How I Met Your Mother (or HIMYM) was a hit-series when it premiered in 2005, seemingly filling the void of Friends, which had ended a year earlier. It was created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. Fans loved its unconventional approach to storytelling where many episodes followed a non-linear structure full of flashback and flashforwards. The storylines were always unpredictable, relatable, and just downright hilarious.
The show was always dedicated to keeping running gags throughout the shows nine seasons, including the Slap Bet. With a show revolving around a mystery, it’s no surprise that the show had many secrets of its own on and off the screen. Here are ten interesting behind-the-scenes facts about How I Met Your Mother.
10 Victoria Was Almost The Mother If The Show Got Cancelled
Like all shows, writers need to always be prepared on the off-chance that their show gets canned. With a sitcom revolving around who the mother is, the writers needed to have an ending written just in case the show was canceled around season 2.
They were going to have Victoria, Ted’s main girlfriend in season one, end up being revealed as the mother. This wouldn’t have been a bad move considering Victoria is a fan-favorite among Ted’s numerous girlfriends. Fortunately for the creators, the show became a success for CBS and it ran for nine seasons.
9 There Is No Studio Audience
Typically with sitcoms like Friends, (the show HIMYM is easily compared to) they use a multi-camera approach where a live audience watches each scene onset and the laughter is then recorded. Since the show constantly jumps between flashbacks and flashforwards, a live studio audience would not be possible.
Instead, each episode is filmed using a single-camera approach, then it is shown to an audience where they can add in the laughter. Single-camera filming has become a common technique among more modern sitcoms like Modern Family and The Last Man On Earth.
8 Jim Parsons Auditioned To Play Barney
A funny online fan theory suggested that Sheldon on Big Bang Theory is actually Barney from an alternate dimension. Actor Jim Parsons reacted to this theory on James Corden’s late show and then admitted that he actually auditioned for the role of Barney at one point. Of course, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Neil Patrick Harris playing one of the funniest characters on TV.
Still, we’re pretty sure it wasn’t a total loss for Parsons since Big Bang Theory ended up becoming a huge success. It was estimated that Parsons was earning around $27 Million per season.
7 Jason Segel Did Not Know Marshall’s Father Died When Filming The Scene
Definitely the saddest moment on the show, the death of Marshall’s dad had fans in tears. Apparently, Jason Segel was only told the final scene of the episode "Bad News" was Marshall telling Lily that he can have kids. When Alyson Hannigan, (as Lily) tells him about his father’s death, Segel’s reaction was genuine as he was completely caught off guard and had to improvise that heartbreaking performance.
Another fun fact is throughout this episode, there are numbers hidden in the shots starting with 50, going all the way down to 1 right before Marshall gets the news. That’s some clever but dark stuff.
6 Husband Guest Roles
Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris, and Cobie Smulders each had their husbands play a guest spot on the show. Alexis Denisof, married to Hannigan, plays the pervy Sandy Rivers who is always one word away from a sexual harassment lawsuit. Harris’s husband, David Burtka, plays Scooter, Lily’s obsessive ex-boyfriend from high school who was ready to crash her wedding. Last but not least is Smulders’s husband, Taran Killam, who played Gary Blauman, who did the disgusting and unforgivable act of stealing Barney’s accidental curly fry.
5 Alyson Hannigan Did Not Like Kissing Jason Segel Due To His Smoking Habits
Despite their perfect chemistry as a couple, actress Alyson Hannigan wanted to limit the number of times she kissed Jason Segel. Segel was a constant smoker, which Alyson was not a fan of. She tried to convince Segel to start quitting, which he was initially on board with.
They even made a bet where Segel had to pay Hannigan $10 for every cigarette he smoked. Unfortunately, due to stress, Segel ended up bringing back his habit, much to Hannigan’s disapproval. There must have been a lot of gum and mints on set.
4 Alyson Hannigan And Cobie Smulders Were Pregnant During Season 4
Alyson Hannigan was pregnant during the filming of season four. However, her character was not supposed to be, so the showrunners had to find ways to hide her pregnancy throughout many shots. Later, Cobie Smulders discovered she was also pregnant. You’ll notice that their characters are sitting down for a large portion of the season.
The only time you actually see Hannigan’s pregnant belly was during the scene where she wins a hot dog eating contest and has a huge stomach. After Hannigan had her baby, they wrote her off the show for a few episodes by having Barney tell her such the infamous "peanut butter and jam" joke. She was appalled that she couldn’t be around him anymore.
3 Neil Patrick Harris Can’t Use Chopsticks
Throughout many episodes, the gang is seen eating Chinese takeout. Well, it turns out that Neil Patrick Harris actually doesn’t know how to use chopsticks. There a ton of shots during dinner scenes where you can see Barney having the worst time trying to eat his food with chopsticks.
It’s also possible that the writers took advantage of this hidden secret in the season-seven episode “Ducky Tie,” where it’s revealed that Barney has been secretly conditioning Marshall to crave Shinjitsu every time he sneezes. It turns out that Barney is trained in the art of hibachi cooking. He’s just been waiting for the perfect time to make a bet with Marshall that he can do all that stuff.
2 Alicia Silverstone Was Originally Going To Play Stella
Stella, who would end up leaving Ted at the altar, was originally going to be played by Alicia Silverstone. This was until Britney Spears had been cast as Stella’s receptionist. Silverstone’s representatives then pulled her from the show as they feared she would be overshadowed by Spears’s appearance.
Also, Britney Spears had personally reached out to the creators to have a guest spot on the show since she was a fan. The creators were hesitant at first since they thought she wanted to play Stella and they didn’t want a big name star to play her. Spears never had desired that part as she only wanted a small cameo.
1 The Finale Scene Was Filmed Back In Season 2
How I Met Your Mother still has one of the most divisive series finales of all-time. Fans were wondering what the writers were thinking when it’s revealed that the mother had died and that this story has been to show that Ted should ask out Aunt Robin again. What the fans didn’t know is that the creators had this finale planned since season two.
They had to film the last scene with Ted’s kids in order for them to still look young. David Henrie and Lyndsy Fonseca (who play Ted’s kids), and Josh Radnor were all sworn to secrecy to never reveal the ending.