Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Lily and Robin fill the redhead and brunette roles respectively, with the blonde role filled by several of Ted or Barney's love interests (Stella, Zoey, Quinn.) Averted with the mother as she is a brunette.
Five Temperament Ensemble: Ted is Leukine, Marshall is Phlegmatic, Robin is Melancholic, Barney is Sanguine and Lily is Choleric.
Identical Stranger: Each of them has a doppelganger living in New York and one of their favorite things is to find them.
Acting for Two: They are played by the same actors/actresses obviously.
Large Ham: All of them are prone to incredibly hammy moments, be they in arguments, grand gestures, or just plain conversation.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: So much. We have: a man who dreams of getting swept off his feet and starting a family, and is ruled by irrational emotional impulses; a man who is gentle, sensitive, prone to hysteria, and committed to the point of clinginess; a man who glorifies stylish clothing and personal appearance to semi-religious levels; a woman who is crude, loud, and often complains that her husband doesn't put out enough; and a woman who is commitment-phobic, hates expressing feelings, loves hard liquor and guns, is uncomfortable with kids, and has the emotional sensitivity of a frat boy.
Three Plus Two: Flashbacks show Ted, Marshall and Lily having the Two Guys and a Girl dynamic in their college days right before meeting Barney. They met Robin at the series premiere.
"And that's the funny thing about destiny, you can't plan it out. I never thought I would see that girl again, but it turns out I was too close to the puzzle to see the picture that was forming."
The main character and narrator, starting as a 27-year-old architect and eventually a professor of architecture at Columbia with an excessively romantic disposition, looking for love in New York. This being television, it goes about as well as you'd expect.
Ted is an extremely proud New Yorker and an extremely proud non-New Jerseyan. How proud, you ask? When Ted runs into Stella after she leaves him at the altar, the tipping point at which Ted decides to chew her out is not the fact that she left him in the first place—it's the fact that Stella refused to move to New York and expected Ted to move to New Jersey to be with her, but moves to Tony's place in New York once he and Stella get back together with no fuss.
Not too long after being left at the alter, Doug, the short-tempered McLaren's bartender, insulted Ted saying "no wonder your fiancée left you." Despite never fighting anyone before in his life, Ted punched him.
Better as Friends: With Robin. When he tried to get back together with her in season 7, they came to this conclusion.
Deconstruction: Do you want to be the type of guy that relies on fate and destiny to get your ideal partner? It got Ted nowhere for eight years. He finally realizes that it's not a healthy way of living, and culminates in a "World of Cardboard" Speech in Something Old.
Determinator: While Ted generally shows signs of this trope, the entirety of the season 1 finale is Ted embodying it, to the point that he somehow defies logic itself and makes it rain: "It is meant to be, and you know why? Because I MEAN it to be!" He later says about The Two-Minute Date - "And that, kids, is how you turn a 'No' into a 'Yes'."
Disposable Fiancé: To Stella. Ted even lampshades this in a later episode, claiming it was always 'their' love story.
Dogged Nice Guy: He very rarely gets together with his love interests right away...
With Robin, he spent a season wearing her down.
He spent 10 one hour sessions trying to get Stella to like him, and then also took one incredibly grand romantic gesture to get her to date him.
He didn't mean to be this to Zoe, but as they were hanging out mutual feelings developed between them.
Marshall: Ted and I have a history! I could do things to him that would blow his m... ...Why do we keep trying to have sex with Ted?
Barney: I don't know; it's weird.
Freudian Excuse: Ted's best friend was a balloon that floated away in the second he got distracted, and that made him think during most of his life that if you love something, you never let go. He later admits it took him nearly 30 years to un-learn this.
Generation Xerox: Outside of storytelling ability and willingness to talk, Ted and his father, along with their respective relationships with Robin and Mrs. Mosby, are eerily similar.
Great Detective: As revealed in Season 9's "Mom and Dad"... or so he thinks. In fact, the only real mystery he had been trying to crack was the Pineapple incident and even then, he gave up on it.
In "Daisy", he managed to figure out that Lily is hiding something based on her actions which led to a pregnancy test hidden in the daisy flower pot with the results that Lily is pregnant.
Green-Eyed Monster: Subverted, when Robin and Barney accidentally slept together he isn't actually angry about the act but upset that with Barney worshiping The Bro Code and violating it compromised their friendship. When Barney shows signs of genuine interest in Robin (and not just another hook-up), Ted not only gives his endorsement but actually tries to help Barney understand some of Robin's nuances.
The Hero: It's his tale (he is the "I" in the title, after all).
Heroic BSOD: Has one towards the end of the fourth season while talking with Stella about how stagnant his love life has been and echoed again a few times, notably in the seventh season premiere talking with Robin and really hits hard later in the season with "Trilogy Time" when he laments how things have not gone the way he hoped.
Hollywood Dateless: It's not that he has a hard time chatting up girls or dating in general, but that he is hoping each new date will result in "The One" and tends to get hurt badly when it falls apart.
In Love with Love: Throughout the show, Ted frequently bemoans the fact that he still hasn't found "the one." His overwhelming desire to be in a perfect relationship has caused him to do things like tell Robin he loved her on their very first date and rush into an engagement with Stella despite only knowing her for a few months. At one point in the show one of his friends even calls him a "commitment junkie" and points out that he scares away potential girlfriends by moving too fast when it comes to romance.
Insufferable Genius: Even his friends find his ratiocination annoying. Even he finds himself annoying at one point.
Irony: Out of the gang, he's the one who really wants to get married. However, all of the other four get married before he does. Including the two with aversions to marriage.
It Is Pronounced Tropay: He likes being a stickler on grammar and pronunciation, including insisting encyclopedia is "encyclopaidia" and in another episode he never knew that chameleon isn't pronounced "cham-a-leon."
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: To Stella and Robin. It got to the point where in "Something New" he reveals to Lily that he's moving to Chicago after Barney and Robin's wedding, trying to get away from the idea that Robin is the only one for him. In the Season 9 episode, "Sunrise", he finally lets go of his feelings of Robin hours before the wedding and in his mind, watches her fly away.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: In this case, the wrong place is Robin, who is the wrong woman to Ted for many reasons, but he still pursues her off and on for seven years. Not to mention Stella, who was still in love with the father of her child, and Zoey, whom Ted met while she was married and actively trying to destroy Ted's life work. His poor judgement gets lampshaded multiple times.
Love Hurts: Most notably when Robin turns him down definitively in season 7. Her saying she doesn't reciprocate his feelings hurts more than anything he'd ever felt (which included a lengthy montage of Ted being physically hurt throughout the series).
Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Interestingly, as much as the Mother is this to him, he fills the role just as much for her. While Ted is at his worst by the time of Season Nine, having given up on romance and New York as a whole, the Mother has spent eight years mourning her first love and is now trying to finally move on. Both manage to pull one another out of their respective slumps.
Only Sane Man: When it comes to certain non-romantic matters Ted is one of the most level-headed characters, doing his best to keep everyone grounded. But his big issue is that he does crazy things in the name of love, where the roles are reversed and the rest of the group has to fight to keep him grounded. In addition he is sometimes convinced by the others to do some more outlandish things, but it consistently takes him some time before he gives in.
Pungeon Master: Makes awful puns to the extent that his friends think he's a dorky dad even if he's single and has no children.
Rule of Perception: He frequently gets hit hard with this, unaware of how things are unless it is shown to him such as his behavior at a St. Patrick's day dance and dating a girl who wouldn't stop TALKING. This also takes him down a notch when The Wedding Bride came out and he was portrayed as a stereotypical evil Romantic False Lead who didn't deserve the girl he was marrying when the truth was far more complex.
Teacher/Student Romance: About the only thing established for certain about "The Mother" is that she was a student at Columbia University while Ted was a teacher, and he briefly dated her roommate before they met. Played With, in that it's ultimately revealed that she is an economics major, and he never actually teaches her in a class.
Team Dad: Lily calls him a dorky dad at one point, despite being 30 years old and childless.
Time Shifted Actor: Played with. Bob Saget voices Future! Ted, but Josh Radnor portrays 2030 Ted in make-up.
Two Guys and a Girl: He, Marshall and Lily are this during their college years. When the latter two began starting a family, he starts hanging around Barney and Robin more. We should also not forget that Future!Ted is telling the story to his son and daughter.
You Can't Fight Fate: Ted knew that he and Robin had some serious issues to figure out if they were meant to be together, and even through those issues they gave it a try. Eventually, they both accept it won't work and break up, but still hold onto a slight idea that they may figure things out in the future (even agreeing to a Fallback Marriage Pact if they hit 40 and are unmarried). Robin eventually tells him outright that they aren't going to end up together, which hurts him deeply but allows him to move on.
"The only people in the universe who haven't seen Star Wars are the characters in Star Wars. And that's cause they lived 'em, Ted! That's cause they lived the Star Wars!"
Ted's former college roommate and best friend, a sweet-tempered goofball who makes his way through law school and eventually takes the Bar during the course of the series. In the pilot, he becomes engaged to his girlfriend Lily. They get married later and the 7th season ended with the birth of their son; MarvinWait-for-it Eriksen.
The Ace: Is uncannily good at just about any game the group plays, and loves to shout it out. "Gin!" "Yahtzee!" "Poker!" His skills as a lawyer are also exceptional given his limited experience and very gentle disposition.
Future Ted: "He got a B minus. Still, 25 pages in one night... B minus! The Kid was good."
Beta Couple With Lily. Their engagement in the first episode highlights that Ted wants to get married.
Beware the Nice Ones: In The Fight we get to see that Marshall is very good in a fight, courtesy of the vicious brawls he'd have with his brothers when he was younger.
The Big Guy: At 6"4", he's the tallest of his friends, but the shortest in his family.
Big Eater: There's a picture of Marshall on the coupons for the local pizza joint.
Break the Cutie: A lot of commentators point out that Marshall is one of the most friendly and idealistic characters ever depicted in television, thus when he is put through some crap you really feel sorry for him. Adding to that is the fact he is a lawyer, and has to fight the general heartlessness of the system at every turn.
"Kids, never mess with your Uncle Marshall. He's crazy."
Darkest Hour: According to Marshall, his break-up with Lily is considered to be the worst moments in his life, followed by the death of his father. The effects of the break-up really made him down for the whole summer until Ted, Robin and Barney help him get back to his feet.
Deadpan Snarker: Like the rest of the cast. He and Lily often team up to snark at other characters.
Deuteragonist: In the 2nd Season, as it follows his recovery after Lily's abandonment, their eventual reconciliation, and concluding with their marriage.
