It's Veterans Day, so here's a fun veteran-related #HIMYM thing: it's the story for a potential HIMYM reunion episode called "Dockblocked." THREAD AHEAD, but first, will you please make a donation to the Armed Services Arts Partnership? Website here:
In 2016 I learned about an amazing organization called ASAP, which was (and is!) devoted to helping the men and women of our armed services return to civilian life through the arts, giving them a continued sense of community and purpose. It’s awesome.
They invited me to DC to give a workshop on TV writing, and since How I Met Your Mother had been off the air for a few years and I missed dry erase boards, I figured why not take the group through the process of how we would write a HIMYM episode.
So it was me and a writers room of twenty or so extremely funny and talented veterans. I said, let’s make it a HIMYM episode about Fleet Week in New York. And we were off to the races. They did the rest, I just wrote it down. These folks were so funny. So many great ideas.
I don’t know how clear my chicken scratch is on that white board, so I’ll take you through it beat by beat. But first... (PASSES HAT)
Okay, so there's an A story and a B story. The A story is about how Ted met a female sailor named Ryan last year during Fleet Week, and he’d been thinking about her ever since. (oh Ted…)
(Also he has her shoe for some reason. To be honest I don't remember how the shoe factored in. It's a Cinderella thing I guess.)
So Fleet Week starts, and Ted's in Maclaren's, asking every sailor if they know a lady sailor named Ryan. Finally, he finds another lady sailor named Jane, who says she knows Ryan – she’s at a bar uptown, come on I'll take you to her! Ted and Jane hop in a cab.
(This thing is very On The Town.) So Ted and Jane go on this adventure looking for Ryan, with crazy mishaps along the way. There’s a parade, some rats… I’m a little vague on the details, but I remember it being very funny.
And along the way Ted and Jane kind of fall in love. In fact, they’re about to kiss when Jane tells Ted, “I lied. I don't know Ryan I just thought you were cute.” Then someone else says, “Ryan? I know Ryan! She’s in Times Square!”
(I don’t think we’d completely worked out the kinks of the story, so bear with me.) So they go to Times Square, and Ted says goodbye to Jane, then goes to look for Ryan. He finds Ryan, and Ryan says, “Hi, Ted, yes I remember you too. But here’s the thing: I’m married.”
(Maybe she's gotten married since last year? That might make more sense.)
Ted is stunned. Ryan explains her husband is another sailor named Bill McGillicutty. (Remember that name!) At which point some woman walking by says, “Bill McGillicutty? I just hooked up with him!” and this leads to a FIGHT. (More on this later)
Then Ted realizes Jane’s the girl he wants to be with after all. (Or I guess maybe Ryan says she knows Jane, and tells Ted how great Jane is? It's a little wobbly TBH. We did this in an afternoon!)
So the music swells, and Ted runs through Times Square, eventually finding Jane, and he apologizes, but before he can say anything she grabs him and dips him for an iconic Times Square kiss. Awwwwwww!
So that’s our A story.


Our B story is about how Barney hates Fleet Week, because it’s the one week of the year he can’t get any action from any of the ladies in New York because SAILORS.
Barney gives us a little history lesson on the age-old New York phenomenon of being "dockblocked." I can’t remember what this history lesson entails, but it’s probably a very funny flashback to Barney in some sort of ridiculous costume.
Bottom line, according to Barney: Ladies can’t resist a guy in a uniform. Robin says that’s crazy. Case in point, some sailors walk by, and she’s not into it. See? Lily on the other hand can’t help but gawk at these yummy strapping fellows. Marshall notices. And is NOT. PLEASED.
(I may be getting the order of scenes wrong, but bear with me.)

Then, wouldn’t you know it: There’s a mix-up at the dry cleaner! Instead of delivering Barney’s favorite suit, they deliver a beautiful set of dress whites belonging to a sailor named... Bill McGillicutty.
Barney, tired of getting dockblocked every Fleet Week, decides to see if he can pull off pulling as a Navy man. So he proudly strolls into Maclarens in Bill McGillicutty’s uniform, and salutes. “Challenge accepted!”
Lily is SMITTEN by Barney’s new look, and it’s uncomfortable for everyone… especially Marshall, who furiously downs his beer and runs out. Robin, on the other hand, could not be less interested. The sailor thing does not work for her. At all.
Marshall returns, wearing his old Boy Scout uniform from when he was in Troop 423 back in St. Cloud. Hat, neckerchief, super short shorts... exactly what you're picturing. Lily says he looks great, but still can’t help but ogle the sailors. Marshall storms off, even more furious.
Barney, meanwhile, is doing GREAT with the ladies. He immediately falls into the character, dazzling bystanders with his heroic tales of naval escapades, dancing a hornpipe, etc. He even bought some fake medals, and has a story for each one of them. He's gone full Navy.
(This isn't on the board, but I'm sure he invites some woman to come "below deck" to "see the torpedo," or some such thing.)
Even other sailors nearby believe his nonsense, that’s how convincing he is. He convinces this one group of sailors that he’s been on their ship the whole time! (That’s important.) The sailors then all try hitting on Robin, but, again, Robin is IMMUNE to uniforms.
Then Marshall returns, now wearing the only other uniform he could find: a Canadian Mountie uniform he’s rented from a costume shop.

(Can you guess where this is going?)

Lily tells Marshall to stop being silly.
When Robin sees Marshall, her jaw hits the damn floor. She’s ENSORCLED. She starts having wild fantasies about her and Marshall getting it on atop a Zamboni. Seal Team Six shows up, and every other girl in the bar goes crazy, but Robin doesn’t even care, she’s so into Marshall.
Meanwhile, Barney goes off to Times Square, feeling like the king of New York, still pretending to be Seaman (yeah) Bill McGillicutty. But then – here’s where the stories criss-cross – one of the ladies he's picked up bumps into the real Bill's wife, Ryan McGillicutty.
The lady says she just slept with Bill, so Ryan attacks the lady for sleeping with her husband, and they start wrestling, and that’s when Barney comes strolling up. “Hey, here comes Bill now!” Ryan looks at Barney. “That’s not Bill – he’s just some jerk who stole Bill’s uniform!”
Barney runs for it. He runs around the corner, and he’s going so fast that he doesn’t look where he’s going and goes right into a pole. He gets knocked out cold.
The sailors Barney met in Maclaren's (remember them?) come walking up, and find Barney lying on the sidewalk. They realize he’s hurt, so they take him back to their ship’s sick bay. When Barney wakes up, he’s relieved to find he got away from a potentially bad situation…
…until he finds out he’s been out cold for two days. The battleship is now halfway across the Atlantic. Barney explains he’s not really McGillicutty. “Nice try, McGIllicutty! Don’t worry, we’ll be back in port in four months. In the meantime, best start peeling those potatoes!”
(I don't remember if peeling potatoes was part of it -- I think I'm adding that now.)
Anyway, that’s the story! Written slightly by myself, but mostly by a couple dozen veterans of our nation’s military.

Working with ASAP has been an amazing experience. It's always a thrill to experience the level of talent coming out of their workshops and their showcases.
I encourage you to learn more about this amazing organization, and if you love Veterans (and why on Earth wouldn't you?) please make a donation today!
If you have any questions about any of this, and you've made a donation, go ahead and AMA below.

And if you're one of the veterans who was in this workshop, please sound off so I can give you credit!
In hindsight I can’t believe The Captain wasn’t in this episode.

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