Written By: Nick Poulimenakos
Kids, I’m going tell you an incredible story. The story of the ten best How I Met Your Mother episodes. Premiering in 2005, the series about how Ted Mosby eventually met the love of his life took over from Friends as the sitcom about young New Yorkers navigating through love and life. Despite the finale getting an extremely divided response, the show made viewers laugh for nearly a decade and cemented its place as one of the best shows on television. In honour of me once again re-watching the series, here are the ten most legen… wait for it… dary How I Met Your Mother episodes!
- The Time Travelers (Season 8, Episode 20)
Season 8 of How I Met Your Mother is generally considered the worst of the series but it does have a couple of shining moments. One of them is this episode, The Time Travelers. Not only is it a really funny episode, it’s also extremely distinctive as it alters its own format. For most of the episode, it seemed like a normal story. The main plot followed Ted talking to future versions of himself and Barney as they all argue about whether or not the group should go to Robots Versus Wrestlers and a sub-plot that featured a Marshall/Robin dance-off. Then, it happened. We find out that Ted has been in the bar alone this whole time, and Ted thinks about what he should have done that night instead of going to Robots Versus Wrestlers and it leads to him running to the Mother’s apartment where he says that they will meet in 45 days and he wishes he could spend more time with her. It’s a truly emotional scene and it’s also the first hint at the mother’s fate and began the “is the Mother dead” theory. Season 8 may have been below average, but this episode ranks among the greatest ever.
- How I Met Everyone Else (Season 3, Episode 5)
Here we have hopeless romantic Ted trying out “online dating” where he meets Blah Blah. There’s a ton of story packed into these extremely funny 20 minutes so let’s get to it. Blah Blah lies to the group how they met due to meeting Ted online but this all leads how the group met each other. Ted explains how he met Marshall in college in which Ted finds Marshall in their dorm “eating a sandwich,” which is code for smoking pot. We then move on to how Ted meets Barney in the bathroom of MacLaren’s and Barney declares that he’s going to teach Ted how to live. Finally we see how Ted met Lily which leads to an extremely funny back and forth on whether or not Ted and Lily kissed in college. Best of all, we get Barney’s hot/crazy scale and anytime Barney goes off on romantic tangents, it’s always a win.
- Girls vs Suits (Season 5, Episode 12)
The 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother was a milestone on its own. But it’s the story that really cements its place among the top 10. The episode follows Ted on a date with a student at the university he teaches at, Cindy. Here’s the kicker though. When Cindy and Ted go back to her apartment, we find out that Cindy’s roommate is in fact, the Mother. We get our first clues as to what kind of person she is and how she and Ted have a lot in common. This however does not make Cindy happy which leads to an inevitable breakup between the two. Ted leaves and doesn’t take home the yellow umbrella he brought which plays a role in his eventual meeting with the Mother. The sub-plot has Barney facing a difficult decision. He must choose between his suits and a girl he has the hots for at MacLaren’s. This results in a giant musical number about why Barney chose suits. But then, in typical Barney fashion, he lies to the girl and says he chooses her for a hook up knowing full well he would never give up suits. A perfect ending to the 100th episode.
- Trilogy Time (Season 7, Episode 20)
If you don’t watch the original Star Wars trilogy at least once every three years, the Dark Side wins. That is Marshall and Ted’s vow to each other right before they fail an economics test. Using the three year marker as a review for their lives, Ted begins to realize that he has not fulfilled his expectations for life like his best friend has, especially in the romantic department. This was a great and unexpected moment for the show. Watching Ted go through this truly unhappy and difficult realization made for one of the saddest moments on the show. But just when Ted almost gives up hope on finding the one, the episodes fast forwards to the 2015 Trilogy viewing, where Barney complains that Ted shouldn’t have brought a girl to their bros only viewing. We then see who the girl is and its Ted’s baby daughter erasing all trace of hopelessness Ted ever had.
- The Pineapple Incident (Season 1, Episode 9)
The mother may have been the biggest mystery surrounding the series, but a close second was the pineapple that mysteriously appeared in Ted’s room all the way back in season 1. Was it ever resolved? Technically no but in a deleted scene it showed that Ted stole the pineapple from the doorstep of fan-favourite character, The Captain. But this pineapple was only a minor part of the story. After Robin leaves for a dinner with a “100 millionaire,” Ted decides to have a wild night and gets blackout drunk. He wakes up beside an unknown woman and the titular pineapple. The rest of the hilarious episode is dedicated to Ted figuring out what happened during the previous night which included falling off a table, getting set on fire by Barney, drunk calling Robin and hooking up with a random girl named Trudy. Ted may have taken all those shots to stop overthinking, but everything ended up making things more complicated with Robin.
