Throughout the series, which follow younger Ted’s (Josh Radnor) adventures through Manhattan alongside best friends Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), and Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), viewers are forced to find clues and solve mysteries to figure out the identity of the mother. Here Are some Tiniest Details only true fans noticed!
An entire love story takes place in the background of How I Met Your Mother
As the gang runs through a flashback of hackneyed, punny bits at their favorite pub, MacLaren’s, you can watch as a couple in the background get engaged, get married, have a son, watch him graduate, all up until the point where the husband apparently passes away, leaving behind his grieving widow. Though this Up-style montage is clearly meant to show just how long Robin’s friends spend making jokes at her expense, it’s also a clever little Easter egg for sharp-eyed viewers, so make sure you look out for it next time you rewatch HIMYM’s ninth season.
The saddest countdown of all time
When the counter arrives at one, Marshall, who’s just come home to tell Lily that all of his tests went fine and that they’ll be able to conceive, finds his wife in tears, only to discover that his dad had a heart attack and didn’t make it. To make this moment even more stunning, Segel wasn’t told in advance that the episode would end this way, and when he gets the news from his on-screen wife, it’s the first time he’s hearing it at all. This episode is hard to watch, but it also contains one of HIMYM’s most emotional beats, as well as an amazing escalation of brilliant Easter eggs.
A famous extra once visited How I Met Your Mother
During the season seven episode “No Pressure,” if you blink, you’ll miss legendary late-night host Conan O’Brien lurking in MacLaren’s. Though O’Brien, with his imposing height and signature red hair, is usually pretty easy to spot, he’s only in the episode for a split second. Apparently, O’Brien won an uncredited role during an auction for charity, so next time you’re rewatching HIMYM’s seventh season, see if you can clock the TV show host wandering around MacLaren’s.
The final slap arrives at the perfect time
Earlier in the show, when Marshall gets three more slaps, he excitedly says that he thinks he’ll “save them for a rainy day,” and that’s exactly what he does. In season nine’s “End of the Aisle,” Marshall slaps Barney one last time just before Barney and Robin make it down the aisle. As it happens, it rains on Barney and Robin’s wedding day.
Two women named Tracy and two confused children
In the season one episode “Belly Full of Turkey,” Ted makes the first of his many, many visits to a strip club, and he tells his kids that one of the strippers introduces herself as “Tracy.” Both children are completely shocked, and though the audience thinks it’s because they’re horrified to hear that their dad frequented strip clubs back in the day, it’s really because their mother’s name is also Tracy, which viewers don’t learn until the series finale. It takes the entire series to explain why, but eventually, their reaction makes sense. However, what doesn’t really make sense is why Ted is telling his children about his adventures at the strip club in the first place.
Barney’s little quirks are super specific
Even casual viewers of HIMYM know just how much Barney loves his suits — famously, he couldn’t even give them up for a beautiful woman in season’s five “Girls vs. Suits” — but his commitment to sharp dressing is even more fastidious than you might think. Always dressed to the nines, Barney wears a tie in nearly every episode, and when audiences get to see his Christmas tree, even that’s decorated with tie ornaments. Another weirdly specific detail about Barney that comes straight from Harris, the man behind the suits, is that he can’t use chopsticks. As Harris revealed in Vogue’s “73 Questions” series, he gave Barney this one incredibly particular flaw, and if you rewatch any scene where the gang eats Chinese food, you’ll notice Barney struggling with his chopsticks the entire time.
They certainly love their ‘sandwiches’
After making its debut in season two’s “How I Met Everyone Else,” the sandwich gag pops up time and time again, even when the main characters aren’t involved. Sometimes, background characters can be spotted eating the enormous sandwiches, and longtime fans know that means they’re enjoying something else entirely. One more tiny reference? The clock in the apartment above MacLaren’s that nearly every character — save for Barney — lives in over the course of the show is always set to 4:20. The visual sandwich jokes are pretty obvious, but apparently, in the gang’s apartment, it’s always a good time to “eat a sandwich.”
How I Met Your Mother is filled with bleak clues about the show’s tragic ending
Throughout a few episodes where Marshall visits his father’s gravestone in Minnesota, sharp-eyed viewers can spot a gravestone that says “Mother,” and though that would be innocuous enough by itself, there’s plenty more. The series frequently mentions that Ted’s favorite book is Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, which is about a couple who can’t be together until one of their spouses dies, echoing Ted’s eventual reunion with Robin after Tracy’s death. If that’s not enough, there’s a huge musical clue when Tracy and Ted end up in the same place at the same time at the beginning of season eight. The song playing is by Band of Horses, and appropriately, it’s called “The Funeral.” There’s plenty more, but these are just a few to watch out for as you enjoy this normally lighthearted series.
Barney and Ted’s unsettling arrangement actually happens
While Robin is dating somebody else in the season five episode “Twin Beds,” Ted and Barney misguidedly reignite their rivalry during a drunken night together, and eventually, Barney tells Ted that he wants Robin until she’s 40 years old, and Ted can have her after that. Barney was definitely being shallow, but that’s exactly what happens. In the series finale, Barney and Robin ultimately divorce, and Robin ends up with Ted years after the fact, fulfilling Barney’s twisted, inadvertent prophecy.
Lily’s belongings make their way throughout Manhattan
During the third season of HIMYM, Lily and Marshall set out to buy their own place, but an unexpected obstacle gets in their way — specifically, Lily’s massive credit card debt, which she’s been hiding from Marshall for years. To try and scrape money together, Marshall asks Lily to sell some of her designer clothes and shoes, and though she begs to keep her stuff, she does sell a lot of it thanks to Marshall’s website, lilyandmarshallselltheirstuff.com.
Robin walks down the aisle to her own hit song
After the gang discovers that, in a previous life, Robin was once “Robin Sparkles,” a Canadian teen pop sensation, the show doles out different Robin Sparkles music videos and songs throughout the series, and shortly after audiences are introduced to Robin’s debut single “Let’s Go to the Mall,” they get to see her follow-up. In the show’s third season, we finally get to see Robin Sparkles’ second effort, “Sandcastles in the Sand,” a maudlin love song about one of her first loves. But besides yet another ludicrous music video, “Sandcastles in the Sand” serves an important purpose, and it ultimately brings Barney and Robin together for the very first time.
The overall importance of ‘La Vie en Rose’ in How I Met Your Mother
That performance might be the first time Ted hears his future wife sing “La Vie En Rose,” but the audience has heard it before … way back in the first season. When Robin and Ted kiss on New Year’s Eve in season one, the song plays, which brings its mythology full circle within the context of the show. Beyond that, it’s pretty easy to see the symbolism of this particular song. Ted, a hopeless romantic, sees everything through rose-colored glasses. However, the fact that “La Vie en Rose” not only bookends the series but is associated with the two women that Ted finds his happy ending with is extraordinarily significant and a perfectly romantic Easter egg.