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YMMV: How I Met Your Mother
  • Acceptable Targets:
    • People from New Jersey and Canadians get a lot from the main characters.
      • Fun meta-irony, Cristin Milioti, who plays the Mother, is from Cherry Hill, NJ.
    • Also occasional jabs at the overweight. Vegetarians are also fair game.
    • They (specifically, Barney) like to portray Buffalonians as being true to their namesake in appearance. This could also be Barney being Barney, though.
  • Actor Shipping: Josh Randor and Cristin Milioti have gotten some of this due to their chemistry as Ted and the mother combined with some of the backlash against the finale.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Barney a selfish and contemptible jerkass who deserves what happens to him (i.e. being temporarily abandoned by Ted for sleeping with Robin, and getting banned from laser tag for assaulting children)? Or are his actions justified based on his crappy childhood and rejections, among other issues that make him fragile? His shrink thinks the latter, calling him "A narcissist with severe attachment disorder"
      • After The Reveal of his job in "Unpause" is it possible that all of his behavior over the past 15 years was an act and a part of his master plan to get revenge on the guy that stole his first girlfriend?
    • When Future Ted revealed all the amazing things Robin did over the years for his children, was it to fill the void of not having kids of her own, or did she do them just because she was being a good Honourary Aunt?
    • Lily's seen in-universe as a kind-hearted Team Mom (with Magnificent Bastard tendencies), but an alternate interpretation sees her a self-centered Bitch in Sheep's Clothing with an Informed Ability of magnificent bastardry. See Base Breaker.
      • Similarly, Marshall and Lily's relationship is sometimes seen less as sugary sweet perfect romance it's canonically considered and instead the pairing of a shrill harpy and a doormat settling for the first woman to sleep with him.
      • As suggested In-Universe, did she came back from San Francisco because she realized she made a mistake or did she just settle for Marshall after failing to make it as an artist?
    • Lily subjecting women the Ted dated to the Porch Test. Were they really unsuitable for Ted as she claims? Or is the Porch Test rooted in Lily's unconscious desire for a perfect family with a perfect father figure, something she never particularly had growing up? Considering that Ted often takes the role of the Team Dad in their group dynamic, it's hard not to see Lily's actions as being like a young child acting out and developing an irrational hatred of their parent's new partner.
    • Did Tony (and Stella) wrote The Wedding Bride as a Take That to Ted or did it just suffered from an In-Universe Executive Meddling because the film studio higher-ups want a Card-Carrying Villain for their film?
    • Was Victoria justified in telling Ted to stop being friends with Robin in order to be with her, considering the nature of his relationship with Robin?
    • The finale implies that Ted redevelops feelings for Robin after spending six years mourning the death of his wife. However to some viewers, it looks like Ted might have been in love with her all along and just waited a few years before asking her out because it's more sociably acceptable.:
      • Ted is a Manipulative Bastard whose plan all along was to use another woman to have the children he always wanted (due to the fact that Robin didn't want nor can have children), wait for the inevitable divorce between Barney and Robin, and then find a way to ditch his wife after Robin finally realized that she and Ted were "meant" to be together. Tracy's death was a fortunate turn of events in Ted's master plan.
      • Alternately, Ted is an Unreliable Narrator who exaggerated Barney's womanizing behavior and painted himself as the Dogged Nice Guy to his kids so they would root for him and Robin to be together even when he told them about how he couldn't let go of her when she had rejected him and fallen in love with Barney.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • The entire series wound up becoming this, with the fandom becoming increasingly fed up with only receiving a few minute hints as to the identity of the Mother prior to the season 8 finale. It got to the point that even the writers poked fun at Ted's story taking 9 years at the 2013 ComicCon by having Lynsey Fonseca & David Henrie reprising their roles as Ted's children after seven years & tear into him over it.
    • The Barney/Robin romance arc, with the writers constantly resorting to Unrequited Love Switcheroos to draw things out.
    • The writers continued to head back to the well with the Ted/Robin romance, long after the majority of fans had tired of it. That this was still going on in the eighth season, which was originally going to the final season before being renewed once again, led to some of the more fed-up fans beginning to call the show "How I Was In Love With Your Aunt Robin For 8 Years Before Settling For Your Mother" whilst other fans have commented that Ted/Robin make Ross and Rachel look like a one-night stand. But then, in the series finale, we learn that the Mother has been dead all along, and the reason Ted spent so much time telling his children about Aunt Robin under the guise of telling them how he met their mother was because he wants to know if they'd be okay with him dating "Aunt Robin." Your mileage may vary on whether this is Fridge Brilliance or the writers returning yet again to the tired old Ted/Robin romance.
    • In the season 6 premier, it was revealed that Ted met the Mother at a wedding, and it took a full seasons to reveal Barney was the groom, another season to reveal Robin was the bride, another season to reach the wedding, and then another season was spent at the wedding weekend. Keep in mind that a large number of fans considered the identities of the bride & groom to be The Unreveal.
    • Season 9 was accused of this when it first appeared (and was later confirmed by Bays & Thomas themselves) that the entire season would be told in the timespan of Barney and Robin's wedding.
      • This one is interesting and doubles as base breaking. Because of the small time span season 9 takes place over, it leads to bizarre mood changes for the characters. Such as James in one instance taking his relationship very seriously and only a few hours later he's making crude and mean jokes about the same topic.
      • Marshall's journey from Minnesota to Farhampton took over half of the season.
      • Season 9 occurring entirely during Barney and Robin's wedding is especially frustrating since the marriage ended ten minutes into the finale.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • Some complaints about the later seasons (about season five on) revolve around the fact that Ted starts sleeping around with a lot more random women and has fewer long term relationships (like Victoria, Robin and Stella) than actually looking for his soulmate. It undermines the premise of the show and harms Ted as a character, claiming to want to get married but is unwilling to make those steps. It's later addressed in season eight with the crazy Jeanette breaking him out of random dating and season nine has him almost hook up with Cassie and, looking back, is grateful he didn't because it would have left a black mark on the weekend where he met The Mother.
    • For viewers who were offended by Barney's "The Robin" play might've been relieved that in "The Bro Mitzvah" later on in the season, Robin majorly got back at him with a similar ploy on how she deliberately tried to make sure his bachelor party would end up incredibly awful.
    • After the very vocal negative reaction to the ending of the series, the revelation that the DVD releases will have an alternate ending to the series is likely intended to be one. Whilst the actual inclusion of the ending probably isn't intended to be one, the timing (Less than a week after the finale aired) is being viewed by a portion of the fans as an attempt to placate those angered by the endings.
      • The alternate ending has Ted and Tracy's wedding and a summary of the series and has been well received so far by fans.
  • Award Snub: As of 2010, Neil Patrick Harris has been nominated for four Emmys for HIMYM, but has lost all four times (to Jeremy Piven, Jon Cryer and Eric Stonestreet). However, Harris won two Emmys in 2010 for guest starring on Glee and hosting the 2009 Tonys.
  • Awesome Ego: Barney.
  • Awesome Music: Has a sub-page.
  • Base Breaker:
    • From the evidence on message boards, it seems that if you watch the show, you either love Lily and think she's a hilarious & endearing character and wonderful wife, or think she's a mean, shallow, selfish bitch who doesn't deserve Marshall.
    • Ted has a split similar to Lily's, but there's a notable trend for his haters to be extreme Barney fans. Given the fact that Ted and Lily are far less willing than Robin and Marshall to ignore Barney's bad behavior, it's hard to stop certain suspicions from emerging...
    • Stella. She became The Scrappy after "Shelter Island." About half the fanbase thinks "As Fast As She Can" redeemed her; the other half thinks it made her even WORSE.
    • The Mother. Some fans love her and think it was worth waiting 8 seasons to finally meet her, other fans think that she's an obnoxiously perfect Mary Sue / Relationship Sue.