- Three Days of Snow (Season 4, Episode 13)
“WE SHOULD BUY A BAR! The name of our bar… puzzles. People will be like, ‘why is it called puzzles?’ That’s the puzzle!” This episode intercuts two stories. One involving Marshall and Lilly, the other involving Ted and Barney. A giant snowstorm hits NYC which grounds Lily’s flight from Seattle. The couple decides to break a tradition they have where they pick each up at the airport. While this is happening, Ted and Barney meet up their dates for the night, two members from a marching band. They decide to open up MacLaren’s to the band to fulfil their bar dream. Marshall then talks about how he regrets not picking up Lily and decides to head to the airport, where he arrives with the band to surprise Lily. It’s an incredibly romantic moment and demonstrates why some traditions need to be kept intact.
- Slap Bet (Season 2, Episode 9)
The episode that brought us not one, but two classic running jokes that continue for the rest of the series, Slap Bet has the group trying to figure out what Robin’s big Canadian secret is. Marshall thinks that Robin used to be married while Barney believes that Robin used to be a pornstar. They agree that whoever is right, they get to slap the loser. The truth is eventually revealed when Barney finds an old video from Robin’s past. After watching part of it, he assumes it’s porn and slaps Marshall. But Robin steps in and continues playing the video, showing that she was a teen pop star in Canada who had one hit song “Let’s Go to the Mall.” Not only was the song extremely hilarious on its own, we then see that Barney was wrong and now Marshall gets to slap him five times over the course of eternity. Marshall uses the first slap right then and there and saves the rest for future episodes.
- Spoiler Alert (Season 3, Episode 8)
Spoiler alert! Everyone as flaws. However, true friends tolerate each other’s annoying traits. This would be tested in season 3 when Ted begins dating Cathy, a girl who talks… a lot. When the group points this out, Ted loathes hanging out with her but that’s not even the worst part. When Cathy’s most annoying quality is shown, the rest of the group talk about everyone else’s flaws leading to a massive fight. Robin says “literally” way too often, Lily chews incredibly loudly, Ted corrects everyone, Marshall sings about everything he does and Barney, well he has a lot. All of this however is proven to be minuscule when Marshall remembers his password to login and find out if he’s a lawyer. The group waits in anticipation until they see that their best friend passed the bar and put aside their differences to celebrate Marshall becoming a lawyer and their friendship.
- Last Words (Season 6, Episode 14)
An episode that has some extremely funny moments but also some truly heartfelt ones, Last Words follows the funeral for Marshall’s dad. The gang heads to Minnesota to support their friend but aren’t sure how to cheer him up. They all learn that the theme of the funeral is Marvin’s last words to his family and Marshall’s mother and brothers reminisce about how great their last moments with Marvin were. Marshall on the other hand becomes upset when he feels that his last moment with his father wasn’t significant. But then, he sees that he has a voicemail from his father which, at first, seems like a pocket dial. Marshall then gives a heartfelt speech about how his father’s passing is unfair and how angry he is. Then the end of the message comes and Marvin realizes that he’s calling Marshall and tells his son that he loves him. This was an unusually sad episode for the series but it made for some truly fantastic acting, great character development, and makes viewers reflect on their own relationships with their fathers.
- How Your Mother Met Me (Season 9, Episode 16)
Yes, the episode that featured the main cast the least is my number one pick for the greatest How I Met Your Mother episode. The ninth and final season finally introduced viewers to the Mother. She’s incredibly likable, charming, and beautiful and met every single expectation set for her. The episode takes us through the shows nine seasons, but this time from the Mother’s perspective. While Ted has been continuously searching for The One, the Mother had found hers but he suddenly and tragically passed away. We then see her story from deciding to go back to school (where she see’s Ted for the first time), to getting back in the dating game after two years, to her getting on the train to Farhampton for Barney and Robin’s wedding. While there, her boyfriend proposes to her and after a heartbreaking talk with her deceased boyfriend, she turns him down and decides to move on from her past. She checks into the hotel and sings an incredibly beautiful rendition of “Le Vie En Rose,” which Ted hears. The episode allows the audience to fall in love with the character Ted will eventually marry and it makes the past eight season wait worth it. With wonderful writing, Cristin Milioti’s phenomenal performance and quite a few laughs, How Your Mother Met Me is the best episode in the series’ nine season run.
Honourable Mentions: Swarley, Pilot, Arrivederci Fiero, Intervention, Something Borrowed, Ten Sessions and Slapsgiving
That’s our list! Don’t agree with it? Let us know in the comments and on social media and for all things in entertainment and nerd culture, keep it locked on Talkies Network!