How I Met Your Mother (season 1)

The first season of How I Met Your Mother, an American sitcom created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, premiered on CBS in the United States on September 19, 2005 and concluded on May 15, 2006. The season was directed by Pamela Fryman and produced by Bays & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox Television. It consists of 22 episodes, each running approximately 22 minutes in length.

How I Met Your Mother
Season 1
How I Met Your Mother Season 1 DVD Cover.jpg
Season 1 DVD cover art
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes22
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 19, 2005 (2005-09-19) –
May 15, 2006 (2006-05-15)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of episodes

The season introduces Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget) in the year 2030 as he sits his daughter and son down to tell them the story of how he met their mother. The story begins in 2005 with Ted (Josh Radnor) as a single, 27-year-old architect living in Manhattan with his two best friends from college: Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), a law student, and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), a kindergarten teacher, who have been dating for almost nine years when Marshall proposes. Their engagement causes Ted to think about marriage and finding his soul mate, much to the disgust of his self-appointed best friend Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris). Ted begins his search for his perfect mate and meets an ambitious young reporter, Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), whom he quickly falls in love with. Robin, however, doesn't want to rush into a relationship and the two decide to be friends. However, Robin begins to develop feelings for Ted while he begins dating a baker, Victoria, but when she moves to Germany for a culinary fellowship, Ted leads Robin to believe that she broke up with him. As a result, Victoria breaks up with Ted and Robin begins to distance herself from him, though they eventually reconcile. As her wedding date approaches, Lily begins to wonder if she's missed any opportunities because of her relationship with Marshall and decides to pursue an art fellowship in San Francisco, breaking her engagement in the process. At the end of the season, Marshall is seen looking desolate and miserable, while Ted and Robin agree to pursue a relationship.

The first season garnered mixed-to-positive reviews. On the review aggregation site, Rotten Tomatoes reported that 63% of 16 critics gave the show a positive review.[1] Despite the mixed reception, the show appeared on several television best lists, including Time Magazine and Chicago Tribune.[2][3] The first season garnered an average of 9.47 million viewers per all 22 episodes in the U.S. Out of all regular primetime programming that aired during the 2005–2006 American television season, How I Met Your Mother ranked 51st out of 156, according to the Nielsen ratings system.[4] The pilot was watched by 10.94 million viewers,[5] while the finale was watched by 8.64 million viewers.[6]


The first season features a cast of five actors who receive star billing. Josh Radnor portrays Ted, a young architect who is searching for his future wife. Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan portray Marshall Eriksen and Lily Aldrin, respectively, a newly engaged couple. Cobie Smulders plays Robin Scherbatsky, an ambitious reporter whom Ted falls for. Barney Stinson, Ted's self-appointed best friend and a womanizer, is played by Neil Patrick Harris. Season one also introduced several recurring cast members, including Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie as Ted's children, and Ashley Williams as Victoria, Ted's love interest for the second half of the season. The season one pilot episode was recognized by the Casting Society of America with a nomination for the Best Comedy Pilot Casting Artios Award.[7]

How I Met Your Mother was inspired by creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas's idea to "write about our friends and the stupid stuff we did in New York," where they previously worked as writers for Late Show with David Letterman.[8] The two drew from their friendship in creating the characters. Ted is based loosely on Bays, and Marshall and Lily are based loosely on Thomas and his wife. Thomas's wife Rebecca was initially reluctant to have a character based on her, but agreed if they could get Hannigan to play her.[9][10] Radnor and Segel were relative unknowns, but Smulders, another relatively little-known actress, was cast as Robin after Jennifer Love Hewitt turned down the role in favor of Ghost Whisperer.[11] Bays and Thomas commented on her casting by saying, "thank God we did for a million reasons... when Ted’s seeing her for the first time, America’s seeing her for the first time — the intriguingness of that propelled the show going forward and kept the show alive".[12]

The role of Barney was initially envisioned as a "John Belushi-type character"[13] before Neil Patrick Harris won the role after being invited to an audition by the show's casting director Megan Branman.[14] Harris's character was widely reported to be the breakout character, with Variety calling him "the major breakout"[15] and noting that his character was the "most buzzed about element of the show".[16] Robert Bianco from USA Today observed that Harris "sparkled" in his role, and further praised Hannigan's performance as equally "delightful" as her role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[17]


