How I Met Your Mother

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How I Met Your Mother
Howimetyourmother.jpg
Genre Sitcom
Romantic comedy
Comedy-drama
Created by Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Starring
Narrated by Bob Saget
Opening theme "Hey, Beautiful" by The Solids
Composer(s) John Swihart
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 208 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original run September 19, 2005 (2005-09-19)  – March 31, 2014 (2014-03-31)
External links
Official website

How I Met Your Mother (often abbreviated to HIMYM) is an American sitcom that originally ran on CBS from September 19, 2005 to March 31, 2014. The series follows the main character, Ted Mosby, and his group of friends in Manhattan. As a framing device, Ted, in the year 2030, recounts to his son and daughter the events that led him to meeting their mother.

The show was created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, who also served as the show's executive producers and were frequent writers. The series was loosely inspired by their friendship when they both lived in New York City.[1] Among the 208 episodes, there were only four directors: Pamela Fryman (196 episodes), Rob Greenberg (7 episodes), Michael Shea (4 episodes), and Neil Patrick Harris (1 episode).

Known for its unique structure and eccentric humor, How I Met Your Mother has gained a cult following over the years. The show initially received positive reviews, with the later seasons receiving more mixed reviews.[2][3][4][5] The show was nominated for 28 Emmy Awards, winning nine. In 2010, Alyson Hannigan won the People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy Actress. In 2012, seven years after its premiere, the series won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Network TV Comedy, and Neil Patrick Harris won the award for Favorite TV Comedy Actor.

The ninth and final season began airing on September 23, 2013, and concluded on March 31, 2014 in a highly controversial finale episode, as regarded by many critics and fans.[6][7][8]

Premise[edit]

The series revolves around Ted Mosby (played by Radnor, voiced by Saget) narrating the story of how he met Tracy McConnell (Milioti) to his children. While living in New York City and working as an architect, the narrative deals with his best friends, including the long-lasting couple Marshall Eriksen (Segel) and Lily Aldrin (Hannigan); the eccentric, womanizer-playboy Barney Stinson (Harris); and news anchor Robin Scherbatsky (Smulders). The series explores many storylines, including a love triangle between Robin, Ted, and Barney; Marshall and Lily's relationship; as well as the careers of the characters.

Production[edit]

How I Met Your Mother was inspired by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas' idea to "write about our friends and the stupid stuff we did in New York," where they previously worked as writers for Late Show with David Letterman, among others.[1] The two drew from their friendship in creating the characters. Ted is based loosely on Bays, and Marshall and Lily are based loosely on Thomas and his wife.[9][10] Thomas' wife Rebecca was initially reluctant to have a character based on her, but agreed if they could get Alyson Hannigan to play her. Hannigan was looking to do more comedy work, and was available.[9] Josh Radnor and Jason Segel, who were cast as Ted and Marshall, respectively, were unknowns, though Segel had been a cast member on the short-lived Freaks and Geeks. The role of Barney was initially envisioned as a "John Belushi-type character"[11] before Neil Patrick Harris won the role after being invited to an audition by the show's casting director Megan Branman.[12] Pamela Fryman invited Bob Saget to be the voiceover narrator, Future Ted, explaining to him that the show would be like The Wonder Years but "kind of into the future".[13] Saget either went to the television studio and recorded the narration while watching the episode, or did so separately and rerecorded with the episode if necessary.[14] He normally did not attend table readings, but did so for the last episode.[15]

In various interviews, Bays and Thomas described "a pretty famous actress"[16] turned down the role of Robin, whom they revealed in February 2014 to have been Jennifer Love Hewitt.[17] They then cast Cobie Smulders, also an unknown, for the role. Bays and Thomas later said, "Thank God we did for a million reasons... when Ted’s seeing her for the first time, America’s seeing her for the first time — the intriguingness of that propelled the show going forward and kept the show alive".[16] Although Ted is initially smitten by Robin in the pilot, it is quickly established at the end of the episode that she is not the mother, which according to Thomas was done so that the show would be different from the "will they or won't they" Ross and Rachel storyline on Friends.[10]

According to an Entertainment Weekly article, the writers adopted quirks of each main actor and incorporated them into their characters. This includes Neil Patrick Harris's skills with magic, Alyson Hannigan's absent-mindedness while pregnant, and Josh Radnor's intellectualism.[18]

MacLaren's, an Irish bar in the middle of New York, in which some of the show is set, is loosely based on four favorite bars of Bays, Thomas and others from the Late Show staff. They include: McGee's, a Midtown tavern near the Ed Sullivan Theater where the Late Show is taped; McHale's, a legendary Hell's Kitchen bar which closed in 2006; Chumley's, a since-closed historic Greenwich Village pub; and Fez, another closed bar on the Upper West Side.[19] McGee's had a mural that Bays and Thomas both liked and wanted to incorporate into the show.[20] The name for the bar is from Carter Bays' assistant, Carl MacLaren; the bartender in the show is also named Carl.[21]

Each episode was usually shot over three days in the Los Angeles-based Soundstage Studio 22[22] and featured upwards of 50 scenes with quick transitions and flashbacks. However, the "Pilot" episode was filmed at CBS Radford.[23] The laugh track was later created by recording an audience being shown the final edited episode. Thomas claimed that shooting before a live audience would have been impossible because of the structure of the show and the numerous flashforwards in each episode and because doing so "would blur the line between 'audience' and 'hostage situation'."[24] Later seasons started filming in front of an audience on occasion when smaller sets were used.