Ditzy Genius: He really is very proficient as a lawyer. He also thoroughly believes in the paranormal and tracks Bigfoot with about as much professionalism as law.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: When coaching Lily's students about basketball. Yelling, throwing basketballs at them, just being pretty unpleasant.
Exact Words: Marshall never lies to Lily. However, he may not tell her everything. For example, when she asks him a question, he may respond "yepskerdoodle" which doesn't actually mean "yes" as it's a made up work. Or if she calls him at work, he has said that he's working on a "big case"... he just neglected to mention it's a big case of beer.
Genius Bruiser: Marshall is shown to be physically large and athletic yet savvy.
Gentle Giant: He is one of the first to offer a hug to someone crying.
Guile Hero: There are hints that Marshall is far more sly and cunning that he acts. He's often the first that seems to cotton on and predict Lily or Barney's gambits. Not to mention he played a pretty hardcore and BadassParanoia Gambit on Barney with the "Slap Bet" and has manipulated Barney before with more efficiency than most. Likely due to his being ridiculously good at games, he's entirely capable of being The Chessmaster when he wants.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: While Barney is more adamant about his friendship with Ted, Marshall and Ted lived together for some 10 years and are basically like brothers. In the pilot Ted even comments that he was there for all of Marshall and Lily relationship.
Hidden Depths: Marshall, over the years, knows and embraces Italy. He even studied Italian during one year in college, albeit now he can only remember one sentece.
Horny Vikings: His family are of Scandinavian descent and can trace their lineage back to the Vikings.
Informed Flaw: In "Jenkins", the gang consider Marshall a "reacher" to Lily's "settler" in which he would never get anybody better then Lily. Note that in the beginning of season 2, he had success at dating other girls while Lily was desperate to get back together with him.
It Runs in the Family: Many of his mannerisms, instincts, and interests are shared between most of his family members.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Marshall is generally a very sensitive guy who is prone to emotional outbursts and even cried when his boss was yelling at him. On the other hand, Lily may be a kindergarten teacher but she is sexually aggressive with Marshall and proud of winning drinking games.
Minnesota Nice: Lampshaded by Robin in season 6. He can't even ignore a phonecall in his parents house because it would be rude.
Obfuscating Stupidity: He may seem like a big goof most of the time (well, he is), but the minute he steps into lawyer!mode? Don't mess with him.
Obsessed with Food: He has a fixation on food that no one else on the show does. For example, he is the one constantly asking about the pineapple in "The Pineapple Incident" when that is the least of anyone else's concern.
Only Sane Man: Out of all the group he tends to be the voice of reason more often than even Ted, and is less likely to be berated by the others for some stupid decision he made.
Prematurely Bald: In a flashforward from "Rally", it's shown that in 2020, Marshall went bald out of stress for his New York Supreme Judge race against Brad in a span of three weeks. And Marshall is 42 at that time.
Real Men Wear Pink: He loves girly/coupley things like those frilly pink "girl" drinks (which he never orders because of the double standard) and brunch.
Shipper on Deck: Marshall thinks Barney and Robin are perfect for each other. And has commented that he likes the idea of Barney and Ted. Also was a big supporter of Robin and Don, being the primary shiller of Don's.
"I come from a culture of hockey players and if a guy can throw down, it's somewhat way hot. And scars... hello! If a guy's got a scar, he's got a Robin and if he's missing his teeth, I'm missing my pants!"
A-Cup Angst: In "Stuff" it hints that she is a little self-conscious about her more modest bust when talking about some of Ted's ex-girlfriends. Cobie Smulders later got pregnant (hidden on the show, naturally) and, as a result, her chest increased several sizes. She joked about it in an interview "You're welcome, TV!"
Agent Scully: Robin does not believe in miracles and destiny. Even when Ted made it rain for her she wrote it off as a coincidence.
Career Versus Man: Robin is often in this situation. She usually chooses her career, but she did turned down a job so she could stay with Don, only for him to accept said job and leave her.
Canada, Eh?: Both in and out of universe, many jokes are made about Canada and its stereotypes.
Cannot Tell a Joke: Robin's sense of humor often falls flat. Sometimes it's because her Canadian references are completely incomprehensible to her American friends. Sometime's because the reference is datednote What's in the box? What's in the box?!Seven? The head in the box? Oh, yeah, ''I'm the jerk''. (it's been stated in the show that Canadian pop culture lags at least ten years behind the States'). Sometimes you have to assume the gang are just messing with her.
Character Development: She gradually grows more comfortable to the idea of commitment and marriage over the years.
Characterization Marches On: Her tomboy qualities and even were virtually non-existent in the first season, with the second season highlighting a few things like emotional insensitivity and a love of guns. It wasn't until the third season and beyond that it was shown she was really messed up by her dad treating her as a boy and in general being more masculine than Ted. In particular a second season episode shows her getting scared over a spider with Ted coming to the rescue, while in the sixth season Ted mentioned that one thing he lamented about their relationship was that she never made him feel needed (ie, when a burglar was trying to break in Ted grabbed a brush while Robin grabbed a shotgun "I got this"). The same happens with her Proud Beauty. During the first three seasons she behaves as an Indifferent Beauty, and even shows some minor insecurities about her appearance at certain points.
Child Hater: She has made clear that even if she gets married she doesn't want to have kids. However, she got depressed when she found out she can't have children.
Lily: Robin Scherbatsky is many things: friend; confidante; occasional guest star in some confusing dreams that remind me a woman's sexuality is a moving target, but she is no crazy, jealous stalker-bitch.
Fetish Retardant: invoked It's a minor trait of hers that she can invoke this. The Frozen Snowshoe really was not interested in her offer of an Old King Clancy, and Max broke up with her because an unknown bedroom thing made him feel uncomfortable. Ted and Barney agreed that it was a valid point.
Foregone Conclusion: The first episode ends with calling her "Aunt" Robin. And yet there's still two full seasons of her and Ted's relationship.
Former Child Star: She was a teen pop sensation in Canada as a child. It's left her somewhat disillusioned to the point that she can't so much as enter a mall anymore.
Four Is Death: Robin Sparkles IV shows Robin's fall as a pop star.
Funny Foreigner: Downplayed, given that she lived in America for quite some time when she met the gang. Still, the show doesn't stop on poking fun at her Canadian heritage.
Green-Eyed Epiphany: In Season 1 Robin walks in on Ted having a romantic moment with Victoria. The jealousy Robin feels drives her to tears and makes her realize that she's in love with Ted.
Gun Nut: One of her tomboy qualities. A humorous moment has Ted reminiscing about the oddest things he ever saw when entering his apartment and one of them was a Mexican Standoff between her and a pair of would-be thieves. Lampshaded in the seventh episode of Season Nine by frustrated Ted:
Ted: Why do you have a gun?! WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE A GUN?!
Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Mis-gendered, dismissed and subject to some rather dangerous situations by her father through much of her childhood. It's often played for laughs, but she does seem to have gained some serious emotional scars.
Hot Scoop: Her reporter job is prominently shown mainly in the earlier seasons.
Idol Singer: She was a teen pop idol in Canada she was younger, to rebel from the image her father forced on her.
Meganekko: Starting in season six, Robin, played by the already ridiculously hot Cobie Smulders, actually managed to get even hotter by donning a pair of glasses.
Mistaken For Prostitute: Twice. She goes on a date with a nerd to prove something to Barney and he assumes she is a hooker. The next time happens when she sneaks into a prom by pretending to be another nerd's date.
Old Shame: Robin Sparkles. "Let's go to the mall! *forced chuckle* Today!"
Out of Focus: In season 6 between Ted and his battle with Zoe over the Arcadian, Lily and Marshall attempting to conceive, and Barney's falling in love with Nora and search for his father, Robin takes a backseat.
Parental Hypocrisy: She tries to talk her sister out of losing her virginity young, but Robin herself lost her virginity at sixteen. Her sister even lampshades it.
Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Robin has pale skin and very dark hair. She's a gorgeous woman and admired by virtually everybody.
Reckless Gun Usage: In accordance with her general love of guns come a series of poor management of safety standards. When swearing Marshall to secrecy on her love of guns she found herself pointing a pistol at him, and in another episode an ex-boyfriend returned a gun to her and she was relieved because she had no idea where it was. (Anyone wishing to own a gun in Canada must first pass a safety course and a months-long background check process. It's far more stringent for hand guns. Unless Robin had never owned a gun before she moved to the US, her behavior doesn't make a lot of sense. But Ted doesn't know about Canadian gun laws. He is incredibly anti-gun and is incredibly ignorant of everything to do with Canada, so it's possible that he is exaggerating Robin's gun toting behaviour.)
Robot Buddy: Shows up in every "Robin Sparkles" installment ("Lets Go To The Mall," "Sandcastles in the Sand", "Space Teens" and "P.S. I Love You"). It was her sidekick.
Stalker with a Crush: Briefly becomes a stalker with a crush when Barney and Patrice start "dating". She was also one during her Robin Sparkles days, which inspired her Darker and Edgier turn as Robin Daggers. The crush was on Paul Schaffer.
Sugar and Ice Personality: She has a very distant, cool, and professional demeanor most of the time, especially at her job and frequently hides her emotions. However, she eventually lets her guard down around the gang and begins to show her warmer and friendlier side around them, especially Ted, Barney, and Lily.
That Man Is Dead: In Robin Sparkles four she announced this about Robin Sparkles.
Took a Level in Dumbass: A mild example and ultimately positive in the long run. The first season she developed as a well rounded character but was ultimately defined mostly by the feelings between her and Ted. By season two she acquired a lot more quirky traits, gaps in her understanding of American culture, and general insanity (*salutes* General Insanity) that made her sillier and more prone to stupid mistakes. This resulted in giving her much greater depth and it even makes sense that she would hide certain things about herself until she became more comfortable with a new group of friends.
Will They or Won't They?: With Ted in season 1 and with Barney in seasons 3, 4 and 7. For Barney, the season 7 finale reveals that they will. Eventually. They do... in a legen—wait for it—dary plan by Barney, done in a spectacular fashion.
"Today, I yelled at a little girl for painting a rainbow."
An artist and kindergarten teacher with a slightly rebellious streak, who is nevertheless deeply committed to Marshall (who have been together since the first week of college). Together they represent the voice of stable, adult relationships in the series, as the resident Beta Couple.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Marshall pretends to be a bad boy for a time in Season 8 because Lily finds it incredibly attractive.
