How I Met Your Mother is one of those TV shows that was wildly successful in its day, yet never seemed to age well due to its notable racism/transphobia/sexism throughout the entire course of the series. Yet this ignorant behavior (especially the sexism) doesn't just come from known chauvinist/womanizer Barney Stinson. It comes from everyone. And we do mean everyone. This includes the women on the show who pride themselves on that whole supposedly superior "not like other girls" attitude. Robin Scherbatsky and Lily Aldren are constantly slut-shaming other women and labeling them as "idiots" for falling for Barney's schemes. Barney is constantly committing acts of sexual assault but according to his pals, that's just a part of his charm. Ted Mosby, the supposed "nice guy" of the series is pretty much just as awful to women as his buddy Stinson, creator of "The Playbook" himself.
In 2019, the series' problematic nature is finally being noticed, and for good reason. Let's look back at some of How I Met Your Mother's most problematic jokes that (seriously) haven't aged well.
10 THE NAKED MAN
How I Met Your Mother had an entire episode that was based on a dating theory of "the naked man", which basically states if you're a man who strips naked in front of your date, two out of three times you will end up getting laid, according to Barney Stinson. This is wildly inappropriate behavior, and of course a show such as How I Met Your Mother would play this theory off as a clever joke... So funny?
When Robin tells the gang she went ahead and had sex with "the naked man" after he stripped down for her, they are very quick to call her a "slut". We're sorry, we didn't realize this was the Puritan Era... Oh, wait no, it's just another episode of HIMYM.
9 CRAZY EYES
This whole theory of women being emotionally unstable and "crazy" when it comes to their romantic lives is an overused and ultimately sexist trope that has been debunked in recent years by movies and shows such as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Gone Girl, and Orange is the New Black. This idea that women go "psycho" once they are rejected romantically is so archaic in nature that it seems as though HIMYM should take place in the '50s rather than the early 2000s. It would be one thing if they also made "crazy" male characters that the women had to suffer through in order to balance things out, but for the most part, all the sexist tropes were given to the one-dimensional women these dude-bros dated throughout the series.
On the same note, Barney also creates a Hot/Crazy scale for women, where a woman is "allowed to be crazy as long as she's equally hot". Truly groundbreaking content here, folks.
8 BARNEY'S FAKE IDENTITIES
How I Met Your Mother had an ongoing joke throughout the course of the series in which Barney would fake his identity to an outrageous extent in order to get women at the bar to sleep with him. Otherwise, they wouldn't bother (and he knows this).
The worst part is, all of his friends choose to do nothing about his actions because in their eyes if the women who fall for his trickeries are "stupid enough" to believe his acts, they deserve to be manipulated into having sex with him. Many people would consider his actions to be illegal due to the sex being under false pretenses, and his actions are so low-class and slimy that we are almost positive HIMYM would never fly today.
7 BARNEY FILMS WOMEN WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT
Ha... ha? Why did anyone in the writers' room think this little fun fact about Barney Stinson was somehow comedy gold?
What was supposed to be played off as a joke on the show turned out to be a truly uncomfortable moment for viewers of How I Met Your Mother when Barney openly admitted and basically bragged about the fact that he films women during sex without their consent or knowledge. Keeping a hidden camera in his bedroom, he is able to record all of his late night encounters with women and this is all different kinds of illegal. According to "Stephanie's Law" created in 2003, filming a person during a sexual act without their knowledge or consent is considered an illegal act. With this in mind, Barney has created hundreds of illegal acts, if not thousands. How anyone would find this "funny" is beyond us... but hey, that's just good ol' Barney! Right?
6 TED'S FEMININITY PLAYED OFF FOR LAUGHS
When Robin acts like one of the "Bros" and smokes her cigars while chugging down scotch as she simultaneously refuses to succumb to romance (ew, gross, that's for like, girls), she is praised in a big way. Yet when Ted says or does things that are quite feminine and "girly" in nature, he is consistently mocked by his friends. Lily tells him often to "stop being such a girl!" and then the laugh track roars as though she's a natural Sarah Silverman. Why being feminine is seen as so darn offensive and downright degrading on this show is a complete mystery. Ted should be able to love romance even if it's considered "girly", and he should be allowed to wear those awful red cowboy boots that are meant for women, gosh darn it!
5 BARNEY SOLD A WOMAN
"At one point, I'm pretty sure I sold a woman. I didn't speak the language, but I shook a guys hand, he gave me the keys to a Mercedes and I left her there." - Barney Stinson
Hahaha! Oh my gosh, we are just rolling over with laughter at how freaking hilarious this is. Why is this even remotely funny or charming? How was NPH okay with playing this creepy dude? It would be one thing if his character was properly satirized a-la Eric Cartman, but in Barney's case, it's like we're supposed to find his antics... um... quirky? Why is this character still supposed to be seen as loveable and charismatic? What the heck is going on here?
4 WHO'S HOT AND WHO'S SCOTT
"Who's hot and who's Scott" is a game that Ted and the gang would play when they would try to guess who out of a group of women was actually a "tranny" in their offensive (and outdated) terminology. This series is incredibly guilty of sporting a whole array of transphobic comments that are meant to be played off as hilaaarious jokes. This is the kind of writing you get when no one wants to put any actual effort into the work and instead is just hungry for that paycheck so they can travel to their beach house in Bora Bora. Luckily, we are living in the golden age of television where most writers are too smart and creative to use these cheap and offensive "jokes".
3 CASUAL CULTURAL APPROPRIATION
Are we just supposed to pretend that New York City of all places is completely white? There is an uncomfortable lack of diversity on HIMYM to begin with, yet things became even worse when How I Met Your Mother made an entire episode dedicated to casual cultural appropriation in "Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment In Slapmarra". In the episode, the entire white cast of actors dressed up as Chinese people while putting on heavy accents. This created outrage on Twitter with the trending hashtag #HowIMetYourRacism emerging throughout the internet. The writers have since apologized for this episode, and hopefully, this error of ways will cause more people to acknowledge the incredible lack of diversity and the mistreatment of POC on sitcoms such as HIMYM.
2 TED MAKES ROBIN GET RID OF HER DOGS
Towards the beginning of the show, Ted gets extremely jealous and angry because all of Robin's dogs are given to her by her ex-boyfriends.
We are supposed to find this humorous when he can only see her beloved pets as past lovers, yet there is nothing remotely funny about the fact that Robin literally had to get rid of her own dogs to make her boyfriend feel less jealous despite the fact that he is a fully grown adult man. Poor Robin. She didn't deserve this... No one deserves this!
1 THE PLAYBOOK
The Playbook is a fully fleshed out set of rules for "Bros" to live by, created by the most loveable and least problematic TV character of all time, Barney Stinson. The Playbook simply consists of a whole plethora of sexist content that would make any reasonable human being shake their head in disgust. It's just not something anyone in this day and age would stand by, which is why we're glad How I Met Your Mother is a sitcom of the past.