How I Met Your Mother is not your average sitcom. It’s not even filmed in front of an audience. It’s one big, giant romantic comedy, and it’s made for everyone. Most romcoms are geared towards people that aren’t interested in seeing the next Marvel movie or high-concept action movie. But HIMYM has friends being friends while living in Manhattan. Since it’s technically centered on Ted’s grand quest to meet the woman of his dreams, there’s bound to be some heartache mixed in with the goofiness the show provides.
The nine-year emotional rollercoaster was as realistic as a sitcom could be; after all, we watched these people for nearly a decade. It still has the power to resonate today, no matter how divisive the finale was (and what series finale isn’t divisive?).
10 Lily Leaves Marshall
The very first episode of the series saw Marshall propose to Lily. But, towards the end of the season, as Ted relentlessly pined for Robin, Lily was having doubts about marrying Marshall. The first season finale was such a gut punch. After the feel-good moment of Ted finally convincing Robin to try dating and racing home to tell his besties the good news, he found Marshall sitting on the stoop in the pouring rain, heartbroken over breaking up with Lily.
9 Robin Can’t Have Kids
Christmastime for the show was always featured some memorable moments, but “Symphony Of Illumination,” is one of the best episodes in the series, let alone one of the most heartbreaking and then uplifting.
As Robin is telling her kids about their father and how they came to be, the painful truth is revealed; not only are the kids fictitious, but Robin can’t have children. Despite not telling him what’s wrong, Ted still does his best to cheer her up—with an awesome AC/DC themed Christmas light show.
8 Ted And Robin Break Up
Ted did all he could to show Robin that they belong together. He stole a blue horn, he made it rain, he got a whole blue French orchestra. It all worked and then they were knee-deep in each other for a year or so. Despite still being madly in love with one another, they slowly came to the realization that their goals as individuals still didn’t change, no matter how much they might have been willing to compromise. They decide its best to break up for now, despite Ted proclaiming “I would have stolen you a whole orchestra.”
7 Marvin Dies
Marshall didn’t just look up to his dad, Marvin was also his best friend. He loved to share and overshare everything with him, including the possibility that there might be a problem with giving him grandchildren. Once Marshall and Lily learn there’s nothing to be worried about, he tries to call Marvin, but it’s too late.
Lily rolls up to McLaren’s to deliver the bad news, Marvin passed away. The episode “Bad News” is even more heart wrenching when you realize every scene has a number in it, counting down to some of the worst news a man can hear in his life.
6 Barney Meets His Dad
For years, Barney did his best to shield himself from the possible pain he’d feel of meeting his real father. He even chose to believe what his mother told him that Bob Barker was his real dad. But instead, it was his “Uncle” Jerry, who used to live a wild life but now is a “lame suburban dad,” which Barney wanted him to be that for him. Out of anger, he takes their basketball net to give to Ted and his future kids, because “Every kid needs a hoop.”
5 Robin Tells Barney No
A heartbreaking moment can last a lifetime. It happened for Barney in the episode, “Tick, Tick, Tick.” After he and Robin had cheated on their respective significant others, Barney and Robin agree to tell Nora and Kevin, break up with them and be together.
Barney tells Nora, and, despite her willingness to forgive him, he admits that it meant more than a one-night stand. When the gang all meet up with Barney at McLaren’s, Kevin is with them too. He looks at Robin, longingly and painfully; she shakes her head no and everything freezes while Barney shakes it off leaves to pack up the surprise roses he laid out on her bed.
4 45 More Days
Several versions of Ted and Barney hang out at McLaren’s debating about “Robots Vs. Wrestlers.” However, the real story comes as Ted tells his kids what he’d really do that night if he could do it again. He’d spend time with all of his friends, but, most importantly, he’d head to the apartment of the future love of his life, say hello, and deliver an impassioned speech about how they’d meet in 45 days, fall in love, and live a life together.
Ted wanted those 45 days to spend with her but settled for 45 seconds before her current boyfriend came home and rocked him.
3 La Vie En Rose
Life in pink is exactly how Ted tries to view the world: through rose-colored glasses. The Édith Piaf song is what Ted heard at the hotel, being played on the Ukulele by his future wife and mother of his children. In “How Your Mother Met Me,” we learn that Tracy has been on a similar path. The night Ted met Robin, her boyfriend Max has died. The heartache just kept coming for Tracy after that, albeit not as devastating.
2 The Last Forever
The final few moments might have been divisive, but, until that point, a box or two of tissues was needed to get through the series finale.
From the end of the wedding to watching it end for Robin and Barney, to Lily’s toast about Ted’s uncanny emotional stamina to nearly every scene in the final hour of the series can bring on the waterworks.
1 Tracy Dies
Life is fleeting. It’s a lesson Ted learned the hard way. His great journey to find “the one” was complete when he mustered up the strength to walk up to a girl waiting for a train. It took a long time for him to find his true love in Tracy.
They had a wonderful life together, but unfortunately, it wouldn’t last. She would die young. It’s a pain that hopefully none of us will have to endure.