Ambiguously Bi: In the first season, she mentions it was her dream to study abroad and have a lesbian romance. Happily Married to Marshall but it is heavily implied she's attracted to female friend Robin. It's revealed in "The Perfect Cocktail", whenever she's drunk on martinis, she immediately tries making out with Robin. She also had very visible trouble turning down a girl while looking for Marshall the first week of college.
And Starring: She and Neil Patrick Harris (Barney) get this treatment.
Ax-Crazy: By her own admission, after she cuts off a toy horse's head and sneaks it into the bed of a troublemaking kid. She also detailed how she was going to curb stomp Ted when he got back with Karen (after she wanted to borrow Robin's gun when she first heard the news) and stood over Robin's bed with a hammer like Kathy Bates.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Usually acts like a kind and loving team mom, but she is happy to manipulate her friends for her own good.
Blue and Orange Morality: Between her "Aldrin Justice" and her "Front Porch Test" she kind of comes across this way to her friends.
Bridezilla: She thought she was handling it well, but Marshall disagreed. She also had Bridezilla-by-proxy for Robin when she was entirely casual about her wedding, Lily thought Robin should be freaking out and treating the day like Lily would.
Cannot Keep a Secret: This is a running gag when the few times she keeps a secret to herself is particularly memorable. It should be noted that she has no problem keeping her own secrets, it's everyone else's that she blabs.
Character Development: In the beginning of the series, when Lily had a crisis of faith regarding her dedication to Marshall, she abandons him to discover herself as an artist. A few years later, she has a similar moment after he becomes an environmental lawyer. She comes back.
Clingy Jealous Girl: When she and Marshall were broken up, she wound up stalking the girl he was going on a date with, and then waiting in his apartment, hiding under a desk. Not to mention when she finds out another woman kissed Marshall, she immediately punches her when she tries to apologize. In season nine when Robin is getting along with another girl, Lily is only able to enjoy it for two seconds before going crazy jealous and threatening to "Cut" said girl.
Compressed Vice: A frequent victim of this trope. Her obnoxiously loud chewing, her complete inability to aim, her similarities to Marshall's father...
Covert Pervert: She is often the one complaining about not having enough sex with Marshall, tries to get Barney's porn collection off Ted, she is curious to watch a sex tape Barney had made, and she stares at Robin's breasts, in the space of two episodes. Others have her wanting Marshall to not cross his legs because he's not wearing any pants and mentions erotic dreams with Robin, Mila Kunis, Bill Cosby, Ranjit, George Washington and various other people. Of course her actress is pretty well known for playing these roles.
The Cutie: Sweet and (usually) well-meaning. And a pretty lady.
Deadpan Snarker: Like the rest of the cast. Often teams up with Marshall to tag-team snark everyone else.
Easily Forgiven: Subverted after her trip to San Francisco, leaving Marshall and everyone else behind for an art school. She returns humbled by a miserable experience and trying to rebuild her life. Ted and Robin are cordial, but when she begs forgiveness from Marshall it takes him almost half the season to take her back. A few episodes later, after a bitter recording brings the topic back up, Ted was forced to share that he harbors some resentment, not just for the fact that she cut off all contact with him when they were supposed to be friends but because Ted had to deal with Marshall breakdown. Seven years later in "Unpause," Marshall and Lily are fighting over him accepting a judgeship (canceling out moving to Italy for her job), when Lily claims she was never so selfish he demands to know whether he and baby Marvin are not just some consolation prize to her failure at art school.
Fiery Redhead: Except for the seasons where she died her hair brown. She's easily the most confrontational of the group.
Former Teen Rebel: She was an out and out thug during high school, to the point where it turns out not only were her horror stories true when everyone else made them up, people from her stalking grounds still fear her. Lampshaded in one of Ted's flashbacks.
Ted: As I look at your Aunt Lily while holding her child, I think back to college (Cue scene of Lily escaping in a car after shop-lifting) and told myself; that girl is a mom!
Hypocrite: In The Stinson Missile Crisis, Lily berates Ted for meddling in her personal life. Considering that Lily engineered the breakups between Ted and several of his former girlfriends (in addition to several other instances in the series where she interferes in her friends' lives), she definitely comes across as more than a little hypocritical in that scene.
Another example happens in season 9, when Lily and Marshall get into an argument over him accepting a job as a judge without consulting her first. Lily claims that she has never done anything as selfish as that, and Marshall immediately points out her hypocrisy by bringing up the season one incident where she broke up with him so she could go to art school in San Francisco.
It's All About Me: One of her character flaws. Robin notes that she can't talk to Lily about a personal tragedy because Robin will wind up consoling Lily. In the episode "Glitter" Lily's inability to talk about anything but her own future pregnancy drives a wedge between her and Robin.
Karma Houdini: Her punishment for her Manipulative Bitch tendencies, intervening with Ted's love life (and later Barney's) based on her own criteria? The guy in question invariably winds up breaking up with the girl even when Lily's machinations themselves failed, and no hard feelings towards Lily.
The Lad-ette: Not as much as Robin, but she's a perpetual winner of drinking contests and hotdog eating competitions and she won't let you forget that - it's in her resume!
Married to the Job: Starts to have this problem after becoming the Captain's art consultant, which stops her from spending time with Marshall and Marvin.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Lily is all around One of the Boys with a love of alcohol and sex despite having plenty of feminine qualities to accompany it. Marshall, on the other hand, is much more emotionally driven and will be the first to cry in any touching, heartwarming or sad moment.
Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Lily does teach kindergarten, but in the brief time she tried other jobs, she tended to try and deal with workplace conflicts in the same manner and with the same reasoning as she had with children.
Silk Hiding Steel: She is a kindergarten teacher and that often translates over into her relationships with her friends, but she has repeatedly shown to have a shrewd tactical mind, can be sexually aggressive with Marshall and is the last person you want to cross.
Stalker with a Crush: When she and Marshall were broken up in the beginning of season 2, she stalked him on his first date with another woman. It is also revealed in season 8, that she first saw Marshall at freshman orientation and was desperate to met him so she broke her stereo on purpose and knocked on every door in Marshall and Ted's residence hall until she found him.
Team Mom: Ted even refers to her and Marshall as being like the parents that he moved away from Ohio specifically to avoid.
Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Loves fashion, is good with kids, and also drinks, gets in hot dog eating contests and was known as a delinquent in her neighborhood.
An unrepentant bachelor who is proudly a counterpoint to Lily and Marshall's monogamous bliss. Barney is a business executive who works a high paying desk job, although his exact job is always shrouded in mystery (until Season 9). He is dedicated to a free lifestyle, does exactly what he wants all of the time, purposely does not establish any romantic relationships and makes no apologies for what he is.
Adorkable: Shows from time-to-time. He's often genuinely excited about his geeky hobbies.
Ambiguously Evil: Harris has described his character as "Darth Vader with a tie".
And Starring: He and Alyson Hannigan (Lilly) get this treatment.
Anti-Hero: Barney is a Nominal Hero, he is a complete Jerk ass to everyone else and his friends despite being loyal to them, he also once sold a woman into slavery not even bothering to read the document so he can get a vehicle.
Berserk Button: Don't EVER tell him magic is lame or he'll come at you with a fireball (as Ted found out to his horror):
Barney: Is This LAME?!? (spark flies out of his hand)
Lily: Barney, no, no! We said no fireballs at the table!
Marshall: What the hell is wrong with you?
Robin: There's alcohol here!
Wendy: Barney, we've talked about this. It's a fire code violation.
Barney: Ted provoked me!
Lily: No, you're on a timeout. Go sit over there.
Also, don't ever break up a girl fight with him watching.
Played for laughs in The Exploding Meatball Sub: after Marshall points out that Barney had a bit of marinara sauce on his tie, Barney views this as terribly humiliating and concocts an elaborate scheme for revenge.
Breakout Character: Barney initially started off as the Foil to Marshal and Lily; Barney served as the playboy to their committed relationship. Starting in season 4, Barney got more and more development to the point where you couldn't blame the viewers for mistaking him as the main character. Later seasons make it clear that Barney's character arc is the most integral part of Ted's meeting the Mother, due to the fact that Ted meets the Mother at Barney and Robin's wedding, and getting over Robin is the final hurdle Ted has to get over in order to be ready to meet the Mother.
Break the Cutie: His backstory. Originally, Barney was a sweet, tree hugging hippie who wanted to join the Peace Corps with his girlfriend, Shannon. But then Shannon cheated on him with a shallow, suit-wearing douchebag and Barney was so devastated that he decided to forego his tree-hugging, monogamous ways and become the shallow, suit-wearing Jerkass that he is today. Though, he seems to be growing out of that persona as the show goes on.
Although since his job is really just a way to get back at same douchebag who ruined his life, it's possible that the old Barney is still in there.
Bromantic Foil: To Ted, who's looking to settle down while Barney is looking to bang every girl he can meet.
Broken Ace: He really is legitimately intelligent and talented in a great many ways, but past romantic (and parent) issues have left him emotionally... off.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: While his actual job is unclear, he's shown to be very competent at it despite the fact that he acts like a maniac half the time he's at the office.
Butt Monkey: Full episodes have revolved around him getting slapped in the face.
Calling the Old Man Out: He calls his father out after he learns he has started a new family and acts as a normal dad to his other son while he never did that for him.
The Casanova: Slept with almost 200 women at the start of the series.
Casual Kink: Very frequently mentions light bondage in casual conversation.
Catch Phrase: Multiple. He tries to make them as much as possible.
Character Development: Easily the most developed character on the show so far. "Trilogy Time" of season seven highlights this, with time jumps to three year intervals where the guys watch the classic Star Wars trilogy and plan out what their life was going to be like three years later. 2003, 2006 and 2009 all featured Barney with the same plan to be exactly the way he was (with him dismissing his latest "conquest"). When 2012 comes around the guys assume Barney had the same plan, but he honestly states that he is looking forward to settling down.
Characterization Marches On: One of his first lines was about how much he loves his suits, but would casually change into something more appropriate to the situation. In particular he goes to the club in "Okay, Awesome" wearing a club appropriate silvery dress shirt. Later episodes he struggles to ever take off a suit, even showing him with suit-pajamas "suit-jamas."
Earlier in the show, he was against all marriage, even that of Marshall and Lily. Later on, he's basically the president of the Marshall/Lily fanclub. ("The world needs Marshall and Lily together!")
The Chessmaster: Many of his plays on women are incredibly complex, and he also winds up manipulating his own friends, sometimes with shocking precision.
Ted: So these guys think I chickened out. What do you think? Barney: I...can't believe you're still not wearing a suit!