    • Ted and Robin became this after the finale, or more specifically Ted. A large portion of the fanbase despises him for getting everything in the end, including Robin after The Mother passed away, but the rest of the fanbase seems to think that after nine seasons of being the Butt Monkey, nobody deserved the happy ending more than Ted, who mourned the death of his beloved wife for six years before even convincing himself that he told his kids the long-winded explanation of how he met their mother as a means of getting their permission to ask out their Aunt Robin.
  • Bellisario's Maxim Early on in the series, a running theme in the DVD commentaries was "Don't pull threads," which related to noticeable plot holes, or small Continuity snags which considering the nature of the show, & the rarity of these issues is quite amazing.
  • Better on DVD:
    • With all the Continuity Nods, Call Backs, Brick Jokes, and Running Gags, it's a lot easier to appreciate them, and by extension the show, when you watch the episodes in close succession.
    • After the series finale aired, Alyson Hannigan revealed in a Twitter post that the Season 9 DVD will contain a special feature that will finally explain where the Pineapple from "The Pineapple Incident" came from, and also mentioned that was at least 18 minutes worth of material cut from the episode for time restraints which will likely be on the DVD as well.
    • Carter Bays has revealed that they created an alternate ending that was "very different" from the ending that was used, and it will be included on the Season 9 DVD and Complete Series box set. Many fans who hated the series finale are hoping that the alternate ending will end the show on a better note. As it turns out, it does.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Barney and Robin's dance in the seventh season premiere. Very sudden, very elaborate and the rest of the reception joins in, and then completely ignored the second the song ends.
  • Broken Base:
    • The whole premise of the show being "How Ted Mosby met the mother of his future children" is a bit of a Love It or Hate It amongst viewers. It is either a very original premise for a Sitcom and a great way to make it popular amongst the Wild Mass Guessing crowd, or the biggest cause of Arc Fatigue and Fridge Logic in the show and makes some cynical viewers think that the show will never resolve that plot point because the show is too popular to end. Even more so during the finale when it was revealed that the show's story was always more about Ted's incredibly off-and-on relationship with Robin then him finding the mother of his children.
    • Robin's attitude towards her coworker Patrice. Although most people found it funny at first because of Smulder's over-the-top screams, some fans think the joke overstayed its welcome for way too long (right to the second to last episode!), and ultimately it did nothing but to show Robin being a colossal jerkass.
    • Barney's "The Robin" play while most fans saw it as this great romantic—albeit manipulative and underhanded— scheme and a major Crowning Moment Of Awesome for all of season 8, some fans... were less than thrilled, feeling that Barney had crossed the line.
    • The announcement of a spinoff named How I Met Your Dad has the fans split down the middle over whether it'll be independent enough of this show, or if it'll flop like the Friends spinoff, Joey. It's not helped by a notable portion of the fandom thinking it's going to be telling the story of how the mother met Ted, when it has been announced to focus on a new set of characters.
      • Even the fans that are aware of the fact that it's a new set of characters are split, some assuming/accusing that they are going to be clones off the existing cast.
    • When Lily left Marshall at the end of season 1, and Ted left a voicemail where it's heavily implied he called her a certain word. Lily (And the show) feel Ted is in the wrong, while Ted points out he made it while Marshall wouldn't stop moping, and Lily abandoned their wedding, meaning Marshall and Ted had to tell all of the relatives it was called off. Fandom is split between who's right, although the people who didn't side with Lily were happy that Marshall himself brought this up in Season 9, calling Lily out when she says that Marshall taking a financially stable job he's wanted for a long time over going with Lily to Italy to be "more selfish than anything she's ever done."
    • Lily and Marshall's argument in "Unpause," and who was ultimately more right.
    • The Finale. There are those who think it's a middle finger to the established relationships going into the finale and resetting Character Development and making characters forget lessons they've learned in order to fit an ending planned seven years ago despite it was not well suited for the story anymore (if ever)?. On the other hand there are fans who don't mind the concept behind the ending. However they feel the ending might've been at least a little less controversial if we had more than just one hour-long episode set in the future and less episodes on the wedding. Basically to make a long story short one known complaint was "So we got a whole season based off of 3 days but 16 years for only one hour long episode?". Overall there are those who hated the ending and everything about it, or those who didn't mind the idea of the ending but thought it was poorly executed. There's also those who think it was a good Bittersweet Ending that brought everything full circle, gave Ted the happy ending that nobody needed more than him and, when you really think about it, makes sense. Though this lot seem nearly non existent, it may be they're keeping quiet to hide from the onslaught of the other two very vocal and furious groups.
      • The announcement that the DVD releases will feature an alternate ending to the series. Whilst some fans are pleased about this, there are others saying it's too late for Bays & Thomas to try & Win Back the Crowd since they've already decided the show's canon ending, others accusing it of just being pandering to sell DVDs & get people to watch, those who liked it say the creators should stick to their original ending, others saying they'll only care if it's part of a recut of the finale, and others simply saying they'll just wait a few hours for someone to upload the clip onto the internet.
      • The clip is now uploaded, and has been far better received. But at the same time it's created its own break, between those willing to now cut the creators some slack, and those who refuse to and ask why the hell this obviously superior ending wasn't just used in the first place....and there are those who actually liked the original ending and consider the new one to be a sugar coated happy ending made just to please those who hated the original ending. The question of whether the finale managed to provide enough closure to Barney and Robin's divorce, or is simply too vague to infer anything is another major point of contention.
    • Lily's fate in the finale. Some fans accuse the show of sexism since they did not touch on her career as an art consultant and make us speculate what happens to her at the end, leading to some to fear that her life after Italy became one where she only exists to produce children for Marshall. Others, even detractors of the finale argue that her character arc was resolved the most smoothly or that it was consistent with the show's narrative at the end.
  • Cargo Ship:
    • Barney and his suits. Also his Playbook, to an an extent.
    • Ted/Empire State Building. A cop suspects Ted of being an objectophiliac.
    • A Crossover Cargo Ship paired Lily with flutes.
    • Marshall and his Fierro.
    • Robin and her guns.
    • Ranjit and his cars.
    • The Captain and his fixation with boats.
  • Crazy Awesome: Barney, apparently. During a joyful "you said I was crazy!" speech, he mentions that even his psychiatrist thinks he's crazy, then names the diagnosis: "narcissist with severe attachment disorder".
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The episode when Ted Mosby flies his mom and dad in. It's mentioned that they don't really talk about their problems. Barney sees Mr. Mosby making out with another woman in the bar, and tells Ted. When Ted confronts him, Ted's parents reveal they've been divorced for nine months (and separated for two years) and simply chose not to tell Ted. During the credits, Ted asks how Grandma is; she hasn't been returning his calls. His parents look uncomfortable.
    • Anything involving Barney and the women he sleeps with.
    • In Sorry, Bro when Lily finds out Ted is getting back together (again) with the pretentious, cheating beeyotch he dated in college: "Ted, honey, go outside and bite the curb, I'll be out in a minute..." Hahaha, oh, Lily- wait...
    • "Bang, bang, bangity-bang, I said a bang-bang bangity bang!"
      • "A bang bang bang"
    • In-universe in the "Blitzgiving" episode. The gang (minus Ted who want to sleep early) schemed to get back at Zoey for her attempt to ruin Ted's career, Barney suggested to tie her up to a bed, put candle wax on her and then, leave her outside but the gang finds it very extreme.
      • Even funnier because Barney didn't think about doing it to help Ted.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Nora is quite the popular character... except with militant Barney/Robin shippers who were enraged that she was his first serious girlfriend after their breakup.
    • Ever since the very first episode it's been evident that Ted will marry and have kids with someone else than Robin, so some Robin/Ted shippers have came up with the theory that eponymous Mother will eventually die, thus allowing Robin and Ted to get back together in the future. Aaaaand it happened.
    • A bizarre case with Marshall and Lily. In order to fantasize about a different girl to Lily, he has to kill her off in his fantasy first. While he sees it as the only way to be faithful, she is understandably disturbed. Somewhat resolved at the end of the episode with Stripper Lily.
