Unlike the vast majority of modern sitcoms, not only was How I Met Your Mother able to last on network TV but it built an incredibly loyal audience that tuned in week after week. In fact, many fans of the series were overjoyed to buy books like The Bro Code and The Playbook, both of which were inspired by things seen on the show and then commercially released.
Despite the fact that the people behind HIMYM got a lot of things right, the fact remains that the show made its fair share of missteps. As a result, in order for someone to really enjoy the show for what it is, they need to be able to look past a few of the unfortunate aspects of the series. With all of that in mind, it is time to take a look at this list of 20 things wrong with How I Met Your Mother we all choose to ignore.
In order for something about How I Met Your Mother to be considered for this list, it first and foremost needs to affect the show negatively in one way or another. Of course, everyone has their own tastes so there are bound to be some fans who do not view these aspects of the show in such a negative light.
20 Lily’s Financial Hypocrisy
Despite the fact that most people obviously want to avoid it, the truth of the matter is that virtually everyone is guilty of being a hypocrite at one time or another. For that reason, it can be really easy to forgive when a lovable TV character is hypocritical about something as long as it is acknowledged.
With that in mind, we could have been fine with the fact that Lily Aldrin racked up loads of debt due to unchecked shopping and yet got on Marshall’s case for taking a high paying corporate job. However, it is infuriating that she never got called out for this behavior and continued to think she was in the right for judging her husband’s desire to give them both the financial security she stripped away.
19 Another Lame 'Will They Or Won’t They' Relationship Goes On Way Too Long
Over the course of TV history, there have been so many sitcoms that featured a "will they or won’t they" couple that it has become tiresome. However, a show like The Office did it right with Jim and Pam by having them waffle back and forth before ultimately becoming a lasting couple in a moment that was simply delightful.
Unfortunately, How I Met Your Mother didn’t follow suit with Ted and Robin since they never became a steady couple on the show. That would’ve been fine if both just moved on. Instead, viewers watched the two of them break up and get back together for poorly developed reasons over and over again, which became really frustrating after a certain point.
18 How Over the Top Britney Spears Was In Her Cameo Role
Definitely one of the biggest pop stars of all time, there is absolutely no doubt that Britney Spears has accomplished a lot throughout her life. However, just because she has found so much success in the music world it doesn’t mean that she is talented in all regards and it is pretty clear that she isn’t meant to be an actor.
After all, she starred in the nearly universally panned movie Crossroads which should have told How I Met Your Mother’s producers that having her be a part of their show wasn’t a good idea. Despite that, they gave in to the allure of having a famous guest star so Spears, unfortunately, was allowed to be ridiculously over the top when she played Abby in several episodes of the show.
17 Lily Leaving Marshall For Her Art Made No Sense
Always a character that from time to time brought up her passion for art, Lily spent the first several seasons of HIMYM largely ignoring her desire to focus on her painting. As a result, when she made the decision to truly pursue her artistic interests it made perfect sense, but the way she went about it was simply mind-boggling.
Still totally in love with Marshall, that didn’t stop her from moving out of their shared apartment and breaking up with him in order to follow her passion in San Francisco. The problem with this is that Lily made it seem like that was the only way to give her art a go.
However, she and Marshall lived in New York, which is a cultural epicenter that clearly would have several similar art programs she hadn’t even tried to gain access to!
16 Ted Becoming So Dislikable
When How I Met Your Mother first began, Ted Mosby came across as a lovable hopeless romantic who was just in search of the love of his life. Sure, he professed his love for a stranger on their first date, which was an awkward move, but that could have been written down to nerves.
However, over the show’s subsequent seasons it became clear just how dislikable Ted really was. After all, he pretended to be in search of love but habitually wined and dined women he tried to persuade to love him before callously breaking up with them for the smallest reasons. He also became increasingly judgmental and smug over time while simultaneously demanding sympathy from his friends at every turn.
15 Barney’s Misogynistic Treatment Of Women
Unlike Ted Mosby who at first seemed like a good guy, right from the start Barney Stinson made no secret of the fact that he saw getting women as a game he would win at all costs. Almost always played for laughs, he spent several seasons coming up with ludicrous scams to run on women he met in bars in an attempt to take them home by the end of the night.
