Bob Saget provided the narration for How I Met Your Mother, and now he explains why the show didn’t simply tap Josh Radnor to do it. For nine seasons, the sitcom chronicled not only Ted Mosby’s quest for a wife but also his other shenanigans with his friends. To frame the episodic and overarching narrative, How I Met Your Mother brought in the Full House actor as an older Ted recalling his experiences to his kids, Penny and Luke.
A version of Radnor’s character from 2030, Saget’s voice-over was a storytelling device used to move the plot ahead. It’s a creative ploy inspired by The Wonder Years, where Daniel Stern served as an older narrator for the story of Kevin Arnold, played by young Fred Savage. This was an understandable decision for the ’80s sitcom considering the difference in age between the character on the screen and his future self. Since Ted was already a full-grown adult in How I Met Your Mother, many have wondered why Radnor didn’t simply play both versions of his character.
Now, Saget explains that there were actually two factors that played into the decision of hiring him to narrate the popular sitcom. Speaking with Alabama Life & Culture, the veteran actor revealed those behind How I Met Your Mother wanted someone who sounded older. He also shared they were looking for a performer with an easily recognizable voice, which Saget has thanks to his work on Full House and his prominent stint hosting America’s Funniest Home Videos.
I was doing a play in New York, an off Broadway play. And I get a call from Pam Fryman, who was one of the exec producers of How I Met Your Mother. She also was the director. And she’s just one of the best people I know. I knew her from my kids’ school because her daughters are my daughters’ friends. She called and said, “Look, we think you’d be right to be the voice Josh Radnor.” And I said, “Why doesn’t he do it?,” which everybody’s been asking since. [Laughs] And the reason was, they just wanted him to sound older, and people knew my voice, it was a familiar voice. They had another guy in mind for it too, and they went with me.
Many How I Met Your Mother viewers would agree that getting Saget to do the voice of Future Ted was the right call. It separated the narration from the on-screen character and made it clear how the stories were framed from his perspective as he recalled his earlier shenanigans to his kids. That being said, the How I Met Your Mother ending featured the voice of Radnor instead of Saget. Despite the noticeable difference between the pair’s narration, it made for a better transition to the sitcom’s ultimate ending, which saw Ted reaching out to Robin, as he did the first time they were supposed to go out on a date.
Several years after How I Met Your Mother wrapped up, it remains one of the most beloved and highly discussed sitcoms of all time, partly due to its clever narrative device. With a spinoff series, How I Met Your Father, set to debut on Hulu, it will be interesting to see if the offshoot also features a different actor narrating the show like Saget did in the original sitcom. Considering the response to his performance over the years, it seems likely the new show will follow suit.