ted, on the show. Dr. Urbino is cosmopolitan, popular with women and is know for being a snappy dresser. Barney is a man about town, a ladies man and a tireless advocate for suits (Season 4, Episode 12). In the novel, Dr. Urbino is always pushing for progress and modernization just as Barney says “newer is always better” on the show (Season 6, Episode 5). Dr. Urbino is known for living his life by strict principles. Barney lives by the “Bro Code” (Season 3, Episode 17). On the surface, Fermina and Dr. Urbino appear to be a very happy couple, but in reality, they are quite dissatisfied. This mirrors the public affection and private fights between Robin and Barney (Season 5, Episode 6). In the novel, Fermina parts from Florentino, after two years, and ultimately agrees to mary Dr. Urbino. On the show, Robin parts from Ted, after two seasons, (Season 2, Episode 22) and ultimately agrees to marry Barney (Season 8, Episode 12). On the show, Barney Stinson’s doppelganger is a doctor (Season 6, Episode 13), specializing in fertility.

    Dr. Urbino is naive and childlike, in some respects — his first name is Juvenal from the Spanish “juvenil ” or “juvenile” in English. Barney shares his name with the dinosaur host of a children’s television program. Barney plays laser-tag with children. Barney is prone to petulance and tantrums, like when Ted refuses to wear a “brobe” (Season 7, Episode 19) or when Ted refuses to play along with the Jor-El hologram in Barney’s apartment (Season 8, Episode 19).

    Rosalba and Amy, the tattooed nanny, are doppelgangers. For a brief period, it seems that Florentino and Fermina will be united. Fermina is then taken on a long journey, with the intention that time and distance will cause her to forget Florentino. This is like Robin going to Argentina, in hopes of forgetting Ted (Season 3, Episode 1). Upon her return, Fermina has (literally) grown into an almost unrecognizable person, just as Robin has (figuratively) grown by the time she gets back.

    When things go awry, Florentino initially refuses to consider that any woman could replace Fermina. This is like the period when Ted paints his apartment and grows a beard (Season 3, Episode 1). In the novel, Florentino grows a mustache when Fermina leaves. Florentino is then assaulted by a woman named Rosalba. This sets Florentino on a course of pursuing other women in hopes of filling the void that Fermina leaves in his heart. The corrupting influence of Rosalba, in the novel, makes her like Amy, the tattooed nanny, from the show (Season 3, Episode 1). The next morning, Florentino has no clear memory of his encounter with Rosalba. The next morning, Ted has no clear memory of his encounter with Amy — he is shocked to discover that he has gained a butterfly tattoo (perhaps representing a loss of purity).

    Stella Zinman and Olimpia Zuleta doppelgangers. In the novel, Florentino begins his courtship of Olimpia Zuleta by chasing her parasol, when it blows away in a storm. On the show, the third season starts with the yellow umbrella blowing down the street. This is the year that Ted meets Stella Zinman. In the novel, Olimpia Zuleta is resistant to courtship and reluctant to have sex because she is married. On the show, Stella is resistant to courtship (Season 3, Episode 13) and reluctant to have sex (Season 3, Episode 18) because she has a daughter with Tony Grafanello (Season 4, Episode 5). Stella is effectively married to Tony, at first, and literally married in the end. Both Olimpia, in the novel, and Stella, on the show, have husbands who are capable of violence — Tony Grafanello is a karate instructor.

    Zoey Pierson and Leona Cassiani are doppelgangers. In the novel, Florentino initially mistakes Leona Cassiani for a prostitute. This mirrors the first meeting of Ted and Zoey, on the show (Season 6, Episode 5). Leona comes from a poor family, just like Zoey (Season 6, Episode 22). In the novel, Leona is nick-named “the lion” by Florentino (and, of course, “Leona” is the feminine of “Leo” which is the lion from the zodiac). On the show, an ornate stonework lion-head is pivotal to the interaction of Ted and Zoey (Season 6, Episode 23). In the novel, Leona Cassiani attains high rank in the shipping company of rich and powerful Don Leo XII Loayza. This is like the marriage of Zoey Pierson and George “The Captain” van Smoot, on the show (Season 6, Episode 8). Don Leo XII Loayza and George “The Captain” von Smoot are doppelgangers.

