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How I Met Your Mother is an Emmy Award winning Americanmarker sitcom that premiered on CBS on September 19, 2005. The show was created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays. As a framing device, the main character, Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), in the year 2030 recounts to his son and daughter the events that led to his meeting their mother, which explains the title and allows for a narration in the past tense. How I Met Your Mother's other main characters are Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan).


Inspired by the idea "let's write about our friends and the stupid stuff we did in New York," How I Met Your Mother is Bays and Thomas's idea. The two drew from their friendship in creating the characters, with Ted based loosely on Bays, and Marshall and Lily based loosely on Thomas and his wife. The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

Episodes from the first season generally started with the opening credits. A cold opening has been used since season two. 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 shows or shots of New York City with Ted narrating over the top are shown. Thomas has explicitly said that Future Ted is an unreliable narrator.

The theme song is a portion of "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids, of which Bays and Thomas are members.

The bar "MacLaren's", in which some of the show is set, is based on a bar in New Yorkmarker called McGee's. It has a mural that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas both liked and wanted to incorporate into the show. The name is from Carter Bays' assistant Carl MacLaren; the bartender in the show is also called Carl.

A scene directly relating to the identity of the mother, involving Ted's future children, was filmed near the beginning of season two for the show's eventual series finale.

During the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, How I Met Your Mother shut down production, but once the strike ended the show returned on March 17, 2008, with 9 new episodes. A change in timeslot was also announced, to 8:30 ET/7:30 CT, flip-flopping from the summer schedule with The Big Bang Theory. The show was renewed for a fourth season by CBS on May 14, 2008, which premiered on September 22, 2008.

In September 2008, it was announced that Lifetime Television purchased the right to rerun How I Met Your Mother at a rate of about $725,000 per episode. As part of the syndication agreement, the four-year syndication contract stipulates that the studio will deliver 110 half-hour episodes by the year 2010. At the end of the fourth season only 88 episodes had been produced. Therefore, under the syndication deal, the studio is obligated to deliver at least 22 more episodes, ensuring there would be a fifth season. On May 19, 2009, the fifth-season renewal was announced.

On May 20, 2009, CBS announced that How I Met Your Mother would move back to 8pm, leading into the new comedy, Accidentally on Purpose.


Main characters

Recurring characters

While Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie have appeared in the show since the pilot, no new footage has been filmed since Where Were We?. They are still credited when the archive footage is used.

Numerous actors from Joss Whedon projects have appeared on the show, such as series regulars Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris, plus Amy Acker, Tom Lenk, Harry Groener, Morena Baccarin, and Alexis Denisof (Hannigan's husband). Aside from Denisof, Smulders' fiance Taran Killam and Harris' partner David Burtka are also featured (all three appearing in three episodes each).

Also, actors from Jason Segel's debut series Freaks and Geeks have appeared on the show, such as Samm Levine, Martin Starr, and Busy Philipps.

Season synopses

Season One

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

The story begins in 2005 with Ted (Josh Radnor) as a single, 27-year-old architect living with his two best friends from Wesleyan University. At different points during the show, this "Wesleyan University" is alluded to being in Ohiomarker and therefore Ohio Wesleyan Universitymarker (as is written on Marshall's diploma) or in Connecticut giving the impression that it is Wesleyan Universitymarker in Middletown, CTmarker., Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), a law student, and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), a kindergarten teacher, who have been dating for almost nine years when Marshall proposes. Their engagement causes Ted to think about marriage and finding his soul mate, much to the disgust of his (best) friend Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) whom he met in a bathroom after a night of drinks. Barney is known as a womanizer with an unnamed corporate job. Ted begins his search for his perfect mate. He is introduced to the ambitious young reporter Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), when Barney plays the game he invented to introduce Ted to women: "Have you met Ted?" Ted quickly falls in love with Robin and thinks about settling down, but Robin isn't ready. The viewers learn that Robin is not the mother when Ted, as he talks to his children, refers to Robin as their "Aunt Robin".

