22 details you probably missed on the first season of 'How I Met Your Mother'

arrows pointing to details on two separate episodes of how i met your mother season one
"How I Met Your Mother" ran for nine seasons.CBS
  • "How I Met Your Mother" ran for 9 years, but plenty of its recurring jokes started on season 1.

  • The mother's name, the cocreators, and cast members' spouses all pop up on the first season.

  • Warning: This story contains major spoilers for all seasons of "How I Met Your Mother."

Ted's children are dressed differently for the pilot than they are for the rest of the series.

ted's kids sitting on the couch in the present day scene of how i met your mother on the pilot and on a later episode
Their outfits are a little more disheveled later on.CBS

Since Ted is meant to be telling his children the story of how he met their mother over the course of one long conversation, his son and daughter are shown wearing the same clothes throughout almost every episode.

The one exception is the pilot, where the daughter is wearing a gray cardigan, skirt, and tights, and the son is wearing a dark polo shirt and jeans.

For the rest of the series, Ted's daughter wears a pink cardigan, shirt, and pants, and the son wears a shirt, hoodie, and jeans.

The background behind the children is also a little more cluttered after the pilot episode.

Barney is interested in Robin the first time he sees her.

close-up on robin's face on the first episode of how i met your mother
Cobie Smulders as Robin on "How I Met Your Mother."CBS

When Ted points Robin out the first time he sees her at MacLaren's, Barney immediately makes a lewd comment about her.

He seems to show interest in her throughout the first season, utilizing his usual flirtatious nature.

Barney's clear interest is significant for fans who know later plot points of the show.

The decor in the bar changes between the first and second episodes.

two scenes inside MacLaren's Pub on how i met your mother with an arrow pointing to differences
The main characters spend a lot of time in MacLaren's Pub throughout the show.CBS

MacLaren's Pub, where the friends spend a lot of time throughout the series, has far less wall decor on the pilot than it does for the rest of the series.

There are more signs and neon lights added near the windows and in the back corner of the bar between the first and second episodes.

Marshall references "The Great Gatsby" when Ted keeps throwing parties for Robin.

scene from season one of how i met your mother inside ted and marshalls apartment
Marshall calls Ted Gatsby.CBS

Ted throws parties three nights in a row as an excuse to invite Robin over.

Marshall alludes to F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" by comparing Ted to the titular character.

In the book, Jay Gatsby throws extravagant parties every weekend to catch the attention of one particular woman.

Ted says he and Barney are the same height — and he's almost right.

red line over ted and barney's heads on how i met your mother
Josh Radnor as Ted and Neil Patrick Harris as Barney on "How I Met Your Mother."CBS

Ted says that he and Barney are the same height on the second episode.

When Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Barney, and Josh Radnor, who plays Ted, stand next to each other, it's clear they're really close to the same.

Several websites claim that Harris is 6 feet tall, and similar reports say Radnor is a little over 5-foot-11.

Barney and Ted make seemingly impossible calls on a plane.

barney closing his flip phone while sitting next to ted on an airplane on how i met your mother
They wouldn't have been able to make calls from the air on their flip phones.CBS

While attempting to pick up girls at the airport, Barney and Ted get on a flight to Philadelphia.

They call Marshall from the plane to ask him to pick them up.

Both times they make calls, the plane is apparently in the air, so calling Marshall on their flip phones shouldn't be possible.

Natalie has a sock monkey with a "Happy Birthday" sweater.

red arrow pointing to sock monkey wearing a happy birthday sweater on a bed full of pillows and stuffed animals on how i met your mother
There are several sock monkeys on the bed.CBS

Ted broke up with Natalie on her birthday, twice.

When listing things he likes about her, he mentioned her sock-monkey collection.

At the end of the episode, one of the sock monkeys that can be seen on her bed is wearing a "Happy Birthday" sweater.

Two of Jason Segel's "Freaks and Geeks" costars appeared on the first season.

