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 originally aired on September 19, 2005. The episode was written by Carter Bays & Craig Thomas and directed by Pamela Fryman.


In 2030, Ted (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 (Jason Segel) prepare to propose to his girlfriend, Lily (Alyson Hannigan). At MacLaren's pub, Ted confides to his friend Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) that their engagement has made him want to get married, something which Barney, a serial womanizer who despises relationships, is annoyed by. He introduces Ted to a woman using one of his catchphrases, "Have you met Ted?"; they talk and he asks her out, although unfortunately, the bartender (Carl) is her boyfriend. Ted then sees a woman (Cobie Smulders) across the bar, with whom he is instantly smitten. The woman is a reporter for Metro News One aiming to get more important news coverage. Ted asks her out to dinner Friday night, but she will be out of town for a week. Ted asks her to dinner the next night, and she accepts.

During the date, Ted notices several traits about her that he likes. Upon learning that she dislikes olives, Ted explains the "Olive Theory" to her: Marshall hates olives but Lily loves them, which he claims is why they are a perfect couple. She then invites Ted to her apartment on the pretense that she has a jar of olives in her fridge. However, she is called to cover a news story.

Back at MacLaren's, Ted's friends tell him that he should have kissed her before she left. Ted, accompanied by the gang, goes to the woman's apartment, after stopping by the restaurant where they had their first date and stealing the blue French horn that she admired. Barney questions the legitimacy of the "Olive Theory"; he had seen Marshall eat an entire platter of olives. Marshall explains that he lied to Lily in the hopes of having a relationship with her. Barney thinks Marshall is subconsciously scared of getting married, but Marshall disagrees. Marshall tells Lily he likes olives and she is not upset.

Meanwhile, things are going great between Ted and his date; they are about to kiss when Ted inexplicably and prematurely tells her that he is in love with her, destroying his chances with her. After a lingering goodbye, and with the afterthought that he may or may not have missed "the signal" to kiss her, he returns to MacLaren's with the gang, assuming that he will never see her again. Future Ted tells his children that despite him thinking that, the woman came to be an important part of his life and led him to meeting his wife. He says that that is the story of how he met their "Aunt Robin", mentioning the woman's name for the first time. This confuses them, as they had assumed the girl in the story was their mother. Ted tells them to relax, and reminds them that it is 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 different from following episodes of HIMYM (season 1-7) which 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 Harris' character blew him away "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" and that the rest of the cast was great too."[6]

Brian Lowry of Variety said that it was a "bright" and "cleverly constructed" half-hour. "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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