20. Alyson Hannigan Refused To Kiss Jason Segel Unless He Quit Smoking

How I Met Your Mother Jason Segel

On screen kisses can be a big ask. And all that would be made worse if the other person tastes like an ashtray, which is exactly the situation Alyson Hannigan found herself in when she first started on How I Met Your Mother. Jason Segel was a long-term smoker, making her numerous kisses with him a daunting prospect. Putting her foot down, she insisted he try and quit to make the whole ordeal bearable.

Segel originally tried using a fine system where he’d pay Hannigan $10 for every cigarette he smoked. When that racked up a large debt, he instead decided to go cold turkey, which worked. For a year at least. Apparently due to stress he relapsed, meaning gum must have been on hand through much of the show’s run.

19. The Cast Got To Keep Some Of The Props

How I Met Your Mother Ted Josh Radnor

Through its run there were plenty of props from How I Met Your Mother that you can imagine fans were desperate to own. Well tough luck, because, unlike Breaking Bad, the main props all went to the cast (and crew). Josh Radnor ended up with the blue french horn that formed two of Ted’s romantic gestures to Robin, while the iconic yellow umbrellas went to director Pamela Fryman and creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays. Let’s just hope they’re not as flimsy as the replicas you can buy online.

Neil Patrick Harris, however, probably got the best deal. On top of getting the original Playbook (he did write it after all), he kept the gang’s favourite booth from MacLaren’s. Now he can actually be in a bar every night.


18. Neil Patrick Harris Made The Most Money From The Show

How I Met Your Mother Barney Price Is Right

By the end of How I Met Your Mother there was no character in the central gang of Ted, Barney, Robin, Marshall and Lily that the show could really work without. When the prospect of having a ninth season was floated it rested entirely on Jason Segel, who was uncertain about returning, with his decision ultimately defining the ending.

Clearly at the start things weren’t as much of a team effort. Although the other actors had notable previous experience (Alyson Hannigan in Buffy, Jason Segel in Freaks And Geeks, Josh Radnor in… erm… Not Another Teen Movie), the biggest star of the show was most certainly Neil Patrick Harris, who’d been a household name since playing Doogie Howser, M.D. at the age of sixteen. And to that end he ended up with a much bigger deal on the show; he made $210,000 per episode, almost double the rest of the cast’s $120,000.


17. Carl MacLaren Worked On The Show

The gang spend so much time at MacLaren’s Pub that it’s easy to forget that drinking obscene amounts every night isn’t normal. The bar is named after Carl MacLaren, an Associate Producer on the show and in terms of shout-outs it’s a pretty big one; it’s the major location in the series, second only to perhaps the flat. It doesn’t end there, however. The bartender of the bar is even named Carl. If you ever needed a suggestion that the writers appreciate your work this would be it.

Joe Nieves, who plays Carl, got very lucky with the role. Originally cast in the Pilot as a policeman, his scene was cut, but he ended up being thrown a bit-part as the bartender. A bit-part that lasted nine years.


16. Fans Petitioned CBS To Change The Ending

How I Met Your Mother Petition

The endings of long running, highly beloved TV shows always leave themselves open for criticism. The Lost finale, despite delivering on pretty much everything the series had set itself up as, left mystery hounds disappointed and Dexter’s sudden lumberjack resolution served as a u-turn on eight seasons of development. Back in March How I Met Your Mother joined these two in the annals of divisive series finales, with an ending that saw the Mother dead and Ted once again go for Robin dividing the fanbase.

We quite liked it, providing the right level of emotion and serving as a nice justification for the show’s very existence, but others weren’t as convinced. Some were so angry, in fact, that they started a petition to CBS to re-do the whole ending, leaving Barney and Robin together and having everyone live happily ever after. An alternate ending, that removed the two contentious elements, has hopefully somewhat pleased these fans.


15. Conan O’Brien Has A Background Cameo

Conan How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother had some pretty impressive cameos in its time – Britney Spears, Katie Perry, Jennifer Lopez and Jorge Garcia have all popped up to join the gang in MacLaren’s for an episode or two (and that’s saying nothing of Bryan Cranston or Bob Odenkirk, who still popped up even after breaking big in Breaking Bad). But odds are most of the audience will have missed one of the bigger cameos; Conan O’Brien.

Arriving with none of the fanfare that accompanied other guest stars, O’Brien plays an extra in the background of one scene in Season 7 episode No Pressure. Winning the opportunity to appear as part of a charity auction, O’Brien insisted he be an extra, despite the writers keen to give him a more prominent character.


14. In Real Life The Ages Are All Over The Place

How I Met Your Mother Ted The Mother

With flashbacks showing the main cast at varying stages in life, ranging from the late-nineties all the way to 2030, it’s clear the actors can pull off younger and older ages with ease. Although that should be obvious given that in the real world the actual ages of the cast are all over the place; Neil Patrick Harris is nine years older than on-screen wife Cobie Smulders, while Jason Segel is six years younger than Josh Radnor and Alyson Hannigan, who he’s meant to have gone to college with.

