How We Met Their Mother
February 17, 2009 · Print This Article
Victoria and I agree: How I Met Your Mother is the best sitcom currently on TV. ‘Til Death held the distinction (at least in our minds) for a while, but apparently the writers decided that it was time to systematically destroy that show, instead.
So HIMYM it is. It’s funny, it’s life-assuring, it has that extra little bit of mystery (who is Ted going to marry?), and it has an attractive cast that we’re familiar with from other movies and TV series. Not since Friends has a sitcom assembled a group of actors with such great chemistry. Victoria and I aren’t exactly long-time followers of the show, though. I do remember watching a few of the early episodes (how can you forget a show with an episode called “The Slutty Pumpkin“?); but we only started watching all the DVD sets a few months ago, after Victoria caught one of the later episodes on TV and luckily insisted that we watch it.
Now we’re all caught up with the show’s mysteries and storylines. The writers have been battling with one fundamental problem from the start, of course: to stay true to the premise of the show, we cannot meet Ted’s future wife until the series is closing in on the end – the question of who will turn out to be the future Mrs. Mosby is one of the show’s big overarching themes, after all. The show’s source of information (the future Ted Mosby) is intentionally written as an unreliable narrator, which keeps doors open (and seasons flowing). Many of the romantic interests that Ted meets turn out to be flukes, if simply by necessity. But as a self-proclaimed HIMYM geek, I think I already know who Ted is going to end up marrying! And I will happily present that theory behind the cut (which, RSS readers should know, is right here). Think of it as a SPOILER barricade for everybody not caught up on seasons 3 & 4.
Season 3 seems like the year when it’s all coming together for Ted. We are introduced to the yellow umbrella, which supposedly used to belong to the girl that Ted will eventually marry. Mid-season we also learn that Ted’s future wife was at the same St Patrick’s Day party that Ted attended, even though the two never met at this party. On the day following the party, Ted returns to the club looking for his lost cellphone, and leaves with an abandoned yellow umbrella, to shield himself from a sudden shower of rain. In the next episode we meet the supposed owner of this umbrella: Stella, who was at the party in question, who Ted tries to woo from the moment they meet, who Ted proposes to at the end of season 3, who accepts his proposal and who Ted is set to marry in season 4. With one little snag, of course: Stella leaves Ted at the altar, moving in with the father of her daughter instead. Oops.
But wait a second! The yellow umbrella is never mentioned while Ted and Stella are dating. And let’s face it, Stella and Ted’s kids don’t exactly look alike.
So, what’s with all these potentially misleading hints (and I’m not even including “The Goat” in all of this)? Who was the owner of the yellow umbrella, the future wife that Ted supposedly never bumped into at the St Patricks party? Going by previous story arcs, the writers most certainly did more than simply plant misleading seeds. Which makes it all the more interesting that, for no reason at all, Ted actually does bump into somebody at the party: a girl who certainly looks like she is related to Ted’s kids. They exchange a quick “Excuse me” – “No problem”, and also share a quick but meaningful look. That look:
Okay, so it’s just a freeze frame in DVD quality. But TV time is too precious to ever be wasted on unimportant scenes! I have no idea if the writers really were thinking this far in advance, let alone would cast a part as important as this one way ahead of time. But HIMYM has proven to be very well planned out, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did (Ted is drunk in this scene, too, which can be used to explain away a few discrepancies later).
I guess we’ll have to wait a few years to see if I’m right or not. The brilliance of HIMYM is that none of this really matters. Yes, the show is a well-plotted multi-season “Who is it?”, but it’s just as much fun when you treat it as a standalone, episode-to-episode sitcom. Which is to say “as lot of fun”. Victoria and I will keep watching. And hopefully you will, as well!
Note from a year later: I still believe in this theory, and if you read through the comments, a lot of other people seem to do the same. Whoever the girl is (not the actress, the character), she fits well into college, and would work well as the unseen roommate, as well. Will this be it? I’m not holding my breath because, as I said in the original post, the fun part is that none of that really matters. Between HIMYM and Big Bang Theory, it’s a good time to be watching sitcoms right now.
Note from 2011: It looks like Ted will meet his future wife at Barney’s wedding. And I’m pretty sure that Barney will marry Robin. Ted is the best man at this wedding – but for whom? Well, there’s an episode in which Ted promises Robin to be her “best man”, and this will be it. Marshall as Barney’s best man, Ted as Robin’s. I also like the twin idea that somebody posted towards the end of the comments.