Samm Levine guest-starring on how i met your mother and Martin Starr guest-starring on how i met your mother
Samm Levine (left) and Martin Starr (right) on two separate episodes of "How I Met Your Mother."CBS

Before "How I Met Your Mother," Jason Segel, who played Marshall, appeared as Nick Andopolis on NBC's "Freaks and Geeks."

Two of his former costars, Samm Levine and Martin Starr, had guest roles on the first season of "How I Met Your Mother."

Levine appeared as one of the people waiting to get into the club on episode five, and Starr played a guy Robin had a bad date with on episode eight.

Robin says she never played any team sports, but she was on a hockey team.

flashback of robin wearing a hockey jersey and holding a hockey stick on how i met your mother
Hockey is definitely a team sport.CBS

When Robin struggles to embrace her new relationship on the season-one Halloween episode, she mentions that she's never played a team sport. She claims she only played tennis.

But this is contradicted on later seasons when Robin is shown playing hockey, which is a team sport, in flashbacks.

Radnor breaks and laughs during the matchmaker scene with Harris.

arrow pointing to ted sitting next to barney in an office on an episode of how i met your mother
Josh Radnor played Ted on "How I Met Your Mother."CBS

Barney tags along when Ted decides to sign up for Love Solutions, a matchmaking service.

While Harris, as Barney, is lying to the matchmaker about what he wants in a relationship, Radnor, as Ted, can't keep a straight face.

The camera cuts away and shows Ted with a serious expression, so it seems like Radnor was actually supposed to look annoyed the entire time.

Ted's alarm clock seems to have the wrong time.

arrow pointing to ted's alarm clock next to the pineapple on his dresser on how i met your mother
The alarm clock is clear during the famous "Pineapple Incident" episode.CBS

The morning that Ted wakes up next to Trudy and a mysterious pineapple, his alarm clock seems to have the wrong time.

Ted mentions that it's morning, and everyone else is drinking coffee or still asleep. But the alarm clock visible on his nightstand shows the time as 12:53.

Presumably, that would mean it was actually afternoon or the middle of the night.

Sandy Rivers is mentioned several episodes before his first appearance.

robin and sandy hosting their news show on how i met your mother
Robin and Sandy are coanchors.CBS

Robin has to work during Claudia and Stuart's wedding when another anchor isn't able to come in.

When her job calls, she asks what happened to Sandy before agreeing to work that night.

Six episodes later, Sandy Rivers appears onscreen for the first time as her coanchor.

Lily's paintings can be seen in Marshall and Ted's apartment before she officially moves in.

arrows pointing to lily's painting in ted and marshalls apartment and in her apartment in two episodes of how i met your mother
The same painting is hanging in Ted and Marshall's apartment and Lily's apartment.CBS

At the start of season one, Lily has her own apartment even though she almost always stays over at Marshall and Ted's.

Lily's paintings can be seen throughout their apartment before she officially moves in midway through the season.

In fact, one of the paintings usually displayed over Marshall and Ted's fireplace can later be seen in Lily's apartment when she officially moves out on season two.

Barney's old zine was named "Brainbows."

flashback of barney holding a green zine called brainbows on how i met your mother
The flashbacks of Barney are much different from his present-day character.CBS

Before Barney became a suit-wearing womanizer, viewers find out he was an optimistic barista who made his own zine (small, self-published publication) during a flashback.

The zine is titled "Brainbows" and has a peace sign on the cover.

The subhead on the cover reads: "Taking global action against global warming" with a recycling symbol.

The anthropologist Marshall looks up to is fictional but likely based on a famous conservationist.

flashback of marshall as a kid in how i met your mother
Dian Fossey was a renown conservationist.CBS

In another flashback, fans find out Marshall's idol when he was younger was Dr. Aurelia Birnholz-Vazquez, an anthropologist who wrote "Life Among the Gorillas."

Although she's not a real person, her character may have been inspired by Dian Fossey.