    • The finale gives us one from the writers of all people, who not only divorce Robin and Barney despite having spent an entire season-and-a-half showcasing them as a couple, but also kill off The Mother so that Ted and Robin can be together.
  • Drinking Game: In the DVD commentary for the pilot, Neil Patrick Harris suggests one where viewers drink every time his character drinks following a punch line. Show creator Craig Thomas follows by suggesting a drink every time a characters says "awesome," but joked that it may actually cause alcohol poisoning.
  • Ear Worm:
    • The opening theme.
    • "Come on Jessica, come on Tori, let's go to the mall, you won't be sor-ey..."
    • "Two beavers are better than one..."
    • "Nothing suits me like... a... suuuuuuit!"
    • "And I will walk five hundred miles and I will walk five hundred more!"
    • "Barney Stinson, he's so awesome, AWESOOOMMMEEE!!!"
    • "Cat funeral... (meow meow meow)... cat funeral..."
    • In-universe: A-bang bang bangity bang a-bang bang bangity bang.
    • "You just got slaaaapped... across the face my friend!"
    • "MURDERRRRRRRRRRR!! CLIMB ABOARD THE MURDER TRAIN!!!"
  • Ending Aversion: The finale caused a major split in the fandom. Some critics have compared it to the endings of The Sopranos and LOST which also caused a Broken Base.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Ranjit, Wendy, Victoria, Tony, Randy, Brad.
    • Nora for being the most decent girl Barney has met, seeing through his tricks, and being British.
    • Although Quinn is disliked by Barney/Robin and Barney/Nora shippers, she does have her own fans who like her for her feistiness and the fact that she can match Barney when it comes to being cunning and manipulative.
    • Stan from "The Three Days Rule" is also somewhat popular, probably due to his sexy voice, recitation of Pablo Neruda, and being played by a pretty popular voice actor. One wonders how his date with Robin went...
    • Daphne, the Sassy Black Woman Marshall ends up hitching a ride with to get to the wedding in the ninth season.
    • Linus, the bartender giving Lily the Kennedy Package who has his own meme.
    • Cristin Milioti as the Mother. While reaction to Season 9 from fans and critics alike has been mixed, the praise for Milioti has been pretty close to universal. Even people who accuse the character of being a Mary Sue usually think her acting is spot on. For 8 years, fans wondered if any actress could possibly live up to all the hype and build-up. Milioti has. This is helped by "How Your Mother Met Me", an episode that the creators used to tie the mother into the show's mythology, basically explaining what she had been doing over the show's 8 years. Reception was uniformly positive. Ultimatly. the reception of the series finale shows how much most fans came to cared about the Mother when it was revealed that she died six years prior of Ted telling the story to his kids. Many, if not most of them, really would have much preferred to have them together till the end of the series.
    • Despite the finale having mixed reactions, most people liked the old lady Ted sat next to at the train station who got excited about Ted meeting The Mother.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • SO MANY theories about who the mother was and how Ted met her. Among this included "Bump Girl" from the episode "No Tomorrow," which has Ted at a bar bumping into a random girl and apologizing in stride, with the episode specifying that the mother was at that club on that night.
    • There were also some arguments that the mother is dead/died recently, and Ted is telling his kids the story of how they met to help cope with the grief of losing her. The ending to "Vesuvius" pointed in that direction and it ended true in the series finale, much to the disappointment and fury of many fans.
    • A pretty accepted in-universe explanation to why in the finale Future!Ted doesn't have Bob Saget's voice is that, up until then, the audience was literally inside Ted's mind while he was narrating the story, so Saget's voice is how Ted perceives his own voice. However, in the finale, the audiences POV finally leaves Ted's mind, so we get to listen to it as it actually is.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending:: Barney and Robin divorce and the Mother dies, all so that Robin and Ted can get back together 20 years in the future. By the reaction of the kids - literally "Mom's been dead for 6 years, yay go bang Aunt Robin Dad!" - this is meant to be the ultimate happy ending of two long-lost lovers. Meanwhile the blue french horn has become an object of derision and tragedy in the fan base and most viewers watching disintegrated into tears, yelling or both.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • The common aesop that love should be easy and you shouldn't have to change yourself for your partner is often criticized. It shows up several times throughout the series:
      • The episode "Double Date" ends with Ted ending it with a girl because he thinks that you shouldn't just accept your partner's flaws, but should naturally like them.
      • "Farhampton" has Klaus telling Ted of Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz, and says that if you don't know that you love someone the second you meet them, it's not true love.
    • "The Wedding Bride" establishes that everyone got some (emotional) baggage and it is good to find someone who will help you deal with it, which is nice. But the episode ends with Ted dumping Royce, his Girl of the Week, after she revealed she has other baggage. While Royce did have some serious baggage, it comes off that if a person has more than one baggage, they are not suited to be in a relationship.
    • "Murtaugh" puts the "Winning & losing doesn't matter, it's about having fun" mindset against the "Play to win, winning is fun" mentality. However, it plays them in such a way it approaches parody - the "Play to win" mentality is portrayed with Marshall being a Drill Sergeant Nasty when coaching Lily's kindergarten class how to play Basketball, whilst Lily's "It's about fun" mentality sees her not even bothering to try & teach her class how to play, just letting them run around aimlessly before giving them a reward for taking part. At the end of the episode, Marshall accepts that being rewarded for taking part isn't bad, but Lily still stands by her opinion that Marshall was completely wrong, which leaves us with the aesop "Winning and losing isn't important, because you'll be rewarded if you didn't even try in the first place". The lunacy of this is even lampshaded within the episode, as Marshall points out that you don't get handed things in the real world & you need to put work in to achieve your goals.
    • In "Bad Crazy" it's said that if a woman is acting crazy, the fault lies with the man that she's dating. This is one of the show's only examples of The Unfair Sex. Specifically, Robin accuses Ted of being responsible for Jeannette's insane behavior because he's been sending mixed signals to her... despite the fact that Jeannette stalked Ted for over a year and even started a fire so that she could meet him. The woman was obviously crazy long before she and Ted ever started dating.
    • After Marshall's co-worker Jenkins drunkenly kisses Marshall, her immediate reaction is to go to Lily, take full responsibility for what happened, and apologize like a reasonable adult. Lily's reaction is to beat the crap out of Jenkins while Barney takes pictures. The only moral here? The Aldrin-Ericksons are nuts.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • There's also a heated rivalry between fans the show and fans of Friends. Probably has something to do with the Take That made at season 2.
    • In its final season, the show earned the ire of some Marvel Cinematic Universe fans by keeping Cobie Smulders from making many appearances on the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Luckily, this only applied to that one year.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Barney/Robin, one of the main reasons for their popularity is the fact that they're Birds of a Feather. This is one of the reasons the finale was not received well by fans.
    • Ted/Victoria, partially because the characters are Birds of a Feather & paritally because Victoria would've been the Mother if the show didn't receive a second season. Interestingly, a number of people point specifically to 2005!Victoria, accusing 2012!Victoria of barely being the same character. In fact, people like them together so much that after the series finale, people are writing alternate endings where The Mother still dies, but he gets together with Victoria instead of Robin.
    • After The Reveal in the finale that the Mother died six years before Future!Ted began telling this story to his kids now, even Ted/Tracy qualifies as this as well. After being won over by Cristin Milloti's performance in the ninth season, many fans would've preferred that Tracy lived Happily Ever After with Ted in 2030 rather than literally dying for the Ted/Robin ship. And now, with the alternate ending, it seems that they've got what they wanted
  • Fanon: Although it's never stated what illness Tracy died from, the most common theory among fans is that it was cancer.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Do not mention "The Rough Patch" around Barney/Robin fans. Heck, even a bunch of fans who thought the whole relationship involved undoing most of what's good about Robin's character think "The Rough Patch" was a stupid way to end the first relationship.