Episode 2x03 "Brunch": When Barney shows a picture he took of Ted's dad having an affair with Wendy the Waitress, Ted is naturally mortified. Barney assumes this Angst is because Ted's dad violated his duties, not as a husband, but as Barney's wingman. He called dibs on Wendy first, dammit!
Episode 3x11 "The Platinum Rule": Barney becomes convinced that an ex-girlfriend is trying to kill him.
Barney: I dump her, and she says, "no hard feelings." She's a psycho, what other explanation is there?!
Episode 4x06 "Happily Ever After": Robin recounts her childhood in Canada, in which her father ignored her gender and tried to instill masculinity in his "son". (Her full name is Robin Charles Scherbatsky Jr.) This culminates with Scherbatsky Sr. witnessing Robin kiss a hockey teammate at age 14; he has an utterly pompous Heroic BSOD ("Oh my god ... I have no son.") This kind of thing really screwed up Robin's life. After the story is finished ...
Barney: You poor thing. You had to grow up in Canada. With America RIGHT THERE.
Episode 4x13 "Three Days of Snow": Barney explains how he plays a game called "Party School Bingo" where he takes a list of the Top 25 party schools in the country, arranges them on a bingo card, and fills in a space every time he sleeps with a girl from that school.
Ted: So how many people are in on this Party School Bingo thing? Barney: Oh, it's just me. Ted: Then what's the point, then? Barney: The point is to get five in a row. Ted: And what do you get when you get five in a row? Barney: I get Bingo.
Episode 4x15 "The Stinsons": When Barney watches movies, well...
The same episode has him revealing that he roots for Hans Gruber in Die Hard (believing him to be the title character), Principal Vernon in The Breakfast Club (the only one who wears a suit) and The Terminator (and proceeds to start crying over his death scene, saying "And she doesn't even help him!") That explains the life-size Imperial Stormtrooper armor in his living room.
Crazy-Prepared: Not only does he always bring along a second (or even third) Halloween costume in case he strikes out with the hottest girl at the party, he keeps a suit stashed in the bar at MacLaren's. And that's in addition to his Playbook.
Cunning Linguist: He speaks several languages, using what is said to be Ukrainian (actually Russian) with his tailor, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. Some scenes imply he can also speak Spanish.
The Dandy: Well dressed, groomed, manicured, spotless apartment.
Deadpan Snarker: Slightly less than the rest of the cast, due to his Large Ham tendencies, but he's more than happy to point out the silliness of his friends' ideas.
Deconfirmed Bachelor: Devoutly against marriage or even relationships, but he winds up getting married before Ted.
Determinator: If he sets his mind on something, he will not stop until he completes it. This is especially true of any "challenge," which he compulsively will accept.
Disproportionate Retribution: Barney seems to revel in these. The Exploding Meatball Sub is probably the most famous example, all as an act of revenge toward Marshall commenting that Barney got some sauce on his tie. Now in season 9, we learn his entire job is part of a revenge plot to shut down an entire corporation all because the head guy stole Barney's girlfriend when he was younger.
Embarrassing Nickname: Swarley. Swar-wait for it...-ley. Swarls Barkley. Any variation of Swarley, actually.
Flanderization: As the show goes on, Barney becomes more and more of a womanizer who abhors commitment. Early in the show his attitude was basically "Date a woman for a few weeks, then dump her". But later in the show's run he becomes the master of the one-night stand, rarely bothering to go on more than a single date with a girl and is obsessed with whatever play he makes.
An episode in season 9 provides possible justification for this, as the mother tells Barney that, having been dumped by Robin in season 5, he's spent his entire life since then trying to keep her out of his mind, such that he won't let himself stop for even a second, lest his feelings for her start to re-emerge. Considering his relapses since then came when he was settled down with Nora and Quinn, it's not entirely an unreasonable claim.
The Friend Nobody Likes: Largely in earlier seasons, most of the characters admit to having a "Barney Limit." When Barney slept with Robin, Ted explained his anger at Barney wasn't simply that he slept with his ex but that he assumed if Barney had any sort of "limits" it would have been anything regarding him. It wasn't until after they reconcile that Barney starts being treated more as a real friend and less of a nuisance.
Hard Work Hardly Works: Successfully runs the New York Marathon - which Marshall has been training for for months - at a day's notice with no preparation. Not played entirely straight. He does mention having run a 10K earlier in the season, plus he says afterwards that he works out pretty much everyday (and judging by his Shirtless Scenes, he doesn't lie). And though he does finish he can't walk afterward.
Has a Type: Barney declares in the pilot that he's discarded his old type (half-Asian girls) for a new type (Lebanese girls). Later he declares he doesn't have a type; that's crass and limiting. However, he kinda does. His type is naive bimbos with daddy issues. And Robin.
I Hate Past Me: Thoroughly ashamed of his pre-suit hippie years. However, he still liked himself as a kid.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Is very defensive of his supposed status as Ted's best friend, when they have a falling out in season three he starts looking for a new "wingman" in the exact same way anyone is trying to rebound from a break-up. While good friends with both Ted and Marshall, it's fairly obvious they aren't as devoted to him as he is to them.
Hidden Depths: Can speak Chinese and is a very good, albeit compulsive, gambler.
Season Four started showing that he hides a severe abandonment complex with his regular behavior, having never known his dad in addition to being devastated by a break-up when he was younger. In season six when he meets his dad and spends some time with him he admits he feels he is too far gone for redemption.
Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Early seasons showed him being almost criminally neglected, but later seasons seemed to have gently retconned it into simply his mother having a lot of lovers.
I Just Want to Have Friends: He really does love his friends and wants to keep them. This is especially apparent in "The Rally" when asked why he'd lie to them about having a hangover cure, his answer is because he loves them (and giving them a placebo actually did help).
Identical Stranger: Subverted three times in the span of one episode, then played straight later. Marshall and Lily see his doppelganger only to later find out that it's actually him disguised as a taxi driver for another one night stand scheme. When Barney finds out Marshall and Lily won't have kids until they've seen all five doppelgangers, he disguises himself as a street performer. They don't fall for it, but seem to be touched. Then Lily thinks she's found Barney's true doppelganger, when in reality she's seeing what she wants to see.
Inelegant Blubbering: He has one moment in "Girls vs. Suits" when Tim Gunn gives him the bad news about his torn suit: "I can't make it work!" "So Young!" goes a hysterical Barney in his breakdown.
Inferiority Superiority Complex: Heavily implied that his severe abandonment issues left him with this and all his bravado is fake and a way to cover it up.
Insistent Terminology: He is constantly insisting to others (including Ted) that he is Ted's best friend instead of Marshall.
Jerkass: Even he isn't sure why they hang out with him.
Narcissist: He's obsessed with his looks, and also secretly afraid of losing them as he gets older.
The Obi-Wan: In the season 9 episode "Sunrise" Barney meets two young men who are hopelessly inept when it comes to impressing women. He takes pity on them and decides to mentor them in the art of picking up women.
Oblivious to Love: To Robin for the first few episodes of season 7, before she seemingly moves on with Kevin.
Older Than He Looks: He's actually the oldest member of the gang (he starts the show at 30-years-old), but he hardly looks it. The show lampshades it from time to time.
On The Rebound: He explicitly targets women who are emotionally vulnerable as he thinks they're easy targets.
Barney: When are you guys gonna learn that the only difference between my life and porn is that my life has better lighting?
Race Fetish: His Establishing Character Moment is announcing to Ted that he's moved on from half-Asian girls, and is now going after Lebanese girls. He also has said that his "type" is "Asian, with some boob."
Refuge in Audacity: Barney doesn't so much refuge in audacity as much as he lives in it. He once attempted to convince a girl he was Neal Armstrong. According to Barney's own recollection of the event, he succeeded.
It's somewhat telling that in The Wedding Bride, the film loosely based on Ted's relationship with Stella, Barney openly roots for Tony, who is actually supposed to be the hero of the film, instead of "Jed Mosley", who's portrayed as the villain.
He also thinks that King Joffrey is a "wise and fair leader".
Ship Tease: Barney has expressed considerable attraction to Lily, and there's the inevitable chemistry matchmakers always seem to strike with their clients, but Barney and Lily will never go beyond a fantasy.
An episode in Season 2 even toyed with the idea of what the two as a couple would be like.
Shipper on Deck: According to him, "The world needs Marshall and Lily together!"
Smug Super: He's good in many things and he won't waste any time rubbing it in everyone's faces.
Stage Magician: He frequently uses magic to try to impress girls, and has vintage magic posters in his apartment. In real life Neil Patrick Harris is president of the Magic Circle, and an accomplished magician.
Startof Darkness: Revealed in the episode Game Night where he explains how his girlfriend left him, causing his transformation from a long-haired hippy to a life of "suits, sex, and money".
Continued in "Unpause", which reveals he didn't fully change.
Token Evil Teammate: Initially. Subverted however in later seasons, especially in seasons 6 and 7.
Took a Level in Kindness: Starting out as the Token Evil Teammate, he becomes more humane in later seasons as he surprises the group in giving genuine to support to them in bad times (He contacted Lily to get her back to New York for Marshall's sake and admitted that despite complaining about Ted and Robin he was sad to see them break up).
The Unfettered: Early in the series, he wasn't really tied down with "emotions" or "empathy" so he was so very good at what he did (... banging chicks).
The reason he became a Jerk Ass suit-wearing womanizer is because his first girlfriend dumped/cheated on him for... a Jerk Ass suit-wearing womanizer.
Ted's Future Family
The Mother (Cristin Milioti)
"Kids, I'm gonna tell you an incredible story. The story of how I met your mother."
"Hi! One ticket to Farhampton, please?"
Click if you saw the Season 8 Finale.
The woman about whom Future Ted is telling a story to his kids about, with the story of how they met is apparently one of the greatest stories ever heard. During the course of the series little is known about her and how she fits into Ted's story, the few hard facts we have is: she owned a yellow umbrella and was at a St. Patrick's Day party that Ted also attended (where he ended up in possession of the umbrella), she was in the class Ted's seen teaching at the end of season four, Ted briefly dated her roommate and they met at a wedding where Ted was the Best Man. She is eventually revealed in the final season, remaining nameless but peripherally involved with the plot, including some Flash Forwards, saving her and Ted's official meeting until the Grand Finale.
Adorkable: She has an innate understanding of the quirks behind the rest of the cast, letting her fit right in. "Why would they call a bar 'Puzzles?' (dawns on her) Unless that's the puzzle.'
Advertised Extra: Billed as a regular for the final season, only appeared in roughly half of the episodes. This was apparently due to a rule imposed by Bays and Thomas that she would only appear in episodes written by them personally.
