Today in Memes: How I Met Your Mother

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How I Met Your Mother is an American TV sitcom created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays that premiered on CBS on September 19th, 2005. The series follows the lives of a group of friends living in present-day Manhattan, New York City, though the story is narrated in retrospect by the main character, Ted Mosby, as a father recounting the events leading up to his marriage to his children in the year 2030.

Online History

Websites Created By Characters

Throughout the show’s nine season run, many of the characters create websites for various situations. For example include[4] (created by a woman scorned by Barney who was pretending to be Ted),[5] (created by Barney after a one night stand’s pregnancy scare), and[6] (created by Marshall to commemorate a double date between himself, Lilly, Robin, and Barney). The real websites were created by the show’s staff members.[7]


Bro Code: Book Adaptations

The show has also launched four books written by the character Barney Stinson-The Bro Code, The Playbook: Suit up. Score chicks. Be awesome., Bro on the Go, and Bro Code for Parents: What to Expect When You’re Awesome. All four are either co-written or ghost written by How I Met Your Mother staff writer Matt Kuhn.[13]


The series holds a 8.6 on IMDB[1] and the first season received a 69 from Metacritic.[14] The show has been nominated for two Golden Globes, both for Neil Patrick Harris’ performance as Barney Stinson, and 28 Primetime Emmy Awards, including one for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2009.[15] Later seasons where criticized with some critics arguing the show was going on too long, though the ninth and final season has received positive reviews.[16][17]

Online Presence

The official CBS website offers instant streaming for recently aired episodes, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and Barney’s Blog written from the perspective of Barney Stinson. As of January 2014, How I Met Your Mother’s official Facebook fan page[8] has over 24,000,000 likes; the Twitter account has over 620,000 followers;[9] and the YouTube channel has more than 124,000 subscribers and 8.2 million total views.


In addition to the show’s branded social media presence, there are numerous fan sites offering news and gossips about the show, including the now-outdated Tripod fan site, HIMYM-Source, HIMYM at Fan Forum and FanPop channel, as well as episode guides offered by TVRage, IGN and Wikia. There are several Tumblr blogs dedicated to the show, such as fuckyeahhowimetyourmother[10], himymconfessions[11], and onlyhimym,[12] and DrinkiWiki offers a list of drinking games that people can play while watching the show. As of March 2014, the[38] page for the show has more than 1,350 submissions.

Death Theory

A fan theory has circulated that at the time Ted is telling the story to his children, their mother is already dead, since at least July 2010, when GQ[19] published an interview with HIMYM star Jason Segel. During the interview the interviewer said he had a theory that the mother was dead, and Segel replied, “I suggested that also.” The theory resurfaced on March 25th, 2013 when an episode of How I Met Your Mother titled “The Time Travelers” aired. The episode showed a kind of “dream sequence” in which Ted goes to the mother’s door and explains they’ll met in 45 days, but he wants those 45 days with her.[18] Many fans and entertainment writers believed that Ted’s desire for those 45 days suggests he feels he was robbed of time with her by her death.[20]


The theory’s strength grew after an episode titled “Vesuvius” which aired on March 3rd, 2014.[21] In the episode a scene is shown set in 2024 (six years before Ted begins telling his story). Ted and the mother are out to dinner as he recounts the story of Robin and Barney’s wedding. When he mentions Robin’s mother shows up unexpectedly and the mother replies, “What mother would miss her own daughter’s wedding?” Ted begins to cry.[22] Fans and journalists point to two main pieces of evidence other than those mentioned above to support their theory that the mother is dead. First, the fact that the mother never appears in 2030 while Ted is telling his kids the story, and second, the fact that the cast and writers have alluded to a series finale, including Alyson Hannigan tweeting a photo of the final script covered in tissues.[23][24]

There is a smaller theory that the sadness, both from the shows creators and characters, is because Ted dies. On the r/HIMYM subreddit[25] user Vorsa suggests,

“The mother says “No mother would miss their daughters wedding”, she says it without thinking which isn’t something you would do if you were the one on a timer, but what if Ted is the one that’s ill, and he’s upset about the same being said about a Dad (him)? She wouldn’t have clicked until he got upset about it. She then immediately goes back to letting him live in the past, letting him recall all the happy times HE’S had in HIS life with him and his friends. I won’t speculate any further than that, but that conversation reeks of the situation being reversed.”


Series Finale

The hour long series finale of How I Met Your Mother aired on March 31st, 2014.

In the episode, it is revealed that Barney and Robin part their ways after three years of marriage, with the former coming to find out that he has a daughter, and Lily and Marshall return to the United States from Italy to have their third children, while Ted’s wife and the show’s titular character Tracy (played by Cristin Milioti) succumbs to death after ten years of marriage. The series ends with Ted’s children encouraging Ted to pursue Robin, leading him to her apartment with the blue French Horn he stole for her in the first season.


The finale episode was largely met by frustration from the fans and TV critics, many of whom expressed disappointment at the abrupt end of Barney and Robin’s marriage and the reunion of Ted and Robin, which came off as anticlimactic, especially when considering the build-up of anticipation and mystery surrounding the Mother. On April 1st, Buzzfeed[39] published a piece expressing their disappointment titled “Why We Deserved More From The “How I Met Your Mother” Series Finale,” New York Magazine[40] published “The How I Met Your Mother Finale Bailed on the Entire Show” and Jezebel[41] published “People Are So, So Pissed About the How I Met Your Mother Finale.” In the 24 hours surrounding the finale, the hashtag #HIMYM[42] was tweeted out more than 280,000 times. Many fans on Tumblr created edits with Ted’s reveal of the mother, “And that kids, is how I met your mother.” Examples include “how I met your stepmother” and “how I met your plot device.”