As the series progresses, Ted begins dating a baker, Victoria, whom he meets at a wedding, causing Robin to become jealous and realize she does have feelings for him. Victoria moves to Germany for a culinary fellowship, and she and Ted try a long-distance relationship. Once Ted learns Robin has feelings for him, he tells her that he has broken up with Victoria and they almost have sex when Victoria calls and Robin answers by mistake. Ted and Victoria then break up, and Robin becomes mad at Ted for a number of episodes, but they eventually make up. Ted gets a call from Love Solutions, a matrimonial company that previously struggled to find a match for him, who have finally found him a match. But Ted decides not to show up for the blind date because he still believes Robin is the one.

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 coming back 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.

Season Two

Ted and Robin are finally a couple. A heartbroken Marshall must now go on and try to continue his life without Lily, and he reluctantly begins dating other people. Realizing she is not an artist, Lily returns to New Yorkmarker. She is reunited with Marshall, and the season culminates in their marriage. Barney loses a "slap bet," which permits Marshall to slap him in the face five times at any given time in the future, whenever Marshall chooses, which he does twice during this season. It is revealed that Barney has a gay, black brother (Wayne Brady). Barney believes that Bob Barker is his father takes a trip to California to be a contestant on The Price is Right, although he doesn't actually tell Barker. They discover Robin was a Canadian teen pop star in the early 90s singing "Let's go to the Mall". The music video, viewed by Barney hundreds of times, becomes a common joke during the show.

In the season finale, through a series of flashbacks, Barney learns from Ted and Robin that they broke up for some time before Marshall and Lily's wedding. Not want to take attention away from Marshall and Lily, they didn't tell anyone until after the wedding. Ted and Robin agree to stay friends as Ted wants to get married and Robin does not. The season ends with Barney excited at the prospect of Ted and himself being single guys on the town again.

Season Three

Robin returns from a trip to Argentina and Ted must adjust to life as just her friend. Marshall and Lily decide to move out on their own, falling in love with a place they can't afford. Marshall learns of Lily's bad credit rating due to her compulsive shopping. They are able to finally score their dream apartment despite this, only to discover the bad location as well as the apartment being poorly constructed. Barney is slapped for the third time on Thanksgiving, which Marshall dubs "Slapsgiving."

It is revealed that the way Ted met "The Mother" is through a story with her yellow umbrella, which he finds at a club and takes home "No Tomorrow". Ted attempts to woo Stella (Sarah Chalke), a dermatologist he sees to remove an embarrassing 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. Meanwhile, an unknown woman begins to sabotage Barney's attempts to hook up. Robin sleeps with Barney after he comforts her following a break-up, which is followed by Ted's disapproval due to the breaking of the "Bro Code." Ted decides to stop being friends with Barney as a result. Barney's 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 last episode, "Miracles", Ted and Barney renew their friendship after both are involved in accidents (Ted is in a cab accident and comes out of it without a scratch. Barney is run over by a bus while rushing to find out if Ted's all right). At the end of the episode, Ted proposes to Stella.

In the episode "Ten Sessions", Stella reveals that she attended and left a party on St. Patrick's Day, which may have been the same one Ted attended. Ted told his children that the future mother of his children was at the party, but they had not seen each other.

It is heavily implied that Barney has feelings for Robin. In the episode "The Goat", it is revealed that in the following year (when Ted turns 31) Robin will be living in Ted's apartment. This is confirmed in "Not a Father's Day."

Season Four

The gang continues to mature as they all reach their 30s. Stella says "yes" to Ted's proposal, but leaves him at the altar to get back together with the father of her daughter, Tony. Over time, Ted eventually makes his peace with them. Barney struggles with his feelings for Robin. Barney's company shifts him to the management team of a new acquisition, Goliath National Bank (GNB), and Barney in turn gets Marshall a job at the bank as in-house counsel and a contract for Ted's firm to design GNB's Manhattan headquarters.

Marshall and Lily finally move to their new apartment and struggle over whether or not they're ready to have children. Robin takes a new job in Japan, but quickly resigns because it's even worse than Metro News One and returns to New York for Ted's wedding. Soon after, Robin becomes roommates with Ted and eventually gets a job as an anchor for a 4:00 A.M. news show after Barney sends her video resume to media companies. Ted finds out about Barney's feelings for Robin when Ted and Robin sleep together constantly so they won't fight over each other's bad habits. Relationship tension begins rising between Barney and Robin. Ted finds out Lily has sabotaged all of his relationships with anyone she doesn't 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 towards a positive note.

