Pilot (How I Met Your Mother)

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How I Met Your Mother episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1
Directed by Pamela Fryman
Written by Carter Bays
Craig Thomas
Production code 1ALH00o
Original air date September 19, 2005
Guest actors
Season 1 episodes
List of How I Met Your Mother episodes

"Pilot" is the first episode of the television series How I Met Your Mother. It first aired on September 19, 2005. The episode was written by Carter Bays & Craig Thomas and directed by Pamela Fryman.


In 2030, Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget) is telling his teenaged children the story of how he met their mother. The story flashes back to 2005, where 27-year-old Ted (Josh Radnor) helps his best friend and roommate Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) prepare to propose to his girlfriend, Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan). At MacLaren's pub, Ted confides to his friend Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) that their engagement has made him want to get married. Barney, a womanizer who despises relationships, insists that Ted keep playing the field as his "wingman". He introduces Ted to a woman using one of his catchphrases - "Have you met Ted?". Ted and the woman talk, and he asks her out, but it turn out that she is going out with the bartender, Carl. Ted then sees Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) across the bar, with whom he is instantly smitten. Robin is a reporter for Metro News One who wants to cover important news, but is now covering inconsequential local human interest stories. Ted asks her out to dinner, but she says that she will be out of town for a week. Ted asks her to dinner the following night, and she accepts.

Ted and Robin hit it off, and she then invites Ted to her apartment. Just as Ted is about to make his move, however, Robin is called in to cover a news story. Back at MacLaren's, Ted's friends tell him that he should have kissed Robin before she left. Ted, accompanied by the gang, goes to her apartment, after stopping by the restaurant where they had their first date and stealing the blue French horn that she had admired.

When Robin gets off work, she and Ted resume their date. Just as they are about to kiss, however, Ted tells her that he is in love with her, destroying his chances with her. After a lingering goodbye, he returns to MacLaren's with the gang, assuming that he will never see her again. Future Ted tells his children, "And that's the story of how I met your... Aunt Robin"; with this, he mentions Robin's name for the first time. The children are confused, as they had assumed he was talking about their mother. Ted reminds them that "it's a long story".


The episode introduces several of the show's storytelling tools, including the framing device of future Ted as the narrator, his children, and many flashbacks to the past, present, and future. Future Ted reveals early the ending of a possible relationship story when he tells his children that Robin is not the mother, but "Aunt Robin". When asked if he regretted revealing that Robin ultimately becomes Ted's platonic friend in the pilot episode, series creator Craig Thomas explains they stick by the decision because they didn't want the show to be about "will they or won't they" like Friends and that, despite their chemistry, it would have been "criminal" for Ted to decide he was ready to find someone and to have it happen so quickly.[1] He and cocreator Carter Bays said that the show is about how "Ted meets the perfect woman, and it's [still] not his final love story."[2]

The pilot episode was filmed at CBS Radford. All following episodes of the show (season 1-7) were filmed at 20th Century Fox Home Entert..[3]

Barney's blog first appeared with this episode.



In its original American broadcast, the pilot of How I Met Your Mother was watched by 10.94 million viewers and averaged a 3.9 rating among A18-49.[4]


The episode received generally favorable reviews, garnering a score of 69 from Metacritic.[5]

Seth Thrasher gave the episode 5/5 saying: "...this is one of the funniest sitcoms I’ve seen in a LONG, LONG time". He also said that he was impressed by Harris' character: "I never realized Neil Patrick Harris was so damned funny. His character, Barney, is quite possibly the funniest new sitcom character to debut on television in ages". He also praised the rest of the cast.[6]

Brian Lowry of Variety said that it was a "bright" and "cleverly constructed" half-hour, putting it in the company of Two and a Half Men. "It's not often that a pilot has the polished feel of a show that's been around for a while, but How I Met Your Mother should be a solid bridge between King of Queens and the aforementioned Two and a Half Men."[7]


  1. ^ Maureen Ryan as a person (April 27, 2006). "Craig Thomas: 'Sitcoms used to be about something'". Chicago Tribune. 
  2. ^ Stransky, Tanner (2013-05-13). "'HIMYM' unveils the mother! The creators answer your burning questions -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  3. ^ according to audio commentary at 00:58 min. of the HIMYM - Season 1 DVD
  4. ^ "ABC in the end zone". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2005. 
  5. ^ "How I Met Your Mother reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved October 31, 2009. 
  6. ^ Thrasher, Seth. "TITLE: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - CBS 2005". Sitcoms online. Retrieved September 16, 2005. 
  7. ^ Lowry, Brian. "Review: "How I Met Your Mother"". Variety. Retrieved September 18, 2005. 

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