Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 8, Episode 15 of CBS "How I Met Your Mother," titled "P.S. I Love You."
This, kids, is the tale about the dark side of love.
Ted, recuperating from losing his dream girl for good (Robin, if you are just tuning in), finds his soulmate on the train. Or at least he thinks he does, because they're both reading "One Hundred Years of Solitude." Coincidence? Nuh uh. Destiny.
In the way of Ted Mosby, he goes all "stalkery" on her and jots down key details about her so he can track her down, like for instance that her smile is crooked so she must grind her teeth and therefore, maybe he can find the dentist who can treat it. Creepy much? Marshall and Lily try to talk him out of it, citing their own meeting back is college as destiny. This, Marshall says, is just forcing it. Ted begrudingly obeys and drops it ... until he meets subway girl outside his school by total chance. Destiny. Or is it?
Turns out, Jeanette went out of her way to find him and was jotting down notes about his chalk covered hands and tweed blazer on her yellow legal pad. She even has a backup pad. Just. Like. Ted. She was about to give up when the security guard wouldn't let her in, but then the fire alarm went off and sent Ted out.
Now, despite all logic -- and his friends' protest -- Ted thinks it's cute. Not stalkery. He calls it the "Dobler-Dahmer" effect, claiming that a grand gesture, like the kind John Cusack makes in "Say Anything," is sweet if perceived as such on the receiving end. If not, it's creepy (hence, a Dahmer). Since he's into Jeanette as well, it's a Dobler.
Robin, meanwhile, has a difficult time with the word "stalker." It so happens that back in Canada she was once a stalker, and a restraining order was issued against her ("50 meters? That's like four years!") for obsessing over a guy and filling her journals with love notes. Barney, who calls her a nut bag, becomes obsessed himself with finding out who this guy is. He breaks into her room (with Ted Mosby's drill, obviously) and reads all her "P.S. I love you"-filled journals.
Naturally, he flies out to Canada to find out who they were meant for.
Back with Jeanette, Ted asks her point blank if she pulled the fire alarm (so he'd come out. See? Stalkery). She fesses up and says she didn't get that far to turn back because of a security guard. She could not stand the idea of not meeting him. He thinks it's charming. Still a Dobler. Even when Marshall and Lily accompany him to school and show him there is no fire alarm to pull, only smoke detectors, meaning Jeanette had to start a fire to sound the alarm, he is not convinced she's a Dahmer. Oh boy.
Way up North, in Vancouver, Barney convenes all of Robin's old boyfriends one after the other and asks them who was the object of her obsession. When he reaches the inevitable James Van Der Beek Simon, he learns that Robin's obsession can be traced back to the 1996 Gray Cup -- Canada's Super Bowl -- a story told in full in "Robin Sparkles: Underneath the Tunes."
Ted, yet again at Jeanette's (why???), confronts her about starting a fire. She confesses. He still thinks it's a Dobler. While discussing it with Marshall, Barney shows up with the greatest treasure he ever did find: It's Robin Sparkles 4, y'all.
In "Underneath the Tunes," Robin Sparkles' downward spiral begins to unfold. The former pop star perfectly embodied '90s Canada, as an ever-growing list of talking heads -- Paul Shaffer, Geddy Lee, Jason Priestley, Luc Robitaille, Alex Trebek, Steven Page, k.d. Lang, Dave Coulier (!) -- tell us. Her album even went Double Maple. But the endless touring took its toll on her, and the sparkly princess cracked.
The song that came out of that dark period in Robin Sparkles life was called "P.S. I Love You," and in the video she looks nothing like the denim jacket, puffy skirt-wearing Sparkles. She went goth/grunge '90s. Like, Black Hole Sun '90s. She sings about her obsession and claims, "If I get married, he'll only be second to you," but never gives up a name.
In 1996, "Underneath" continues, Sparkles booked the halftime show at the Gray Cup. But just as she got on stage to perform, the once bubbly pop star announced the death of Robin Sparkles and the rise of Robin Daggers. "P.S. I Love You" buried her career. "To this day, you ask any Canadian where they were when Robin Sparkles lost it -- not only can they tell you which Tim Hortons they were in, but what donut they were eating."
The talking heads insist the song wasn't meant for them, but for Alan Thicke. Barney can't help himself and goes to confront him. As these things go, Alan Thicke kicks his ass. He comes back with a black eye and demands to know who Robin was obsessed with, thus revealing his own obsession. It was Paul Shaffer (Get it? PS!) and Barney's chivalrous move turned his Dahmer into a Dobler.
Marshall, still upset that Ted thinks Jeanette is a Dobler, tells him that is no way to start a healthy relationship. "Tell him, Lil," he says, and Lily breaks down and tells him the truth behind their "fateful" meeting that day back in college. Turns out she wanted to meet Marshall after seeing him at orientation, and knocked on a few other dorm room doors before finding him. Her story changes Marshall's mind about Jeanette.
Back at her place, Ted finds out the now Marshall-approved Jeanette bought "One Hundred Year of Solitude" at the same bookstore as he did, on the same day, 10 minutes after he did. Yea, the chick has been stalking him for a year and a half since he was on the cover of New York magazine.
"Before a man meets the woman he'll marry, he'll make one final, horrible mistake. That was Jeanette," he narrates, right before sinking into a deep kiss with miss crazy pants.
So nope. Not the mother.
"How I Met Your Mother" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.
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