While that clearly was reprehensible behavior, the show continued to expect viewers to laugh along as it became increasingly clear that he had left many spurned and hurt women in his wake.
14 The Planned Spin-Offs That Never Came To Be
For all of How I Met Your Mother’s faults, at the end of the day it was a show with a pretty unique premise that millions of people watched on a regular basis. With that in mind, when the series came to an end it seemed like a no-brainer that they show was perfectly set up to spawn a successful spin-off.
What some fans may not realize is that in reality, several attempts have been made to create a HIMYM spin-off focused on a woman’s search for the father of her children. In fact, at one point the creators of the original show were set to work on How I Met Your Dad which was set to star the incredibly talented actor Greta Gerwig. Sadly, the idea fizzled out.
13 The Doppelgängers Making The Show OTT
Let’s face facts, it isn’t exactly like How I Met Your Mother ever came off as a super-realistic show considering all of the fantasy sequences and Barney’s constant and ridiculous schemes. However, a lot of the friends' interactions with one another seemed very genuine and relatable for people in a similar age group.
Once the doppelgängers began showing up, however, it was a watershed moment that really changed the tone of the show going forward. At the very least, if the doppelgängers were portrayed by other actors who just looked like the main cast or weren’t total stereotypical caricatures it would have been a lot easier to take.
12 Everything About Barney’s “Mermaid Theory”
Throughout How I Met Your Mother’s several season run, Barney Stinson espouses a wide array of wild ideas, some of which are pretty hard to take. Despite how regularly he said and did unusual and problematic things, his so-called mermaid theory may be the worst of them all.
According to the mermaid theory, a straight man will eventually desire any woman he is around a lot, even if he finds her “repugnant” to begin with. As offensive as that concept is, Barney wasn’t through yet as he added the caveat that the only way to ensure that attraction didn’t develop was for the woman to become pregnant. The whole theory is repugnant, as Barney would put it.
11 Ted’s Inability To Take No For An Answer
As we touched on earlier in this list, when you first start watching How I Met Your Mother it is really easy to think of Ted as a kind, hopeless romantic. However, over time it becomes pretty clear that he thinks his vision of romance is so important that he is free to ignore the feelings of other people.
For instance, when he first met his future fiancé Stella, she made it very clear to him that she didn’t want to date him. Despite that extremely clear rejection, he refused to give up and he eventually weaseled his way into a bad relationship with her. On top of that, Ted said things like, “When you love someone, you don’t stop. Ever.”
10 The Final Season Dragging Out Limited Material
There are some shows like Russian Doll or 24 that take place over a limited amount of time and that fact adds a lot to the storytelling. On the other end of the spectrum, the final season of How I Met Your Mother takes place over 56 hours, aside from flashbacks and flash-forwards, and it really doesn’t work.
This is the case because it felt clear that the writers didn’t have enough organic material to fill the season’s 24 episodes so they added in several new and unfunny story elements. For instance, Marshall has to travel with a woman he initially dislikes for convoluted reasons and their scenes are far from funny.
9 Barney Completely Changing After Several Seasons Of Character Development
At the end of the day, the Barney Stinson character was a really big problem for How I Met Your Mother. After all, after several seasons Barney’s creepiness became obvious and his never-ending pursuit of women also became pretty sad to watch. For those reasons, he went on to get involved in serious romances with Nora, Quinn, and ultimately Robin, but some fans didn’t want to see him settle down.
Fortunately for them, they eventually got their way when he turned back into a creep after he got divorced. Unfortunately, that was also a problem as it didn't do justice to the years of Barney’s character growth the show’s fanbase had watched by then.
8 The Mother Bait And Switch
After watching HIMYM for eight years, fans of the show were impatient to meet the titular mother, which meant there was a lot of pressure to make the wait worth it when she finally debuted.
Fortunately, Cristin Milioti’s portrayal of Tracy McConnell, the long-awaited mother, was so great that most fans loved the character right from the start. For that reason, it was lovely to see Tracy and Ted finally meet after teasing the moment during the first part of the 9th season.