The theme song is a portion of "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids, of which Bays and Thomas are members. Episodes from Season 1 generally started with the opening credits. A cold opening has been used since Season 2. Viewers then occasionally see Ted's children on a couch and hear him talking to them, telling the story of how he met their mother. Alternatively, scenes from previous episodes or shots of New York City with Ted narrating over the top are shown. Thomas has explicitly said Future Ted is an unreliable narrator since he is trying to tell a story that happened over 20 years earlier;[25] this has been a plot point in several episodes including "The Goat", "Oh Honey", "How I Met Everyone Else" and "The Mermaid Theory". Nevertheless, Thomas has also emphasized maintaining a coherent and consistent universe, and trying to avoid continuity errors, based on his experiences of being a fan of other shows.[26]

A scene directly relating to the identity of the mother, involving Ted's future children, was filmed near the beginning of Season 2 for the show's eventual series finale.[27] This was primarily done because the teenage actors portraying them were adults by the time the final season was shot.[25]

During the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, How I Met Your Mother shut-down production; when the strike ended, the show returned on March 17, 2008, with nine new episodes.[28] The network announced a change in timeslot to 8:30 pm ET/7:30 pm CT, flip-flopping from the summer schedule with The Big Bang Theory.[29] CBS renewed the show for a fourth season on May 14, 2008,[30] which premiered on September 22, 2008.[31]

In September 2008, Lifetime Television announced it had purchased the cable rerun rights to How I Met Your Mother at a rate of about $725,000 per episode.[32] The four-year syndication contract stipulated that the studio deliver at least 110 half-hour episodes by the year 2010, and allowed for up to eight seasons of the show. At the end of the fourth season only 88 episodes had been produced, and a further 22 episodes were required, ensuring that there would be a fifth season.[33] On May 19, 2009, the fifth-season renewal was announced.[34] May 20, 2009, CBS announced that How I Met Your Mother would again be aired at 8 pm, leading into the new comedy Accidentally on Purpose. On January 12, 2010, the show aired its 100th episode and CBS announced that the series would return for a sixth season.[35] In response to being syndicated, Thomas said, "We're thrilled that it will live on in other forms," and they were proud of the show and it was great to see the strong demand.[36]

Reruns of the series began airing on local U.S. broadcast television stations and on Chicago-based cable superstation WGN America September 13, 2010. Featured in these airings are vanity cards previously unseen in the CBS and Lifetime airings due to marginalized credit sequences used by the two networks. Shown in between the closing credits and the production company credits, these vanity cards show portions of "The Bro Code", a list of rules frequently referenced by Harris' character, Barney Stinson, on how men should interact with each other, with an emphasis on activities involving pursuing members of the opposite sex. The opening theme song for the syndicated reruns is also slightly edited, running shorter and not using all the pictures seen in the opening montage that runs on DVD and the original CBS broadcasts. The episodes are also slightly edited, leaving out a few details.

One of the series' ongoing traditions involves giving guest roles to actors from various Joss Whedon productions, many of whom co-starred with Hannigan on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Bays attributes this to their being "huge fans" and to those casts representing "a big talent pool".[37]

Another tradition involves the use of euphemisms for culturally sensitive issues. These include "eating a sandwich" for smoking marijuana, "thumbs up" for giving the middle finger, as well as "playing the bagpipes" for loud, raucous sex acts. These euphemisms, among others, have been used extensively throughout the show and have even been used as central plot themes, such as the episode "Benefits" in Season 4.

On March 4, 2011, CBS announced that the show had been renewed for two more seasons,[38] with the seventh season premiering with back-to-back episodes on September 19, 2011.[39]

On July 27, 2011, the FX channel announced it had picked-up the show for syndication. FX began airing the show on September 5, 2011.[40]

Although cast members had previously stated that the show would not run longer than eight seasons,[41] a ninth season was secured in December 2012 amidst tense negotiations with the studios and the actors – especially Jason Segel, who had wanted to move on to other ventures after the eighth season.[42][43] During these negotiations, Bays and Thomas originally approached the eighth season as if it was the show's last year, but also had a "Plan B" if the show was renewed.[44] After producers secured a ninth and final season, they implemented plans to secretly cast the titular future mother, with Cristin Milioti eventually winning the role, besting at least two other contenders.[16] Milioti first appeared in the last scene in the season eight finale "Something New" and was a regular cast member in the show's final season.[45]

The one-hour series finale aired on March 31, 2014.[8]

Cast[edit]