Critical receptionEdit

Season one of How I Met Your Mother received mixed reviews from television critics. Metacritic, a review aggregation site that collects critical opinions, gave the first season a score of 69 out of 25 reviews collected, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[18] Many critics compared the show to the recently concluded sitcom Friends, with some calling it a "worthy successor"[19] and others a "".[2] Including it on his annual "Best of Television" list, James Poniewozik of Time observed that "just a few episodes into the show's run, the writers know these characters inside and out". However, Poniewozik derided the premise of the show, Future Ted's narration, as a "gimmicky distraction".[2] Hal Boedeker of The Orlando Sentinel disagreed, saying that "the twist should keep viewers coming back" and praises the five leads as "irresistible".[19] The A.V. Club also called the premise "a winner" and the actors "appealing", but complained that the show stuck too closely to standard sitcom one-liners,[20] as did Doug Elfman of the Chicago Sun-Times, who disparaged the script as little more than a series of "cheap jokes".[21]

Robert Bianco from USA Today was more upbeat, praising the "fine cast" and "humorous script", and calling the show the "most inventive" of new series that year.[17] The New York Times said that the show was "pleasant to watch" has "potential to improve", but will not "revolutionize" sitcoms or start a pop culture phenomenon.[22] Charlie McCollum of The San Jose Mercury News writes that How I Met Your Mother was a prime candidate for replacing Friends in the sitcom category, praising the show as "something with real wit and considerable charm". He praised the writers for "giving a fresh spin to bits and pieces of the sitcom formula" and the cast for "hitting on all cylinders from the very first scene", predicting that the show could be an unexpected creative breakout with audiences.[23]


The first season was nominated for four awards, winning two. Both wins were from the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards, where the show won the Outstanding Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series and the Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series categories.[24] In addition, the show was nominated for the People's Choice Awards for Favorite New Television Comedy[25] and was recognized by the Casting Society of America for Best Comedy Pilot Casting.[7]


CBS premiered the show in the United States on September 19, 2005. Internationally, the show premiered in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on May 7, 2006,[26] and is aired by Citytv in Canada[27] and Seven Network in Australia.[28] Season one also runs in syndication in the United States.[29]

The first season was released on DVD in the U.S. under the name How I Met Your Mother Season One with the tagline "A Love Story in Reverse" on November 21, 2006 as a three-disc box set.[30] The DVD cropped the original widescreen broadcast to a full frame 4:3 format, and no widescreen format has been released.[31] The set was released in Region 2 on May 7, 2007 and Region 4 on January 10, 2007. Every episode in this season is available for purchase from the U.S. iTunes store.[32]