    I suspect that Karen, Ted’s girlfriend from college (Season 4, Episode 16), and The Widow Nazaret might be doppelgangers, simply because flagrant promiscuity is the salient character trait of each.

    Carly Whittaker and America Vicuna are doppelgangers. Near the end of the novel, Florentino romances a much younger woman named America Vicuna . This is like Ted and Carly Whittaker, on the show (Season 8, Episode 14). In the novel, America is only 14 and is directly related to Florentino — ew, gross! In a minor switch, that makes the romance (slightly) less creepy Carly is a bit older and related to Barney, not Ted, on the show. Still, the relationship retains a slightly “forbidden” quality.

    Nora and Miss Barbara Lynch are doppelgangers. In the novel, Miss Barbara Lynch and Fermina Daza are principal rivals for the affection of Dr. Urbino. On the show, Nora and Robin are principal rivals for the affection of Barney Stinson. Both the novel and the show feature main characters of predominantly European descent, with Miss Barbara Lynch and Nora are conspicuous exceptions.

    The correspondence or Nora and Miss Barbara Lynch is not perfect. Dr. Urbino cheats on Fermina with Miss Barbara Lynch but, in a reversal of roles, Barney cheats on Nora with Robin. Also, on the show, Quinn Garvey is a third significant rival for Barney’s affection, with no counterpart from the novel that I could discern. Discrepancies, like these, suggest that the novel and the show might end differently. This brings us to Jeanette Peterson…

    Brace yourself, the novel provides NO DOPPELGANGER for Jeanette Peterson! In the novel, pursuit of America Vicuna was Florentino’s last attempt to distract himself from Fermina. That should have meant no new girlfriends for Ted after Carly Whittaker. Note, however, that Ted and Jeanette were both reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude” when they first met (Season 8, Episode 15). It occurred to me that “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love In The TIme of Cholera” were both written by Gabriel García Márquez. There is a character in “One Hundred Years of Solitude” named Fernanda del Carpio. She is mentally and emotionally unstable. She fails to gain acceptance among the other characters. I think that Fernanda del Carpio and Jeanette Peterson might be doppelgangers but that is (literally AND figuratively) a whole different story!

    Series creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays spoke of changing gears when plans for a ninth season were announced. I think that Jeanette Peterson signals a departure from “Love in the Time of Cholera” as a source of doppelgangers when she trashes Ted’s apartment (Season 8, Episode 18). After all, it is Jeanette Peterson who LITERALLY (and perhaps figuratively) throws “The Play Book” out the window!

    On that note, it is amusing to consider that perhaps “Love In The TIme of Cholera” and “The Play Book” are doppelgangers. This would mean that the source of all doppelgangers is a doppelganger itself. I can easily imagine Craig Thomas and Carter Bays referring to “Love in the TIme of Cholera” as “The Play Book” and then deciding to work that into the show, as sort-of an inside joke.

    The novel is not just a source of doppelgangers. The show borrows many symbols, metaphors and plot points from the novel. For example, the female leads on the show are named for a bird and a flower. Time and time again, the novel returns to birds and flowers as major recurring motifs — (salute) Major Recurring Motifs!

    In the novel, manatees represent the danger of infatuation with a person who is not seen for who they truly are. This is based on the idea that sailors would mistake manatees for mermaids. This is a recurring theme, on the show, including an episode that refers to manatees explicitly (Season 6, Episode 11). Consistent with this theme, Robin chose a mermaid-style wedding dress.