Funniest of all, Cristin Millioti, who plays Tracy Mosby (née McConnell), is only eighteen months older than Lyndsy Fonseca, her in show daughter (most articles on her tend to divulge in pervy vulgarity, but let’s try and avoid that). Even with the future setting, it’s still a very strange thing to consider; it’s all thanks to the show running longer than expected and the casting of someone who is over ten years Radnor’s junior as the mother.


13. McGee’s Bar Is The Inspiration For MacLaren’s

McGees How I Met Your Mother

MacLaren’s is of course, just a set in L.A. But don’t be discouraged – you can still visit the real bar. After spending many evenings (write from what you know) in McGee’s Irish bar in New York while working on The Late Show, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays decided to base their show’s bar on their own favourite haunt.

And the owners of McGee’s have really steered into the skid. They boast a special How I Met Your Mother drinks menu (including Robin Sparkles, Daddy’s Home and The Pineapple Incident) and during it’s run hosted weekly quiz nights on the show. If you’re ever in NYC,check them out. You may even bump into the real gang – all the cast have visited at various points.


12. The Most Viewed Episode Is The Finale…

How I Met Your Mother Ted Tracy Ending

It’s not really that surprising. Since the very start the show had been building to its finale, with the titular event driving the plot, so it’s only natural that the final two-parter, Last Forever, would end up the show’s most watched episode, bringing in 13.13 million viewers.

With shows built on overarching stories the ending can always be a little unfathomable to those not au fait with the material (see Lost), but not so here. Although there’s a lot of in-jokes (this is How I Met Your Mother after all) the episode can work for someone with more of a passing knowledge of the show; meeting the mother doesn’t have the same impact knowing the journey, but it’d still be sweet.

Previously the most viewed episode was Season 1’s The Pineapple Incident, still held by many as the high watermark for the show.


11. …And Landmarks Is Least

How I Met Your Mother Landmarks

Although in the opinion of many vocal fans the quality of the show dipped as it went on, the ratings never faltered massively. They went below the 10 million per episode average of the first season, sure, but overall How I Met Your Mother had a pretty consistent viewership. There were still small fluctuations at various points, with the most notable dip coming at the end of Season 6 when the whole Zoey and the Arcadian plot was in full swing.

The nadir of this was Landmarks, the penultimate episode of the season, bringing in only 6.41 million (less than half the finale). Clearly people weren’t very engaged with the story, but those who skipped the episode missed some pretty big developments; it’s the one where Zoey and Ted finally break up.


10. The Main Cast’s Partners Are In The Show

Sandy Rivers Alexis Denisof How I Met Your Mother

On top of the cameos from famous musicians and the like, How I Met Your Mother also sees some more sentimental guest stars in the form of the partners of the main cast. They’re not quite on the Brad Pitt in Friends level, but thanks to distinctive characters and recurring appearances they’ve became a central fabric to the show.

Sandy Rivers, the sleazy news anchor, is played by Alyson Hannigan’s husband Alexis Denisof, whom she met on the set of Buffy; Taran Killam, Cobie Smulder’s husband, played Gary Blauman, the gang dividing GNB worker; Scooter, Lily’s obsessed high school ex, is played by David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris’ long term boyfriend and now husband. They all play pretty strongly against type (all three characters are pretty unlikeable people), which makes the cameos all the funnier.


9. Barney Stinson Is A Drug Dealer From L.A. Confidential

How I Met Your Mother Barney Stinson Neil Patrick Harris

If you were to think of films that have had a big impact on How I Met Your Mother the obvious examples would be Star Wars, The Karate Kid and Weekend At Bernie’s, which received multiple homages and references throughout the shows run. But the one with the biggest impact is also the subtlest.

In L.A. Confidential, James Ellroy’s novel on which the nineties neo-noir film was based, there’s a throwaway mention of a hospital orderly who moonlights as a drug dealer called Barney Stinson. Clearly that unusual name left an impact on Thomas or Bays, leading to them turning a auxiliary character in a 1990 crime novel into a bizarre in-joke. We don’t know where the names of the other characters come from, although we hope it wasn’t to spite another love rival a la The Wedding Bride.


8. Josh Radnor Is Allergic To Dogs

How I Met Your Mother Cobie Smulders Robin

There’s certain elements from How I Met Your Mother’s early seasons that, on rewatch, really stand out against the direction the show took. Before their role was drastically reduced to account for the maturing actors, the kids had more of a rapport with Future Ted, while the musical interludes between scenes date the early episodes severly. One the strangest elements, however, has to be Robin’s dogs. Initially they were a defining part of the character, but suddenly in Season 2 they were written out.

Was having five canines on set proving a logistical issue? Sort of – Josh Radnor was allergic to dogs, making the scenes he shares with them more difficult than Alyson Hannigan’s kissing an ashtray/Jason Segel. It wasn’t a clean break though; in Stuff, where Ted forces Robin to get rid of her pets, paramedics needed to be on call due to Radnor’s close proximity to the animals.


7. The Opening Song

How I Met Your Mother Opening

The opening theme of How I Met Your Mother is a quick, unforgettable beat that doesn’t tire even after hearing it 208 (or more given reruns) times. It’s not just a random piece of music made for TV, however; the rune is from Hey Beautiful by The Solids, which just so happens to be co-creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays’ band. In the spirit of Roxy Music’s Mother Of Pearl (which appears in Season 1 episode Milk), the catchy element comes after the body of the song, overshadowing the rest of the usual pop beat.