    • From reactions to the series finale, most people have completely disregarded the final five minutes and instead prefer to end it at the scene where Ted meets Tracy at the train station. Some fans have even gone so far as to disregard both of the finale episodes so that Barney and Robin never get divorced, and Ted lives happily ever after with Tracy (the Mother) rather than her dying. The official alternate ending makes this much easier for fans who wanted Ted and Tracy to live Happily Ever After, though some fans still have to deal with Barney and Robin getting divorced. Through to be Fair, Future Ted's quote of things falling apart and being put back together that is said when we see Barney and Robin smile during his wedding with Tracy has been interpreted as them getting back together.
  • Fetish Retardant: Post break-up with Don Robin. As Barney puts it "you're giving me a de-rection". It should not be possible to uglify Cobie Smulders that much.
  • Flame War: You want to start one? Mention that you hate the finale, or conversely love it. Sit back and watch the fireworks. Discussions on it can get very nasty, very quickly.
  • Foe Yay: Daphne and Marshall, in a Vitriolic Best Buds kind of way. Her constantly talking about "all the sex we're going to have tonight" while she's pretending to be Lily could be viewed as her trying to hit on him. Or maybe she just wants to trip him up. (Or both.)
  • Friendly Fandoms: In stark contrast to Friends fans, the show's fans and Cheers fans are more civil with each other. Must have something to do with hanging out at bars!
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • A season 1 episode has Barney courting a bridesmaid, his excuse for never seeing her again being that in the morning he's shipping out with the Peace Corps for two years. We find out mere episodes later that his Start of Darkness was getting stood up by his girlfriend the day they were supposed to ship out with the Peace Corps together for two years.
    • In "Double Date" Marshall explains how a husband like him fantasizes about other women than Lily: First he has to kill Lily off via Soap Opera Disease, then lets "an appropriate amount of years" slip until said other woman reappears in his life and they can get it on. Of course everybody around Marshall agrees that this is ridiculous, disturbing, sad etc.. And it bears an uncanny resemblance to what the writers eventually do to Tracy/The Mother in order to have Ted end up with Robin. What's really disturbing is that given the fact that the kids' final scene of "Lol, Mom's been dead for six years, go plough Aunt Robin like a cornfield" had already been filmed, this fantasy was probably completely intended to be Foreshadowing. Bleaugh.
    • Ted's kids, asking "Are we being punished or something?" and rolling their eyes at the beginning of the story looks pretty darn callous knowing that their wonderful, saintly mother is actually dead.
  • Growing the Beard: Generally considered to be "Slap Bet," although other popular choices are "Drumroll, Please" and "The Pinneaple Incident", the latter of which was the first episode in the series to use Anachronic Order.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Immediately before his first date with Stella, Ted acknowledges—for probability's sake—that the relationship will probably end on a bad note.
      • He also states that if their relationship does end, it won't be because of some stupid rule. Stella leaves Ted at the altar because he broke the rule about not bringing exes to your wedding.
    • Several times during the first few seasons, Robin talks about she doesn't want kids. It's even the biggest reason she and Ted broke up. In season seven, she learns she can't have kids.
    • Scooter, Lily's ex-boyfriend, is shown as still hopelessly in love with her. A season 8 episode reveals that she essentially forced him into being her boyfriend (out of sheer terror), and his status as a Hopeless Suitor or Stalker with a Crush is almost a form of Stockholm Syndrome.
    • Marshall feeling neglected by Lily while she's doing her job as an art consultant gets much harsher when it's revealed that he fears that he (and their life together) is nothing more than a "consolation prize" to her after failing as an artist.
    • In "The Perfect Week," Barney is secretly fretting that he might lose his job. "Unpause" finally shows us his job which is being the fall guy for GNB's illegal activities. As such he wasn't just risking losing his job, but probably going to jail for a very long time.
    • Ted's anger at Barney in the final episodes of the third season due to Barney's sleeping with Robin becomes incredibly hypocritical when you realise that Ted spends a large chunk of the last half of season 8 & the majority of season 9 hoping that Robin would realise she loves Ted instead of Barney & call off their wedding; and that when Ted starts pursuing Robin again in the final moments of the series, he's doing the exact same thing that Barney did to (temporarily) ruin their friendship - dating his best friend's ex.
    • In Not a Father's Day, Ted tells Robin it's a good thing she's not a mother because she is such a cold person. Pretty harsh when you find out that she can't have kids.
    • Post-finale a moment in Shelter Island becomes this. When Ted imagines how life would be different if he'd married Stella the daydream includes having a wife who's still alive.
    • In season 5, during a flashback, Lily wants to take a group shot of the gang to commemorate Robin's naturalization in her scrapbook, but she doesn't want Robin and Barney—who were dating at the time—to sit next to each other and look couple-y. She exclaims, "Of course I don't [want you and Barney to look like a couple in this picture]! You two aren't going to last. I'm going for timeless here," a sentiment that Robin and Barney agree with. It's not as harsh when they break up the first time, but it is very harsh when in the series finale it is revealed that after three years of marriage, they decided to divorce.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Future!Ted mentions in Season 6 that he met his future wife at a wedding. If the show hadn't been renewed for a second season, Victoria would have been the Mother, with Victoria & Ted's first meeting being at Stuart and Claudia's wedding.
    • One of the first lines of the series is Ted's daughter asking if Ted's story is going to take a while. It takes him 9 seasons to actually tell the story.
    • Not that watching a gay man play straight is hilarious, but much like his role in the Harold and Kumar series, the extreme degree to which Neil Patrick Harris's character womanizes was cast in a humorous, ironic light after the actor announced his homosexuality.
    • Pre-infamous-Jason Segel-nudity-in-Forgetting Sarah Marshall:
    Barney: [after being slapped in the face by Marshall] Ow. Your hand is monstrous.
    Marshall: Well, what did you expect, you've seen my penis.
    • In Season 3's "How I Met Everyone Else", Blah Blah is about to ask Robin how she and Barney met, assuming that they're a couple and then, Robin vehemently said "No", sixteen times. Of course, they did end up together eventually.
    • Barney's insisting that no one should have children until they're at least 45. He was already expecting twins at the age of 37 when that episode aired.
    • This exchange, considering Neil Patrick Harris would go on to star in the newest Smurf movie 5 years later.
    Lily: No, friends make each other feel good. They build each other up and support them. That's what being a good friend is about.
    Barney: Yeah, if you're a SMURF.
    • Barney's habit of mocking Canada just gets even more hilarious after the revelation that he's one-quarter Canadian.
      • The show's habit of mocking New Jersey as well, since Cristin Millioti is from there.
    • Ted had a date with a girl named Cindy who spent their entire date bitching about her roommate (The Mother) and being jealous over her love-life. When we met her again two seasons later she was on a date with another woman. This quickly raised the suspicion that there was another reason for her obsession, which was finally confirmed in the 200th episode.
    • In the fourth season, Barney insists that girls whose names end in -ly are always dirty, and gives off a list of examples: "Holly, Kelly, Carly, Lily". Four years later, his half-sister Carly hooks up with Ted on a one-night stand.
    • One episode shows a picture of Robin appearing on Letterman. In real life around the week later Cobie Smulders appeared on that show to talk about her role in the Avengers movie.
    • On season 6,"Unfinished", Barney walks in to Ted's classroom. Think of his reaction, considering Josh Radnor's film from 2 years later, Liberal Arts.
    Ted:"What are you doing here? Oh god, you’re dating one of my students. It's Rachel, isn’t it? Barney, I know she wears provocative sweaters, but she's 19!"
    • In a season 5 episode, Ted tells to Barney "You can't just tack on a new ending because you're not satisfied with how a story wraps up". Considering of many fix fics had been written after the finale aired.
    • In the finale, Barney makes a remark about entering his "Clooney years", when referring to being middle-aged and single. Barely a month later and George Clooney is engaged to activist Amal Alamuddin.
    • Ted's doppelganger is "Mexican Wrestler Ted." During the 2014 World Cup, the Mexican Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa is noticed for his uncanny resemblance to Ted, hence becoming Mexican Goalkeeper Ted.
  • Ho Yay: See the page.