    Gabriel García Márquez employes a literary device called “prolepsis” throughout the novel. This involves giving the reader a tantalizing glimpse of an unexpected future event, raising questions that go unanswered for a long time. This technique contributes to the distinctive style of the show. There are countless examples. In one scene (Season 3, Episode 17), Ted lets slip that he and Robin will eventually live together. In another flash-forward, Ted inexplicably arrives at MacLaren’s in a green dress, (Season 6, Episode 11). On both occasions, the audience is then held in suspense for a LONG time.

    Pivotal events in the novel coincide with stormy weather. On the show, pivotal events invariably coincide with precipitation. Ted first connects with Robin when he triggers rain-storm (Season 1, Episode 22). By the way, that was NOT a coincidence, Ted really made it rain! An unexpected shower (Season 3, Episode 12) prompts Ted to first appropriate a yellow umbrella, which becomes a recurring prop, in key scenes, throughout the show. Marvin W. Eriksen is conceived as Hurricane Irene rages. During that same storm, Barney and Robin rekindle their romance after an exchange in the rain (Season 7, Episode 9). It is raining when Ted first speaks with Stella, after her desertion (Season 4, Episode 22). It starts to snow at the moment that Robin agrees to marry Barney (Season 8, Episode 12). Marshal and Ted sip beers while waiting for the (apparent) marriage of Barney and Robin. Ted mentions, ironically, that it is not raining. It then begins to rain (Season 6, Episode 1). The rain continues throughout the reception (Season 8, Episode 13) and it is still pouring when Ted finds himself at the train station (Season 8, Episode 1).

    In the novel, cholera represents the debilitating nature of love. On the show, characters often make pivotal love-related decisions while in hospital. Ted decides to marry Stella Zinmann while in hospital (Season 2, Episode 20). In the same episode, Barney is also in hospital when he has an epiphany about his feelings for Robin. Years later, after rounds of denial, Robin and Barney admit complicated mutual feeling for each other in a hospital, where Ted is being treated for goat-related injuries (Season 4, Episode 24).

    Now, here’s a bit that I have covered before, in an earlier post here. Under maritime law, ships fly a yellow flag as the warning for cholera on board. The link between love and cholera, in the novel, makes yellow the “love-sick” color, on the show. For example, Robin wears a yellow raincoat in her pivotal exchange with Barney, during Hurricane Irene (season 7, episode 9). My feeling is that the art department then gave purple a role as the color-wheel opposite of yellow. Of course, the all-important umbrella is yellow. At the end of the novel, raising a yellow flag grants privacy and enables abiding love to prevail.

    How will the show end? I’m so unsure that there seems little danger of spoilers. It is fun to speculate. In the novel, Fermina has kids who are outraged at the final turn of events. On the show, Ted has kids… Will Ted’s kids be outraged? There are rumors that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas filmed the final reaction shot of Ted’s kids while the actors were still young. I would love to know what ending had been planned before deciding to give the show a ninth season. I really feel that Jeanette Peterson signaled a departure of the show from the novel, with a possible change of the ending. To me, this would be a shame, after such faithful correspondence, over the years. I console myself that perhaps Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have been planning to change the ending, all along, right from the start. The novel begins with a suicide, setting a macabre and somber tone. The show begins with a suicide ATTEMPT instead, disrupting the first date of Ted and Robin (Season 1, Episode 1). Reporting for Metro News 1, Robin says “The man came down off the ledge, giving this bizarre story a happy ending.”


    [:-)] Mark

    Mark Zajac

    P.S. For fear of spoilers, I will be avoiding the internet. Any reply may go unanswered for a long time.

    1. This is AMAZING. This whole time I’ve been thinking that people were grasping for connections between the book and the show, but it does seem to really add up. I appreciate you detailing all of this because I was not up for trying to read that book again. For whatever reason it just doesn’t do it for me.

      With all of this in mind, how does 100 Years of Solitude end? Maybe that’s the key to all of this. I can’t wait to see the finale and discover if your incredibly well thought out and detailed explanation is correct.

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