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."
In the finale, was his regression to The Casanova just an Author's Saving Throw, or is it justified because sleeping around is his only coping mechanism? He handled his first major break-up (with Shannon) by suiting up and becoming a player, and after breaking up with Robin, he immediately created Bang-toberfest, so there is precedent.
Is Barney given a fair depiction or is Ted an Unreliable Narrator who exaggerates, embellishes and even straight-up lies about his friend's exploits? The finale implies that the birth of his daughter caused Barney to forever change his ways, which would explain to Penny and Luke why the stories Ted tells of Barney don't seem to go with the uncle they know and love. However, it is possible that Barney was the post-Ellie guy all along, except he liked to party and was a flirt before he became a father. The reason why Ted might be lying about Barney is that he wants his kids to root for Robin to choose him and not Barney. This can be supported by the alternate ending, which implies that there is hope yet for Barney and Robin.
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 Honorary Aunt?
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.
Robin. Were her failed relationships a result of unfortunate circumstances or was she a shallow, want-what-she-can't-have woman who just rushed headlong into a relationship to get the man she wanted with no consideration for the future? In the series her relationship was explored almost as extensively as Ted's and she was shown with both a caring, loving side and a clear case of If I Can't Have You. Her relationship with Barney and Ted are always followed this very unhealthy formula: Unresolved Sexual Tension, she completely denied it, he understood, moved on with other women; she had Green-Eyed Epiphany and realized she really like them now that they're taken; If I Can't Have You kicked in and she tried to sabotage his relationship before quietly gave up; Mixed message was sent and the guys realized they still loved her, broke up with their girlfriend to be with her; they were happy for awhile before their differences drove them apart; they broke up.
Alternatively, it's possible that Stella was a bit insensitive when talking about Ted in front of Tony. Green-Eyed Monster kicked in and Tony twisted her words in the worst way possible. "As fast as they can" supported this view, as Tony went out of his way to "make up" to Ted, including giving him money and jobs and then broke up with Stella when he thought she still had feeling for Ted. Ted had to assure Tony about it to get them back together.
Yet another possibility was that Tony's guilty conscience over his role in breaking Ted's heart continued to bother him, and he ended up mentally rewriting history to make himself feel better.
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. This has led to the following interpretations:
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.
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 and David Henrie reprising their roles as Ted's children after seven years and tear into him over it.
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 premiere, it was revealed that Ted met the Mother at a wedding, and it took a full season 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 and groom to be The Untwist.
Season 9 was accused of this when it first appeared (and was later confirmed by Bays and 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.
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. For the record, 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.
From the evidence on message boards, it seems that if you watch the show, you either love Lily and think she's a hilarious and 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, with some thinking he is the best friend one could ever have and a genuine Nice Guy and feel bad for his search for love, while others think he is a Designated Hero and a Manipulative Bastard who is not nice at all and will even screw over his friends to impress a girl.
There's a notable trend for his haters to be extreme Barney fans and extreme Barney/Robin shippers. 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.
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, and the rarity of these issues is quite amazing.
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.
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 than 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 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.
Lily and Marshall's argument in "Unpause," and who was ultimately more right.
The slap bet. While the majority of the fans thought it was very funny at first some began to feel it overstayed its welcome. Specifically, how uncomfortable and even afraid Barney became of each slap and how Marshall (oftentimes joined by the others) took great pleasure in tormenting him. To some that made it even funnier, and was only what Barney deserved. To others it left a bad taste in their mouth and crossed the line from comedy to abuse.
The Finale. 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 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 fact that the DVD releases feature an alternate ending to the series. Whilst some fans are pleased about this, there are others saying it's too late for Bays and Thomas to try and Win Back the Crowd since they've already decided the show's canon ending, others accusing it of just being pandering to sell DVDs and get people to watch, those who liked it say the creators should stick to their original ending. And the new ending, despite being well received, has created its own break, between those willing to now cut the creators some slack, and those mad this 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.
Barney's fate is also a touchy subject. His divorce from Robin aside, it is revealed that Barney returned to his womanizing ways, eventually having a child by accident with a one-night stand. The show treats this as endearing, but certain fans hate that all the years of character development was tossed out the window, in favor of a strange Reset Button push halfway through the last episode. It doesn't help that, by that point, Barney was a middle-aged man who would regularly go to bars to have sex with drunk twenty-somethings. That is a very disturbing concept to most.