The main cast at a celebration of the 100th episode of the series. From left: Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan and Josh Radnor.
  • Josh Radnor as Ted Mosby, an architect, college professor and the central character of the series. Ted moved to New York City with his friends Marshall and Lily after graduating from Wesleyan University. In New York, he met Barney (at the urinal of MacLaren's) and Robin, who became part of the group. Ted is on a quest for happiness and "The One", the woman he will marry. Ted is the most mature of the group, preferring more elegant and high class interests than the ones his friends possess. He goes to great lengths to profess his love to the women in his life, but they all falter after a while. Despite these qualities, Ted often acts immaturely, such as partaking in wild activities with Barney. He is an avid Star Wars fan and is often heard quoting the films, and frequently mentions his favorite poet, the Chilean Pablo Neruda.[46] Ted is from Shaker Heights, Ohio, but considers himself a true New-Yorker, showing a massive hatred for New Jersey. He does eventually meet the love of his life (the titular Mother) who is first seen in the season finale of season 8.
  • Jason Segel as Marshall Eriksen, Ted's best (often disputed by Barney) friend. Marshall is married to Lily, with whom he has been in love since his freshman year of college, and they serve as an inspiration for Ted to find his true love. Marshall, like Ted, was born outside of New York (St. Cloud, Minnesota), but considers the city his home. His dream to be an environmental lawyer was halted when he did not have enough cash to pay for his wedding to Lily, so he worked with Barney at GNB as a corporate attorney, and regretted every moment of it. In flash-forward scenes set in the future, Marshall is elected a justice to the New York State Supreme Court.
  • Cobie Smulders as Robin Scherbatsky, a news anchor and Ted's ex-girlfriend. Robin emigrated from Canada to take a job in a news station and met Ted at MacLaren's, setting him on his journey to find "The One". Though her relationship with Ted ended, they continue to remain close friends. Her Canadian background is a source of many jokes from her friends, particularly from Barney. She smokes cigars and drinks scotch, causing Barney to fall for her. They later embark on a relationship that eventually sees them married. In season two it is revealed that, as a teenager, she was a pop star under the stage name Robin Sparkles and had a hit song named "Let's Go to the Mall". Later she went grunge under the name Robin Daggers. Her full name, Robin Charles Sherbatsky, Jr. is revealed in the season four episode "Happily Ever After", explained by the fact that her father was disappointed that he did not have a son. She and Barney get engaged and later marry at the end of season 9, but a flash-forward scene shows them divorcing 3 years later.
  • Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson, the holder of an unknown position at Goliath National Bank (which is a constant theme throughout the show) and Ted's "bro". Barney's real name is Barnabus Stinson. Due to his father leaving him as a young child, Barney has abandonment issues and clings to his friends. He is a serial playboy, using his relative wealth and an array of outrageous strategies to seduce women for sex with no intention of engaging in a relationship. Barney is one of two of the group who was actually from New York (Lily being the second). He falls for Robin and the pair become engaged. They marry at the end of Season 9 and divorce after 3 years. In 2020, he has a daughter named Ellie.
  • Alyson Hannigan as Lily Aldrin, a kindergarten teacher, aspiring artist, and Marshall's wife. Lily is the group's moderator, always there to resolve a conflict or to offer a shoulder on which to cry. Barney uses her as a confidante, though she is terrible at keeping secrets. She has also been revealed to be very manipulative, often coaxing her friends behind the scenes to get her desired results. She met Marshall in college and they have been together ever since, breaking up only once. Though appearing sweet and cute, Lily is quite fierce and sexually ravenous, and has desires similar to those of Barney. During Season 7, she becomes pregnant and has Marshall's and her first child, Marvin Waitforit Eriksen. Like Barney, she is a true New Yorker. In season 9, she becomes pregnant with her second child, Daisy, and in a flash-forward sequence, she has a third child, another girl.
  • Cristin Milioti as Tracy McConnell (season 9),[45] the future wife of Ted Mosby, The Mother. Milioti is the only main cast member to be added to the original group of actors.
  • Bob Saget (voice only) as Future Ted Mosby (uncredited), Ted's future self, telling his children the story of how he met their mother, in the year 2030.

Season synopsis[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 22 September 19, 2005 (2005-09-19) May 15, 2006 (2006-05-15) November 21, 2006 May 7, 2007 January 10, 2007
2 22 September 18, 2006 (2006-09-18) May 14, 2007 (2007-05-14) October 2, 2007 February 8, 2010 April 8, 2008
3 20 September 24, 2007 (2007-09-24) May 19, 2008 (2008-05-19) October 7, 2008 May 10, 2010 February 11, 2009
4 24 September 22, 2008 (2008-09-22) May 18, 2009 (2009-05-18) September 29, 2009 July 19, 2010 October 27, 2009
5 24 September 21, 2009 (2009-09-21) May 24, 2010 (2010-05-24) September 21, 2010 November 8, 2010 October 27, 2010
6 24 September 20, 2010 (2010-09-20) May 16, 2011 (2011-05-16) September 27, 2011 October 3, 2011 October 5, 2011
7 24 September 19, 2011 (2011-09-19) May 14, 2012 (2012-05-14) October 2, 2012 October 29, 2012 February 6, 2013
8 24 September 24, 2012 (2012-09-24) May 13, 2013 (2013-05-13) October 1, 2013 October 21, 2013[47] November 9, 2013
9 24 September 23, 2013 (2013-09-23) March 31, 2014 (2014-03-31) September 23, 2014[48] October 13, 2014[49] October 22, 2014[50]

Season 1[edit]

In the year 2030, Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget) sits his daughter and son down to tell them the story of how he met their mother.