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • Ted is treated as an ignorant jerk for still seeing Heather as an irresponsible teenager. This is despite the fact that she really does have a very long history of being irresponsible. And the way she decides to prove Ted wrong is to have Barney and herself undressed in his office, get caught by Lily, and then accuse Ted of being a jerk for making the obvious assumption that they had sex. Yeah, way to prove you're a smart, mature adult Heather.
    • When Barney gives Marshall relationship advice, everyone says they shouldn't listen to Barney and his advice is always awful. Sure enough, Marshall listening to Barney winds up getting him in the dog house with Lily and everyone agrees Barney's advice is wrong. Except... Marshall didn't listen to Barney's advice. He went completely off-script and that's why Lily got so mad. While Barney's advice may not have been helpful, it's not its fault because Marshall didn't actually follow it.
    • Barney & Robin are painted as being in the wrong for refusing to go on another double-date with Marshall & Lily after their horrific first double-date.
    • Ted was treated like a bad guy for having left a message insulting Lily after she broke off her and Marshall's engagement and left to San Francisco, even though the message was left during the summer when Ted was trying to get Marshall to stop moping about Lily leaving, and most people who weren't fond of Ted would have agreed with him.
    • After a little talk with ghosts Lily and his father, Marshall faults himself for bringing up the whole San Francisco debacle at Lily seven years after the event. His self-guilt rings hollow, however, since he had every right to bring it up when Lily claimed that she has never acted as selfish as him, and furthermore, Lily herself had proven unable to answer his question—whether he and Marvin are just consolation prize after her failure at the art school in SF. The later episode "Daisy" paints Marshall not only wrong for questioning Lily's devotion to their family, but also wrong about staying in NYC and becoming a judge, as he quickly changes his opinion and they wind up spending the year in Italy after finding out she's pregnant again - something that reinforces every reason Marshall had given to stay in New York.
    • In the finale, Robin focusing on her career ends up ruining her marriage with Barney and her relationships with all of her friends, and she ends up miserable and unfulfilled because of it. Meanwhile she ends up regretting not being with Ted, the guy who always wanted to settle down, and the show ends with him trying to get her back, as if settling down was the right thing for her all along. Never mind the fact that she's always loved her career and had big dreams for it, and her friends have always known this and been supportive of her, suddenly her friends are all calling her "cold" for pursuing it and Barney divorces her for having to travel even though that's her job, she's always wanted to, he knew she loved her career when he married her (hell, he proposed to her on the roof of the building she worked at), and had even helped her get a job at one point because it was so important to her. All because he couldn't post a boner joke. Real mature, Barney.
    • Barney is also considered wrong in this case. However the finale basically shows that Barney, after destroying GNB, has followed Robin for her job. The only thing he has that's his is his blog and he is essentially putting his life on hold, whatever that life may be, and become little more than Robin's luggage. Robin's propensity for taking any news story that was offered and trotting the globe reporting on said story, while Barney has little else to do but wait for her to finish is shown to have a major strain on their relationship. Barney feels his identity as anything other than Mister Robin Scherbatsky is slipping away so to him, honestly the boner joke mattered.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • When the Facebook page of the show put a picture of Cristin Milioti as the Mother, showing clearly her face & making it very clear who the character was, right after the Season 8 finale, a lot of people who hadn't watched the episode yet called CBS on the blatant spoiler, especially the audience from outside the US. Understandably, they weren't happy.
    • Good lord, the series' ending. Minutes before the finale was officially over, Internet forums were already flooded with angry fans who felt that the weak and glossed-over reveal that the mother had been dead for six years by the time Ted was telling the story and Ted's subsequent play to get back together with Robin made the entire series a massive case of Shoot the Shaggy Dog, since the Book Ends ending rendered every relationship Ted had throughout the course of the series, including the mother herself, as well as Robin and Barney's relationship totally pointless. Still more fans were extremely pissed that the mother, who had spent an entire season undergoing some remarkably deep Character Development, ended up as little more than a tragic victim of the writers' own Ted/Robin shipping.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Lily & Marshall get back together after the first season finale, and get married in the second season.
    • Robin isn't the Mother, but this really only applies to the Pilot.
    • Every girl Ted dates before the final season not being the Mother.
    • It's impossible to discuss the plot of the ninth season without mentioning it takes place entirely at Barney & Robin's wedding.
    • The backlash to the events of the series finale received a huge amount of media and social coverage which likely means it'll be difficult to avoid hearing about for new viewers.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Barney. He has done some absolutely horrible things with absolutely no compunctions, but he's really a very broken man with a lot of issues because of events in his life.
    • Lily. Despite all her manipulative Bitch in Sheep's Clothing moments and the times she can be incredibly selfish or self-absorbed and generally unlikable, she has a Straw Feminist mother and her father was neglectful and barely ever there for her as she grew up and this has haunted her throughout her life.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Barney's shipped with everyone, and that includes several characters from other fandoms.
  • Love It or Hate It: The finale. Ted moving on from the death of the Mother to renew a relationship with Robin is, depending on what side of the fandom you sit, either a fitting end to a story that was really all about the relationship between Ted and Robin, or is a complete betrayal and abandonment of all the character development between the characters throughout the series.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Barney, especially in the episode "The Playbook". "The Scuba Diver" is one mean Batman Gambit.
      • "The Final Page" reveals the bulk of the first half of Season 8 to be one huge example of how magnificent a bastard he truly is.
      • The Reveal from "Unpause" unquestionably cements Barney in this category.
    • Also Lily to a lesser extent.
  • Mary Sue:
    • The Mother. Every time she appears she tends to be almost impossibly nice and perfect, in every first meeting with the main cast she ends up helping them through some current dilemma they are facing. The most significant one being that she could see straight through Barney's antics and inspired him to write "The Robin" play. Also a Relationship Sue, a Sympathetic Sue and a Purity Sue. Some additional flaws are added as she is seen more and more, but they are along the lines of "struggles with confrontation" and taking years to move on after a beloved boyfriend died in an accident.
      • From a more in-universe point of view, it makes sense that she's portrayed that way, considering future Ted is narrating the story. He's been constantly idealizing her throughout the whole series. Why stop at the moment she actually enters the scene?
      • Adding to this, the fact that she is later revealed to have been dead for six years, it makes even more sense that Ted would idealise her. And even moreso when you consider the idea that the whole story is just his way to butter up the kids so that they'd be supportive of his pursuing a relationship with Robin�he's making sure they know he holds their mother in high regard so they don't feel like he's trying to replace her!
    • Those who disliked Nora in seasons 6 and 7 felt like she was this. This is even lampshaded by a jealous Robin in "Noretta."
  • Memetic Mutation: Like so many shows, HIMYM fans have their very own private jokes.
    • [salutes] Private Jokes.
    Lilly: You don't salute privates!
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • The series' actual fanbase, who take The Bro Code seriously and quote it regularly. The IRL book version of The Bro Code appears in the humor section of the bookstore for a reason.
  • Moe: The Mother
  • Narm:
    • Season 9's "Bedtime Stories" - an episode entirely told in rhyme. The general consensus is that the gimmick got old very quickly, especially any moments that were supposed to be dramatic, touching, or have significance.
    • In the season 9 episode "Sunrise" the episode ends with Robin floating away like a balloon while "Eternal Flame" plays, symbolizing the fact that Ted has let her go. Although it was meant to be a touching scene, many fans found it unintentionally funny. One Reddit user joked "Robin has to go now. Her planet needs her" while another said "Robin got raptured!"
    • In the final episode, the extremely awkward interaction between Ted and his kids at the end of the story. It's bad enough that we're suddenly seeing and hearing Josh Radnor in old makeup rather than Bob Saget, but it's not convincing at all that he's in the same room with the kids, whose side of the scene was shot early in the show's run.
  • Narm Charm: In "The Front Porch", Ted muted the TV before Robin's morning show started just after he found out that Lily sabotaged several of his relationships. Their argument was very intense and serious but the hijinks in Robin's show on the background (such as the chef of the cooking segment getting his sleeves on fire while Robin tries to put them out, the weatherman having a heart attack and Robin delivering a baby live on camera) lowered the dramatic tension in a good way.
