Clues about the ending of the show are scattered all throughout How I Met Your Mother. It’s no ordinary series, and every move Ted makes brings him one step closer to meeting his future wife. And oftentimes, the use of symbolism throughout makes it stand apart from other sitcoms.
The yellow umbrella, which is the most heavily featured object, is even incorporated on the official show poster. But the umbrella isn’t the only symbol in the show, as How I Met Your Mother is filled with important props that all have their own purpose.
The Yellow Umbrella
The yellow umbrella was the only clue fans had to go off of during the early seasons. During a bad time in his life, Ted found it at a bar called “Low Point,” and the name is an interesting thing fans noticed in the background of How I Met Your Mother.
The umbrella was a symbol for the mother because it too was something Ted accidentally stumbled upon. He spent the majority of the show trying to force things into existence. Yet, when he finally meets Tracy, she tells him, “Funny how sometimes you just find things.”
The swords hanging in the apartment were one of the first things Ted and Marshall bought when they moved in together. To Ted, it was a symbol of their friendship, and when Marshall wanted to take them down and put Lily’s painting up instead, he felt like he was being replaced.
The pairs of best friends always fight with the swords, as Lily and Robin have even had their share of duels. They continue to pop back up throughout the series and are hung on the wall for their sentimental value.
The Bro Code
Barney takes “The Bro Code” so seriously that he had it replace hotel Bibles and put in the seatback pockets of planes. It’s more than a book to him, and is instead a way of life. Although he pokes fun at Barney for it, Ted respects it.
Marshall points out that Ted has always upheld “The Bro Code,” even when Barney hasn’t. Ted is inherently selfless, and it’s proof of what a great friend he is. Additionally, Barney’s obsession with quoting it is just plain funny.
The Little Yellow Bus
Given the color of the umbrella, it was only fitting that Tracy’s little bus was yellow. It was the first thing Ted was drawn to in Cindy’s apartment, and the biggest piece of information viewers received about the mother. In fact, they even got a glimpse of her feet.
As her roommate, Cindy was the closest possible connection to Tracy and it was a giant step forward in the story. Ted even points out that the little yellow bus is sitting right behind his kids as he tells the story.
The Blue French Horn
The blue french horn wasn’t an object that Ted could get his hands on easily. It was an uphill battle, and the night he had to return it to the restaurant was the same night that he and Robin broke up. But some of the best things in life are worth fighting for, and Ted fought for Robin until the day she walked down the aisle.
There are several different types of love, and Ted came to realize that a person can have more than one love of their life. Although Tracy was close, she wasn’t a perfect woman who was handcrafted just for him. Love can be stumbled upon, like the yellow umbrella, or fought for, like the blue french horn. However, both types can be equally beautiful.
The Intervention Banner
Any time a member of the gang was going through something serious, they could expect to see the banner when they walked into Ted’s apartment. While it started off as a symbol of a character’s hardships, it took a hilarious turn.
They started grilling each other on fake accents, magic tricks, and obsessive chart making. It went from the gang trying to help each other to calling out things about them they found annoying. Ted and his friends held so many interventions that they held an intervention about their interventions.
The origin of the pineapple on Ted’s nightstand in “The Pineapple Incident” remained one of the only unsolved mysteries of the show. However, in a deleted scene, it’s revealed that Ted stole it from the Captain’s house in the city, who left it outside as a symbol of hospitality.
Back in How I Met Your Mother Season 1, Future Ted said that the gang never discovered where the pineapple came from. Not all questions in life get answered, and the pineapple was a perfect example of that. It’s likely why the show left out Ted’s realization, as it also would’ve contradicted the narrator.
The Ducky Tie
The ducky tie was meant to be a punishment for Barney, but, for the most part, he wore it with pride. Viewers got so used to seeing him with it that it stopped looking out of place. It was easy to forget that Barney went to work and led important business meetings with it.
He finally asked to take the tie off when he was meeting Nora’s parents, and letting go of it seemed like a representation of Barney’s newfound maturity. However, his decision to cheat on Nora with Robin that same night throws this theory into question.
The locket Robin buried as a child played a major role in the final season of the series. The show was right to break up Barney and Robin for several reasons, but Ted finding the locket instead of Barney was a huge red flag.
In reality, it probably wouldn’t mean much, but How I Met Your Mother is all about listening to the universe and its plans. It was meant to show Ted’s dedication to Robin, and no matter how hard he tried to fight his feelings for her, love isn’t something that can just stop.
“The Playbook” is Barney’s most prized possession. He wrote it himself and puts so much thought into each play that it’s downright terrifying. Its purpose was to be a running gag throughout How I Met Your Mother, but the book is too demeaning to be funny.
There are several aspects of Barney’s character that haven’t aged well, but the elaborate list of plays he runs to trick women into sleeping with him is among the worst.