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“How I Met Your Mother” Reveals Ted’s Proposal, But Is There a Mistake?

After getting off to a glowing start that instantly erased doubts about its “wedding weekend” format, the ninth season of “How I Met Your Mother” stumbled into a bitter cold streak.

Riddled with forced, slapstick humor and protected by no meaningful movement in the “Mother” storyline, the past few “How I Met Your Mother” episodes suggested the show was doomed to limp into its final stretch.

“The Lighthouse” put that notion to bed. In addition to consistently scoring from a plot and humor perspective, the episode also built to one of the season’s first meaningful moments: Ted’s proposal.

Following a bad experience at a local lighthouse with Cassie, Ted’s de facto wedding weekend girlfriend, a disheartened Mosby laments over the fact that he has ruined so many wonderful experiences by sharing them with the wrong girl. Dejected, the 2013 version of Ted wonders whether he will simply have to settle for one of those wrong girls.

Voiced by Bob Saget, the 2030 version mocks the silliness of that situation. Roughly two years later, he returned to the lighthouse–this time with the woman, played by Cristin Milioti, viewers know will become Ted’s mother.

And as the scene draws to a close, Ted makes a gesture he hopes will render a perfect moment even more perfect. He gets down on one knee, opens a jewelry box and proposes to an excited girlfriend. She accepts, and we now know how Ted motioned towards making Milioti’s character his wife.

As an episode within the isolated context of the show’s final season, “The Lighthouse” was irrefutably stellar. The source of taut writing, undeniable humor and an emotional moment nine seasons in the making, this was “How I Met Your Mother” at its finest.

Well, almost.

In what could be one of its most egregious breaks with continuity to date, “Mother” might have messed with a significant component of its timeline.

In an emotional reveal, season seven episode “Trilogy Time” reveals that when the gang has its 2015 viewing of the Trilogy, Ted–sporting a wedding band–has already fathered his daughter, who appears on screen as an infant.

Monday’s episode, however, reveals that Ted does not even pop the question until the spring of 2015. When juxtaposed with the timeline to which “HIMYM” viewers had already been introduced, things look dicey.

Since Milioti’s character is not notably “showing” (one might claim the line “when you vomit, I vomit” alludes to her pregnancy, but if so, why qualify it by saying she only vomits when Ted does?), the earliest she would conceivably give birth is late 2015. Reconciling that with what viewers saw in “Trilogy Time,” which aired in April 2012 and referred to a triennial event, would be a stretch.

Given that Ted was wearing a wedding band when holding his infant daughter in “Trilogy Time,” and given Ted’s general attitude towards relationships, the possibility that Milioti’s character gave birth to their daughter prior to the proposal also seems remote.

Beyond the need to maintain consistency with “Trilogy Time,” a 2015 birth year for Ted’s daughter is also important given what we know about her in 2030. Played in the “present” by Lyndsy Fonseca, who was about eighteen when the pilot was shot, could “the daughter” truly pass for younger than 15?

Though it has made a few mistakes over the years, “Mother” has generally been good about maintaining the most important layers of continuity. It will be interesting to see if–and how–the writers prove the events chronicled in “The Lighthouse” are consistent with what viewers know from past seasons.

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]


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