How I Met Your Mother Review: “P.S. I Love You” (Season 8, Episode 15)

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P.S. I Love You takes the Canada-extravaganza of How I Met Your Mother to a whole new level. The show consistently makes Canada jokes and references, so I didn’t think we’d see an episode where the usual Canadian humor would be put to shame, but tonight definitely did just that.

The episode features jokes about Tim Horton’s and donuts throughout, constant references to the politeness of the residents of the great white north, and even appearances by basically every Canadian star of the 90s imaginable. I mean we had K.D. Lang, Jason Priestley, Alex Trebek, Paul Shaffer, Steven Page, Luc Robitaille, Geddy Lee, and Dave Coulier. Who more could you want?

The catalyst to the Canadian onslaught is a discussion about stalkers, and whether someone has to be a total nut to become obsessed. Ted likes to reference the Dobler/Dahmer Theory, which says that whether a gesture is charming or alarming depends on the reception. It references Lloyd Dobler from the Cameron Crowe classic Say Anything (sweet) and the serial killer and sex offender Jeffrey Dahmer (anything but sweet). Basically, if you’re into someone, you’re willing to accept an action as sweet, when it may otherwise be considered creepy. He has a valid point. We’ve all seen many guys do totally innocent and sweet things, and end up being called creepy since the girl wasn’t into them. We’ve also seen guys do some very weird stuff that girls miraculously find sweet. This Dobler/Dahmer Theory ought to stick.

Robin gets a bit defensive when Barney is bashing stalkers, and confesses that at one time she may have gotten a bit obsessed with someone. When she won’t tell Barney who it was, he reacts in the most normal way possible: he breaks into her apartment, reads her teenage diaries, flies to Canada, talks to all her ex-boyfriends, and eventually finding the tape that everyone’s been waiting for: Robin Sparkles 4!

Underneath the Tunes is apparently the Canadian version of Behind the Music, and they did a special on Robin Sparkles after things were no longer so sparkly in her life. Her hits had propelled her to stardom, but she eventually decided she wanted no more of it, and she became Robin Daggers.

Robin Daggers reminded me a bit of Alanis Morrisette from the start, and that was continued all the way up to having Coulier as one of the interview subjects. The song is about some man that she’s obsessed with but doesn’t want to be with. The song’s target was some kind of big mystery in Canada, but the name that came up the most frequently is Alan Thicke. Because of this, Barney rushes to Thicke’s apartment and attempts to beat Thicke up. Thicke easily subdues him and says he wasn’t the one Robin was obsessed with, he always thought it was Coulier.

Once Barney admits that anyone can cross the line, Robin admits that her song P.S. I Love You was about none other than Paul Schaffer. That’s right, her obsession was with the Letterman sidekick, which she claims is a common thing among Canadian teenage girls.

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The other obsessed person in the episode is Ted’s new girlfriend Jeanette (Saturday Night Live alum Abby Eliot). He first saw her on the train reading the same book as him, but he didn’t have a chance to say anything before she’s gone. He thinks about tracking her down, but Marshall and Lily alert him that he’s sounding like a stalker, and that he can’t force destiny. He decides to not force it, and just then destiny comes his way. He meets the girl from the train outside of his class one day after a fire alarm lets everyone out.

The extent of her stalking keeps being increased from simply tracking him down at the university, to pulling the fire alarm, to starting a fire, and finally all the way to stalking him for a year and a half. Her defense every time is that she couldn’t stand the idea of not meeting him. Surprisingly, Ted eats this line up, and uses the information that she’s been stalking him for that long as an excuse to make out with her.

Future Ted tells us that everyone will make that one big mistake before getting married. Really Ted? One big mistake? Well explain Karen, Blah-Blah, and half the other girls you’ve dated then. The fact he phrased it like that worries me that we may be stuck with a few episodes in a row of Ted with this horrible girl. She’s a funny, one-episode gag, but definitely not a girl I want to watch him with for the next month.

Robin and Barney’s relationship is definitely strengthening. He’s always been a bit jealous, but the fact he was willing to fly all the way to Canada to find out which guy she liked in high school shows that this is really the real thing.

Sadly, tonight will probably be the last time we’ll see Sparkles. With Underneath the Tunes revealing just about everything there is to know about Sparkles, and her career likely falling apart after that horrible appearance at the Grey Cup, I don’t see her coming back. Then again, the show has thrown weirder stuff at us before.

If this is indeed the conclusion to the Sparkles saga, it was a fitting end for one of TV’s greatest back-stories. Every episode where we got to see Robin in her younger, Canadian days has been a treat, and tonight’s is no different. The Behind The Music mode for telling this story is brilliant, and wonderfully executed. Episodes like this one make me glad the show will be back for another season.

Other Random Notes

  • Coulier makes the “Cut it out” joke and Future Ted (Bob Saget) says how much he always liked that joke. That’s one of the best self-aware moments we’ve seen on the show.
  • For those who don’t know, Coulier’s constant insistence that the song isn’t in about him is in reference to the belief that he’s subject of Alanis Morrisette’s You Oughta Know. Absolutely hilarious reference at that.
  • Marshall asked Lily out with a ukulele? It’s definitely a miracle that they’re married.
  • Slight continuity error: When Robin’s sister came to visit, she talked about reading Robin’s diary to find out when Robin lost her virginity. Now the diaries are magically down in New York for no reason.
  • Trying to think up the ultimate line has cost many guy the girl.
  • Even when Canadians are mean they’re polite.
  • I’m still a Two Beavers Are Better Than One fan.

Check back next week  for my thoughts on the next episode in the eighth season of How I Met Your Mother.

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