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
US viewers
11"Pilot"Pamela FrymanCarter Bays & Craig ThomasSeptember 19, 2005 (2005-09-19)1ALH7910.94[5]
After his best friend Marshall proposes to his long-term girlfriend, Lily, Ted solicits help from his friend Barney to find 'The One' for his life. He manages to get a date with Robin, a girl he met at his usual neighborhood bar, but threatens to scare Robin away when he accidentally reveals his love for her on the very first date. Meanwhile, Marshall accidentally hits Lily in the eye with the champagne stopper after they get engaged, forcing her to wear an eyepatch.
22"Purple Giraffe"Pamela FrymanCarter Bays & Craig ThomasSeptember 26, 2005 (2005-09-26)1ALH0110.40[33]
In an attempt to repair his situation with Robin, Ted instead pursues a "casual" relationship with her by inviting her to a series of parties. Marshall tries to write an important 25-page law paper, but Ted's parties and Lily's post-engagement desire distracts him. Meanwhile, Barney tries to end a relationship he unknowingly started.
33"Sweet Taste of Liberty"Pamela FrymanPhil Lord & Chris MillerOctober 3, 2005 (2005-10-03)1ALH0210.44[34]
Ted agrees to let Barney disrupt his routine by taking an impromptu trip to the airport with him that eventually leads the duo to Philadelphia and trouble with airport security. Meanwhile, Lily and Robin go out for drinks, but Lily becomes jealous when she is not as successful with men as Robin is, for which she blames her engagement ring. Marshall travels between both situations in an attempt to rectify the group's problems.
44"Return of the Shirt"Pamela FrymanKourtney KangOctober 10, 2005 (2005-10-10)1ALH039.84[35]
Ted's continuing search for 'The One' leads him to look into his past to rekindle old flames. Unfortunately, the woman he is thinking of is the same woman he broke up with years ago on her birthday, and she still holds a grudge. Meanwhile, Barney dares Robin, the anchor of Metro News One, to slip questionable words or phrases into her daily newscast in return for money. Despite this, Robin begins to appreciate the importance of her job more.
55"Okay Awesome"Pamela FrymanChris HarrisOctober 17, 2005 (2005-10-17)1ALH0410.14[36]
Robin invites the group to a nightclub, but Marshall and Lily decide to host a wine and cheese party in an attempt to act more mature. Marshall and Lily quickly grow bored, however, and escape their own party in order to join the rest of the group at the nightclub, where they discover Robin outside, unable to gain re-entry into the club. Meanwhile, Ted and Barney experience unforeseen events while dancing.
66"Slutty Pumpkin"Pamela FrymanBrenda HsuehOctober 24, 2005 (2005-10-24)1ALH0510.89[37]
Marshall and Lily are excited to participate in the couples costume competition at their usual bar. On the other hand, Robin's refusal to dress in a couple costume with her boyfriend puts stress on their new relationship. Meanwhile, Ted makes his annual visit to the rooftop Halloween party in search of a girl that he met three years ago.
77"Matchmaker"Pamela FrymanChris Marcil & Sam JohnsonNovember 7, 2005 (2005-11-07)1ALH0710.55[38]
Robin directs a skeptical Ted to an online matchmaking service with a 100% success rate. When the service gives Ted zero matches, Ted sneaks information out of the matchmaker's computer to visit an engaged dermatologist in an effort to debunk the prediction that there are no women out there for him. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily become obsessed with chasing a strange and unusual critter out of their apartment.
88"The Duel"Pamela FrymanGloria Calderon KellettNovember 14, 2005 (2005-11-14)1ALH0610.35[39]
When Lily decides to formally move into Marshall and Ted's apartment, Barney warns a skeptical Ted that the couple will eventually force him out. When Ted discovers that Lily replaced his beloved, but beat-up, coffee pot with a brand new one, he begins to think that Barney is right. Meanwhile, Barney invents a new dating law and tries to convince others to use it.
99"Belly Full of Turkey"Pamela FrymanPhil Lord & Chris MillerNovember 21, 2005 (2005-11-21)1ALH0910.29[40]
Marshall and Lily visit the former's family in Minnesota for Thanksgiving, but Lily feels out of place with the large, loud, and rambunctious family. Meanwhile, Robin and Ted are surprised to find Barney as the Volunteer of the Year at a local soup kitchen. Ted is even more surprised as he begins to uncover unethical acts taking place behind the scenes of the charity.
1010"The Pineapple Incident"Pamela FrymanCarter Bays & Craig ThomasNovember 28, 2005 (2005-11-28)1ALH0812.27[41]
After Ted passes out after an especially wild night in town, he wakes up the next morning with a sprained ankle, a burnt jacket, a girl in his bed, and a pineapple in his room. Unable to recall everything that transpired over the course of the evening, he asks his friends and the girl in his bed, Trudy, to fill him in on the night's misadventures.
1111"The Limo"Pamela FrymanSam Johnson & Chris MarcilDecember 19, 2005 (2005-12-19)1ALH1010.36[42]
For New Year's Eve, Ted surprises his friends by hiring a limo to take them on an excursion through New York City's nightlife. Robin brings her new boyfriend, and the rest of the group each has a favored party that they each want to attend before the night is over. As the night progresses, the group picks up and loses people as the limo travels through the city. As the clock ticks closer to midnight, the limo gets stuck in traffic on the way to the last party.