The series begins in 2005 with Ted (Josh Radnor) as a single, 27-year-old architect living with his two best friends from his college years; Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), a law student, and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), a kindergarten teacher and aspiring artist. Lily and Marshall have been dating for almost nine years when Marshall finally proposes. Their engagement causes Ted to think about marriage and finding his soul mate, much to the disgust of his self-appointed best friend Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), whom he met in the restroom at a bar four years earlier. Barney is a serial womanizer who concocts elaborate con games, usually involving costumes and fake identities, designed to bed women, only to lose interest in them immediately afterward.

Ted begins his search for his perfect soul mate and meets an ambitious young reporter from Canada, Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), with whom he quickly falls in love. Robin, however, does not want to rush into a relationship and the two decide to be friends. Future Ted reveals that Robin is not the mother after referring to her as "Aunt Robin".

Ted begins dating a baker, Victoria (Ashley Williams), whom he meets at Stuart and Claudia's wedding, causing Robin to become jealous, and realize she does have feelings for Ted. Victoria, having been offered a fellowship in pastry-making, moves to Germany and she and Ted try a long-distance relationship. Once Ted learns Robin has feelings for him, he tells her he broke up with Victoria, even though he has not. They almost have sex when Victoria calls and Robin answers, mistaking Ted's phone for her own. Ted and Victoria then break up and an angry Robin distances herself from Ted, but they eventually reconcile and decide to date.

Meanwhile, Lily begins to wonder if she's missed any opportunities because of her relationship with Marshall, and decides to pursue an art fellowship in San Francisco, breaking-up with Marshall in the process. The season ends with Ted returning to the apartment, the morning after spending the night with Robin for the first time, to find Marshall sitting in the rain with Lily's engagement ring, devastated by their sudden break-up.

Season 2[edit]

Ted and Robin are now a couple; meanwhile, a heartbroken Marshall tries to continue his life without Lily. After enduring numerous emotional breakdowns, Marshall's friends step-in, and Barney, using sly catch phrases and pick up lines, tries to get Marshall back in the dating game. Later, Lily, after finally realizing she is not meant to be an artist, returns to New York. She is reunited with Marshall, and their engagement resumes. When Robin refuses to go to the mall or explain why, Marshall suspects she is married, and Barney suspects she has performed in adult films. They bet on it, appointing Lily as "Slap Bet Commissioner." Lily oversees the search for the truth, as they discover that Robin was a teenage pop star named "Robin Sparkles", and Marshall eventually earns the right to slap Barney five times whenever he wishes. It is revealed that Barney has a gay African American half-brother named James (Wayne Brady) and, unaware that his mother lied to him, believes that Bob Barker is his father. As a result of this he takes a trip to California to be a contestant on The Price is Right to meet his "father". While on the show, Barney wins all the prizes and gives them to Lily and Marshall as a 'happy early wedding' present.

In the season finale, Ted reveals to Barney that he and Robin have been broken up for some time due to their conflicting views on marriage and children. They did not tell anyone, in order to avoid taking attention away from Lily and Marshall's wedding. The season ends with Barney's excitement at the prospect of he and Ted being single guys on the town again. Barney's final words are "this is going to be legen- wait for it...".

Season 3[edit]

Barney begins the season with the word, "-dary!" Robin returns from a trip to Argentina with her new boyfriend, Gael (Enrique Iglesias), and Ted must adjust to life as just her friend, while watching Robin and Gael fawning over each other. Marshall and Lily decide to move out on their own, falling in love with a place they cannot afford. Robin learns of Lily's bad credit rating due to her compulsive shopping for designer brands, and forces Lily to tell Marshall. Despite this, they are able to finally secure their dream apartment, only to discover it's in a bad location and more poorly constructed than they thought (the floor is tilted). Barney is slapped for the third time on Thanksgiving, which Marshall dubs "Slapsgiving."

Ted tells his children he met their mother through a story concerning her yellow umbrella. He finds the umbrella at a club and takes it home after attending a St. Patrick's Day party where his future wife was, although they did not meet. Ted attempts to woo Stella (Sarah Chalke), a dermatologist he sees to remove an embarrassing butterfly tattoo. This culminates in a memorable "two-minute date," which incorporates small talk, dinner, a movie, coffee, two cab rides, and a goodnight kiss, all within two minutes. Robin sleeps with Barney after he comforts her following a break-up with a past Canadian love; Ted is infuriated, and decides to stop being friends with Barney. Meanwhile, an unknown woman begins to sabotage Barney's attempts to hook up. His saboteur is revealed to be Abby (Britney Spears), Stella's receptionist, with a vendetta against him for not calling her after they had sex.

In the season finale, Ted gets into a car accident and ends up in hospital, Subsequently Barney is hit by a bus on his way to visit Ted and receives treatment in the same hospital. Ted realizes Barney really cares about him and they renew their friendship. Barney's true feelings for Robin are revealed while Ted proposes to Stella in an arcade.

Season 4[edit]

Stella says yes to Ted's proposal. Robin takes a new job in Japan, but quickly resigns and returns to New York to attend Ted's wedding, after realizing how much she misses her friends. Stella leaves Ted at the altar to get back together with Tony (Jason Jones), the father of her daughter. Barney struggles with his feelings for Robin as his company shifts him to the management team of a new acquisition, Goliath National Bank (GNB), where Marshall has accepted a position.