Ted gets laid off from his GNB design job, resulting in the founding of his own independent company named "Mosbius Designs". As his birthday approaches, Ted anticipates old age but comes to understand that the journey is just as much fun as the ending. Likewise, as Barney finally sleeps with his 200th woman and, after rubbing it in the face of the childhood bully that taunted him into pursuing it, questions what the rest of his life would be about now, 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 in his loss of Stella. Tony offers him a job as a professor of architecture, which Ted turns down, saying he doesn't miss Stella nor want her back because of her deception. This causes Tony to break up with Stella, but Stella convinces Ted to reunite the pair, who then move to California. In his last words to Stella, Ted mentions he wants what Tony and Stella, and Lily and Marshall have for each other. Stella tells him his girl is coming as fast as she can.

Lily abandons the group and disappears for four weeks after hearing a dirty joke from Barney (a plot device implemented to explain Hannigan's absence while giving birth) . In the season finale, Robin finally finds out about Barney's love for her, which she then reciprocates. Ted decides he is done being an architect and opts to instead teach architecture classes. The finale ends with the tease that the mother of Ted's children is in his class.

Season Five

The season kicks off with Ted starting his first day as a lecturer, standing in the middle of a classroom - although the mother was present, it turns out not to be the architecture class he is supposed to teach, but instead an economics class. It is revealed that Barney and Robin have had a sexual relationship throughout the summer. Lily locks them in a room, forcing them to have 'the talk', the two finally come to terms with their relationship. After a rough patch they decide to break up. Robin described it instead as "two friends getting back together."


Season Total Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale
Season 1 22
Season 2 22
Season 3 20
Season 4 24
Season 5 24


  • The Bro Code: stated by Barney many times throughout the series, is a set of written rules for bros to follow, and has been published as a tie-in novel and also an audiobook. Barney alledges it was written by Barnabas Stinson, a contemporary of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin (and assumed relative of Barney).

  • Bro on the Go: a companion to The Bro Code, released in 2009.

  • Barney's Blog: Throughout the series, Barney makes references to his blog. CBS hosts and updates a copy of Barney's Blog.

  • In the episode "Swarley", Barney at the end tries to pretend he loves his new name to avoid being called Swarley again. Though it is not shown in the episode, there is a website called about it.

  • Marshall and Lily's Wedding: A website with videos and pictures of Marshall's and Lily's honeymoon, never shown on the show (the honeymoon part was never shown), at

  • In Season 3, Episode 19 ('Everything Must Go') Marshall made a site so Lily could sell some of her clothes to pay for the contractor who will fix the floor in their new apartment. They promoted the site at the end of the episode, saying that it was a chance for fans to bid for memorabilia from the show. The proceeds were given to the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. The site was shut down after the auction was completed.

  • In the episode "As Fast As She Can", it is revealed that Tony wrote a screen play entitled "The Wedding Bride" that became a big hit and has an "official" website that was referenced during the episode.

  • In the episode "Old King Clancy", Barney reveals this site as the source of his knowledge of Canadian Sex Acts and has it bookmarked on his laptop As of October 20, 2009, the site no longer works.

  • In the episode "Wait For It" (and again in "Slapsgiving"]]") Marshall debuts this website to torment Barney by counting down the days until he next gets slapped, the result of their Slap Bet. Visiting the website prior to the airing of 'Slapsgiving' displayed the same countdown as featured on the show, albeit counting down until the air time of the episode; after the episode aired, the site redirected to CBS' How I Met Your Mother YouTube channel.

  • In the episode "The Sexless Innkeeper", Marshall made this website after he and Lily went on a couples date with Barney and Robin. It features a picture montage of the evening and a music video of Marshall and Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme called "Best Night Ever", in which Marshall describes what a great time he and Lily had with Robin and Barney. The video was a parody of Extreme's "More Than Words" video, in which the entire main cast of How I Met Your Mother made appearances.

