How I Met Your Mother was beloved by fans, but there’s no denying there were some cringeworthy aspects and moments in the show. Most notably, they involved Ted and his constant complaints about his dating life. It was also frustration with the drawn out nature of the single premise: how did Ted meet the mother of his two children?
It wasn’t just about Ted, though. There were things about the other main characters, like Barney, Robin, and even Lily, that fans didn’t really like and even, in some cases, found thoroughly irritating.
Everything About Ted
The consensus is that Ted Mosby as a character was one of the cringiest parts of the show overall. According to a now deleted Redditor, Ted was an “emotionally unintelligent and bland person who lusts for girl after girl…”
The dislike Ted is quite passionate on Reddit. Another Redditor calls the character a “f**king idiot” who “got really bad in the later seasons.” In another Reddit thread, Redditor u/ofthedappersort says Ted is an “ineffectual creep.”
Everything About Barney
It’s no secret that Barney Stinson is the type of TV character that likely wouldn’t fly today, given his penchant for over-the-top womanizing behavior. Indeed, the same aforementioned deleted Redditor says that Barney “would be an absolute pain in the a** to even hear about let alone be around” and says he makes the show “unbearable, uncomfortable, and boring.” Many of the arguments every fan of How I Met Your Mother has been in center around Barney.
Most of what comes out of Barney’s mouth in each episode is enough to make fans cringe. For some reason, Neil Patrick Harris managed to pull off the character in a way that made Barney endearing, despite how awful some of the things he said were. But re-examining everything, most of Barney’s dialogue was pretty cringe-worthy.
Those who dislike the show criticize it for having what they call “forced humor.” Whereas they say sitcoms like The Office are inherently funny, with clever and subtle jokes, with shows like How I Met Your Mother, says Redditor grahamaker93, it is more like “hey guys, this is supposed to be funny. Laugh now!!”
Chastising the show for things like laugh tracks and “canned laughter” is unfair, given that that approach is standard for many sitcoms. Even so, Redditor trav16 simply says, “laugh track shows suck. All of them.”
Interestingly, the very thing that makes HIMYM so likable to the masses, and one of the best shows like Friends, is the same thing that people who don’t like the show say makes it cringe-worthy. The show is clichéd and formulaic, which means fans know exactly what to expect. That might not necessarily be a bad thing.
Nonetheless, Redditor ofthedappersort says this strategy is designed to “take lowest common denominator jokes [and] add calculated/clichéd dramatic moments” in order to attract a large audience. They continue on to say people just watch HIMYM because it’s “familiar and doesn’t require thinking,” which is enough to make those who prefer more cleverly written series wince and roll their eyes.
The Whole Stella Storylines
Through the seasons, Ted dated a number of women seriously, and Stella was one of them. But she is one of the girlfriends and potential mothers that fans never took kindly to, and even cringed at her very presence. Redditor DiscombobulatedLuck8 says “I really don’t like the whole Stella arc” while Redditor Larkeyyy even goes so far as to say the Stella episodes are “hard to watch or rewatch.”
The couple persisted in trying to make things work when it was clear to most viewers that they had too many strikes against them. Combined with the perceived lack of chemistry between the characters, some fans wished the couple had never happened.
One aspect of the show that fans might not have noticed until looking back closely at episodes, or even rewatching the show for a second time, is that Lily did a lot of meddling in her friends’ love lives. It’s one of the things about Lily from How I Met Your Mother that would never fly today.
One particular instance that comes up again and again as a good example in Reddit discussions is when she forced Barney and Robin into a room together so they could “define their relationship,” even removing the doorknob so they could not get out until they did. Says AydonusG: “Let’s just kidnap (legally speaking) two people and force them into a situation they repeatedly said they didn’t want because I need control over every aspect of my friends’ lives.” TheYoungOctavius admits that sometimes Lily’s meddling did “more harm than good.” They go so far as to say that her actions inadvertently broke Ted and Robin up.
Robin And Mike
Mike is the first person fans see Robin dating when he appears at the Halloween party. It’s instantly a cringey relationship. It was clearly designed to set up the story of Robin as a very independent woman who was set in her ways. She refused to dress as one-half of Hansel and Gretel. She wouldn’t share her food, then slurped down her sundae to avoid sharing that with him, too. He breaks up with her in the end, realizing she is more of an “I” person while he’s a “we.”
Says Redditor toreadornotto: “[Robin’s] boyfriend from the first Halloween episode was pretty cringey.” One particular moment fans disliked, as cited by kristen0402, was when she referred to him as her “mike-rowave oven.”
Robin Floating Away
Even fans who loved How I Met Your Mother couldn’t help but cringe at the scene when Robin literally floated away as a symbolic moment that Ted was finally letting her go so he could move forward, and she could marry Barney. It was supposed to be a metaphor, but on screen, she literally levitated and then turned into a balloon.
Miysro says Robin floating away “ruined Eternal Flame for me” while dukebar says, “I hated that scene. Like, the balloon floating away… Most cringe scene of them all for me.”
The Final Season
It isn’t just a single part but rather the entire final season that was universally despised by even those who loved the show all the way through up until that point. It ranks among the worst final seasons of great TV shows, according to Reddit. In a Reddit discussion, Redditor Confident_Bridge9811 says, “I enjoyed it, but that last season…sheesh.” StrivingProsperity says even though they loved the show, the “last season was garbage supreme.”
While the last season finally revealed the identity of the wife, the long, drawn-out process towards that and Barney and Robin’s wedding, along with the cringeworthy moments throughout, soured fans on the show. The truth about the wife as well had fans cringing at what they invested so many years of their time to find out.
“Put A Baby In My Belly”
Most of what Marshall and Lily said or did was completely adorable, sweet, and relatable. Fans looked at them as the ultimate power couple who were completely made for and devoted to one another. But sometimes, they could say things that crossed a line into cringe territory.
One such recurring statement was when Lily would say things like “Marshall Eriksen, put a baby in my belly,” notes pinkpolo10. “I think it’s supposed to be sexy but it’s just so awkward.” Fruit_kid agrees, saying, “I hate that line!” while wo0kie says it’s “creepy, gross, cringe, and awful all rolled into one.”
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