“How I Met Your Mother” was created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays for CBS. The series ran for 9 seasons, from 2005 to 2014. During the course of its run, the series was nominated for 30 Emmy Awards, winning ten of them. While initially seen as one of many clones of the popular juggernaut “Friends,” “Mother” differentiated itself from the pack by frequently going for serious or dramatic moments, interspersed with the usual comedy.
Here are 14 that stand out as the funniest.
The “talk like a baby” challenge
At first, Barney’s efforts lead nowhere. His attempts to deliver pickup lines like “Your body’s a perfect [holds up 10 fingers] … this many,” and “Do you want to wrestle with our special bathing suit places?” were a complete turn off for women. Finally, Barney regretfully accepted that he could not complete the challenge — then, free to stop acting like a toddler and acting like the brat he usually is, he picks up a girl turned on by emotionally-stunted men.
How Lily stole Christmas
In the end, Lily drives over to Ted’s home to make up with him, where Ted is spending Christmas with his ultra-religious cousins and their children. In the course of patching things up, Lily admits she had been acting like a “Grinch.” Unfortunately, the children overhear her, and start chanting “Grinch! Grinch! Grinch” loudly in unison while Lily and Ted beat a hasty retreat.
Delivering the ultimate slap
The whole thing plays out like a hilarious parody of Kung Fu movies. In the end, Marshall is finally ready to deliver the mother of all slaps to Barney. Although he had been keeping a brave face until then, Barney finally panics and runs away to hide in the woods, with Marshall following closely behind.
Ted and Marshall’s passive-aggressive war
The whole thing plays out for years, with Ted apparently not getting the hint. Finally, it is revealed that Ted did in fact get Marshall and Lily a present, but another guest swapped out their name on the gift card. The whole bit is a great example of the kind of elaborate, long-term jokes that “How I Met Your Mother” pulled off so well.
Robin screaming at Patrice
The gang is so well-aware of Robin’s bias that Barney choose Patrice to have an affair with in order to make Robin jealous. Years after the series ended, Patrice is shown to have done well in life after she becomes a radio talk show host — and Robin calls in and promptly screams “I wasn’t done, Patrice!” when Patrice interrupts her. Hey, that was still a better ending than what a lot of the other characters got.
Ted trying to spell “Professor”
The next few moments are hilariously awkward, as Ted panics and writes out another “F” before starting to doubt himself again. A furtive glance back at the class shows Ted that one student is shaking her head. Grateful for the lifeline, he turns the “F” into an “E” and is finally able to complete the nerve-wracking journey towards completing “Professor Mosby.”
Barney tearfully yelling at an old lady
He then learns that they were talking about swimming laps — which Barney sheepishly admits is great cardio.
Pointing out each other’s flaws
Lots of dirty laundry is aired. Like Lily chewing loudly, Marshall singing about everything, Ted overcorrecting people, and Robin misusing the word “literally”, as well as Barney’s many failings as a friend. At first, everyone feels quite self-conscious. But after a time, the bad blood brought about by the revelations is cleared, and the gang slips back into their old habits.
The many interventions
From trying to convince Marshall that his Dr. Seussian hat is an affront to humanity, to telling Lily that her fake British accent from watching too many “James Bond” films isn’t fooling anyone, to pointing out how dangerously stupid Barney’s pyrotechnic magic tricks are, the gang holds many interventions over the years. In the end, we see them gathering together for yet another intervention, this time to make Barney stop with his “elderly man trying to pick up women” schtick.
The movie based on Ted
Naturally, the movie ends with Stella leaving the villainous Jed for Tony at the altar, while one of Tony’s karate kids hits Jed in the nuts and exclaims, “Take that Ted Mosby!” Marshall thought the whole movie was hilarious until he learns about one of its characters named “Narshall,” who is big and dumb and steals food.
The Council of Barneys
Barney agrees to the ruling, and offers a toast of champagne to celebrate the happy resolution to the quarrel. It is then revealed that Barney had poisoned the drink, and as a result the other members of the Council pass away, leaving Barney alone as the “Player King of New York City.”
Barney gets played
His pride stung, Barney begs for another chance to prove his worth. His last efforts in that direction land Barney in the hospital with a dislocated hip. But he does manage to bump up his grade to a “B+.” Although Barney wants to keep going until he gets an “A,” Marshall advises him not to, saying Barney should simply be proud that he fought a cougar and lived to tell the tale.
At last, Lily reaches her breaking point and is forced to admit that supporting your friend’s awful works should not be a necessary rule. By the time Barney completes his second half of the play, Marshall is so fed up that he uses his second slap on Barney from their bet.
The funniest part is watching Barney and the others losing it over the show’s highly suggestive dialogue like: “How much wood will I need to keep both of these beavers well-fed all weekend long?”, all while Robin continues to insist the show is innocent and wholesome. The character of “Robin Sparkles” proved so popular that Cobie Smulders broke her out again in 2020 to add some much needed levity.