Fossey studied gorillas for decades as a conservationist and made significant progress in calling for the protection of gorillas from poachers.

When Barney talks to Lily's class, there's a disclaimer about him on the chalkboard.

arrow pointing to chalkboard in lily's classroom behind barney and robin on how i met your mother
The note reads "Barney (not the purple one)."CBS

Robin and Barney both visit Lily's kindergarten class to talk about their jobs on Career Day.

Since Lily doesn't know what Barney's job is, his name is written on the chalkboard instead of his profession.

She wrote, "Barney (not the purple one)," to distinguish her friend from the famous TV dinosaur. But seeing as Lily teaches kindergarteners, it's a little unlikely they'd be able to read and comprehend the note.

Barney successfully does a magic trick that he messed up earlier on the season.

barney doing magic in lily's class on how i met your mother
Neil Patrick Harris does magic as a hobby in real life.CBS

Harris brought his real skills as a magician to Barney's character and can be seen doing various magic tricks throughout the show.

Early on the first season, he attempts to do a fireball trick and singes his hand.

When he does what appears to be the same trick again in front of Lily's class, he performs it successfully.

Ted's favorite book outlines the main romantic plot of the show.

ted talking to someone in an office on how i met your mother
His favorite book is "Love in the Time of Cholera."CBS

Ted mentions his favorite book, "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel García Márquez, several times while describing his dream girl.

The book tells the love story of a couple that eventually gets together again after years of being apart. One of them even ends up marrying someone else who dies in the interim.

This is very similar to Robin and Ted's will-they-won't-they plot throughout the series.

The connection between the two stories is further cemented when Ted is seen reading the book at the train station on the last season.

The cocreators of the show appear as fake paramedics when Barney tests a pickup line.

Carter Bays and Craig Thomas making a cameo on how i met your mother
Craig Thomas and Carter Bays cocreated "How I Met Your Mother."CBS

When Barney is trying to get a woman's phone number, he has Wendy, the waitress at MacLaren's, and two actors posing as paramedics help him stage a scene.

The fake paramedics are actually played by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, the cocreators of "How I Met Your Mother."

Ted trips on the roof immediately after it starts raining.

arrow pointing to ted slipping on rain on the roof on how i met your mother
Ted tried to get it to rain throughout the episode.CBS

On the season-one finale, it starts raining after Ted spends hours attempting to do a rain dance.

Ted jumps and cheers, but while he's jumping, he visibly trips over part of the roof and starts to fall.

The scene cuts away before he's finished falling, but he clearly moves his arms to catch himself.

The real husbands of multiple cast members appeared throughout the first season.

Alexis Denisof, David Burtka, and Taran Killam on different episodes of how i met your mother
Alexis Denisof, David Burtka, and Taran Killam on "How I Met Your Mother."CBS

Alexis Denisof, David Burtka, and Taran Killam are all married to different members of the main cast, and they each played recurring characters who first appeared on season one.

Denisof is married to Alyson Hannigan (Lily) and plays Sandy Rivers.

Harris' husband Burtka plays Lily's high-school ex-boyfriend Scooter.

Killam, who's married to Cobie Smulders (Robin), plays one of Barney and Marshall's coworkers, Gary Blauman.

The mother's name was secretly revealed on season one.

ted and tracy standing under a yellow umbrella on how i met your mother
Ted meets a stripper named Tracy on season one.CBS

Toward the end of the show, fans discover that Ted's wife, and the mother of his kids, is named Tracy McConnell.

But the name Tracy pops up long before the mother ever appears on the screen.

On season one's Thanksgiving episode, Ted meets a stripper who says her name is Tracy.

When Ted jokes to the kids that this is how he met their mother, they're shocked — possibly because they believe him for a moment because Tracy is actually their mother's name.

Since Bays and Thomas filmed the final scene with the kids early in production for continuity reasons, it's possible they had the mother's name picked out all the way on season one.

Look for the small details in "How I Met Your Mother" by streaming all all 9 seasons on Hulu:

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