How I Met Your Mother: 10 Underrated Moments That Aren’t Talked About Enough

There are a few scenes and episodes that just stand out over How I Met Your Mother’s run. Whether for the details, like the beautiful way that ‘Bad News’ includes a countdown to the reveal that Marshall’s dad dies, for the gut-wrenching moments, like seeing Marshall sitting in the rain holding a ring, or just for the sheer hilarity of episodes like ‘Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit’.
Compared to heavy hitters like these, it’s no wonder that so many other moments from the show tend to be forgotten. These are moments that are also hilarious, heartbreaking, or just beautifully crafted (something that the show is known for), but that still never seem to get the attention they deserve.

Barney & Robin’s Breakup

Barney and Robin’s relationship gets a lot of attention, and the times they get together are often highlighted. Even the time that they almost get together, and Robin chooses to stay with Kevin is a standout (and a heartbreaking one). However, their breakup is often overlooked. This may be because it wasn’t a huge dramatic moment, but that’s what makes it so impressive. In sitcoms, breakups are often huge scenes, with screaming and door slamming and fallout. Robin and Barney, however, realize that while they love each other, they do not bring out the best in each other – and they choose to calmly, maturely, end things. It’s refreshing to see a healthy breakup, for a fairly mundane reason, make it into this kind of show.

Ted Drunk Beatboxing

While How I Met Your Mother is known as a show that isn’t reliant on realism, it manages to pull that off because it has so many small moments of true realism and reliability. Ted describing what happens when he drinks bourbon is definitely one of them. He believes that he can beatbox if he drinks bourbon, and the episode cuts to a scene of him wowing a bar full of people… before Lily reveals that actually, he just made a fool of himself. The same scene shows him stumbling drunkenly into a microphone – a moment that recognizes how drunk people actually behave, in an episode that otherwise tends to elevate drinking. It’s a scene that strikes a good balance.

Barney & The Basketball Hoop

When it comes to the relationships between the gang and their parents, Marshall losing his father is the standout, and it tends to overshadow the rest. However, when Barney reconnects with his father, and learns that he was a suburban dad, what follows is one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the series.

Barney Goes To San Francisco

Barney’s best scenes are those where he drops the playboy act and reveals that he is actually incredibly sensitive and caring (to his friends, anyway) – like when he goes to San Francisco to try and bring Lily home after she leaves Marshall. He doesn’t do this for the acclaim, he’s not showing off about his money, he’s just trying to do the right thing, and keeps it a secret for a long time afterward. It’s one of the earlier times that fans really get to see that Barney has depth, but it’s largely brushed under the rug.

Too Old For That…

In ‘Murtaugh’, Barney and Ted play with extremes of age – with Barney trying to prove that he can do everything he used to, and Ted trying to prove that being an ‘old person’ would be enjoyable. It’s an episode that is usually considered more filler than anything, but it also drives home one of the central messages of the show – especially in Ted’s story. Both Barney and Ted realize in the end that neither extreme works – and that the best age to be is probably the age they are. Given that most of Ted’s story is about figuring out not to rush through life in pursuit of the perfect relationship, it’s a perfect mini-version of the message.

The Final Cigarette

It’s rare to see a sitcom where the characters smoke, but in a show like How I Met Your Mother, set in the 2000s, when the gang are spending all their time in bars and also smoke ‘sandwiches’, it borders on unrealistic. ‘The Final Cigarette’ is a phenomenal episode in part because it gets around this beautifully, explaining that they did smoke sometimes, but Ted was omitting it for the sake of the story.

Marshall’s Marriage License

For most shows with this kind of premise, it’s common to see every character dating (and sleeping with people) all the time. Barney and Ted, of course, manage this in abundance, but it’s fantastic to see How I Met Your Mother bring some balance to the table with Marshall and Lily. More than once in the series, Lily and Marshall reference having only slept with each other (and that their ‘list’ is also their marriage license). In a genre where this is incredibly rare, moments that bring a little balance to the group, and celebrate characters with many or few sexual partners as healthy is incredibly refreshing.

Ted Choosing The Arcadian Project Over Zoey

One of Ted’s biggest flaws is that he is so concerned with falling in love and finding ‘the one’ that he can lose sight of who he really is. When he is with Stella, he is willing to move to New Jersey and change his whole life to be with her. When he is with Robin, he tries to convince her that maybe he would be ok with not having the future he wants. But when he is with Zoey, he finally figures out how to put his own goals first, and trust that the right relationship wouldn’t stand in the way of that. His decision to stop trying to save the Arcadian just to make her happy showed huge growth, even if fans of the couple hated to see them break up.

Marshall Talking To Himself In The Mirror

When Marshall is out of a job, he is shown giving himself a pep talk in the mirror… and over time, that pep talk involves smaller and smaller goals. From being ‘confident and focused’ he becomes ‘flexible on salary’, and finally tells himself ‘you will get through this, come home, and take a nap’. It’s a little bit heartbreaking, but it’s also a small scene that is incredibly relatable. While many sitcoms seem to show characters who never have trouble finding work, or dealing with money, How I Met Your Mother shows how long and draining a job hunt after graduation can really be.

False Positive

Finally, one of the best, less-talked-about episodes of the show is ‘False Positive’, when Marshall and Lily believe they are pregnant, and it throws the whole group into chaos. Each of them have their own decisions to make, and struggle with making the one that will really get them closer to their goals (Robin at World Wide News, Barney as a better person, Marshall and Lily as parents, and Punchy married), or the ‘fun’ one (coin-flip bimbos, diamond suits, and puppies).

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