Related Memes

Many of popular GIF and photos sets found on Tumblr from How I Met Your Mother revolve around the characters’ catchphrases, particularly those said by Barney Stinson. Examples include variations of “high five” (sad five, self five) and “challenge accepted.”



Challenge Accepted

“*Challenge Accepted*” is a catchphrase introduced by Neil Patrick Harrison’s character Barney Stinson in Season 2, Episode 6 “Aldrin Justice” while taking on a dare to seduce an older woman. In rage comics, the phrase is associated with a smug looking stick-figure character in crossed armed stance.


True Story

True Story is a rage comic character based on a black and white contour drawing of How I Met Your Mother character Barney Stinson (played by actor Neil Patrick Harris) smiling smugly while holding a wine glass. Often accompanied by the text “true story,” the character can mostly be found in the final panel of a rage comic to either indicate or falsely claim that it is based on a true story.


That’s a Penis!

That’s a Penis is an expression and reaction GIF based on a scene from Season 2 Episode 6 wherein Ted’s client reacts in shock after being presented with a design for a building that is shaped like a penis.




On January 13th, 2014, Season 9, Episode 14 titled “Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment at Slapmarra” aired. The episode portrayed three of the show’s main characters (Robin, Lily, and Ted) dressed as Asian individuals. Viewers who felt depicting these white actors as people of color voiced their distaste on Twitter using the hashtag #HowIMetYourRacism.[2]


On January 15th, 2014, co-creators of the show Carter Bays and Craig Thomas issued an apology via Twitter:


Carter Bays: Hey guys, sorry this took so long. @himymcraig and I want to say a few words about #HowIMetYourRacism. With Monday’s episode, we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies, a genre we’ve always loved. But along the way we offended people. We’re deeply sorry, and we’re grateful to everyone who spoke up to make us aware of it. To everyone we offended, I hope we can regain your friendship, and end this series on a note of goodwill. Thanks. @CarterBays @HimymCraig”[3]



Craig Thomas: I second everything @carterbays just tweeted — we love all #HIMYM fans and apologize that we caused offense.


Length of Series

With the show lasting for nine seasons there has been some criticism and jokes about how long the narrator’s children must sit and listen to the story. On a season six episode of The Office the importance of having a “how I met your mother story” was mocked.


How I Met Your Mother poked fun at themselves in a promo for the ninth and final season, depicting the narrator’s children as captives who have been trapped on the couch listening to his story for nine straight years.


Search Interest



External References

[1] IMDB – How I Met Your Mother

[2] Buzzfeed – “How I Met Your Mother” Puts A Character In Yellowface

[3] The Huffington Post – ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Creators Apologize For Racism In ‘Slapsgiving’ Episode

[4] Ted Mosby is a Jerk – Ted Mosby is a Jerk

[5] Not a Father’s Day – Not a Father’s Day

[6] It Was the Best Night Ever – It Was the Best Night Ever

[7] Yahoo – 10 Funny Websites Made by ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Staff

[8] Facebook – How I Met Your Mother

[9] Twitter – How I Met Your Mother

[10] Tumblr – Fuck Yeah How I Met Your Mother

[11] Tumblr – HIMYM Confessions

[12] Tumblr – Only HIMYM

[13] Amazon – Matt Kuhn

[14] Metacritic – How I Met Your Mother

[15] IMDB – How I Met Your Mother

[16] Television Without Pity – How I Met Your Mother Recap

[17] IMDB- How I Met Your Mother

[18] AVClub- How I Met Your Mother: “The Time Travelers”

[19] AVClub- How I Met Your Mother: “The Time Travelers”

[20] E! Online- The How I Met Your Mother Theory We Hope We’re Wrong About”

[21] AVClub- How I Met Your Mother, “Vesuvius”

[22] UpRoxx- Did Last Night’s Episode Confirm Our Favorite ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Finale Theory?

[23] Crushable- How Pissed Would We All Be If It Turns Out The HIMYM Mother Was Dead The Whole Time?

[24] Crushable- How Pissed Would We All Be If It Turns Out The HIMYM Mother Was Dead The Whole Time?

[25] Reddit- Vesuvius – Thought’s on the “death” theory. Do we have it the wrong way around?

[26] CBS – How I Met Your Mother

[27] CBS – Barney’s Blog

[28] YouTube – How I Met Your Mother

[29] Tripod – Fan Tripod Site

[29] HIMYM Source – How I Met Your Mother Source

[30] Fan Forum – HIMYM

[31] FanPop – How I Met Your Mother

[32] TVRage – How I Met Your Mother

[33] Wikia – How I Met Your Mother

[34] “How I Met Your Mother”

[35] IGN – HIMYM Episode Guide

[36] Wikia – How I Met Your Mother

[37] DrinkiWiki – HIMYM drinking games

[38] – How I Met Your Mother

[39] Buzzfeed – Why We Deserved More From The “How I Met Your Mother” Series Finale

[40] NY Mag – The How I Met Your Mother Finale Bailed on the Entire Show” Series Finale

[41] Jezebel – People Are So, So Pissed About the How I Met Your Mother Finale

[42] Topsy – #HIMYM” Series Finale

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