Marshall and Lily move to their new apartment and debate over whether or not they're ready to have children. Robin becomes roommates with Ted and gets a job as an anchor for a 4 AM news show after Barney submits her video resume. Ted and Robin decide to sleep together constantly so they will not fight over each other's bad co-living habits. Barney attempts to make them stop fighting to prevent this, revealing to Ted his love for Robin.

Ted finds out Lily has sabotaged all of his relationships with anyone she does not approve of and indirectly may have inspired his breakup with Robin. Robin and Ted end up talking about it, causing their friendship to begin moving toward a positive note. After Barney finally sleeps with his 200th woman (and rubs it in the face of the childhood bully who taunted him into pursuing it), he begins to question the purpose of the remainder of his life, leaving him more certain of his feelings for Robin.

Ted, while carrying the yellow umbrella, bumps into Stella and Tony. Tony later decides to visit him, sympathizing with Ted over his loss of Stella. Tony offers him a job as a professor of architecture, which Ted initially turns down.

In the season finale Robin finds out that Barney loves her, and initially refuses to commit to anything but a sex-only relationship; they seemingly end up together anyway. Ted decides that being an architect is leading nowhere, and finally decides instead to become a college professor. The finale ends with Ted preparing to teach his first class and Future Ted revealing to his children that one of the women in the class is their mother.

Season 5[edit]

Ted begins his job as a professor of architecture, standing in the middle of a classroom – although the mother was present, it turns out to be an economics class as he's in the wrong lecture hall. Barney and Robin have had a sexual relationship throughout the summer and Lily locks them in a room, forcing them to come to terms with their relationship. After a rough patch they decide to break up. Robin describes it instead as "two friends getting back together." Barney immediately goes back to his old ways, using the playbook to score with women. Throughout the season Barney and Robin show feelings of regret over their break-up.

Ted dates a graduate student named Cindy (Rachel Bilson) and it is revealed her roommate is his future wife. Robin meets Don Frank (Benjamin Koldyke), her new co-anchor on her 4 AM TV show. Though she initially dislikes him, the two start dating and eventually she moves in with him. At the end of the season they break up when Don takes a job in Chicago — a job which Robin had previously turned down to stay in New York with Don. Marshall uses his fourth slap on Barney, once again at Thanksgiving. Ted buys a house, which needs to be fixed up badly, but is later revealed to be the future home for Ted and his children.

Lily and Marshall are still unsure about having children. After watching four doppelgangers of their group (Lesbian Robin, Moustache Marshall, Stripper Lily and Mexican Wrestler Ted) they decide to leave the big decision to the universe's "infinite wisdom" and start trying when they have seen Barney's Doppelganger. In the season finale, Barney disguises himself to have sex with a girl from every country in the world, and Lily and Marshall mistake him for the final doppelganger. When Marshall finds out, he decides not to tell Lily, fearing she will want to wait even longer to have children. Lily eventually finds out and decides to wait. In the season finale, Lily thinks she sees Barney's doppelganger as a hot dog vendor, which causes the group to realize she is seeing what she wants to see, and play along. Eventually Barney agrees having babies is not a stupid idea and Lily and Marshall should go forth. The season ends with Lily asking Marshall to "put a baby in my belly".

Season 6[edit]

In the season opening, Ted sees Cindy again with a girl who he thinks to be her roommate, but she turns out to be Cindy's girlfriend whom she later marries. After prodding by Barney, Ted is eventually hired by GNB once more as the architect of the bank's new headquarters, which was originally scrapped in Season 4. However, he encounters opposition when he meets Zoey Pierson (Jennifer Morrison), a woman who is protesting against GNB for selecting a decrepit hotel, the Arcadian, to be torn down for the headquarters. Over the season, Ted's encounters with Zoey eventually blossom into a relationship after she divorces her rich husband, The Captain (Kyle MacLachlan), but they break up as he puts his career and friends over love, leading to the Arcadian's demolition. Ted also resolves not to get back with Zoey.

Having agreed to conceive a baby at the end of the previous season, Lily and Marshall keep having sex, hoping she will get pregnant. Around Christmas, they have a false alarm and later seek fertility testing. The fertility specialist, Dr. Stangel, turns out to be Barney's doppelgänger, fulfilling their promise with the universe in regard to their decision to have a child. However, tragedy strikes when Marshall's father passes away, leaving him devastated and the gang comforting him. Marshall tries to get over his father's death and live again. Despite a pledge to Lily to work harder for their future, Marshall resigns from GNB and follows his dream of being an environmental lawyer. Zoey also hires him as her lawyer in what became a futile battle to save the Arcadian. At the end of the season, Lily reveals that she is pregnant.

Barney finally admits to the gang that Bob Barker is not his real father, especially when his mother decides to sell the house he grew up in and his brother, James, meets his own father. Loretta offers the identity of Barney's father on a sheet of paper, but Barney tears this up after realizing her efforts as a single mother. At the funeral of Marshall's father, Barney tells Loretta that he wants to see his father at last. The man, Jerry Whittaker (John Lithgow), is eventually revealed to be someone whom Barney thought was his uncle. Barney, who remembers Jerry as a fun-loving man, is disappointed after learning how Jerry has grown out of his free-wheeling ways. Although he tries to bring back Jerry's old behaviors, Barney admits that he wants to settle down someday. He is also introduced to Nora (Nazanin Boniadi), a co-worker of Robin, for whom he develops feelings. After an initial falling out, the two reconcile at the end of the season after Barney asks her for coffee.

Robin continues to work at her talk show, Come On, Get Up, New York!, but the presence of a new hyperactive co-host forces her to leave. She is accepted as a researcher in another network, World Wide News. The gang also discovers more of her past as the Canadian pop star Robin Sparkles. Robin also encounters a man (Michael Trucco) she has had a secret crush on since first seeing him when she and Ted were dating, and Future Ted hints that they will see more of him later.

Short scenes during the season premiere and finale feature a wedding set sometime in the future, where Ted will meet his future wife. In the final scene of the season, the groom is revealed to be Barney.

Season 7[edit]

Season seven opens with another flash forward, in which Ted is helping Barney get ready for his wedding to a still unknown bride. In the present, Marshall gets a job in environmental law while Lily progresses with her pregnancy. Barney proves to Nora that he can be a good boyfriend to her, while Robin is revealed to still have feelings for Barney. Robin meets a therapist Kevin (Kal Penn) and they start to date. Meanwhile, after a period of unemployment since leaving GNB, Marshall finally manages to land his dream job at a top environmental law firm. After losing a bet, Barney is forced to wear a tie with a duck pattern on it (nicknamed the 'Ducky Tie') which he hates. Marshall allows him to take it off when meeting Nora's parents on the condition that Barney has three slaps added to the one still remaining from the Slap Bet. Marshall uses two slaps immediately, leaving two left.

While reminiscing about Hurricane Irene, Lily and Marshall reveal they conceived their baby in Barney's apartment, and Barney and Robin end up sleeping together. Barney and Robin decide to break up with their partners, but Robin reneges on the deal, returning to Kevin and leaving Barney alone and heartbroken. Robin has a pregnancy scare at Thanksgiving and tells Barney the child is his, since she and Kevin had not yet slept together. However, Robin's doctor informs her that she cannot have children at all. Kevin, who wants children, proposes to Robin who decides that the pair must break up. Ted comforts Robin and reveals he still loves her, but the gesture is unrequited.

Marshall and Lily decide they want to move to Long Island, after Lily's paternal grandparents offer them their house there. Eventually, they move back to the old apartment in New York City after realizing suburban life is not for them. Ted gives them his apartment because he believes he cannot move on from Robin while living there, while he and Robin become estranged and do not speak for several weeks. Robin is eventually offered a news anchor job and subsequently achieves recognition after preventing a helicopter she is flying in from crashing.

Barney starts dating a stripper named Quinn, to the group's initial apprehension. The gang begins to meddle in their relationship, but Barney and Quinn outsmart their attempts and win their approval. Quinn moves in with Barney, while Ted buys Quinn's old apartment. Lily goes into labor and frantically calls Barney and Marshall, who are out at a casino. After many attempts to escape, Barney helps Marshall arrive in time for Lily's delivery and chooses the middle name for the baby, Marvin Waitforit Eriksen. Ted and Robin's friendship also recovers as a result of Marvin's birth. As the season concludes, Marshall and Lily begin their new family with their baby, Barney proposes to Quinn, and Ted contacts his old girlfriend Victoria. Unhappy with her own impending marriage, she leaves her fiancé for Ted and the pair drive off into the sunset. A final flash forward returns to the day of Barney's wedding, where Robin is revealed as the bride.

Season 8[edit]

Ted visits Robin on the day of her wedding to Barney, causing him to remember how he and Victoria ran away from her wedding to be together. The summer is spent with Ted, Barney and Robin enjoying their current relationships however all subsequently break up with their partners. Victoria splits up with Ted over his friendship with Robin, Barney and Quinn break up due to their inability to trust each other and Robin breaks up with Nick realizing his immaturity. Robin and Barney kiss but decide not to get together, despite Barney's wishes. Barney then begins dating Robin's hated co-worker Patrice (Ellen D. Williams), a relationship later exposed as a ruse to make Robin realize her true feelings for him. In a culminating scene Barney proposes to Robin, who says yes.

Marshall and Lily attempt to get used to being parents, which causes a brief estrangement from the gang as Baby Marvin takes up the majority of their time. Lily's father Mickey becomes Marvin's nanny, freeing the two up to spend more time with their friends. The Captain, ex-husband of Ted's old girlfriend Zoey, offers Lily a job as an art consultant due to her identifying a painting that made a huge profit for him. Lily accepts, happy to finally achieve her dream of having a job in the art industry while Marshall decides to apply to become a judge. The Captain offers Lilly a year's work in Rome, which she accepts with Marshall's blessing. However, just before Barney and Robin's wedding, Marshall is informed that his application to become a judge has been granted, a development that would require them to stay in the US.

Ted briefly dates Jeanette (Abby Elliott), a girl who stalked him after he appeared on the cover of New York Magazine due to his design of GNB headquarters. He quickly realizes he's made a mistake and breaks up with her. Ted's feelings of loneliness grow, especially as he is now the only single member of the group, and he decides he is truly ready to settle down. He argues with Lily over hiring a DJ or a band for Barney and Robin's wedding, but is forced to provide a band at short notice when Lily concedes the argument. During a chance meeting on the subway, Cindy offers the services of her roommate's wedding band; said roommate is Ted's future wife.

As the week of the wedding approaches, Robin has doubts about marrying Barney and shares an emotional moment with Ted. Guilty, Ted realizes he can't be around Barney and Robin after they're married and decides to move to Chicago the day after the wedding. The season concludes with everyone travelling to Barney and Robin's wedding, including the mother of Ted's children (revealed on screen for the first time and portrayed by Cristin Milioti), who is seen buying a train ticket to the venue and holding her yellow umbrella.

Season 9[edit]

The show was officially renewed for a ninth and final season in January 2013.[51] In May, producers confirmed that Cristin Milioti would be a series regular throughout the final season. As first reported by TV Line, Milioti's ascension marked the first time that the show has expanded its core roster.[45][52] Bays also stated to Entertainment Weekly that season nine "will feature some of the most non-linear episodes we've ever done".[53]

The season nine premiere episode aired on September 23, 2013. With the exception of the very last episode, the entirety of the season took place in the 56 hours leading up to Barney and Robin's wedding. It was also revealed that Ted's kids are named Penny and Luke. In addition, the 200th episode detailed the Mother's eight years before meeting Ted, while later episodes gave viewers a glimpse of Ted and The Mother together in flash forward scenes.

In the series finale, it was revealed that after three years of marriage, Barney and Robin get divorced. Barney ends up fathering a child conceived through a one night stand. Marshall eventually becomes a judge, and he and Lily have three children. Ted's wife, Tracy, dies of illness in 2024, six years prior to Ted telling his children the full story of how they met. Upon finishing the story, at the urging of his kids, Ted decides to ask Robin out. Alluding to first season, the finale ends with Robin looking out her apartment window to see Ted on the street holding the Blue French Horn.

Critical reception[edit]

Season 1[edit]

The first season of How I Met Your Mother was met with mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes reported that 56% of critics gave the season a positive review, giving it a "rotten" score.[54] On Metacritic, a review aggregation site that collects critical opinions, it scored a 69 out of 100.[55] Michael Abernthy of PopMatters gave the season a negative review, writing that "The comedy that does occur in How I Met Your Mother isn't enough to compensate for its inconsistencies."[56] Tom Shales of The Washington Post gave the season a lukewarm review, saying it's "a little better than most other sitcoms, past and present -- especially those featuring wacky urban friends in their twenties experiencing the bittersweet mysteries of life."[57] On the other hand, Melanie Macfarlane gave the season a positive review, saying the show "may not break any comedic ground, but it's the sort of comfortable, reliable hitter CBS needs on Monday nights."[58]

Season 2[edit]

The second season of How I Met Your Mother received positive reviews from critics.[59] Staci Krause of IGN gave the season a positive review, calling it "great".[60]

Season 3[edit]

The third season of How I Met Your Mother was met with mostly positive reviews.[61] Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the season a positive review, saying that "the season was fun and clever, a good, consistent flow from the first two seasons".[62]

Season 4[edit]

Reviews for Season 4 were mostly positive.

Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave Season 4 an overall rating of 8.5 out of 10, stating that "This fourth season seemed to settle down the chase for the titular mother. While Ted was busy dating Stella, the gang settled into many stand alone episodes which were every bit as entertaining as episodes devoted to Ted's love life". Zoromski went on to say: "A stellar Robin-Marshall episode, titled 'Little Minnesota', makes it clear that these two do not get enough screen time together. With Robin homesick and unemployed (and at risk of being deported), this pairing brought out the best Robin Sparkles reference of the season, when Marshall leads a rousing karaoke version of 'Let's Go to the Mall!'"[63]

Season 5[edit]

Reviews for Season 5 were mostly mixed.

Cindy McLennan of Television Without Pity gave the season a negative review, and at the end of the season wrote: "I'm okay with any given season not being primarily focused on mother-meeting, but this season, the characters seemed to regress -- particularly Barney and Ted. Usually, when a season ends, I have to deal with a week or two weeks' worth of letdown. Right now, all I'm feeling is relief."[64]

Season 6[edit]

Reviews for season 6 were generally positive.[65]

Justin Fowler of Later Reviews gave the season a positive review, saying that the season was "a pretty good season of television" and better than the "poor" fifth season. He also said that "Seventeen out of the 24 episodes are what I would consider good".[66]

Season 7[edit]

Reviews for season 7 were mixed.

Alan Sepinwall gave the season a mixed review and criticized the flash-forwards throughout the season, saying that "the show is just much, much stronger when its stories dwell on matters of the present or the past, and where the writers don't have to act like magicians trying to keep the audience from figuring out how the trick works. And the finale affirmed that belief for me. The parts that had little or nothing to do with things to come were quite good; the parts that were all about the future made me roll my eyes and ask, for the umpteenth time, 'Really? This is where you're going with this?'"[67]

Season 8[edit]

Reviews for Season 8 were mostly negative, with Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 40% of critics gave the show a positive review. The consensus reads: "How I Met Your Mother wears out its welcome this season, with an anticlimactic reveal and rote, less-than-fruitful humor."[68]

Season 9[edit]

Season 9 received lukewarm reviews from critics.

