It’s pretty telling when many of the worst episodes of a series come from the final season. This is the case with How I Met Your Mother, according to IMDb ratings for each episode of the series’ nine-season run.
Indeed, many fans of the long-running sitcom were not happy with how the series ended, but also really the entire final season. The show about a man named Ted Mosby telling his teenage kids in the year 2030 how he met their mother, used every episode to show “flashbacks” of a young Ted with his group of friends as they navigated life and, for Ted, dating, in New York City.
The series had tons of hilarious episodes and moments through its 208 episodes, from Slapsgiving to The Pineapple Incident and The Playbook. And indeed, even most of the episodes dubbed the “worst” 10 are still rated above 7 stars. But there were a few duds, as with any show.
Here is a list of the ten worst episodes of How I Met Your Mother, according to IMDb ratings.
10 "The Stamp Tramp" (2012)
Marshall is called a “stamp tramp” when he gives a law school classmate a good recommendation for his law firm and the guy bombs the interview leading Marshall’s boss to question his judgement. An entire argument ensues about who gives the most worthwhile “stamps of approval” that just makes for a snore of an episode. Most episodes, in fact, that focus on any of the gang at their place of work never seemed to pan out well.
Meanwhile, Barney goes on a quest for a new strip club when his ex starts working at his local spot again, enlisting the help of his strip club agent. Who has a strip club agent? It seems too raunchy, even for Barney.
9 "Nannies" (2012)
Lily and Marshall look for a nanny and find out, of course, that Barney has been interfering with their search so he can lie to and meet hot girls. Robin and Ted continue to dance around their feelings as they argue over who has the better relationship with their significant other.
There’s the typical Barney self-centredness, but when Barney organizes an event called Bangtoberfest to help him get over a breakup, it goes a bit too far, and might have rubbed viewers the wrong way.
8 "No Questions Asked" (2013)
Marshall attempts to invoke the “No Questions Asked” rule from the gang by asking for their help to have a text message removed from Lily’s phone before she’s able to see it. The text references Marshall’s decision to accept his dream job to be a judge in New York. But Marshall hasn’t told Lily yet.
Also, Lily is haunted by a figure at night while staying in the room believed to be haunted at the Inn where Robin and Barney are getting married. It was all too slow-moving and overly dramatized, ending with Ted getting stuck in a mailbox. Really?
7 "The Lighthouse" (2013)
Another episode from the series’ final season, it’s all about Robin feuding with Barney’s mother Loretta, and Barney confessing to his mother that Robin can’t have children. It was too heavy for a sitcom that’s supposed to be ending its final season with a joyous occasion.
Elsewhere at the Inn, in a last ditch effort (before meeting the actual mother) Ted almost settles for a woman named Cassie he meets at the Inn by taking her to a lighthouse to try and “fall in love.” The sweetest part of this episode is when we see a flash forward where Ted revisits that same lighthouse two years later and proposes to the mother.
6 "The Broken Code" (2013)
Episodes centred on Barney are usually really funny, since they often focus on his scheming and womanizing. But this particular one fell flat because it was more about his anger towards Ted when he realized Ted still had feelings for Robin.
Aside from it being awkward to deal with this scenario in the final episodes of the series, before Barney and Robin are set to get married (and Ted is purportedly going to meet the woman of his dreams, who is not supposed to be Robin!), this was a clear violation of the Bro Code, a term the series popularized.
5 "The Burning Beekeeper" (2012)
One of the few episodes on the worst 10 list that isn’t from the final season, this one dates back to Marshall and Lily’s housewarming party. Lily’s father is apparently keeping bees in the basement, which viewers can quickly imagine won't end well.
Through the episode, Ted recounts what happened at the party, going room by room. Every story ends with a man in a beekeeper suit who’s on fire, running through the house. Barney runs naked through the house as he gets stung in the end. It was too far-fetched, even for this show, proving, once again, that when the backdrop is anything but Ted's apartment or MacLaren's, the characters and storylines just seemed out of place.
4 "The Poker Game" (2013)
Still at the Inn, the guys gather for a poker game, and Barney finds himself in the middle of a fight among Robin, his brother James, and mother Loretta, trying to navigate where his loyalties should lie now that he’s about to be a husband.
Meanwhile, Lily is upset with Ted for never having given them a wedding gift, only to find out that he did, but someone else stole it and passed it off as his own.
It was more of a space-filler episode than anything else, so it’s no surprise that it has the fourth-lowest rating of all episodes in the series.
3 "Mom and Dad" (2013)
Reinforcing that the last season of the sitcom was definitively its worse, this is another entry from the ninth and final one. Barney reverts to acting like a little child when he sees his parents getting along, attempting to drive his stepmother away in hopes that his mom and dad will get back together. Even for Barney, this seems silly.
In another waste-of-time story, Ted tries to find out who sabotaged him by spilling ink on the autographed Wayne Gretzky photo Barney had planned to give to Robin as a wedding gift.
And Marshall continues his journey with a stranger named Daphne he happened upon while trying to make it to the Inn. Perhaps it was too much of a change in scenery, like all of the other episodes that took place at the Inn. We like the gang much more when they’re back home at MacLaren’s Pub or Ted’s apartment.
2 "Slapsgiving 3: Slappapointment in Slapmarra" (2014)
The Slapsgiving prank was really funny when it started, and it was a great recurring gag on the series. Every so often, Marshall would, out of nowhere, deliver a slap to Barney’s face as he continued to slowly cash in a win from long-ago bet. But in this episode, another from the final season, it’s a weak attempt at explaining something that didn’t really need explaining.
Marshall plans his next slap and wants it to be epic. So he tries to scare Barney, who seems unaffected by the threat, by telling a story of fake training with the masters of slap, who taught him about speed, strength, and accuracy. It was a weak storyline that simply made no sense. We’d have been happy just to have seen the final slap.
1 "Bedtime Stories" (2013)
Marshall is still stuck trying to get to Farhampton for the wedding and recites three bedtime tales to his son Marvin about his friends in hopes to get him to sleep. An entire episode spoken in rhyme, it was too much of a switch from the usual format, and made no sense within the context of everything else that was happening.
There was so much else that could have been used to fill that half hour. Sadly, it’s half an hour that fans of the show will never get back, and likely an episode that will be skipped when re-watching.