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"How I Met Your Mother": The Truth About Ted Mosby

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Think Pieces | November 15, 2012 | Comments ()


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As "How I Met Your Mother" enters the home stretch of its final season, it is becoming clear that the premise of the series has been obfuscated since the very beginning. Rather than being the long-winded tale of a man's rambling discovery of the mother of his children, it is increasingly clear that Ted is in fact not only a serial killer, but the son of one Ted Bundy.

There is of course the similarity of names: Theodore Evelyn Mosby and Theodore Robert Bundy. Ted's first name is of course taken from his father, the middle an emasculating reminder of his father's hatred of women. And the last name of the son, changed just enough from the father to throw off suspicion, but close enough that once seen it cannot be unseen. We have also learned in the course of the series that Ted's birthday is in April of 1978, which is truly suspicious given that Ted Bundy escaped from prison and was at large, nine and a half months previously in June of 1977. This is suggestive but hardly evidence in and of itself.

The first question that erupts is whether his friends know about his terrible secret. To which the answer is that there are in actuality no friends at all. Barney, Robin, Marshall, and Lily do not exist. Lapping that amateur Tyler Durden three times, Ted actually has four complete figments of his imagination inhabiting his life, shielding his fragile psyche from the truth of his own evil.

Ted's violence first expressed itself against humans in his freshman year of college, when walking in on his roommate Marshall and his girlfriend Lily birthed an anger and resentment that he had until that time channeled into the abuse of small animals. Those two remained with him for the rest of his life, though their bodies were never found by authorities, an imaginary couple that represented the domesticity that he himself was denied during a violent childhood, and which his rage could never permit in his own life.

Barney represents Ted's Id of course, his desire to act confidently and strongly, to be powerful and charismatic. He is the alter ego that stalks the night, with the wealth and antiseptic apartment channeled from the same gestalt that generated Patrick Bateman. Where his wealth comes from is never explained precisely because such details are not necessary for the role that Barney plays in the world that Ted has constructed. Every single woman (the 283 referenced in passing) who Barney has slept with is in fact dead, victim of the most prolific serial killer in American history. The real reason that they are never seen again is not because they are one night stands, but because they never leave his soulless abattoir of an apartment alive.

Robin is the face Ted generates from old pictures of his mother, when she was still young and not yet sickened by the world. The relationships he manages with other women are fictional, rationalizations of women who evaded his Barney alter-ego and can never live up to the idealization of his imagined mother-lover. The failure of his relationship with Robin is the imaginary bridge his mind takes to allowing murder into his conscious life. He begins to hunt for a replacement, for the victim who will become his bride in truth. But he finds them all wanting, and discards each in turn.

Ted's supposed daughter and son are in fact the children of his latest victim, who having returned home early and finding the killer still in the house have been subjected to Ted's crazed ranting, his explanation of the long series of events in his life that led eventually to his meeting their mother. This is not a story of finding love, this is the story of blood.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • .. this article is so great. It's like a dare I would've issued -- writing an article correlating a loveable schlub to a serial killer -- just to see if it'd end up on Pajiba.

  • BAM

    Stop trying to make fetch happen.

  • Michelle

    This is amazing; I just posted on facebook the other night that I really hope that at the end we find out that it's the apocalypse and Ted's been telling this story to his kids to pass time until the world ends, and the mother has been dead the whole time. THIS BEATS THAT TIMES A MILLION. Well done, Mr. Wilson. Well done.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    That was fraking brilliant.

  • Other Brian

    Show's still shit.

  • Andrew

    No robin should be real. The only girl that he ever loved enough to let escape. That's why Barney gets her. His perfect self and his only survivor, together at last

  • Wōđanaz Óðinn

    Is it not just easier to come to grips with the notion that this was nothing but a mediocre shitcom at the best of times, leave it at that and move on?

    I stopped hating Ted after I stopped watching.

  • Samantha

    Okay, that would be the best ending ever.

  • Donna SHerman

    Of course! It all makes sense now...

  • BendinIntheWind
  • Rosanna

    I want your imagination. Give it to me NOW.

  • Sarah

    Well...this would make an interesting twist.

  • In order to come up with this masterful conclusion, you must have watched a lot of the show. That sucks.

  • David Sorenson

    True Story. They locked him in a room with nothing but episodes of How I Met Your Mother playing on a constant loop on every wall. He's been in there for three months as part of a psychological study of the effects of CBS comedies on the human mind.

    He got lucky. The poor soul that was trapped with Two and a Half Men ate himself from the feet up after two days. Made it up to the rib cage before death finally gave him peace.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    So he ate his own intestines and colon? Two and a Half Men will actually drive people to coprophagy? I mean, cannibalism, of course, given, but shit-eating? Too far, man, too far.

  • Mrcreosote

    The woman after woman that Ted thinks can be the "Mother"-but each fails him in some way. THEY ALL FAIL HIM!!!

  • dizzylucy

    I can buy it. My dislike for Ted actually outweighed my love for NPH, Alyson, and the rest of the cast enough to stop watching a few years back.

    I feel like one of those people who narrowly escaped a serial killer.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    This would save the show.

  • Maguita NYC

    Actually, @Steven Lloyd Wilson should submit this to HBO IMMEDIATELY!

    For that is a show I would definitely watch, especially if Ted Mosby is played by none other than Zachary Quinto as Sylar!

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