Arc Symbol: Her yellow umbrella symbolizes the path Ted takes that would lead him to her as well as the way that the two are meant to be together.
Big Damn Heroes: In a sense: "Something New", which reveals that Ted is planning on moving to Chicago because of his failure to move past Robin, ends with her buying the ticket to Farhampton. She effectively spares Ted from going to Chicago because of their meeting.
And in a more literal sense, when she gives Marshall a ride when he is trying (and failing) to walk all the way to the Farhampton Inn after his bus breaks down.
Big Good: An unusual example in that she only shows up in the very last season and the finale of the season before it, but in almost every appearance she helps someone in the gang get over one of their current personal issues, she's the special girl Ted's been waiting for all along, and the two of them meeting is what ultimately helps Ted get over his past relationship with Robin and keeps him from moving away to Chicago.
Birds of a Feather: Both are nice and she shares a lot of Ted's quirks (like driving gloves, she finishes his sentences exactly like Ted would say them and knows facts only Ted finds amusing).
Break the Cutie: Her backstory reveals her almost decade long grief of losing her boyfriend.
Broken Bird: She has been one ever since her boyfriend Max died and spent the entire show's run like this until she met Ted.
The Cast Showoff: Her ukulele skills and her beautiful singing voice are showcased in the 200th episode with her captivating rendition of 'La Vie En Rose'.
Cerebus Retcon: In the 100th episode "Girls vs. Suits" many of her quirks are played for laughs, especially things like painting pictures of robots playing sports and singing with her food while making breakfast. In the 200th episode "How Your Mother Met Me," both of those take on greater significance when we learn her 1st love Max's last present to her was a ukelele "so your breakfast doesn't need to perform acapella" and her robot painting was an activity she through herself into to try and deal with losing him. Louis's lack of appreciation of singing English muffins was also a sign that they would not work long term.
A Day in the Limelight: "How Your Mother Met Me" is completely from her perspective and how narrowly her path crosses with Ted's over the years and how narrowly she misses meeting him. The show even reinvented its opening credits to show the Mother and her friends.
Distaff Counterpart: While she has her own unique personality, she and Ted share just enough quirks to qualify, such as loving road trip detours to visit unusual landmarks and wearing driving gloves.
Dude Magnet: According to Cindy, guys keep falling in love with her.
Extreme Doormat: "Bass Player Wanted" reveals that, Nice Girl she is, the Mother usually lets the other person have their way in conflicts.
First Love: Max, her late boyfriend, who died on 2005.
The Gadfly: Has shown a willingness to deceive others temporarily for laughs, such as telling Lily her cookies were found beneath a train seat as well as pretending to be a creepy psychic who reads Marshall's situation with scary accuracy. She meets her boyfriend Louis by claiming she was 16 and he fell for it.
The Heart: In her first scene with a cast member, she offers a crying Lily a cookie. In a flashback, she sets Barney straight in his womanizing ways and is the reason why Barney decided to propose to Robin in the first place.
Hero of Another Story: It is almost absurd how close she was to the group throughout all of their adventures but never actually crossing paths.
The Lost Lenore: The same night Ted met Robin, the Mother lost her boyfriend Max to an unspecified accident. She was incapable of letting him go but tried to move on by dating Louis.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Approaches this character trope by proxy of the few descriptions we have of her. She is effectively portrayed as Ted's dream girl with all sorts of quirks like painting pictures of robots, singing showtunes while making breakfast, plays bass guitar in a band and apparently guys are constantly falling in love with her. And she helps pull Ted out of one of the darkest times in his life.
The final season gives us more of her quirkiness such as owning a pair of driving gloves and wanting to see some weird stuff on the roadside, just like Ted.
Given her reactions to how Lily describes Ted, her reactions to him in their various near misses, and the fact he will help her get over Max, you could say Ted is her Manic Pixie Dream Guy.
The Mourning After: She avoided relationships altogether for five years after the death of Max, her First Love, because she thought she would never be able to love someone like that again. And even after getting into a relationship with Louis, she never really got to love him because she couldn't let Max go until the night right before meeting Ted.
Her first meetings with the gang as a whole have shown this. With Barney, she gave him a hug, lent him an ear regarding his problems with Robin, and encouraged him. With Marshall, she gave him a ride & chatted with him regarding things as well as later knitted a hat for Marvin.
Nobody Loves the Bassist: Averted real time. (Seriously, see the other tropes about Mom). In fact, Ted actively wants to date a bassist.
Played straight in "Bass Player Wanted" with Darren stealing the spotlight and replacing her as lead singer, then kicking her out of her own band. Subverted in the end when he leaves, allowing her to be the lead singer again.
Not So Different: She and Ted both have been unable to let go of their past loves. They also share most of the quirks and interests.
Promotion to Opening Titles: Her actress, Cristin Milioti, got her name billed in the opening credits in the final season after her cameo in the eight season finale.
Red Herring: Or rather, many other characters have been red herrings for the mother. After "Vesuvius", her having alleged failing health becomes a hot topic.
Romantic False Lead: It's established that she was dating a guy named Louis right before she met Ted. While he doesn't seem to be a bad guy it's fairly clear they were not really in love (he was only mildly amused at her adorable breakfast showtunes). Louis actually proposed to her the night before she and Ted met. In a tragic twist, she tried asking Max for permission to move on and after getting confirmation she told Louis "no," because she knew she wasn't going to move on with him.
She Who Must Not Be Seen: If she is present in any given shot, she's never seen beyond really obtuse angles, not even subtly. A few scenes are stated that she was somewhere in a crowd shot but never pointed out. There have only been a handful of official sightings:
Ted saw her ankle in "Girls vs. Suits."
The back of her hat-covered head in "No Pressure."
Outside the club in "No Tomorrow" holding her yellow umbrella and wearing blue jeans.
At the train station in "Farhampton," carrying her bass and (of course, face covered by umbrella).
At Barney and Robin's wedding reception, playing aforementioned bass. Seen from the back.
Teacher/Student Romance: Subverted: She was a student at Columbia University and saw Ted teaching once, but Ted had the wrong classroom so she's not actually his student. She left the class-room right before the lecture because she thought she was in the wrong one, only to have Ted himself ran past her when he realized he was in the wrong one.
Tragic Keepsake: The ukulele she received from Max on her 21st birthday, after he died, which she owns as a keepsake of his spirit and presence.
Unkempt Beauty: In a Flash Forward, she commented about being haggard and sweaty from a long car ride (and eating a muffin crumb in her bra), while Ted couldn't care less.
The Unreveal: At least now, only her name remains a question.
Walking Spoiler: Turns out she's inadvertently the catalyst for some of the major moments in the gang's lives, most importantly, getting Barney and Robin together for good.
Wham Episode: The 100th Episode "Girls vs. Suits" had her and Ted in the same apartment at one point, although they didn't meet then he got an earful as her roommate Cindy described her in detail. The 8th Season Finale finally shows her face as she leaves to play at Barney and Robin's wedding.
In the Season 9 episode "Platonish" it's revealed that Barney first met the Mother six months earlier and that she persuaded him to end his womanizing and devote his full time and energy to winning over Robin, which is how Barney came up with "The Robin".
The 200th episode, "How Your Mother Met Me", centers on the Mother and reveals that her boyfriend died in 2005 and she hasn't been able to get over him since.
Brother-Sister Incest: In the Comic-Con trailer, Ted's son tells his father that the only girl he's seen in the past 8 years is his sister and it's starting to make him think stuff... very bad stuff.
Calling the Old Man Out: After eight long years of telling them endless details they don't care about (and did things they're not proud of), they tell him personally that they want him to get to the point of how he actually met their mother already.
Luke, obviously, got his name from Ted being a huge Star Wars fan.
Penny's name is likely a reference to the 2nd season episode "Lucky Penny", in which a series of events that begins with Ted picking up a penny that was minted in 1939 eventually results in him missing his flight to Chicago and not getting a job in that city. The episode ends with Future Ted commenting that if he'd never picked up that penny and missed his flight to Chicago he never would have met the Mother.
Later in the series, the "reaction" of the kids are only stills from a previous clip. Word of God has stated that they already shot the ending of the series at the start of season 2, so that when the show does end, Ted's kids don't rapidly age several years when their dad finishes his story.
Hysterically defied in a Season Nine Comic-Con Video where they got the original child actors to return to their roles, obviously much older and incredibly PISSED at how long their dad is taking to tell the story.
Stock Footage: The first two seasons had the kids interacting with Future Ted at times, commenting on the situation. To avoid seeing the kids growing up in real time, season three and beyond started reusing a handful of "bored expressions" footage to introduce the episode. Season two apparently filmed a unique sequence to use when Ted finally reveals "Mom."
The Mother is so much Ted's soul-mate, she probably won't object to the names.
"Unpause" confirms that Ted's son is in fact named Luke, however his daughter's name is Penny.
Looks like they compromised.
note Ted's girlfriends who lasted multiple episodes and teased as possibly being the Mother
Victoria (Ashley Williams)
Victoria is the first serious girlfriend Ted gets in the series, meeting at a wedding of Ted's friends and they hit it off. Absolutely enamored with each other she stays around for a half-dozen episodes until she gets a culinary scholarship in Germany lasting two years, they attempted long distance but couldn't keep it together (in part due to Ted and Robin's growing attraction to each other). She returns in season seven as she and Ted cross paths again.
Career Versus Man: She has to choose between Ted and a baking scholarship in Germany. She angst over the decision (briefly even choosing Ted) but ends up going with the baking scholarship. She and Ted try a Long Distance Relationship but it doesn't work out thanks to Ted once again failing to resist his lingering feelings for Robin.
Nice Girl: Even thought she and Ted split up again and she questioned Ted about giving him Robin's locket, even if that could mean Ted was trying to steal her at the wedding, Victoria still agreed to overnight it, along with goodies from her bakery.
Romantic False Lead: In part because of the way a show is produced she was actually intended to be "the mother" if the show didn't get picked up from the initial episode order. Her first appearance at the end of "The Wedding" was made flexible so that they could go either way on that. Because of that she was written as being a very good match for Ted on just about every level and in spite of being in only a few episodes that made her become a beloved character among the fandom.
Runaway Bride: In the season 7 finale, she leaves Klaus at the altar. Season 8 reveals that Klaus did the same.
Sixth Ranger: She became part of the gang when she dated Ted in Season 1 until she went to Germany. In Season 8, she hanged out with them again when she got back with Ted but left again after she realized that Ted still got feelings for Robin.