Ted and Robin's relationship is either a genuinely romantic relationship that was brought apart less due to fundamental differences between them and more due to Ted and Robin wanting different things, and as such could happily get back together when the things keeping them apart was no longer there, or a completely incompatible relationship based on fundamental differences demonstrated throughout the series that shouldn't have gotten back together in the finale at the expense of more popular and compatible relationships such as Barney and Robin as well as Ted and Tracy.
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".
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 wants to sleep early) schemed to get back at Zoey for her attempt to ruin Ted's career:
Barney: ...And then, I'm just gonna leave her there...buck naked...covered in candle wax...tied to the bed. (Everyone stares in horror)
Marshall: Barney, I know Ted doesn't like that girl, but that seems a little extreme.
Barney: Wait, Ted doesn't like that girl?
Deader Than Disco: It used to be one of the most popular romantic-comedy TV shows in 2000’s that contributed a lot to pop culture (such as the Bro Code) and is widely praised by viewers and critics. But because of Seasonal Rot, the Arc Fatigue and the much maligned series finale, people treated it as an example on “How not to plan an ending way ahead while you’re still developing the story and the characters”. Likewise, rewatching the show after seeing the finale is very hard to put with because everything that the characters did (particularly Ted, Robin and Barney) is now a Shoot the Shaggy Dog case. Because of this, the show and the finale itself made a huge dent on Craig Thomas’ and Carter Bays’ careers which also explains why the supposed gender-flipped spinoff never got picked by CBS and other networks.
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.
Nora for being the most decent girl Barney has met, seeing through his tricks, and being British.
Brad is unsurprising in hindsight, considering how Joe Manganiello's career subsequently took off.
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.
Cristin Milioti as the Mother. While reaction to Season 9 from fans and critics alike were mixed, the praise for Milioti was pretty close to universal. Even people who accused the character of being a Mary Sue usually thought her acting was spot on. 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.
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.
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.
Some of the fans who hated Ted in the final episode put out a joke theory that the show is actually set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Maria Hill is on a deep cover mission to keep an eye on a possible supervillain.
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—casically "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.
More cynical viewers have also pointed out that even if you're okay with the Ted/Robin pairing, the finale doesn't give any real indication that they're actually going to work out this time, as the show has previously spent a lot of time deconstructing their relationship and ultimately showing them as incompatible. Most of the issues that have caused them to break up in the past are left unresolved, they've never managed to overcome them before despite numerous attempts at getting together, and the finale only shows them (maybe) going on one more date, with no confirmation that they actually stayed together afterward. So even Ted and Robin may not be getting a happy ending.
Fair for Its Day: Arguably the finale if you see it within the context of the show ending in the first few seasons. Back then Ted and Robin had more support from the audience and the characters arguably fit more into the mold that was established in the finale. Furthermore the ending was shot in 2006, which was before much of the narrative and feminist critiques of the friendzone concept and the Dogged Nice Guy syndrome came to light, much of these criticisms which had been directed towards the final scene when the finale finally aired.
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.
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.
The unfortunate tendency the characters have to leave their decisions up to the "universe," rather than make a choice on an issue. Sure, everyone, don't bother to make a real decision, fate will do that for you! Luckily, towards the end of the series the group starts rejecting that philosophy and gets more of a Screw Destiny attitude.
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 and partially 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. In fact, in a fan-voted poll about the most popular love interest of Ted's, Victoria got the most votes.
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. Of course, the writers couldn't say since anything they picked could have a cure by 2024 (six years before 2030).
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. Though 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.
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 an early episode, Robin off-handedly jokes that she doesn't want kids, but might when she's like 60 or so. She insists that "medicine will catch up." Cue revelation that she cannot have children at all.
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, though the mother's death is shown even more in passing than Lily's in the fantasy. 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.
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.
In "The Yips," one of the plots involves the group joining a gym and Marshall (and later Ted) falling prey to a hardass gym trainer, who yells at Marshall that if he doesn't try harder she'll just leave him to the massive coronary that's coming his way. Nothing more than a throwaway joke until three seasons later, when Marshall's dad dies of a heart attack, implied to be a result of his diet and exercise habits.
Growing the Beard: Generally considered to be "Slap Bet," although other popular choices are "Drumroll, Please" and "The Pineapple Incident", the latter of which was the first episode in the series to use Anachronic Order.
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. This is especially harder to watch around 2015 when Cobie Smulders revealed that she was secretly battling ovarian cancer at the time the third season was being produced. She's cancer free after two years of surgery.
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 realize that Ted spends a large chunk of the last half of season 8 and the majority of season 9 hoping that Robin would realize she loves Ted instead of Barney and 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.