  • Nausea Fuel: Barney piercing his own ear. Sure it may be humorous, but look closely at the towel he's holding to his ear right after he does it. There is a LOT of blood on it. Then the piercing becomes infected, and gets redder as the episode progresses. Ouch.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Taxi/limo/anything driver Ranjit shows up at various points in the series, always willing to drive the main cast anywhere in his trusty vehicle, whatever it might be at the time.
    • Stan the security guard reciting Pablo Neruda and later on taking Robin out on a date!
    • The old woman in the series finale who becomes a Shipper on Deck for Ted and the Mother. Even with how controversial the ending was, everyone seems to love her.
  • OT3: Barney/Robin/Ted.
    Victoria: Who's Barney's ex?
    Ted: Robin.
    Victoria: Your Robin?
    Ted: Mine and Barney's Robin.
    Victoria: Aaaaand we have weird.
    • Also, Marshall/Lily/Ted:
    Marshall: Deep in the Amazon rainforest, there is a tree that only grows around the body of an existing tree. It cannot survive without this tree; it's supported by this tree. Lily, we are that tree... we grew around Ted and without him we're slowly dying!
    • One might even speculate that part of the reason Ted's romances keep failing is because he's entangled in two OT3's and can't focus on a person from outside of his group. He even explicitly declares that he will never get serious with a woman who doesn't like his friends.
  • Painful Rhyme: Deliberately played with in the first verse of "Let's Go To The Mall". The lyrics wouldn't normally rhyme, but in a thick Canadian accent, they do.
    Come on Jessica, come on Tori
    Let's go to the mall, you won't be soree
    Put on your jelly bracelets and your cool graffiti coat
    At the mall, having fun is what it's all aboat
  • Relationship Sue: Pretty much by necessity, the mother. Ted's gone through so many women and pretty much the first thing known about the mother is that she's not only a good person, but specifically the perfect person for Ted. The 200th episode also reveals her being a Celibate Heroine for years, grieving after her (perfect) first love's death, then later settling for a (perfect) Romantic False Lead for some time. While it can be viewed as an explanation why she hadn't got married much earlier (since almost anybody would want her), it also looks suspiciously like her dating only two men in life is set to be perfect and played for My Girl Is Not a Slut appeal (instead of, say, sleeping around, like Ted did).
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: "As Fast As She Can" redeemed Stella in the eyes of some. However, "The Wedding Bride" may have undone this. While Tony wrote the movie, the details could have only come from Stella.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Often jokes will come back, or ideas will come back, from months and years earlier, but even rewatched a singular series, a lot of gags and themes surface. An example being The Arcadian in season 6, which is casually mentioned in Subway Wars, by Ted, but then becomes a key part of almost all of the conflict in that particular series.
    • Looking back at the series, there are actually a lot of things that foreshadowed the eventual twist ending the writers had in mind. Ted asks Robin to be his back-up wife, Barney suggests having Robin until she's 40 and then Ted can have her, Marshall's fantasy described above...
  • Ron the Death Eater: Lily. While she's done some fairly selfish things before, they're much more uncommon than some of her detractors claim. She is often portrayed as a bratty, shrill harpy by parts of the fanbase as opposed to the decently loving and nurturing wife as the show tries to portray her.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Zoey who manipulated Ted, lied to him, tried to ruin his career and when he said "no" to saving the Arcadian, she revealed she kept the recording of Ted praising the Arcadian despite promising to erase it.
    • Don, a sleazy idiot with a cavalry's worth of informed ability. Being the first guy to date Robin after the break-up of Fan-Preferred Couple Barney/Robin didn't help matters.
    • Stella became this after "Shelter Island". And just when "As Fast As She Can" allowed to some to forgive, "The Wedding Bride" threw her right back to Scrappy. Whilst it was her husband who wrote the film, many details could have only come from Stella. So she dumped him at the altar and then helped her husband slander him as the villain in a hit movie. That's stone cold.
    • Quinn, naturally became this to Barney/Robin shippers and Barney/Nora supporters.
    • Lily became this for some viewers at the end of season 1 when she broke up with Marshall so that she could "discover herself" by going to art school in San Francisco. It should be noted that there are fans who consider Lily a Scrappy, but cite other incidents from later in the series, the most common offenders being the Front Porch Test & nearly walking out on her marriage whilst Marshall was struggling with the death of his father.
    • Jeanette. In-Universe, she is utterly despised by everyone in the gang except Ted.
    • Both Ted and Robin gets this to those who hated the finale. A lot of detractors of the finale despise Ted(or at least how he was portrayed in the finale) for getting everything he wants, including Robin, who he is accused of not moving on from after Tracy's death(a fact that is never called out on by his children, who actually encourage him to go after Robin). Robin is also accused of getting everything as the finale, as the entire series created the notion of her taking two years of trying to get back with Barney, only to push divorce him once they get married and focus on her career, makes Robin look like a self-entitled shrew who only wants what she can't have. Not helped by the fact that she complains how she should've married Ted when he's with Tracy, despite once outright telling the poor guy that she doesn't love him. And yet at the end she's still rewarded with another chance with Ted.
    • Ted's kids, due to perceived Lack of Empathy shown to their mother's death and their eagerness for ted to get back together with Robin.
  • Seasonal Rot: Season 5 got a bit stale most especially after Barney and Robin had their first break-up. The writers attempted to undo the damage in Season 6 by introducing the arcs on Marshall and Lily's efforts to conceive and Barney meeting his real father etc. Season 7 focused more on Barney's and Robin's relationships which made Ted Out of Focus for a while. Then, Season 8 and 9 managed to restore the balance by building up the first meeting between Ted and the Mother. Despite the efforts to increase the dwindling ratings and to prevent the show from getting cancelled, the later seasons are considered to be lackluster by critics and viewers due the mentioned examples of Arc Fatigue above.
  • Shipping Bed Death: In season 5, Barney and Robin. After a season and a half of Ship Teases, it was clear that writers didn't know what to do with them as a couple, leading to "The Rough Patch." However, when they get back together in season 8, the writers seemed to have figured out how to portray their relationship in a much better manner, keeping their identities intact while still making it seem like they match.
  • Ships That Pass In The Night: The fandom frequently paired Carl with Wendy, despite zero canon evidence of them being interested in each other. And that she ends up marrying some other guy.
  • Ship Tease:
    • They sure do have fun teasing Barney/Lily like crazy... of course, it will never happen.
    • Barney/Robin got some in the episode "Zip, Zip, Zip." They also get some two seasons later... in the episode they actually hooked up. The tease allowed the actual hookup to be a surprise.
  • Shocking Swerve: The mother dies. Barney and Robin divorce. The gang splits up and don't see each other for years. Did Vince Russo write the ending? It should be noted that scenes from the finale were filmed back during season 2 to have the kids stay the same age. As such, the finale was largely planned seven years prior, not planning for how much the show and characters have evolved.
  • Signature Scene
    • Season 1:
      • Ted stealing the blue French horn from a bistro.
      • Natalie's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Ted.
      • Ted and Victoria's first meeting.
      • Ted and Victoria's Big Damn Kiss.
      • Barney's "Evil Makeover" montage when he was telling the story of his Start of Darkness.
      • Ted making it rain and hooking-up with Robin.
      • Marshall showing Ted Lilly's disowned engagement ring (they got better).
    • Season 2:
      • The Reveal of Robin's Idol Singer past.
      • Marshall slapping Barney for the very first time.
      • Marshall and Lilly's wedding.
      • Ted and Robin breaking up.
    • Season 3:
      • Ted and Stella's two-minute date.
      • Robin and Barney hooking-up.
      • Ted and Barney's fallout.
      • Ted and Barney's almost simultaneous road accidents.
      • Ted and Barney's reconciliation.
    • Season 4:
      • Stella abandoning Ted at the altar.