Supreme Chef: She's a baker. Such a good baker that Marshall tells Ted to marry her on spot after having her cake.
The One That Got Away: In season 7, Robin mentions that she's the only woman who was a viable candidate for Ted.
Unknown Rival: To Robin. Not so much in season 1, but definitely in season 8.
Stella is a dermatologist who Ted visits for the purpose of removing his lower-back tattoo and initially rejects Ted because her life was too chaotic with her daughter Lucy. They grow very close and even get engaged in the fourth season opener. A major kink in their relationship ended up being that Stella has unresolved issues with Lucy's father, Tony.
Actor Allusion: Being a doctor on Scrubs as well, Sarah Chalke as Stella doesn't look all that much different from Elliot.
Betty and Veronica: The Archie to Ted's Betty and Tony's Veronica in the episode "The Shelter Island".
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Comes of as nice, funny, and polite, but she's actually quite nasty if you think about it. She repeatedly forces Ted to compromise throughout the relationship without doing any of it herself (for example, refusing to even discuss moving to New York with Ted), then leaves Ted at the altar, and then, just when it looked like she may have redeemed herself in "As Fast As She Can," "The Wedding Bride" comes out, a film that paints Ted in a bad light despite him actually being the good guy, the details of which could have only come from Stella. That's just cold.
Easily Forgiven: Played with. When she comes back for an episode, no one forgives her for leaving Ted on their wedding day, but by the end of the episode, Ted himself lets it go. Meanwhile when she shows up again and actually speaks to Ted, he never forgives her but isn't still angry with her.
Fauxshadow: In season 3's St. Patrick's Day episode, narrator!Ted states that the mother was at the same party he and Barney went to, but that they didn't meet her then. Stella mentions offhand that she was at a party on St. Paddy's.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Initially portrayed as a kind, affectionate and feminine blonde. She was a very sweet and caring girlfriend who genuinely loved Ted. Ultimately the trope is mocked when Ted shows how his life would have been different if he did marry Stella, with a "present day" scene where his kids were also blond. Still, the last meeting between Ted and Stella was respectful if not amicable despite what happened.
Kick the Dog: She leaves Ted at the altar in "Shelter Island", leaving him nothing but a letter and is then seen making up with Tony. There is also her part in the making of "The Wedding Bride," which made everyone hate Ted's character and humiliating Ted.
Love Epiphany: Realizes she's not over her ex-boyfriend on the same day she's supposed to marry Ted.
Put on a Bus: Left New York with Tony to Los Angeles near the end of season 4. Though she's mentioned again by Ted in Season 8 where Robin's locket was placed in her storage area in Los Angeles and made a cameo in Season 9 where she warns Ted about giving the locket to Robin which ruin the wedding.
Romantic False Lead: A given, but there are suggestions that Stella was a "back-up" mother (much like Victoria) if the show didn't get a fourth season.
Runaway Bride: She ended up going with her ex, Tony, and left Ted at the altar at the day of their wedding.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ted was matched up with a dermatologist in a first season episode who was supposedly his soulmate. That relationship was also killed in the water due to her relationship (in her case, she's engaged, while with Stella it's her daughter).
The Unfair Sex: Ted repeatedly finds ways to compromise throughout their relationship. Stella, not so much.
Took a Level in Jerkass: After "Shelter Island". Ted is understandably furious upon learning that within weeks of getting back together with Tony, she immediately agreed to move in with Tony in New York, since when he asked her if she'd consider moving to the City, she utterly refused to do so (or even discuss the matter). Likewise, most of the details in Tony's film, "The Wedding Bride", could only have come from her!
Zoey Pierson (Jennifer Morrison)
An activist Ted runs into, coincidentally determined to halt the construction of the high-rise building Ted was designing because it would demolish a run-down but unique building in its place. Initially Ted was attracted to her, it turned into a bitter rivalry and eventual friendship. Despite that, he kept his distance because she was married to the wealthy George Van Smoot aka "The Captain," which was eventually allowed to grow romantically when they got divorced.
Dating Catwoman: A mild form of this with Ted. She's trying to save the Arcadian, he's trying to design the building to replace it.
Disproportionate Retribution: The episode "Canning Randy" has Ted designing a the new GNB headquarters, which will replace a very old building being torn down to make room for it. When Zoey finds out, Ted says he doesn't care. Her response is to egg the window of Ted's apartment, get his entire class to destroy a billboard with Ted's picture on it, and get them all to abandon his class and turn against him. Especially disproportionate considering he did not choose the building site and has no power to change it.
Freudian Excuse: The reason she wants to save The Arcadian is that she once lived there with her family.
Kick the Dog: Revealing that she kept the tape of Ted badmouthing GNB, even after she said she'd destroy it.
The Masochism Tango: The entire purpose of the character and her relationship with Ted was to be someone who constantly fought with him but in the process force each other to stand up for themselves.
Mistaken For Prostitute: Ted mistakes her for a transvestite hooker when they first meet (in fairness to Ted, he was actually approached by one just a moment prior).
Shaggy Dog Story: There's blatant foreshadowing that she isn't the mother before they even begin dating, though an episode that takes place during their relationship explicitly says that it ended poorly between them.
Ship Tease: Unique among most of Ted's relationships, the initial romantic tease was shot down completely (by Ted) when it was revealed Zoey was married and she found out Ted was involved with the building she was protesting. From there it was about bringing them back to a place where they had some sort of romantic attraction again.
Sixth Ranger Traitor: She became very close friends with the entire group, only to have revealed that she didn't erase the recording she made of Ted praising the architecture of the building like she said.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: An interesting take on the trope happens in "Oh, Honey." Ted realized he was falling for Zoey and for the sake of morality tried ending the friendship, not even wanting to explain to her why. Marshall managed to figure out Zoey and The Captain were getting divorced, and Zoey also had strong feelings for Ted. As Zoey confronts him over ending the friendship, Marshall calls them separately and explains both halves of the story (Ted is in love with her, Zoey getting divorced and is in love with him). Upon finishing the call, Ted wordlessly pulled her into a kiss.
The Main Characters' Families
Alfred Mosby (Michael Gross)
Ted and Heather's father.
Amicably Divorced: With Virginia. He even helped her find a new date for her after their divorce.
Bumbling Dad: Instead of talking with Ted about serious stuff, he usually averted them by talking about baseball instead.
Generation Xerox: He tried to win Virginia over, even though she didn't want either commitment or children, just like Ted and Robin's situation. After they split, they still were very good friends.
Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Based on how Ted's parents married (and how similar are Robin and Virginia), Alfred says Virginia was really hard to get.
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: She happily lets Marshall take a photo-mug of Ted so he can make fun of him, and also goes to get him a picture of Ted dressed as a cowboy with his best friend ( Said friend was a balloon.)
Lies to Children: Virginia told Ted as a child he was allergic to bacon, donuts and Halloween candy so he would eat healthy.
Mrs. Robinson: Subverted. Barney admits making out with Virginia when he dropped her at the airport and often jokes about how he banged Ted's mom (Barney later confirms it "got out after he tried to stretch a first into a second").
Parent with New Paramour: She starts dating erudite hippie Clint not long after it's revealed that she and her husband divorced. While initially reluctant, Ted came to accept Clint as his new step father after Virginia's second marriage.
Obnoxious In-Laws: With Lily. They were in friendly terms in Season 1 during the Thanksgiving episode. But in the later seasons, they become antagonistic. It probably has something to do with Lily leaving Marshall a couple of months before their wedding (as there was never any contention between them mentioned or shown prior to this). Though Marshall and Lily eventually made up, it would appear Judy never forgot. She also didn't like that Lily refused to be a "Mrs. Eriksen" by keeping her own last name.
To disuade Lily from moving to Italy with Marshall and Marvin, she constantly uploaded pictures of Marvin with "Anti-Italy propaganda" to guilt-trip her.
Babies Make Everything Better: Not that Marshall and Lily had any big problems in their marriage, but when Marvin was born, Marshall finally gets over his own dad's death.
Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Played with. When Marshall and Lily where trying to get pregnant of him, there was a time when they feared they physically couldn't have children. The day they discover there's no problem in that regard, Marvin Sr. dies.
Hidden Depths: Behind his Irresponsible Dad persona, Mickey is actually excellent at raising babies, as he took care of Lily in her first years before pre-school, and later would be a great babysitter for Marvin.
House Husband: Before he started gambling, he took care of Lily, as her mother worked.
Parents as People: He isn't a bad person at heart but Lily never had a reason to trust him.
Parent with New Paramour: Lily doesn't really seem to have an issue with him dating, but him dating her mother in law? Ew.
Pet the Dog: He really does love Lily, he just has so many other problems it hurts their relationship. On occasion the doting father does shine through, most notably when Lily told him she was pregnant and he immediately drove all night to be with her on New Years.
Took a Level in Kindness: When it's revealed he's actually an excellent caregiver and raised Lily pretty much on his own for the first five years of her life.
Abusive Dad: His way of raising Robin includes leaving her in the woods alone with only a knife on her birthday.
The Atoner: He tries to get along with Robin but Robin still feels that it's not enough. However, Future!Ted narrates that she and her dad do get along later on and were doing the father-daughter dance on her wedding.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: For her 14th birthday, Robin' dad made her go throught the forest only armed with a knife. Also when organizing a team of kids in Laser Tag, he was pretty much this to the children, while Barney gave candy to his teammates.
Engagement Challenge: He says that when he wanted to marry Robin's mother he killed a bear with his bare hands to give to her family as tribute. He also tries to force Barney to kill a rabbit if he wants to marry Robin.
Jerkass: He refused to acknowledge any of Robin's accomplishments, and raised her as a boy, giving her deep emotional scars.
The Mafia: He may not be in the mob, but sure does across this way especially to Barney.
Adorably Precocious Child: At least that's how Robin saw her. She was a sixteen years old with a boyfriend and Robin still thought she was supposed to watch The Little Mermaid and drink Yoohoo. Robin gets shocked when Katie reveals she smokes, drinks liquor and already got to second base with Kyle.
Hormone-Addled Teenager: A mild example. Pretty tame in most respects, but her actions with her boyfriend indicate this.
It Runs in the Family: In "Vesuvius" it's shown Katie also likes hockey, liquor and dislikes corny stuff (like Lily's scrapbook of romantic moments), just like Robin. She also explains Robin is not nervous about her wedding because "She is a Scherbatsky".
Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Inverted. Katie is more feminine than Robin at her age, but it's implied she also received the same treatment from her father in "Rally". In "Vesuvius" she is also shown playing hockey in full gear with Robin and drinking scotch while watching "The Wedding Bride 2".