Future!Ted joking that the kids’ mother was actually a stripper seems harsher when you consider that he’s insulting the memory of the dead mother they lost when they were nine and seven respectively.
In a bittersweet way the ending of "The Time Travellers" becomes this in light of the finale. Ted says that if he could go back to that time he would met the mother 45 days earlier. Upon first viewing it just seems like he's romantically wishing he could have started their life together as soon as possible. After the finale, you realise they actually had far less time together than he ever would have expected and the chance to have 45 days more would have meant a lot.
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 and 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.
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.
Katy Perry guest starred as Zoey's cousin who ended up having a one-night stand with Barney. Later, she voiced Smurfette in the Smurf movies which Neil Patrick Harris also starred in.
In December 2010, just over a year after the premiere of the relevant episode, what was effectively a real life version ofMillion Dollar Heads or Tails premiered in Britain. Unfortunately, there was no Regis Philbin, nor was there a currency rotation specialist.
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.
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◊.
Ted angrily comparing Zoey to Cinderella's evil stepmother is funnier given that Jennifer Morrison went on to star in the fairy tale show Once Upon a Time.
Cobie Smulders' role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets pretty ironic in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Hawkeye is revealed to be Happily Married to a newly introduced character, with his popular shipping partner Black Widow being just his kids' honorary aunt. And just like this show, the fans largely supported his existing relationship once they found out about it, and this time got their wish.
In the first episode ever, Ted tells a woman that he wants 'a band, no DJ' for his wedding in a throwaway line. When the gang is later planning Barney and Robin's wedding, the debate whether to have a band or a DJ is discussed even further to hilarious effect and the choice to get a band is how Ted meets The Mother.
Barney put some hidden cameras around his apartment for "other purposes" which Robin finds it creepy. Then, came in Gone Girl where NPH's character also had cameras installed in his house for security purposes which can be as counted creepy when he brought in Amy (played by Rosemund Pike) who pretended that she ran away from her husband (played by Ben Affleck). She used this to tarnish him as a stalker ex-boyfriend by pretending that she's abused by him on-camera and later killing him "in self-defense" while having sex before going back to her husband in the film's climax.
Speaking of Star Wars, this exchange from "Unpause", being set in 2017, could be retroactively interpreted as the characters making a reference to The Force Awakens; given Ted's love of the series:
Ted: Everything is fine, ok? Just don't freak out.
The Mother: I'm not freaking out!
Ted: I'm talking to myself.
In "The Pre-Nup" Victoria's Ex-Fiance Klaus wants them to watch a German sitcom about two men who live together, one of whom is neat and one of whom is very neat, being both a parody of the Odd Couple and of German Culture (that even the slob would be neat). Thomas Lennon, who played Klaus, would then go on to star in an Odd Couple remake a few years later.
Idiot Plot: Played for Laughs in Season 2's penultimate episode. An entire subplot is about how they're going to fix Marshall's hair. Lily quickly solves it by borrowing someone's hat. Marshall immediately lampshades it.
Marshall: "Hat! We thought of authentic Native American headdress before we thought of hat!"
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 and Robin are painted as being in the wrong for refusing to go on another double-date with Marshall and 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.
When the Facebook page of the show put a picture of Cristin Milioti as the Mother, showing clearly her face and 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-overreveal 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 Bookends 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.
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.
Billy Zabka. He's a Woobie, because everyone hates him just for playing the bad guy in The Karate Kid, but he's also a Jerkass, because he tries to take over Ted's position as the best man at a wedding, out of nothing but jealousy.
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.
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 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.
Never Live It Down: Just try mentioning this show to someone and they would usually point out the ending and how screwed up it was.
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 threesomes 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
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Subverted. "As Fast As She Can" redeemed Stella in the eyes of some until "The Wedding Bride". 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...
Romantic Plot Tumor: The series suffered from this greatly. The series started out with Ted focusing on trying to get together with Robin, succeeding by the end of season one, and then them breaking up at the end of season two. Not so bad yet, namely since that at that point it was treated as a Foregone Conclusion, and we knew sooner or later, Ted would meet his real wife. But then as the show went one it continued to have Ted and/or Robin pining for the other only to repeatedly go through a lesson that they just weren't right for each other, all the way up to the final season. And then the final episode came. The ship between Robin and Barney, one that a lot of fans preferred no less, was almost immediately thrown out minutes after the episode began, and much later it turned out that Ted's wife fell deathly ill six year prior to the events of the show's framing sequence. The plot tumor took over in-universe as well as it revealed that even though Ted was telling his kids the story of how he met his future wife, the fact that he focused more on Robin when he was telling the story was actually because he wanted permission from them to start dating Robin again, all so they would hook up at the last minute. Needless to say, a lot of people were not happy.