1212"The Wedding"Pamela FrymanKourtney KangJanuary 9, 2006 (2006-01-09)1ALH1111.49[43]
Ted's decision to bring Robin as his date to a friend's wedding leads to an argument between the bride and the groom that abruptly ends the wedding. Ted and Marshall comfort the bride and groom and urge them to resume the wedding. They agree, but a last-minute opportunity at work leads Robin to unexpectedly cancel, leaving Ted to go alone.
1313"Drumroll, Please"Pamela FrymanGloria Calderon KellettJanuary 23, 2006 (2006-01-23)1ALH1210.82[44]
Ted finds himself attracted to a mysterious woman whom he meets at the wedding. Unable to find her the next morning, Ted enlists the help of Barney in an effort to track her down. Meanwhile, Robin reveals that she left work early and saw Ted and the mysterious girl together the previous night, and has to confront her own feelings for Ted.
1414"Zip, Zip, Zip"Pamela FrymanBrenda HsuehFebruary 6, 2006 (2006-02-06)1ALH1310.94[45]
After initially agreeing to take things slowly, Ted and Victoria abruptly change course when they discover that Victoria will be out of town for their one-month anniversary. As they experience a series of milestones, Marshall and Lily wonder if their long relationship is out of milestones. Meanwhile, Robin decides to be Barney's "bro" for a guy's night out together.
1515"Game Night"Pamela FrymanChris HarrisFebruary 27, 2006 (2006-02-27)1ALH149.82[46]
When Lily chances upon Barney's first girlfriend, Shannon, the gang all relive their most embarrassing moments in order to persuade Barney to finish talking about his first relationship. Back when Barney was dating Shannon, he was a devoted boyfriend. However, when Shannon fabricates a story in order to leave Barney for a wealthier, better-dressed man, Barney changes his outlook on life to become who he is today.
1616"Cupcake"Pamela FrymanMaria FerrariMarch 6, 2006 (2006-03-06)1ALH1510.15[47]
Just as things are going well between Ted and Victoria, the latter is offered a surprising but incredible opportunity to be a fellow at a culinary institute in Germany. As the couple discuss the viability of long-distance relationships, Marshall and Lily reminisce about the time when Lily was studying art in Paris, but in telling their story, they discover that neither knew the whole truth.
1717"Life Among the Gorillas"Pamela FrymanCarter Bays & Craig ThomasMarch 20, 2006 (2006-03-20)1ALH169.80[48]
Marshall and Lily have an argument over Marshall's new job at Barney's firm, which Lily alleges is having a negative effect on his values. Meanwhile, Ted feels guilty for not sending Victoria as many care packages as she has, and asks Robin for advice on maintaining his long-distance relationship. That evening, as Ted worries that Victoria is going to break up with him, he receives a call from Robin, asking to hang out.
1818"Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M."Pamela FrymanCarter Bays & Craig ThomasApril 10, 2006 (2006-04-10)1ALH177.65[49]
When Ted receives an ominous message from Victoria asking saying she wants "to talk", Ted becomes convinced that he is about to be dumped. That evening, Robin invites Ted to her flat to hang out. Lily and Marshall try to dissuade Ted from going, but inadvertently give him more reason to go. Meanwhile, Barney tries to persuade Lily and Marshall to join him in a "legendary night out".
1919"Mary the Paralegal"Pamela FrymanChris HarrisApril 24, 2006 (2006-04-24)1ALH187.60[50]
Robin invites the group to an awards banquet in which she is being honored for her newscasts. At the banquet, Barney convinces Ted that his date is actually a prostitute that he hired, while Ted also struggles with seeing Robin with her co-worker.
2020"Best Prom Ever"Pamela FrymanIra UngerleiderMay 1, 2006 (2006-05-01)1ALH197.24[51]
When Lily and Marshall's dream wedding venue has a sudden opening two months earlier than their planned wedding date, the couple scramble to decide on wedding arrangements. In order to preview a band that they are considering hiring, the group sneak into a high school prom where the band is performing. As they dance to the band, Ted and Robin decide to try to repair their friendship.
2121"Milk"Pamela FrymanCarter Bays & Craig ThomasMay 8, 2006 (2006-05-08)1ALH208.07[52]
The matchmaking service finally returns with a match for Ted, but he puts his date with his "perfect woman" on hold as he decides whether or not he still has feelings for Robin. At the office, Barney enlists Marshall's help to prank a man who works in the building across the street. Meanwhile, Lily applies for an art fellowship in San Francisco without telling Marshall, even though it could ruin their wedding plans.
2222"Come On"Pamela FrymanCarter Bays & Craig ThomasMay 15, 2006 (2006-05-15)1ALH218.64[6]
Ted ultimately decides that he wants to pursue Robin instead of the woman at the matchmaking service, and ultimately tries to win her heart by going to great lengths to romance her. Meanwhile, Marshall worries about his relationship with Lily when he learns of her acceptance to the art fellowship in San Francisco. As Ted tries to learn a rain dance in order to impress Robin, Marshall discovers that Lily left him for the fellowship.


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