There’s no shortage of How I Met Your Mother fan theories circulating around the Internet. The CBS show ran for nine seasons, and left viewers with plenty of hidden nuggets and unresolved story lines to keep them guessing for years. Without concrete answers, devoted fans had no choice but to cook up their own philosophies regarding the show and its characters. If you watched all 208 episodes, it’s a safe bet you can answer your fair share of plain old How I Met Your Mother trivia, but these are the fan theories about How I Met Your Mother that might just blow your mind - not to mention change the way you see certain scenes, episodes, and characters. Which ones do you believe? Vote up the best HIMYM fan theories.
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The Group’s Doppelgangers Are Representations of Their Personal Desires
Throughout the series, each of the main characters spots their own lookalike out in the world. But none of the doppelgangers is quite like the original. Some fans speculate that each doppelganger actually represents the true desire of the character they resemble. There's lesbian Robin, stripper Lily, mustache Marshall, Mexican wrestler Ted, and fertility specialist Barney. Reddit user MiserableThinBelgain broke it down, describing the desire each doppelganger was depicting:
- Lesbian Robin is the masculine version of Robin that her father desired. A part of Robin likely wishes she could have remained masculine.
- Mustache Marshall is not only a lawyer but grows a sick mustache that Marshall can never grow. And for Marshall, who wasn't even in law school yet when he saw him, this is very desirable.
- Stripper Lily represents the part of Lily who wants to embrace her slutty side and not have to worry about being a mom or being responsible.
- Mexican Wrestler Ted is this macho cool version of Ted who his friends adore because he doesn't go on long rants. And he fights robots.
- Fertility Specialist Barney gets to look at women's vaginas all day.
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Purple Is Meaningful in the Show
Reddit user SpamFilterHatesMe shared "A Study in Violet”, a theory that points out the strange re-occurrence of purple in the show. For instance, the entire cast wore purple in season seven’s “No Pressure,” the episode where Ted and Robin end their pursuit of each other. The episode ends with yellow umbrellas, which are a symbolization of the mother. According to basic art theory, the opposite of violet/purple is yellow, therefore the pursuit of Robin is preventing Ted from finding the future mother of his kids. He has to move on from purple to yellow to find her. Another redditor hilariously pointed out that Barney, who marries Robin, shares a name with a purple dinosaur.
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Barney's Baby Was No Accident
Spoiler: In the show, Barney has a one night stand with a random woman, and ends up becoming a father. Seems pretty straightforward, but some fans don't think that's the whole story. In fact, according to one theory, Barney didn't have the baby by accident at all. Instead, he actively sought out an adoption so he could have kids.
The theory assumes that Barney (like Robin) is infertile. How else could he have slept with so many women without getting anyone pregnant? But unlike Robin, he realized he wanted kids, but couldn't admit it to his friends. To keep up his playboy persona, he pretended to go out with women every night, while actually researching adoption agencies and trying to find the right match. When he finally does, he claims the baby is a result of a one night stand instead. Since it's a closed adoption, he can never reveal the true identity of "Number 31," his kid's mom.
Check the theory in its entirety, re-shared by KyoryuRed from a now deleted Tumblr post.
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An Explanation for Why Ted Mosby’s Voice Is So Different in the Future
Ever wonder why present Ted's voice is so different than future Ted's? (Beside the fact that future Ted is played by an entirely different actor.) Reddit user TheTrueRory suggested that future Ted is the "real Ted," but when we tells the story of his younger life, he pictures himself as a better-looking, somewhat different man, AKA the Ted played by Josh Radnor. Since future Ted is imagining a stylized version of himself, it makes sense that his voice might be different.
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The Women Barney Slept with Aren’t Dumb, They Just Wanted Barney
Many assume the women Barney sleeps with are dumb, but Reddit user Thestrangeone23 points out that they may simply have wanted to have sex with him, plain and simple. He also makes note of the episode in which Barney is being stalked by someone who is ruining his game, only to find that many of the women he hooked up with hold no ill will towards him, despite his poor treatment of them. So maybe, just maybe, women simply found Barney attractive enough to play along with (or disregard) his silly games, because they wanted to have sex with him.
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Ted Has Alzheimer’s
Before the show ended, many speculated that Ted may have had Alzheimer’s Disease, which is why he was so adamant about sharing these stories with his children. It also helps explain why he was such an unreliable narrator throughout the show. The theory took on a life of it's own, with many fans conjuring up their own explanations for why it makes sense. Read an elaborate description of the theory from Reddit user shesagdb.
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Barney’s Playbook Was Actually Written by Ted
This theory suggests that Barny's infamous playbook, chock-full of strategies for picking up women, was actually written by Ted Mosby. There are many sensible details backing this concept, as Redditor Mila Nen wrote:
"Giving appreciation to previous redditors who have reminded us that our understandings of Ted Mosby & Gang's adventures are all based on the memory of an unreliable narrator, and to those who have considered Barney as a figment of Ted's imagination/an alter ego (a la Fight Club). Re-watching the introduction of Barney's playbook, I realized the title page of each play was written in beautiful calligraphy. 'Twas only the episode before, featuring Ted and Barney drunkenly fight over Robin, where Don assumes Ted to have been gay because he began a love affair with what print style? Calligraphy! "It doesn't look so bad when it's written in calligraphy," Ted notes.
The Playbook, the totem of Barney's preposterous sexual antics, was in fact, conceived of on the spot as Future Ted talks with his kids. It's a storytelling device used to underscore Barney's ways."
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It's Actually a "Full House" Prequel
This wild theory suggests that Bob Saget is Ted, and Ted is Danny Tanner, the patriarch and storyteller on '90s ABC family sitcom Full House. Why? For one thing, Saget played Danny Tanner and also narrates HIMYM as future Ted. Other details align, too. For instance, the mothers on both shows are dead, and Ted leans on his friends to make things work. Plus, Dave Coulier, AKA Full House's Joey Gladstone, was even in an episode of HIMYM. The full theory can be found at Movie Pilot.