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.
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. In a fan poll, she was the least popular of Ted's love interests. When that list includes Jeanette and Stella, that's saying something.
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 Ted 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 and 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.
Clint, Virginia's new husband after she and Alfred get divorced, that is just an annoying stereotype of hippy.
As of the finale, 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.
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.
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. This would have been bad enough if he'd just been trying to do his regular business.
Robin's favorite sex act "The Old King Clancy".
Though the above is not described, Urban Dictionary does have a definition… several. However, those were all submitted the day the episode aired, so it was likely fans pulling definitions out of their… let's not give them any more ideas.
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.
Barney and Robin, at one point, believe that they are related.
Barney's line in "Coming Back": "How 'bout we nibble on my brother's ding dong together?" A bit too weird, even for the show.
The increasing number of references to wetting/crapping one's pants as the show goes on.
In "The Lighthouse" (Season 9), the top of said lighthouse looks… pretty fake in the close shots.
So do 99% of the rest of the backgrounds throughout Season 9.
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.
Robin and Don. Twice. First, his introduction painted him as an important relationship the second he was introduced, but that was seemingly a bait-and-switch when subsequent episodes paint him as a lazy jerkass Robin has no interest in. Then suddenly he resolves to be less of a jerkass at the end of one episode, and hangs out offscreen with the cast, and suddenly everyone (Robin included) thinks he's perfect for her.
The Mother dies and Barney and Robin get a divorce, all so Ted and Robin can get back together.
Lily and 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 and 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 and 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, though the following episodes make it seem like Lily was supposed to be the sympathetic one and treat Marshall's question as a mistake.
The episode "The Lighthouse" to Clint where Marshall and Daphne make fun of his efforts to help them; he snaps and starts yelling. At the end, an angry Mashall leave him on the road.
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 possibly 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 and 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 maneuver unless they fully reshoot the finale episode.
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 mother's 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.
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.◊
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. 
One of the main reasons why the finale got such a huge Internet Backdraft is that many people felt several of the story lines ended up giving this vibe.  Highlights include:
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.
Barney: Barney goes back to his womanizer ways after the divorce, even though that was NOT what destroyed his marriage. And after everything that happened, what changes him for good is having a daughter out of a one-night stand (a one night stand who never even gets a name or shows up ever again, implying she doesn't matter). As children was precisely the one thing that Robin COULDN'T give him, it's seen as devaluing her as a character even more. Not only that, but breaking him up with Robin implying that all of the hard work and effort he put into the marriage was completely worthless because she was "supposed" to be with Ted.
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 constraints 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'.
As noted here, the idea that a good relationship means one where you don't have to change yourself at all for your lover creates a very uncomfortable air of entitlement and a horribly inaccurate picture of what a real relationship actually takes.
Victoria in the Autumn of Breakups. Forcing Ted to end his friendship with Robin seems less clingy and jealous considering Ted's perceived inability or failure to move on from Robin despite all his efforts to. The finale does little to assuage this.
In "Moving Day" Ted unintentionally comes off as a bit of a jerk for taking so many communal items from the apartment when he moves out. It rings a bit hollow that he's complaining about there not being room for his stuff when Marshall and Lily desperately needed that stuff. After all, there was no need for Ted to bring another microwave over to Robin's.
In "The Exploding Meatball Sub," Lily tries to support Marshall after he leaves GNB and is volunteering with the NRDC. Constantly supporting her is taking its toll on her, however, and she is worried about her future and is being run ragged. It's pretty hard to sympathize with her considering she spent an earlier episode ("Natural History") essentially pressuring Marshall into doing exactly what he's doing, and the fact that her being unable to cope with financial insecurity is to buy a last-second ticket to Spain. While Marshall is hosting a party. It's considered a sacrifice on her end, but to many viewers her not going through with the trip comes across as Wants a Prize for Basic Decency.
Lily, in her and Marshall's fight in "Unpause". Marshall brings 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 and Marvin are just a consolation prize. Lily runs off crying, and 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, and it was insensitive. However, his move was cheered by the portion of the fandom who hate Lily for being selfish, so her hurt feelings for Marshall bringing it up were unsympathetic to them.
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 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 came 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. His future self even calls himself this several times.
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.
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 finally gets her foot broken.
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 crazystalker 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.