Best ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Episodes

Reading Time: 8 minutes

How I Met Your Mother

With the rise of streaming services over the last decade, viewers of all ages have been able to watch TV shows for the first time or rewatch shows they love. In my case, I was able to watch How I Met Your Mother for the first time in 2014. Knowing that the show would soon be ending, I was able to binge the first eight seasons just in time for the season nine premiere. Even though the official finale of the series was rather disappointing for me, How I Met Your Mother holds a special place in my heart and quickly became one of my favorite sitcoms of all time.

Because of the spin-off series, How I Met Your Father that premiers in January 2022, I decided to add this show to my holiday break binge list. Even though I have already watched this sitcom multiple times, I began to notice specific episodes that had a major impact on the overall series. With that in mind, I had the idea of compiling a list of my favorite episodes from the original show. For the list, I chose one episode from every season that made the most impact on my experience watching the show.

“Drumroll, Please” – Season 1, Episode 13

How I Met Your Mother

Summary: Robin (Cobie Smulders) is emotionally torn when Ted (Josh Radnor) meets an exciting new woman, Victoria (Ashley Williams), at the wedding. Afterward, though, he doesn’t know how to contact her.

This episode marks the beginning of Ted and Robin’s will-they-won’t-they relationship that carries out throughout the show. While they had gone on a date in the past and Ted had made multiple attempts to be with Robin, nothing had happened up to this point between the two. Ted meeting Victoria at the wedding is the first obstacle they go through in terms of the timeline in their relationship. The scenes between Ted and Victoria were incredibly moving and entertaining to watch. With that chance encounter, the two let audiences know how romantic Ted could be while also giving his character a storyline outside of being in love with Robin.

“Come On” – Season 1, Episode 22

How I Met Your Mother

Summary: Ted makes a final attempt to win Robin’s heart. Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily’s (Alyson Hannigan) relationship is in jeopardy.

This episode features one of the most defining moments in two of How I Met Your Mother‘s pivotal relationships. On the one hand, Ted and Robin are finally together by the end of the relationship. But not without some major effort from Ted and a bit of luck. On the other hand, Marshall and Lily are put through the wringer, with Lily being accepted into art school, which causes them to break up. One relationship begins while the other ends, and the end scene with Ted meeting Marshall on the steps of their apartment building while it rains creates a bittersweet moment.

“Slap Bet” – Season 2, Episode 9

How I Met Your Mother

Summary: The gang discovers that Robin’s been hiding a huge secret, but they have no idea what it is. Marshall thinks she is married, and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) thinks she was a porn star.

“Slap Bet” saw two of the show’s most beloved running gags: Robin’s time as a Canadian teen pop-star and the slap bet punishment between Barney and Marshall. Even after being friends for what seems to be a year, at least in the show’s timeline, Ted and his friends still don’t know much about Robin’s past. This big revelation was an immense surprise to both the characters and fans of the show. Every time a new Robin Sparkles song was revealed, fans knew to expect another big revelation about Robin’s life. Similarly, with the slap bet, the anticipation in every episode whether or not Marshall would slap Barney was always there. Of course, some episodes made it clearer that a slap was imminent, but there were definitely some surprising moments when a slap occurred utterly unexpected.

“Ten Sessions” – Season 3, Episode 13

How I Met Your Mother

Summary: As the search for Mrs. Right continues, Ted woos his dermatologist Stella (Sarah Chalke) — but her receptionist, Abby (Britney Spears), seems more interested in him.

“Ten Sessions” does a great job of showing both Ted’s strengths and faults when it comes to love and relationships. For one, he’s incredibly relentless when trying to pursue Stella. However, the unique idea he comes up with for a date by the end of the episode was quite admirable. In addition, guest star Britney Spears does an incredible job portraying an obsessed admirer of Ted with a very comical performance. This episode marks a turning point for Ted regarding how serious he is in finding the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

“Three Days of Snow” – Season 4, Episode 13

Summary: Ted and Barney get an opportunity to run their own bar during a historic blizzard, while Marshall and Lily try to defy the odds and continue one of their cherished traditions.