Why Didit Have To Be Snakes: Or rather, why did it have to be planes? She's terrified of them, and in fact didn't come to Robin's wedding because she was too afraid to fly. She manages to overcome this fear and does make it.
Bad Liar: It's obvious that she's hiding information about her sons' fathers when they're little. But when they're all grown-up, James knows that his biological father is out there which prompts him to look for him while Barney still believes that Bob Barker is his dad until he gradually accepts that he's not.
What the Hell, Hero?/Took a Level in Jerkass: In "The Poker Game" it's revealed that one of the reasons he gets a divorce from his husband is because he hit the gym twice A DAY, despite being married and with two kids... "just in case he's ever single again". Even Barney calls him out automatically.
The Ghost: Mentioned offhand in season six and then two years later in season eight (leading to Epileptic Trees that she is The Mother), only as a twist to reveal she was the 20 year old girl Ted had been spending time with one episode.
The gang's favorite cab/limo/anything driver. Meets the main five for the first time in the pilot episode, and after driving them around a few times eventually becomes friends with them to the point of knowing many personal details about their lives.
Amicable Exes: Is hurt but mature and civil when Barney discards her like all his other flings, while Barney is convinced she is Cute and Psycho ready to snap.
Ascended Extra: She was around as a background character for the most part, appearing in more episodes than she talks (much like Carl). On a few occasions she is given a small plotline, especially her send-off episode.
The Chew Toy: She seems to get hurt a lot at MacLaren's, often because of the gang.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Subverted - Barney sees her as this during their short fling, because he's Barney. She simply thinks they're actually boyfriend and girlfriend, and acts accordingly.
Enemy Mine: Reason why she and her husband innitially connect (their mutual hatred of Marshall).
Everyone Calls Her Barkeep: Everyone knows her by her first name, but she's always called "Wendy the Waitress". Taken up a notch during her fling with Barney when Lily muses that she'd be a good "Wendy the Waitress hyphen Stenson".
Happily Married: In Ted's 2021 flashback, she's married to an ex-coworker of Marshall's, and they run into Ted while on their second honeymoon in Hong Kong.
Nice Girl: Even after Barney broke up with her and eventually realized it was another of his one night stands, she still tried to give him a new tie and remain cordial.
Put on a Bus: A Flash Forward to 2021 showed that she last saw Ted and the gang in 2011 (season six) as she had gotten married and moved away since then (not knowing what happened between Ted and Zoey). As such while they haven't commented on her absence, season seven and beyond has shown a different waitress at MacLaren's.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: She geniunely thought Barney and her were in a serious relationship, even thought she knew about his womanizer tendencies for all their years as regular costumers.
Ted's former boss at the architectural firm he used to work at.
Artistic License - Engineering/Epic Fail: In Chicago, Druthers designed a crystal tower. The problem? It reflected so much light that melted near buildings and boiled the aquarium, killing thousand of fish.
The Bus Came Back: In season 9, where he offered Ted to work for his architectural firm in Chicago. Ted ultimately rejected it.
This Is What the Building Will Look Like: We never see the model, but everyone (except for Druthers himself) could see the building was a giant penis (didn't help that it was pink and the garden was composed of brown trees).
Arthur Hobbs (Bob Odenkirk)
Barney's current boss and formerly Marshall's as well.
Scooter is Lily's ex-boyfriend. Their parents are friends and the two of them dated throughout their teenage years, but Lily broke things off when she went to college. To this day, he's still trying—and failing—to win her back.
Butt Monkey: Most of the gags involving Scooter revolve around his unrequited love for Lily and his pathetic attempts to win her back. Although they broke up several years ago, he's still obsessed with her.
Continuity Snarl: His real name is given as Bill in his first appearance, but in a season 8 episode, it's given as Jeff.
Determinator: Never gives up on Lily, no matter how many times she tells him she doesn't want anything to do with him.
Marshall: Hang on there, Scoots. I'm not going to live forever.
Real-Life Relative: David Burtka is partners with Neil Patrick Harris, with twins. In fact, rumors that he got the part on the show because he was in a relationship with Neil is part of what lead to Neil officially "outing" himself (it was sort of an open secret beforehand).
Stalker with a Crush: He went to Lily and Marshall's wedding, though he was invited by Lily's mom, and attempted to stop the procession before Brad chases him out. Later, he's working at Lily's school as a lunch "lady".
Stockholm Syndrome: Based on flashbacks, his feelings for Lily may stem from this. She basically Shanghaied him into being her boyfriend during her Former Teen Rebel days, and kept him in line through fear. Played for laughs, of course.
Unknown Rival: To Marshall. Though Marshall gets jealous several times when he thought that Scooter took Lily's virginity before him and found out that he's wooing Lily at work. He also became worried that Scooter is at the wedding with the intent to sabotage it.
Brad Morris (Joe Manganiello)
Brad is one of Marshall's friends from law school. He's introduced in the second season and becomes friends with the rest of the gang.
Face Heel Revolving Door: He once manipulated Marshall to get advantage on a legal case, of which he was employed by the competition. The following episode he apologizes, is Easily Forgiven and signs up with Marshalls firm.
Fratbro: A Genius Ditz version of this. He's first seen hosting a wild college party (though as law students, he made everyone sign a waiver before they could "FREAKING RAGE"), his later appearances that season included a bromance with Marshall, and disappearing during Marshall's bachelor party only to reappear at the end, naked and wandering the streets. He also speaks like a bro, almost to the point of a verbal tic.
Master of the Mixed Message: Marshall starts to think Brad is gay for him because in he pays the dinner, helps Marshall with his coat, and invites Marshall to go to a wedding in Vermont with him.
Mr. Fanservice: Many episodes take advantage of his physique and he also plays up to it when appropriate.
No Sell: Takes a punch to the face from Barney, Barney hurt his hand and Brad didn't even blink.
Nice Guy: Incredibly friendly and loyal to Marshall, didn't take any offense to Barney punching him. The eighth season subverts it with him pulling off an underhanded legal trick on Marshall but he still proved to be affable in the end.
Real Men Wear Pink: Like Marshall, he also likes brunch, Alanis Morrisette concerts and Broadway plays.
Relationship Revolving Door: He has broken up with Kara at least two times. The first time made him have a Bromantic friendship with Marshall, while the second one pushed him into become a corporate lawyer who would spy Marshall's strategy for a case.
Shotgun Wedding: Ted and Barney reminisce that Punchy's wedding is the worst wedding ever because of this.
Vitriolic Best Buds: With Ted. He thinks they are cool friends, while Ted doesn't think the same way.
Tony Grafanello (Jason Jones)
Stella's ex-boyfriend and Lucy's father. Is jealous of Ted and Stella's relationship, as he never got over her, but is shown to feel guilty for getting back together with her on the same day she and Ted were supposed to get married.
Action Dad: Well, he has a daughter and is a martial artist.
Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Ted's Betty for Stella's Archie in the episode "Shelter's Island".
Very Loosely Based on a True Story: His first hit as a screenwriter is based on a parcialized point of view of Ted and Stella's relationship, in which Ted is a stereotypical Jerk disposable fiance and Tony is a Marty Stu.
Brainy Brunette: She like reading Philosophy for fun, finishes the crosswords and is writing an Economics dissertation.
The Bus Came Back: She showed up in the first episode of seasons 6 where it's revealed that she became a lesbian after her break-up with Ted. Later, in season 8, she met Ted again in the subway and suggested to him about having the Mother's band for Barney and Robin's wedding.
Girl on Girl Is Hot: Barney is visibly pleased when Cindy makes out with her girlfriend, and snaps a picture on his phone.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jealous of the Mother and initially bitter towards Ted after their breakup, but eventually (presumably after she realizes she's a lesbian) mellows out, enters a happy relationship with her friend, and sincerely apologizes to Ted for the way she acted.
The Lancer: To the mother, being her most frequently shown companion and Foil.
Last Het Romance: After her brief relationship with Ted ended, Cindy came out as a lesbian.
Lipstick Lesbian: She realizes that she is a lesbian sometime after breaking up with Ted. Revealed in season 9 to be right after Ted left.
Unknown Rival: To the Mother, though in season 9 it's revealed she told the mother about Ted, right before she kissed her.
Naomi, aka, The Slutty Pumpkin (Katie Holmes)
The girl Ted met in 2001 whom he met again in season 7.
No Sparks: When they finally kiss, Ted and her realize they feel awful kissing or even touching.
Poor Communication Kills: Or leads to more than one lousy date. When Ted finally reunites with the Slutty Pumpkin, they both quickly realize that they're completely incompatible with each other. Too bad neither of them realizes that the other one also realizes it.
Romantic False Lead / Red Herring: Since it took 7 years for Ted to meet her again, many thought she could be The Mother, until Season 7, where they finally get over each other after discovering they are not compatible at all.
Walking the Earth: Justified since, as a zoologist, she travels the world to study different animals.
No Sparks: Ted realizes she's objectively great, but he just doesn't love her.
Relationship Revolving Door: She and Ted had apparently gotten together and broken up three times (a flashback in a season 5 episode has a scene that shows a post-breakup scene that can't possibly be tied any of the other breakups).
Statuesque Stunner: Probably the heels, but she almost stands at the same height as Ted (who is 6'0 feet tall).
Sugar and Ice Personality: She rejects Ted when he wants to get back with her, but she soon warms up to him again and rekindle the relationship, only for Ted to dump her again, which makes her snap and kick his ass.
Woman Scorned: And holy shit how! Even when Ted tries to date again despite that she kicked his ass before, he ended up having skin burns.
Yank the Dog's Chain: She receives this from Ted. Just when she felt she could trust again in men, Ted dumps her again on her birthday.
Shannon (Katie Walder)
Barney's first girlfriend.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She kept up the charade of supporting Barney and still wanting to help people in Nicaragua, but in truth she just wanted Barney out of her life.
Blondes are Evil: Downplayed. Cheated on Barney with a suit-wearing womanizer and laughs merciless at him.
Consummate Liar: Barney had no idea she was deceiving him and cheating on him.
Don is introduced as Robin's new co-worker and love interest after she and Barney break up. When she swore she wasn't interested in dating anymore the guys tell her that's a sign she will find "the guy she's supposed to marry" and that is when Don showed up. He left after accepting the same job opportunity that Robin turned down in order to be with him.
Character Shilling: Coming after a couple of episodes portraying him as a shiftless loser who didn't bother to take his job seriously, he straightens up to show Robin some respect. That's all fine, but its rather jarring that after hanging out with the same once (offscreen, no less), Marshall especially couldn't stop glowing over how amazing he was.