Critical reception

The show has received generally favorable reviews and has a 69/100 rating on

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season premiere Season finale TV season Rank Viewers

(in millions)
1 Monday 8:30 P.M. (September 19, 2005 – May 15, 2006) September 19, 2005 May 15, 2006 2005–2006 #43 9.5
2 Monday 8:30 P.M. (September 18, 2006 – October 2, 2006)

Monday 8:00 P.M. (October 9, 2006 – May 14, 2007)
September 18, 2006 May 14, 2007 2006–2007 #51 8.5
3 Monday 8:00 P.M. (September 24, 2007 – March 10, 2008)

Monday 8:30 P.M. (March 17, 2008 – May 19, 2008)
September 24, 2007 May 19, 2008 2007–2008 #70 8.2
4 Monday 8:30 P.M. (September 22, 2008 - May 18, 2009)

September 22, 2008 May 18, 2009 2008–2009 #49 9.4
5 Monday 8:00 P.M. (September 21, 2009 - ) September 21, 2009 May 2010 2009–2010 8.56 (to date)

The show had an average of 9.72 million viewers for season 4, and episode 12 hit a season high of 11.85 million viewers, the show's highest ratings since Season 1 (February 2006). Episode 18, which aired at 8:00 instead of the show's usual 8:30 time-slot, hit a season low of only 7.40 million viewers. This was the lowest rated episode of How I Met Your Mother since the "Showdown" episode.






  • Emmy Award: Nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series
  • Emmy Award: Nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Neil Patrick Harris)
  • Emmy Award: Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series, for the episodes 'Shelter Island' and 'Not a Father's Day'
  • Emmy Award: Nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, for the episode 'The Naked Man'
  • Golden Globe: Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Neil Patrick Harris)

DVD release

Season releases Region 1
DVD name Release date Episode # Additional information
Season 1 November 21, 2006 22 This three-disc box set includes all 22 episodes of Season 1. Bonus features include commentaries on six episodes, Video Yearbook (20:29), two music videos: "First Round" (1:13) and "Last Call" (1:45), and Gag Reel (9:00). The episodes on the DVD have been cropped from the originally broadcast widescreen to a full frame 4:3 format. At present there is no widescreen version available.
Season 2 October 2, 2007 22 This three-disc box set includes all 22 episodes of Season 2. Bonus features include commentaries on seven episodes, How We Make Your Mother (17:10), two music videos: Robin Sparkles' "Let's Go To The Mall" (3:17) and The Solids' "Hey Beautiful" (3:51), three "How It Really Happened" scenes (5:28), Gag Reel (7:10), and an Easter Egg.
Season 3 October 7, 2008 20 This three-disc box set includes all 20 episodes of Season 3. Bonus features include commentaries on seven episodes, Series Retrospective (2:42), Lily & Marshall's Honeymoon Videos (10:37), Cast Favorites (4:59), Behind the Scenes of "We're Not From Here" (5:43), six "How It Really Happened" scenes (8:33), two music videos: Marshall Eriksen's "You Just Got Slapped" (1:52) and Robin Sparkles' "Sandcastles in the Sand" (3:39), "Ted Mosby Is A Jerk" Audio Track for "The Bracket", and Gag Reel (11:12).
Season 4 September 29, 2009 24 This three-disc box set includes all 24 episodes of Season 4. Bonus features include commentaries on four episodes, A Night With Your Mother: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Panel Discussion, Season 3 Recap, Eriksen's Fight Club, music video for Barney Stinson's "That Guy's Awesome", and Gag Reel. Also available on Blu-Ray.


  2. How I Met Your Mother 1st Season DVD Commentary
  4. Episode “Not A Father’s Day” 6 minutes, 10 seconds in, Marshall's Diploma
  5. Episode "Sorry, Bro" 14 minutes 50 seconds in, Barney references their time in Ohio as B.S. (Before Stinson)
  7. Episode "Duel Citizenship" 1 minute 10 seconds in, Marshall references taking road trips from Connecticut in college
  9. as it appeared on August 22, 2007
  10. Televisionista: TV Ratings: 2007–2008 Season Top-200

External links

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