Marshall and Lily have been portrayed as the ideal couple since How I Met Your Mother started. They’ve gone through plenty of obstacles along the way but have managed to still be a couple who care for each other. “Three Days of Snow” shows how much they love each other and how they choose to show this. While I’ve seen complaints of them being the couple in a friend group that’s too annoying, I find them rather endearing and an example of a loving couple.

“Girls vs Suits” – Season 5, Episode 12

Summary: Barney chooses between wearing suits and sleeping with a sexy bartender. Meanwhile, Ted gets ever closer to meeting “the mother.”

Before watching How I Met Your Mother, I knew that Neil Patrick Harris could sing and had done work on Broadway before. So it was only a matter of time before his character had an episode dedicated to him singing. Barney’s struggle between suits and dating a bartender is incredibly nonsensical, and the show goes through great lengths to show how over the top it can get. Look no further than the memorable song that had the main cast sing about Barney’s predicament. The song captures his struggle perfectly while blending in the comedy well with his feelings about the situation.

“Bad News” – Season 6, Episode 13

Summary: Marshall suspects that he is why Lily can’t get pregnant after meeting a fertility doctor who also happens to be Barney’s doppelganger. Meanwhile, her former co-anchor reveals Robin’s embarrassing past at work.

In what many fans refer to as “the saddest episode of How I Met Your Mother,” the journey that Marshall and Lily go through in having a child reaches a significant roadblock. Major fears come into Marshall’s mind when the possibility of never having children grows. His struggle to not want to talk to his dad about something major like this out of worry that his dad couldn’t handle the news is heartbreaking to see. The episode’s final moments are the real gut punch, especially with Jason Segel’s improvised final line.

“Tick, Tick, Tick…” – Season 7, Episode 10

Summary: Barney and Robin are afraid to break the news to Nora (Nazanin Boniadi) and Kevin (Kal Penn) that they cheated with each other and want to get back together, while Ted and Marshall get stoned together at a concert.

The heavy emphasis on the theme of time in this episode significantly impacts the relationship between Barney and Robin. While they’ve been broken up for some time up to the point of this episode, it’s clear that they still love each other. Their plan to break up with the people they’re dating seemed too good to be true. However, one can’t help but root for them to be together again. The sound of the clock ticking and time slowing down at the end of the episode as Barney looks on after the plan failed is heartbreaking to watch. The devastating look on his face puts into perspective just how broken-hearted he feels at that point.

“The Time Travelers” – Season 8, Episode 20

Summary: Ted and Barney run into their future selves as they debate whether to go to “Wrestlers vs. Robots,” while Robin and Marshall argue over who gets credit for a new drink at McLaren’s.

As the series was winding down, Ted was forced to look at his love life up to this point and face the choices he’s made. “The Time Travelers” forces him to look at his desperation not to be alone and how that’s influenced his relationships for so long. His end speech to his future wife leaves viewers with a bittersweet feeling, especially when looking at the finale of the series. The end realization for Ted is a major turning point for him as it points out the mistakes he will continue to make if he continues on the path he’s been on in terms of finding the girl he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

“How Your Mother Met Me” – Season 9, Episode 16

Summary: The story of The Mother, from her traumatic 21st birthday to several close calls with meeting Ted to the night before Barney and Robin’s wedding.

Season nine has its own set of problems, one being the fact that everything happens within the week that Barney and Robin’s wedding takes place. “How Your Mother Met Me” provides a much-deserved break from the tedious task of keeping track of when events occur throughout the season. This entire episode could have been its own spin-off series, but it makes sense to condense everything that happens in the Mother’s (Cristin Milioti) life with the times her path almost crossed with Ted’s. As a result, viewers can see just how much they’re alike and get to know her a bit better rather than just as the woman that Ted marries one day.

Making this list was difficult since there were many other episodes that I wish could have been included. Whether it was Barney finding out who his dad is, the blossoming relationship between Ted and Zoey, or when Barney proposes to Robin, many episodes easily could have made the list. However, these episodes made an incredible impact on the show or had any of the main characters go through major character development. Since the creators of How I Met Your Mother are also working on the spin-off show, I’m hopeful that How I Met Your Father will capture the many qualities that made the original show truly special.

But Why Tho? A Geek Community
%d bloggers like this: