You won't believe the coincidences between the American TV sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" and the Colombian novel "Love in the Time of Cholera".
At the beginning of Love in the Time of Cholera, Doctor Juvenal Urbino gets a telephone call. His photographer friend, Jeremiah Saint-Amour, has killed himself. In another part of the world, at another moment in history, a first date is interrupted. Robin leaves Ted to go cover a suicide attempt; in the reporter’s words: "The man came down off the ledge, giving this bizarre story a happy ending."
How I Met Your Mother and Love in the Time of Cholera have more in common than just a morbid beginning. The novel by Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez tells the story of a love born in youth and resolved many years later. Florentino Ariza falls in love at first sight with Fermina Daza and gives her his heart without a second thought. At first, it seems like Fermina feels the same way about Florentino, but eventually, she rejects his advances and ends up marrying Dr. Juvenal Urbino a few years later. Decades later, the doctor dies, and Florentino and Fermina meet again. Sounds familiar?
On the first season’s 21st episode, Ted mentions that his favorite book is Love in the Time of Cholera, which makes us think that the parallelisms between the two stories are much more than just a fan theory. Do you remember the characters’ doppelgangers in HIMYM? Maybe, instead of New York City’s streets, they’re hidden in García Márquez’s book.
Fermina Daza and Robin Scherbatsky
Both Fermina and Robin were raised by strict fathers who tried to stifle their sexual awakening. Fermina was sent off to a convent, while Robin had to go to a military academy. Besides their past and their respective love triangles, they also share a secret smoking habit, a love of animals, and they have to learn how to live with the fact that they’ll never be able to have children.
Ted Mosby and Florentino Ariza
Florentino Ariza is a hopeless romantic who falls in love at first sight and believes that that illusion is enough to join two people’s lives forever. Ted is just like him, and he also says “I love you” on the first date. Both come up with the craziest strategies to get closer to the women that they believe they are meant to be with: Florentino writes hundreds (or maybe thousands?) of letters like a madman, while Ted throws three parties to get closer to Robin, and he’s convinced that he can make it rain.
Then, just when it looks like Florentino has a chance with Fermina, she is sent away on a trip, and when she returns, she is a whole new person and wants nothing to do with him. As a result of this rejection, Florentino grows a beard and starts seeing Rosalba, a bold woman who gives him such a wild night that he doesn’t remember anything the following morning. In HIMYM, Robin travels to Argentina and returns with a Latin American lover played by the one and only Enrique Iglesias. Around that same time, Ted too grows a beard, and after a night on the town, he wakes up with a butterfly tattoo on his lower back that he doesn’t remember when he got. After the end of their respective relationships, Florentino and Ted had many relationships and sexual encounters, but they never lost hope that the love of their lives would come back to them, which goes to show that loyalty doesn’t necessarily mean chastity.
Juvenal Urbino and Barney Stinson
The name Juvenal comes from the word “juvenile,” which means “young or suitable for young people.” Dr. Juvenal carries that youth in his name and his optimism, while Barney’s refusal to grow up is evident in all of his actions. How else would you explain that an adult man spends his adult free time playing laser tag and makes his life decisions according to a code of honor that he himself invented?
Cosmopolitan, impeccably dressed, and popular with the ladies, Juvenal and Barney are the polar opposites of Florentino and Ted. In contrast to the latter’s romantic and nostalgic nature, always longing for times long gone, Juvenal and Barney look ahead to the future; in Barney’s words, “newer is always better.” Another HIMYM reference to García Márquez’s book is the fact that Barney’s doppelganger on the show is a doctor like Juvenal.
Over the course of nine seasons, the show’s creators gave us several hints that suggest that the famous TV show is, in fact, an adaptation of the Latin American writer’s story. The most telling hint is the scene in Farhampton where, right before he sees his future wife, Ted is reading Love in the Time of Cholera. This nod to the novel represents Ted’s certainty that his relationship with Robin isn’t forever, so he jumps into this new love secretly knowing that sooner or later, he’ll be as lucky as Florentino Ariza and one day meet his Fermina Daza again.