      • Ted vs. Missy the Goat.
      • Robin and Barney's Big Damn Kiss.
      • The gang jumping one-by-one from their apartment patio towards their neighbor's concluding with a montage of Ted accepting the teacher job.
    • Season 5:
      • Ted teaching in the wrong classroom in his first day of work.
      • Ted going on a blind date with a girl he already dated seven years earlier.
      • Barney and Robin's break-up.
      • Every doppelganger appearances.
      • Barney's "Nothing Suits You Like a Suit" music number.
      • The Wedding Bride episode.
    • Season 6:
      • Lilly breaking the news to Marshall that his father died of heart-attack.
      • Barney meeting his father for the very first time and his What the Hell, Dad? rant to him.
      • Lily finding out that she's pregnant.
      • The Reveal of who's the groom of the wedding where Ted will eventually meet the mother.
    • Season 7:
      • Ted and Victoria's reunion.
      • Robin finding out that she can't have children.
      • Robin rejecting Ted.
      • Robin leaving Ted's apartment in the tune of Shake It Out.
      • Lily giving birth.
      • Victoria running away with Ted.
      • The Reveal of who's the bride of the wedding where Ted will eventually meet the mother.
    • Season 8:
      • The train station scene where Ted and the mother will meet for the first time.
      • Ted and Victoria's final break-up.
      • The very epic Wacky Marriage Proposal of the aforementioned groom to the aforementioned bride.
      • Ted's epic "World of Cardboard" Speech to Robin.
      • The Mother's very first appearance.
    • Season 9:
      • Pretty much every appearance of the Mother, but specially how she meets each member of the gang, plus the final scenes of "How Your Mother Met Me".
      • Ted and Robin's conversation at the beach in "Sunrise".
      • Marshall and Lily's "You are being selfish" argument.
      • The aforementioned wedding taking place.
      • Barney's scene with his daughter.
      • The much anticipated meeting of Ted and The Mother.
      • For better or for worse, the very last scene of the show.
      • The alternate ending.
  • Squick:
    • Marshall trying to produce a sperm sample in the bathroom, while his mother stands outside and tells him about a new bikini she bought and how good she looks in it.
    • Robin's favorite sex act "The Old King Clancy".
      • Though the above is not described, Urban Dictionary does have a definition...
    • As the show goes on, it has been an increasingly common fan-reaction to the potential Fridge Logic / Fridge Horror that Future Ted is telling his kids about the many women that he bedded before their mother (including their Aunt Robin.)
    • Both in and out of universe (but especially within universe): Mickey's line in "The Over-Correction": "We're family... with benefits."
    • In the Comic-Con trailer, "Luke" and "Leia" tell their father that because they have been listening to the long, drawn-out story, they have not been able to go to the bathroom and have had to resort to going #2 in a bucket, cultivating a spider-farm in their "World's Greatest Dad" mug, living off rain-water, "Luke" having the hots for his sister much to his horror, and having to hear their beloved father bang "an endless parade of sluts".
    • In-universe when Barney discovers the naked pictures of the girl that Ted is dating on his phone are of his sister.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • In "The Lighthouse" (Season 9), the top of said lighthouse looks... pretty fake in the close shots.
    • In "Come On" at the end of Season 1 when Ted is doing his rain-dance, the camera angle makes it quite clear in some shots that they're not actually on a roof, with the backdrop of what is supposedly the skyline revealed as 2-D.
    • Future!Ted's grey hair in the series finale looks more blue than grey.
    • Also in the finale, the scene with Future!Ted and the kids, which uses scenes that were recorded 7 years earlier. It doesn't feel like they really are in the same room. Specially jarring if we consider that it's a simple shot-countershot.
  • Stock Footage Failure: A brief Establishing Shot in "Baby Talk" ostensibly shows Marshall's old high school in Minnesota, but the flag flying outside is clearly Quebec's.
  • Strangled by the Red String: The Mother dies and Barney & Robin get a divorce, all so Ted & Robin can get back together.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Lily & Marshall's fight in "Unpause," when he responds to Lily's claim that she's never been selfish in their relationship by pointing out that she dumped him less than two months before they were going to be married & ran off to San Francisco to try to be an artist has been universally praised by the fans who hate Lily due to her selfishness & Bitch in Sheep's Clothing status for doing this. Whether that was the intention of the writers or their intent was to have the viewer side with Lily is debatable.
    • The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue from "Gary Blauman" brings back Zoey for a brief scene and shows her attempting to lead a crusade for saving an endangered species of hawk only to be savagely attacked by said hawk. Most people didn't mind.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Detractors of the finale have accused this of being done to the Mother, as the chemistry between her and Ted built up in the scenes in the future and during the finale when they finally meet was well-received, only for said character to have been revealed to have been Dead All Along and possibily was only a plot device for Ted to get back with Robin.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: One of the complaints about the series finale is that the show tries to cram 17 years of story into 42 minutes after spending an entire season on one weekend. Subsequently, what would have made for interesting viewing (such as Barney becoming a father or Ted coping with the death of his wife) instead rings hollow because the episode quickly glosses over certain major events in order to get to Ted & Robin getting back together.
    • With the alternate ending, some fans felt that the implication that Barney and Robin got back together not long after Ted's wedding to Tracy should have been more developed given the vagueness of the implication. Through to be fair, given the fact that the creators only had 5 minutes, there wasn't much room for them to manuver unless they fully reshoot the finale episode.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Quinn was introduced to the show not long after fan favorite Nora was written out after breaking up with Barney. It didn't help that her introduction involved being demeaning to Barney, and then hustling him out of his money. Compare this to Nora, who was probably the one good thing that was happening to Barney in a season long of deconstructing his personality and Quinn being another obstacle in the way of Barney getting back with Robin.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Fans of the finale have claimed this, saying that people who didn't like it obviously can't appreciate a well-written 'realistic' ending. Opposed fans have responded that A) while the Barney/Robin divorce and mothers death may have been realistic, Ted ending up with the girl who rejected him hundreds of times twenty years ago wasn't, and B) fans of a sitcom with musical numbers and time travel weren't looking a gritty, realistic ending.]]
    • Tastes Like Diabetes: Fans of the actual finale and even some detractors have accused the alternate ending of having this, in that it downplayed or even sacrificed all the indications of the mother's death and even some of the show's themes to throw together an generic unambiguous happy ending just to please those who hated the finale.
  • Uncanny Valley: In the season six episode "Baby Talk" Marshall imagines his daughter marrying Barney who appears to have maintained his good looks by a permanent botox. His face appears to be made of plastic, and it does not move at all. Take a look.
  • Unfortunate Implications:
    • The Season 9 episode, Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra, got a lot of criticism on the Yellow Face. Carter Bays admits that they were trying to pay homage to the Kung Fu movies that they grew up on and apologized to people who were offended. [1]
    • One of the main reasons why the finale got such a huge Internet Backdraft is that several of the story lines ended up giving this vibe. [2] For example:
      • Robin: She gets the career she always dreamed of, but it destroys her marriage, isolates her from her friends and makes her regret not loving Ted back. However, the ending tells us she finds happiness when Ted "saves her" from her loneliness.
      • Ted: After eight seasons of build-up (plus one of Character Development), the Mother is reduced to a means for Ted to have children. After her death, Ted and Robin get together, implying that he can never get over his feelings for her, which raises the question of whether Tracy really was the true love of his life. [3] [4]
      • Barney: The fact that Barney goes back to his womanizer ways after the divorce was bad enough, specially considering that was NOT what destroyed his marriage. But for a lot of people that was nothing compared to the fact that, what changes him for good, is having a daughter out of a one-night stand. First because we not only don't know ANYTHING about said one-night stand (not even her name), but the script is written in a way that heavily implies that that doesn't matter in the slightest. And second, because children was precisely the one thing that Robin COULDN'T give him, and thus devaluing her as a character even more. Plus, his becoming a slutshamer thanks to his daughter's birth, which we're supposed to support.
