• Gina Denny

2.17 - Propinquity

Updated: Jun 17

Episode opens on Ted and Marshall in Marshall’s Fiero, ready to celebrate his car reaching 200,000 miles. Ted pulls out the “cigars” and finds that they’re chopsticks instead, Marshall is surprised, takes his eyes off the road, and hits a pothole, sending his car to the mechanic.

Ted points out that people hold onto things from their past that don’t necessarily make a lot of sense, but we’ve already talked about character details like this, so we’re going to focus on these relationship origins stories.

1. Marshall’s relationship with his car: Marshall has the strictest “no food in the car” rule that any human has ever had, and it stems from his first drive in the car, in which his brothers tricked him into spilling hot coffee all over himself. He was gifted this car, and he's a pretty conscientious guy (he got into Columbia Law, for frak's sake), so he was likely always going to take care of it, but this level of neuroticism is defined by his first experience.

2. Ted’s relationship with Marshall: During winter break in college, Marshall drove from Minnesota to Connecticut, picking up Ted along the way. They weren’t close friends yet, but the trauma of sleeping in the car during a snowstorm bonded them together and they became best friends. They shared something scary and (to them) embarrassing.

3. Robin’s relationship with Lily: They broke Marshall’s “no food in the car” rule and tried to cover it up by smoking cigars in it and claiming someone broke in and threw up in it. Sharing a secret (and lying to Lily's fiance!) cemented their friendship.

This week, we’re talking about closeness and how these storylines demonstrate that these characters are now closer than ever. Relationships shift and change over time (later in the series, we’ll see people drift apart, rather than coming closer together), and I really like that the writers of this episode didn’t rely on lazy reasons for these friendships to be cemented. Ted & Robin have a very “love at first sight” vibe, even though they didn’t start dating right away. Lily and Marshall are much the same. This is the first time we really explore the ways people become close, rather than assuming they were close all along.

Writing Prompt: Write the story of how your MC became best friends with their best friend. Not how they met, and not the interaction that kicks off your story necessarily. Just the event that cemented their friendship.

Listen to the episode here

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