The wasn’t the first time one of the band’s songs had become the theme tune to a sitcom; their The Future Is Now was the opening credits for the almost forgotten Oliver Beene.



6. Victoria Is The Fan’s Favourite (Non-Mother) Girlfriend

How I Met Your Mother Victoria

In the grand tradition of sitcoms, hard on his luck, lovelorn Ted still manages to date an obscene number of girls before meeting his wife. Ranging from season-long, character-defining relationships to one scene jokes, over the nine seasons of the show he dated upwards of thirty women. And, when polled online, it was revealed the fan’s favourite fling was Victoria (despite her actions in Season 8 make her a little less likeable).

This shows a real strength in the writing – back when the longevity of Ted’s story was uncertain Victoria was a back-up Mother; her first appearance was at the end of the originally planned 12 episode run and even when that was bumped up to 24 she remained a handy fall-guy.

Oh, in case you wondering, the least favourite girlfriend was Zoey.


5. The Websites Are All Real

How I Met Your Mother Blog

A big How I Met Your Mother fan and got a few hours to kill? Then you should really check out the barrage of tie-in websites for the show. Even if you’re aware of Barney’s Blog and other more obvious sites, there’s probably one you’ve never seen; pretty much every website mentioned in the series has its own real life counterpart, no matter how obscure.

They’re surprisingly in-depth, with plenty of additional jokes that compliment the series. Highlights have to be TedMosbyIsAJerk.com (from the girl Barney slept with pretending to be Ted), PuzzlesTheBar.com and NotAFathersDay.com, but they’re all worth checking out.

Carl MacLaren, the inspiration for the bar’s name, is the guy behind making these in-jokes a reality; he has a bar named after him and a ridiculously cool job.


4. Barney Could Never Use Chopsticks

How I Met Your Mother Barney

We know the producers like to plan ahead. They had the whole idea of Ted and Tracy meeting at a wedding way back in Season 6, just over halfway through the show’s run, while The Robin naturally required a lot of forethought. But it’s not just in the series’ defining arcs that they were setting things up for a long time. Since Season 1 the always suave Barney struggled with chopsticks, never able to eat with them in the various times the gang went Chinese.

Just another funny character trait, right? Wrong. In Season 7 episode Ducky Tie it’s revealed Barney has been conditioning Marshall in an elaborate scheme to see Lily’s boobs, which involves his ineptness with chopsticks. From this evidence he’s been plotting it since 2005, which is impressive commitment even for him.


3. Neil Patrick Harris Directed Jenkins

How I Met Your Mother Jenkins

Pamela Fryman is one of the most important people involved in the production of How I Met Your Mother. Across its run she directed all but twelve episodes of the show, a mighty impressive feat when you consider the complicated time-jumping narrative most episodes employ.

Only three other people directed those remaining twelve; Rob Greenberg directed seven, Michael Shea directed four and Neil Patrick Harris directed one. For an actor to eventually jump behind the camera on a long-running TV show isn’t that rare, but it’s still exciting to think of Harris calling the shots. His episode in question was Season 5’s Jenkins, which logistically from the show’s perspective makes a lot of sense; Barney plays a small role in the story, while having someone other than Fryman direct meant she could focus more on the 100th episode, which Jenkins directly followed.


2. The Pineapple Incident Has A Solution

How I Met Your Mother Pineapple Incident

While we were obviously going to find out how Ted met the mother by the series’ end, one mystery fans were resigned to never solving was the Pineapple Incident. Back in Season 1 Ted gets horrendously drunk and wakes up with a girl in his bed and pineapple on his nightstand. He eventually pieces together the night, but the origin of the fruit remains a mystery. That was until The Complete Series DVD, which boasts a deleted scene that finally gives us an answer.

It turns out The Captain follows an old naval tradition of leaving a pineapple outside his house as a symbol of hospitality, something that drunk Ted found utterly hilarious. You can check out the whole scene below. It was probably cut because it kinda invalidates the original episode; at the end Future Ted states that they never found out where the pineapple came from.


1. There’s A Real Engagement On The Show

How I Met Your Mother Robin Engagement

After finally seeing Marshall and Lily tie the knot, the two-part Season 2 finale still has one big moment for the gang – Ted and Robin have broken up (blimey, this really was a long time ago). After a case of mis-delivered champagne-with-engagement-ring and a failed escape from a restaurant it becomes apparent that the duo just aren’t meant to be together (right now at least).

It’s not all down-beat though. That engagement between the couple whose ring Robin accidentally gets was real; it’s an elaborate proposal by Timothy Russo, a friend of one of the show’s writers, to his then-girlfriend Jana Rugan, much to her surprise. In rehearsals a pair of actors were the original recipients, but once the cameras were rolling Russo stepped in, popping the question on camera. There must have been a lot of pressure to get things right on that first take.


…dary. Legendary! Are there any other How I Met Your Mother facts you know? Let us know in the comments below.



via whatculture

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