      • Lily: After spending one year in Italy, the ending doesn't show her doing anything else with her life but giving birth to a third child, supporting Marshall's career, and finally not having any more marriage problems. Although that was probably due to time constrains in an already packed finale, some people saw it as a case of Stay in the Kitchen.
      • The Mother; She gives Ted his dream, with the domestic life and children he always wanted - Children being the thing Robin could never give him Then she dies, Ted tells the kids about how he could never get over Robin, and runs off to live Happily Ever After with her, basically making it seem that The Mother was only there to pop out kids for him and a standby until Robin was available again. Some reviews have straight-out dubbed The Mother, 'The Uterus'.
      • Between Barney only being redeemed by his daughter with an unnamed woman, Robin's loneliness because she didn't choose/couldn't have the conventional 2.5 kids-white picket fence life, the Mother being treated as a plot device to give Ted children, and Lily's only future having more kids, there's a definite vibe that women are only valued for the babies they produce.
    • Over the course of the entire series it's a repeatedly established fact that Robin and Ted are incompatible, and it's only the day where he lets her go for good that he finally meets the one true love of his life. One of the main aesops that can be taken from the series was that letting go of someone who doesn't love you back is for the better. Only that it turns out that even after successfully making it through a very long and successful relationship and marriage with Tracy, he never truly did let go of Robin, and in the end Ted is actually rewarded for it.
    • The story of "How I Met your Mother" as told by Future!Ted is not really the retelling of the fond memories of his dead wife, but is in fact Ted asking his kids' permission to ask out Future!Robin.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Cassie was supposed to be annoying, but actually goes through some serious hardships in one day (fired from her job, dumped by her boyfriend, learns her uncle died). The focus was on Ted being stuck as her confidant, when the initial intention was a meaningless wedding hook up. Ted was supposed to be the one to empathize with, as he stuck by her and didn't take advantage of her (even when throwing herself at him), but he came across as slightly insensitive while she was a wreck.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Lily & Marshall's fight in "Unpause" has Marshall bring up the canceled wedding/San Francisco move of season one/two in response to her claiming to have never been so selfish, even asking if he & Marvin are just a consolation prize. This was cheered by the portion of the fandom who hate Lily due to her selfishness & Bitch in Sheep's Clothing status. The follow up episode "Sunrise" suggests the intention is that Marshall may have been right in the argument but pulling that card was a bad move (Lily was more than aware of her mistake back when it happened) because that kind of behavior will only push her away, in direct contrast to those fans who praise him for saying it.
    • At the end of "Daisy," Marshall, upon knowing that Lily is pregnant again, gives up his judgeship and agrees to follow her to Italy. While this decision is meant to accentuate Marshall's selflessness, it doesn't jive well to fans who have been longing for Marshall to grow out of his Extreme Doormat qualities. Why? Because there is no reason why Lily can't spend her pregnancy in New York, and there is no way Marshall could know when he's going to get an opening for judgeship again, if ever. In fact, before this episode, Lily herself has said that she's okay with staying New York.
    • Ted's kids after the finale. To elaborate, in the pilot and a few appearances in the first and second seasons, the kids whined when Ted told them he was going to tell them how he met their mother and how long it was taking. Given how long the story ends up going on, that seems pretty understandable. But then we find out their mother has been Dead All Along. This combined with their reaction to the end of Ted's story being "[The point of this story] is that you totally, totally have the hots for Aunt Robin" and being 100% okay with that, kind of makes them come off like Jerkasses who didn't care about their dead mother. It doesn't get any better when you realize that their final scene was filmed years in advance, meaning that the writers knew early on that The Mother was dead, but still wrote lines for the kids like "Are we being punished for something?"
  • The Untwist:
    • The reveal of Robin as the bride at Barney's future wedding at the end of Season 7 came as an utter shock to about 2% of viewers. At most.
    • On a much smaller scale, the "twist" that the reason the Captain wanted to see Lily to hire her cane as a surprise to even fewer viewers.
    • Considering how many "the mother is dead" theories came about even before episodes like "The Time Travelers" and "Vesuvius" hinted it, the revelation that the mother became terminally ill wasn't too much of a shocker to many people. What came after that however served as a bit more of a controversial twist (and for the sake of avoiding any potential flame wars, it's being left at that).
  • Wangst: When Ted whines about never finding true love can be seen as this. In-series, even.
  • What an Idiot: Yeah, Ted, believe the woman who already lied to you multiple times. The sad part is that this is describing multiple people Ted has dealt with.
  • Win Back the Crowd: The alternate ending to the series (which was leaked online 2 weeks before the Season 9 DVD) has been well-received by many fans who hated the original ending to the show.
  • The Woobie:
    • Barney, surprisingly. Most of the time he comes off like he has no doubts or problems, but not only is he an actual person, he's a pretty frail one. Especially when it comes to Robin or his father.
    • From a fifth season episode, one of Ted's students. Poor Cook Pu. You can't not feel sorry for her by the end.
    • Marshall can fall into this category at times as well.
      • You can't say that. His dad's dead.
    • Honey. "You want to wrap her in a blanket and protect her from the wolves".
    • Robin is being heavily woobified in season seven. Especially as of "Symphony of Illumination".
      • Almost anytime she mention her father and him not even acknowledging her.
    • The Captain. He gives off a creepy vibe without intending to, and is genuinely devastated when Zoey divorces him, even as he admits they didn't have anything in common.
    • Patrice is a perfectly nice co-worker who is always sweet to Robin (baking her cookies, ironing her pants, offering to help her out at work) and who is the only person on the show to show Barney, who is obviously experiencing some genuine depression with the breakdown of his engagement to Quinn/continued rejection from Robin, any genuine empathy. And all Robin does is scream at her. Real nice, Robin.
    • Cassie in season 9: She's fired from her job after being dumped by her boyfriend then met him with another girl, her uncle dies and finnally gets her foot broken.
    • Ted himself. While watching him go through an endless parade of wrong girls can get a bit tedious for the viewers, it can't be easy for him to keep loving and losing. Of course, we know he's going to meet the woman of his dreams, but he doesn't. And before he gets there, he has to be the best man for the wedding of the only woman he's come close to loving as much as the titular Mother to his best friend and even after meeting the Mother and getting to be with her for 11 years and having two kids with her, she dies from some illness and he's left all alone.
    • The Mother after her backstory is revealed in "How Your Mother Met Me", made it all even worse (MUCH worse) when her demise is revealed.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?:
    • Lily calls off the wedding and runs off to San Fransisco at the end of Season 1. She returns in Season 2, begging forgiveness. But the show doesn't Hand Wave the damage done to Marshall and he refuses to take her back immediately and for the rest of the season, she is seen getting back in Marshall's and Ted's good graces. However, it is revealed that Marshall still has resentment for her actions in the Season 1 finale during their argument in Season 9's "Unpause" and feared that he and Marvin are "consolation prizes" for Lily's failure in San Francisco. This was due to the fact that they were giving up their lives in New York and Marshall's dream of becoming a judge to follow her dream job as an art consultant in Rome.
    • Robin and her ex-boyfriend Simon (who is also a Future Loser but good luck convincing her of that). The first time he dumped her because the girl he was chasing after had a pool. The second time, he did it again because the same girl's parents had a jacuzzi.
    • In-universe, Ted uses this excuse to tell Tony that Tony shouldn't pity Ted, he doesn't want Stella back.
    • Karen, Ted's on-and-off girlfriend from college. She is hated by Ted's friends due to the fact she's rude, pretentious and she continuously cheats on Ted.
    • The rest of the group asks this of Ted after he considers getting back with Zoey after she tried to destroy his career, manipulated him, lied to him and secretly kept recordings of his conversations to screw him over.
    • Jeanette is a crazy stalker who breaks Ted's stuff for minor offenses, but after they break up, Ted wants her back. Although this is the general attitude in-universe as all of his friends wonder this, Future Ted admits she was a big mistake, and it ends with Jeanette setting many of his belongings on fire.

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