Gareth Mitchell at "House of Geekery" responded negatively, mostly criticizing the structure of the season, stating that they are "struggling to come up with stories that last out the 22 minutes".[69]

The finale of the show received a mixed reaction from fans. While some complained that the last few seasons had built towards an end game that was discarded within the hour long episode, others felt that it remained true to both the initial concept of the show and to life itself.[citation needed]

Tie-ins[edit]

Books[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

  • A soundtrack album entitled How I Met Your Music: Original Songs from the Hit Series was released digitally to iTunes on September 24, 2012.[75]

How I Met Your Dad[edit]

On November 15, 2013, it was announced that CBS and the series' producer 20th Century Fox Television would launch How I Met Your Dad, a female-centric variation executive-produced by Bays, Thomas, and Emily Spivey.[76] The new series would possibly have featured a new bar, but would not have tied into the original series.[77] The primary cast of the series was revealed to be Greta Gerwig, Drew Tarver, Nicholas D'Agosto and Andrew Santino.[78] On April 23, 2014, Meg Ryan was announced to voice future Sally.[79]

On May 14, 2014, CBS passed on picking up How I Met Your Dad since show creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays refused to reshoot the pilot without a guaranteed series order.[80] Nina Tassler, the entertainment president at CBS, stated that "there were elements of the pilot that didn't work out".

Almost immediately, talks of the series being "shopped" to other networks emerged.[80][81] Netflix, FOX and NBC have been named as possible candidates for picking up the show.[82]

Ultimately, nothing came of those talks as on July 11, 2014, it was reported that the options on the cast contracts had expired and they had been released from their contracts and co-creator Carter Bays denied any rumours that the spin-off pilot will be reshot and confirmed on his Twitter account that the spin-off project is officially dead.[83] However six days later, Nina Tassler said that CBS would "love the opportunity to take another shot" at the pilot and that she would continue to "hound" Carter Bays and Craig Thomas – even though they shot down the idea of a new version of the project stating that they had both moved on.[84]

Nielsen ratings[edit]

Viewership represented in a line graph

The show's highest viewed episode was the series finale, Last Forever, watched by 13.13 million viewers.[85] Previously, the most viewed episode was the season 1 episode "The Pineapple Incident", watched by 12.3 million viewers. The lowest-viewed episode was the season 6 episode "Landmarks", watched by 6.4 million viewers, approximately 52% of the show's series high.

Season nine was the highest watched season overall and among the 18-49 adults, scoring a 4.5 rating in that sector[86] up from the second-highest rating of 4.1 in season seven.[87]

Season Timeslot (ET) Season premiere Season finale TV season Rank Avg. viewers
(in millions)
1 Monday 8:30 P.M. September 19, 2005 May 15, 2006 2005–2006 54[88] 9.47[88]
2 Monday 8:30 P.M. (Episodes 1–3)
Monday 8:00 P.M. (Episodes 4–22)
September 18, 2006 May 14, 2007 2006–2007 61[89] 8.94[89]
3 Monday 8:00 P.M. (Episodes 1–11)
Monday 8:30 P.M. (Episodes 12–20)
September 24, 2007 May 19, 2008 2007–2008 70[90] 8.21[90]
4 Monday 8:30 P.M. September 22, 2008 May 18, 2009 2008–2009 49[91] 9.42[91]
5 Monday 8:00 P.M. September 21, 2009 May 24, 2010 2009–2010 42[92] 8.60[92]
6 September 20, 2010 May 16, 2011 2010–2011 48 8.79[93]
7 September 19, 2011 May 14, 2012 2011–2012 45[87] 9.67[87]
8 September 24, 2012 May 13, 2013 2012–2013 42 9.02[94]
9 September 23, 2013 March 31, 2014 2013–2014 28[86] 10.51[86]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Total number of wins and nominations
Totals 18 72

The show has been nominated for 72 awards, winning 18. The show has been nominated for 28 Emmy Awards, including a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Stars Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris have each received acting accolades, with both receiving People's Choice Awards, and Harris receiving Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. In 2012, seven years after its premiere, the series won the People's Choice for Favorite Network TV Comedy. The show's art direction, editing and cinematography have also been awarded.

DVD releases[edit]

DVD season Release dates Episodes Additional information
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 November 21, 2006 May 7, 2007 January 10, 2007 22
Season 2 October 2, 2007 February 8, 2010 April 8, 2008 22
The Legendary Season 3 October 7, 2008 May 10, 2010 February 11, 2009 20
The Awesome Season 4 September 29, 2009 July 19, 2010 October 27, 2009 24
The Complete Season 5. The Suited-Up Edition September 21, 2010 November 8, 2010 October 27, 2010 24
The Complete Season 6. The New is Always Better Edition September 27, 2011 October 3, 2011 October 5, 2011 24
The Complete Season 7. The Ducky Tie Edition October 2, 2012 October 15, 2012 October 10, 2012 24
The Complete Season 8. The Yellow Umbrella Edition October 1, 2013 September 30, 2013 November 9, 2013 24
The 9th and Legendary Final Season. The Rest Of Your Life Edition[97] September 23, 2014 October 13, 2014 N/A 24
The Whole Story Seasons 1-9[97] September 23, 2014 October 13, 2014 [98] N/A 208

As of September 28, 2014, seasons 1 through 9 are available to stream on Netflix in the USA and Canada, as are seasons 1 through 7 in Mexico.

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External links[edit]