Then, in a truly infuriating moment, the show disappointed every fan who loved Tracy when they revealed that she passed away quite young in life in order for Ted to wind up with Robin. The only way we can react to that is "ugh."
7 How Selfish The Gang Is
If you sit down and try to decide which one of How I Met Your Mother's lead characters is the most selfish it would be a pretty quick race to the bottom of the barrel. First off, Ted could win since he only cares about finding his vision of love and he made Robin give up her dogs due to his jealousy.
Lily clearly is in the running too due to her spending habits and the fact that she admits to having intentionally broken up Ted’s relationships if she didn’t like the women he was dating.
Of course, Robin is mean to Patrice at every corner and Marshall makes one major life decision after another without even consulting his wife. Finally, there is Barney, and well, do we really need to explain what makes him selfish?
6 The Show Is An Obvious Rip-Off Of Friends
We’re going to describe a sitcom for you. It focuses on a social group of both genders who live in New York City. This close-knit group of pals seems to spend all of their time away from work either in one of their apartments or in the same area of a business that sells drinks. Two of the main characters become romantically involved and proceed to break up and get back together over and over again, and when they are not dating one of them always is hung up on the other.
There is an eccentric member of the group that has unusual views on life and breaks out in song on a regular basis. We could keep going but we’re guessing you’ve noticed that this description equally applies to Friends and HIMYM.
5 That The Show Set Up A Fantastic Relationship Only To Ruin It
When How I Met Your Mother first began, most viewers found themselves wondering if Ted’s latest love interest could be the mother of his children. While some of the ladies obviously were bad matches from the start, during Season 1 viewers were introduced to Victoria, a woman who seemed perfect for Ted and she was so lovely that fans wanted her to stay.
In fact, as it turns out, she was introduced in case the show was canceled after the 1st season so that they could have revealed she was the mother. However, HIMYM lasted a long time, so they took the lovely Victoria away only to bring her back several seasons later and ruin everything we loved about her as a character as well as her relationship with Ted.
4 The Dehumanizing Way Many Of The Show’s Women Were Portrayed
Prior to this entry we’ve already touched on Barney and Ted’s behavior towards women so it may seem like we are being a bit redundant here. However, the show as a whole treated women in such a dehumanizing way that it deserves further attention.
For example, at various points Robin and Lily both openly disrespected women for having perfectly normal love lives with men. On top of that, when Robin revealed that she didn’t want kids Ted planned to change her mind and the show seemed to take that as a given. Of course, those are only two examples out of many and don’t get us started on the whole ducky tie bet!
3 The Episode With Yellowface
If you ask us, one of How I Met Your Mother’s greatest strengths was its running gags. For example, early on Barney lost a slap bet to Marshall which gave the latter the power to bop the former several times in the face whenever he wanted. After that, it was always good for a laugh when Marshall would suddenly bop Barney out of nowhere. At least, it almost always was funny because one of the episodes that touched on the bet was insulting.
During “Slapsgiving 2,” Marshall revealed he had trained to have the most successful technique in the world with “wise masters” who were played by Cobie Smulders, Josh Radnor, and Alyson Hannigan in yellowface.
2 That Very Few People Of Color Can Be Seen In A Show Based in New York
Far from the only sitcom to have this problem, it is really stunning that so many television comedies have featured very few people of color. As bad as that is in most cases, it is especially egregious when a show that takes place in New York City is populated almost entirely with white characters. After all, anyone who has been to the Big Apple will be able to tell people of all races, age, and genders live there.
For that reason, it is surprising that HIMYM not only featured an all-white main cast but also very few recurring and background characters who were played by people of color.
1 A Father Describing His Love Life In Such Detail To His Kids
When it comes to How I Met Your Mother’s core concept, at first blush it is pretty ingenious to base a show around a father telling his kids about the buildup to him meeting and falling for their mother. The problem is, if you really think about how the show played out, it becomes clear that Ted is a parent who doesn’t have healthy boundaries with his kids.
After all, he not only goes into a lot of detail about his creepy and womanizing friend Barney, who he also calls their uncle, but he also tells them far too much about his own past. For example, what child would want to hear stories about how their father dated a series of random women?