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Worldly Distractions: How I Met Your Mother 9.21 - Gary Blauman




Gary Blauman

I have no idea who the magical Mr. Blauman is, or whether he's appeared on this show before (Google tells me he has, once), but apparently he's significant enough to have an episode named after him. I guess we should find out why.

We cut to Wednesday at 8 PM - three days after the wedding. The Mother waits outside a fancy building. Ted shows up, and they go on their first date, for Scottish-Mexican fusion. The restaurant looks weird, though, so they decide to go somewhere else. The Mother wonders if they'll need reservations. Ted responds with The Tale of Gary Blauman.

Gary (a GNC coworker of Barney's) arrives at the wedding and greets Robin, all dressed up and ready to be wed. Fun fact: he is played by Taran Killam, real husband of Cobie Smulders. After Alexis Denisof played Sandy Rivers and David Burtka played Scooter, Killam completed the trifecta of cast spouses who appeared on the show. Blauman seems charming enough, but Robin can't stand him, and as soon as he's gone, she grabs Marshall and screams "CODE RED!" Opening credits.

Marshall asks WTF Robin's talking about. When he hears the situation, he promises to deal with the unexpected guest. However, he panics just as much when Ted comes by. They try to untangle the complicated seating plan, which is generally acknowledged to be an etiquette nightmare. When Marshall mentions Blauman, Ted goes crazy, claiming that he hates him.

We flashback within the flashback to a short obsession Ted had with Teddy Roosevelt. Fed up with the constant talk about the former President, his friends tell him he can share one more fact about Teddy, and then he's done forever. Later on, during a party, Ted gets into a conversation with a beautiful woman who is just as obsessed with Teddy as he is. Unfortunately, Gary Blauman comes in, and also proves to be a Roosevelt fan, and soon it's clear that she will choose the guy who can come up with the best factoid. I can't believe someone was actually paid to write this.

The guys continue to compete through - telepathy or something. According to Ted, it goes on for days, until the guys have huge beards. Ted concludes that he has hated Gary ever since. Wait, who got the girl? Or did they solve it with a three-way?

Lily comes in and mentions that she loves Gary Blauman. She recounts her own flashback, taking place shortly after her breakup with Marshall between Seasons 1-2. Turns out she has a secret breakup butterfly tattoo, just like Ted. However, it's only half finished, and it was intended as a small part of a HUGE Sugar Ray tribute. Gary Blauman saw Lily getting the tattoo and managed to talk her out of it by assuring her that she and Marshall would reunite. Back with Ted and the Mother, she pulls him behind a truck all of a sudden, and whispers that her ex-boyfriend (almost-fiance, in fact) is walking by. When Lewis is gone, she sadly tells Ted that it's "too soon" and tries to get out of the date. He offers to walk her home, she accepts, and the story of Gary Blauman continues.

After an incredibly drawn-out pause, it turns out that Barney hates Gary Blauman too, and wants to kick him out of the wedding party. Wait, he's in the wedding party? When everyone but Lily seems to hate him? With some difficulty, Barney manages to tell his own Gary Blauman story. They ran into each other at McLaren's one night. While they were speaking, Blauman helped himself to four of Barney's fries, including an "accidental curly". Everyone reacts in horror, except for Lily, who is oblivious to the Accidental Curly part of the Bro Code. Barney vows to remove him ASAP. However, Billy Zabka comes in and remarks that he loves Gary. Apparently, he met the dude a couple of hours ago and was impressed when Blauman recognized him for his poetry, rather than The Karate Kid. James then shows up and confesses that he hates Gary Blauman, but once thought he loved him. I'm getting tired of this already.

James probably has the best story of all, though - he had an affair with Blauman, which caused the demise of his marriage and the breakup of his family. I don't see how it's Blauman's fault that James decided to cheat on his husband, but whatever. (Barney still thinks the french fry situation is more dire.) With the realization that Blauman is gay, Ted suddenly realizes that Blauman and the girl were competing for Ted's affections. Flattered, he crosses the floor to Team Blauman. Marshall the would-be judge restores order. Ted vows to "settle" with Lily, which makes no sense since this is Barney's wedding, Blauman doesn't appear to have been invited, and the bride and groom clearly don't want him there. This makes no sense whatsoever. However, Marshall declares that Blauman will stay, because it's what the bride wants. What? When did Robin indicate at all that Gary Blauman was welcome? The court adjourns, and I feel stupider for having watched it. Oh, and there's one problem - Barney already un-invited Blauman while everyone was messing around with flashbacks.

At this "cliffhanger" which no one really cares about, the story is interrupted. Ted and the Mother have arrived at her place, but seem reluctant to part. As Ted walks away from her, Old Ted narrates to his kids that he knew this was going to work out. Sure enough, the Mother calls to him - and asks him to finish the story.

Barney is guilted into inviting Blauman back to the wedding. Blauman, however, is tired of being treated like a tetherball and calls them all out on their bullshit, especially cheating James. He drives off. Inspired by this, James gets his wedding ring back and goes to save his marriage. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily are saddened by the departure of - a random acquaintance we've barely heard of before, and vow to value their friends more.

This gives Ted an excuse to segue into The Complete History of HIMYM's Minor Characters, updating us to their status in 2030. Carl from McLaren's is still bartending, only now he's passing it on to his son. Crazy Jeanette is finally arrested and placed in psychiatric care. And her doctor is none other than Dr. Kutner Kumar Kevin, who used to be Robin's boyfriend/brief fiance, as well as the unwitting cuckold when she almost got knocked up by Barney. Kevin is apparently still into his patients, and he and Jeanette wind up being a long-term thing. Ranjit gets an unexpected stock windfall and now owns the limo company. Patrice has a radio call-in program, where she still manages to annoy the shit out of all her listeners. Billy Zabka wins a major poetry award and writes travel essays.

Our second House MD alumna shows up in the form of Zoey (Jennifer Morrison), who becomes an environmental activist. Scooter is married, and his wife is also played by Alyson Hannigan. Blitz kicks his gambling addiction just before the machine gives a huge payout. Ted doesn't know what happened to Blah-Blah, but finally remembers that her name was Carol. Sandy Rivers eventually ruined his career with his predatory ways, and was forced to work for a shady Moscow news channel. And guys, I am dying here. Were it not for the short turnaround on production, I'd wonder if this was a deliberate reference to current events. No matter, they capture Russia's weirdness perfectly - though I do think the women are generally more willing to take Sandy's sexism. Also, his Russian is damn near incomprehensible.

James and Tom get back together, and James tells their grown children the story of how he met their father. Blauman returns to the wedding and begs to be let back in. They embrace him while Ted narrates about working to keep the people you like in your life. But...but no one liked him until about five seconds ago! How does this make sense? I do admit, though, his words about how easy it is to let people go ring true.

This ties in with Ted and the Mother on their date. They say an awkward good night, and on the spur of the moment, go for a kiss. She asks if maybe they could take a little walk. He smiles, they take each others' hands, and that is that.

I have to admit, guys, this episode was kind of dire. Endless, pointless back-and-forthing about a character no one cares about, with shoehorned situations and no real growth for the existing characters. It made no sense, had almost no laughs and just served as the requisite twenty-one minutes to get us closer to the finale. I'm impressed that they managed to get all these guest stars back, even if only for a few seconds, but that's about as far as it goes. While tying up the minor characters' stories was cute (even if they missed out on a good dozen), it's a shame it had to be attached to such a lousy episode. Literally everything about it could have been handled better, and achieved the same point. This show had such a wonderful run in the beginning. With just three episodes left to redeem this terrible season, can it remind us of its glory days?

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