Derailing Love Interests: An interesting variation, since he was introduced as a lazy Jerk Ass but suddenly became the perfect man when Robin started dating him. Then he reverts to Jerkass behavior.
His introduction: Robin declares that she's not going to look for love any more and focus on her career and Future!Ted says "Ironically, that's the day she met... Don."
The only reason that Don got a shot at his dream job is that Robin gave up that same opportunity.
Jerk Ass: Being apathetic about his job regardless of who else that interferes with? Pulling the Naked Man on Robin after trying to make amends for his behaviour? Leaving Robin for a job that Robin turned down so she could stay with him? Yeah, this guy fits here.
Put on a Bus: He went to Chicago for a job offer which is the same one offered to Robin and this ultimately ended their relationship.
Romantic False Lead: Due to the Lemony Narrator, when Don is introduced, it's treated as though he's the man Robin will marry (since the narration was discussing how you find the one you marry as soon as you stop looking).
The Rashomon: Marshall accidentally ends up using this when describing her antics, because what is funny and quirky for a goofy fat guy ends up becoming very erotic and exhibitionist for an attractive woman (taking off your shirt when drunk and smearing jam all over your face).
Really Gets Around: She kissed Marshall while drunk, and had sex with a stranger in a darkened mail room at the Goliath National Bank headquarters.
Samus Is a Girl: When Marshall told the gang stories about her antics, they all thought she was a man until they finally met her in person. Justified as Ted really thought Jenkins was a guy when Marshall told how Jenkins "peed out of a cab's window".
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: At Marshall's bachelor party, Stuart uses all the tired cliches of marriage being a ball and chain, the end of freedom, etc. and pretty much confirms it's because his own marriage isn't going so well. As the party goes from bad to worse, he states that he misses Claudia. This trope is then averted in Season 9, when we find out that Stuart is cheating on Claudia.
Awful Wedded Life: Even before the wedding, Stuart and Claudia couldn't stop bickering. After it, Stuart constantly delivered snarky remarks about his marriage.
Beta Couple: But a subversion to some degree, as while they love each other several points have been made that they are not uniformly stable like Marshall and Lily. Which may be considered foreshadowing, considering the finale for season 1.
Bridezilla: Since Claudia is a Control Freak and Hot-Blooded, she gets very histerical at small issues from her wedding, like Ted wanting to bring a date after he marked "alone", Stuart making decisions behind her back or Ted calling her in the middle of her Honey Moon.
Robin's crush introduced in season 6. They became a couple in season 8.
Chekhov's Gunman: Shows up in an episode in season 6. Doesn't become a real character until season 8, when he and Robin begin dating offscreen.
Derailing Love Interests: Twice! First happens when Robin suddenly is annoyed with how sensitive and in touch with his feelings Nick is. Later, he's suddenly The Ditz bordering on Too Dumb to Live. It's implied that Robin never noticed before because the sex was so good, but it's jarring that these flaws were never even alluded to until they're used for drama. Not to mention as the narrator, you'd think Ted would have commented on it.
Hidden Depths: He is exceptionally patient for a Satellite Love Interest. He understands that Robin's history with her male friends are longer than their own, and is respectful of her hanging out with Ted and Barney from time to time.
Sexual Karma: Right after Robin breaks up with him he stumbles into a three-way with two hot chicks who have also just been dumped, somewhat alleviating any guilt Robin or Barney may feel for the split.
Sixth Ranger: He became part of the Five-Man Band when he dated Robin and even joined Marshall's basketball team for a while before breaking up with Robin.
Barney's second serious girlfriend in the show and Robin's co-workers. Impeccably nice and British, unlike with past relationships, Barney made serious efforts to drop his womanizing ways for her. He breaks up with her in season 6 after fearing making a commitment. He wins her back at the start of season 7, only for it to end when he cheats on her with Robin.
Barney's third serious girlfriend. She is a stripper at Barney's favorite club who managed to hustle him out of money after leading him on to believe that they were in a relationship. They eventually hook up due to their due to similar personalities. The two later become engaged, but call off the marriage due to their trust issues.
Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Robin's Betty for Barney's Archie, though in this case it wasn't so much a Love Triangle as it was part of the season 7 "bride mystery".
Birds of a Feather: She has a lot in common with Barney. Their similarities ironically ended up being why they were ultimately incompatible.
Two men who work with Barney and Marshall, initially at Altru Cell and then at GNB. Blauman works with Marshall in the legal department in both companies, while Bilson has a more ambiguous profession akin to Barney's. Initially, Bilson wanted to hire Sven to design the new GNB HQ, and dislikes all of Ted's proposals.
Continuity Snarl: When Marshall was still working for Nicholson, Hewitt & West Barney tells him the "Lesson of Blauman" - Blauman was supposedly shouted at by Bilson, got angry and quit, then urinated on a conference table, quit, and eventually died. However, once Marshall starts work at GNB, Blauman is not only alive, but still working there.
It could be justified given that Barney is a compulsive liar and often invents stories just to make a point with his theories. In fact, he made all that story about Blauman because he needed to justify "The Chain of Screaming".
Informed Ability: Both have been known to play early morning basketball with Marshall.
Only One Name: From the working environment they are only called by their surnames. As Barney gives Blauman's first name in his fictional tale it may not be real.
Future Ted: Kids, they say a man always makes one last big mistake before he finally settles down. And my last mistake... was Jeanette.
Ted's last girlfriend before meeting The Mother.
Clingy Jealous Girl: She thinks that Ted has a thing for Lily, and even after they break up, she tackles a woman Ted is speaking to and grabs Ted.
The Dreaded: Not only the rest of the gang hates her, but they're also afraid of her. When Ted let Marshall and Barney watch his apartment for a while, Jeannette shows up at the front door which scared the crap out of Marshall and Barney that they had to let her in to Ted's room and do whatever she wants over there.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Ted gives Jeannette a passionate speech about what love is: Trying to do anything in his power to make Robin happy even if All Love Is Unrequited, even if it's not to get the girl back. She still calls Ted "crazy" and throws the locket down the lake.
The Friend Nobody Likes: The rest of the gang hates her, but put up with her for Ted's sake. This is to the point where Robin and Barney's response to Ted breaking up with her is to jump up and down on the bed with a bottle of champagne, screaming "THEY BROKE UP!" in complete joy.
Karma Houdini: In only three episodes, she has caused more damage to Ted than anyone ever does (yes, this includes Lily). While she and Ted break up over all of that she never gets any retribution on it. Sadly justified, since she's a police officer and could easily lock and of the gang up in prison if they were to do anything in revenge.
Sixth Ranger Traitor: Despite that Ted wants to bring Jeannette to Barney and Robin's wedding as his plus-one, no wants her to hang out with her. After Ted finally decided not to go on dating again, Robin lets him recheck the wedding invitation.
Stalker with a Crush: She started following Ted when he appeared on the cover of New York Magazine, which happened a year and a half before they started dating. She even started a fire at Ted's University so that she could force an evacuation, allowing her to finally meet him. Ted sees it as Stalking Is Love.
The Unfettered: She stops at nothing to get what she wants. She even makes Barney look like a saint in comparison!
Woman Scorned: As Robin puts it, she is considered to be the No.1 worst ex-girlfriend that Ted ever had. She would all sorts of nasty stuff just to get Ted back, which includes wreaking his apartment.
Daphne (Sherri Shepherd)
Marshall's road trip companion, after Marshall made them both miss their flight.
Jerkass Has a Point: Calls Marshall out for accepting a job that could put his and Lily's plans in jeopardy without even discussing it with Lily first. "What the damn hell?!" indeed.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's a rude, abrasive Deadpan Snarker with a vengeful streak... who begins to mellow out towards Marshall, chats happily with Lily, and really wants to make it to her daughter's speech on time. Even when she tells Lily that Marshall accepted the judge job without consulting her first, she seems sorry after the fact, and for the most part had her heart in the right place.
Sassy Black Woman: Very boisterous and loud, she's happy to sass at Marshall the entire trip.
"Well Done, Mom" Gal: She wants to make it on time for her daughter's presentation because she missed a lot of her plays.
What the Hell, Hero?: Gives this to Marshall when she hears Marshall accepted a judge job without telling Lily.
Simon Tremblay (James Van Der Beek)
Robin's Canadian ex-boyfriend who appeared in her second Robin Sparkles' music video, "Sandcastles in the Sand" and is a member of the band, The Foreskins (responsible for the single, "Murder Train").
Deadpan Snarker: Just in his first appearance, he demonstrated his snarkiness when he asked Ted on what he would if he's a lifeguard.
Simon: Now, you got a bunch of dead kids piling up. And Robin has to report it, "This just in: my friend, Ted, killed a bunch of kids today".
Future Loser: He’s slowly balding and gains some weight but he still got his band. Then, averted in Season 9, where he cleans up and wears a suit after being engaged to Louis Marsh.
A Good Name for a Rock Band: For him (and also Robin), his band is called "The Foreskins". His explanation: They're four guys who don't wear shirts.
Kick the Dog: He dumped Robin twice in the same van for the same girl, Louis Marsh, and for the same reason (She had a pool/jacuzzi). Oh and he asked Robin to load the drum set in the van before she leaves.
Becky (Laura Bell Bundy)
Robin's former co-host in Come On, Get Up New York! as Don's replacement, who later becomes the face of Yatch commercials. She briefly dated Ted twice and by Season 9 she got engaged to The Captain.
Brainless Beauty: It's pretty clear she is only co-anchor because of her charisma on camera, rather than her abbilities as a reporter.
The Cutie: How everyone (except for Robin) sees her.
The Ditz: She is incapable as a news anchor, refusing to read "nasty" notes and is often telling her social life on air.
Genki Girl: Is always happy, perky and overemotional. Even in her commercial is strangely cheerful.
Man Child: Genderflipped. Is an incredibly childish woman, reacting to events in life with the same enthusiasm of a five-year-old. This is initially how Ted started dating her, until he realized he practically was babysitting her.
Nice Girl: Even thought she is a Woman Child, she still is a sweetheart to everyone (even to Robin). She bakes cookies and gets everyone on set in a good mood (except for Robin, of course).
Replacement Scrappy: Invoked by Robin. She dislikes her as Becky is her polar opposite in personality, and even more unprofessional than Don.
Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: Downplayed. When Robin asks her if she doesn't care that being in a commercial will make people to not take her seriously as a professional journalist. Beck handwaves this with "No, I'm pretty".