How I Met Your Mother had a habit of flipping back and forth along the timeline of events, but certain plot details made it possible to find when seasons took place. Airing for nine seasons on CBS, the sitcom created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas was a long-running hit for the network. One of the best aspects of the series was Future Ted Mosby’s narration used as the show’s storytelling device. Thankfully, the narration often clued in fans regarding the setting.
Over the course of nine seasons, Future Ted (voiced by Bob Saget) told the epic tale of how he met the mother of his two children. Though Robin Scherbatsky was initially framed as a prominent love interest for Ted, she wasn’t the mysterious “Mother” character. That label eventually went to Tracy McConnell, who didn’t directly appear until season 8 of the series. As a way to cleverly connect to subplots and running gags, How I Met Your Mother tended to incorporate a bevy of flashbacks and flash-forward sequences.
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As for the timeline of Future Ted’s storytelling, this point of the narrative occurred during the year 2030. Events from the series would eventually link up to this specific year, but it’s important to look back at the timeline of the entire series to gather the full picture. Despite being a series with a nine-year run, How I Met Your Mother covered a much wider timespan. Here’s a breakdown of when each season took place and when the show’s biggest future events occurred.
HIMYM Season 1
How I Met Your Mother officially debuted September 19, 2005, on CBS. Though Ted was sharing the story with his kids from 2030, the start of his tale correlated with the timeline in which the sitcom aired. Therefore, much of season 1 took place in the remaining months of 2005 and the first half of 2006. More specifically, the spring months featured Ted and Victoria breaking up before he and Robin entered a relationship. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily broke off their engagement as the latter relocated to San Francisco for an art fellowship at the end of the season.
HIMYM Season 2
How I Met Your Mother season 2 picked up a few months after the debut season ended, documenting Marshall’s heartbreak surrounding his break up with Lily. Though the season began in September 2006, which was also when the new installment started airing, the premiere episode, “Where Were We?,” shared a look into Marshall’s life in the months leading up to September when Lily returned to New York City. The rest of the season followed the couple’s eventual reunion before ending on their wedding in May 2007. Around this time, Ted and Robin decided to break up, leading them on different paths ahead of season 3.
HIMYM Season 3
As in previous seasons, the third How I Met Your Mother installment jumped back into Future Ted’s story with events from September 2007. The premiere episode also shed light on Robin’s whereabouts after her 23rd birthday, which saw her go to Argentina with Gael sometime in July. When season 3 began, Robin returned to the city before breaking up with her new beau. Toward the end of the year, Marshall passed his New York state bar exam shortly before Ted met Stella, his dermatologist-turned-girlfriend. Ted eventually proposed to Stella by the end of season 3, which carried through the end of May 2008.
HIMYM Season 4
Next up, viewers were gifted to How I Met Your Mother season 4, beginning in September 2008. Of course, the events of the new season started in the same month of the same year, documenting Ted and Stella’s growing romance while planning their wedding. By November 2008, Stella left Ted at the altar for her ex-boyfriend, Tony, before suffering a career setback as an architect. The following spring, an awkward encounter between Ted, Stella, and Tony led to a new job as a college professor. Though the season ran until May 2009, the events of the installment took place through April, including the revelation that Robin and Barney were romantically involved.
HIMYM Season 5
At the start of How I Met Your Mother season 5, Ted started his new job as a professor. Though Barney and Robin secretly dated throughout the summer of 2009, they didn’t reveal it publicly until September 2009. Two months later, the couple broke up, but they would get back together in the future. The second half of season 5 was set in the first five months of 2010, focusing on Robin’s relationship with Don, Marshall’s mugging by a monkey, and the discovery of Ted’s doppelganger. More importantly, in the spring of 2010, Marshall and Lily decided to start a family.
HIMYM Season 6
In typical How I Met Your Mother fashion, season 6 commenced in September, with a new installment that also began in the fall months. This time around, it was the latter half of 2010, which saw Ted meet Zoey after he was hired to design the new GNB building. After spending Thanksgiving with Zoey and Steve “The Blitz” Henry, the narrative got more serious heading into the new year. The 2011 timeline featured in season 6 featured the surprising death of Marshall’s father and Barney meeting his own father for the first time. Unlike previous seasons, which had events depicted in the series end in the spring months, the season 6 finale took place in September 2011. Most importantly, this was when Lily found out she was pregnant with her first child.
HIMYM Season 7
How I Met Your Mother season 7 picked up just where the previous season left off, focused on the events of September 2011. In the months that followed, Ted reunited with Victoria while Barney began dating Nora. Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily prepared for the birth of their child by moving to the suburbs in Long Island. The baby didn’t arrive until May 2012 while Marshall was with Barney in Atlantic City. By then, Barney was with Quinn, and Robin was promoted as the co-anchor at World Wide News after breaking up with her therapist boyfriend, Kevin. For a time, Ted was convinced Robin still had feelings for him.
HIMYM Season 8
The first half of How I Met Your Mother season 8 was set during the remaining months of 2012. Ted was offered a job in Chicago, but he ultimately declined to relocate. After breaking up with Quinn, Barney carried out the final page of his Playbook in December to propose to Robin. The rest of season 8 aired through May 2013, which was fitting because most of the installment’s events were set in the months leading up to Barney and Robin’s wedding. At the end of the season 8 finale, the “Mother,” Tracy McConnell, was directly shown for the first time in a scene that flash-forward to the wedding weekend.
HIMYM Season 9
How I Met Your Mother‘s ninth and final season didn’t follow the format as previous installments. Even though it aired from September 2013 to March 2014, the bulk of the events took place over a May 2013 weekend during Barney and Robin’s wedding. During that multi-day span, the storyline jumped back and forth between the past and the present to fill in gaps in Ted’s tale. The series also revealed details into Tracy’s past and how it connected to Ted’s social circle. While the bulk of the storyline focused on May 24th to May 26th, season 9 subsequently documented future events.
HIMYM’s Future Events
May 27, 2013: Ted and Tracy went on their first date and ran into Tracy’s ex-boyfriend, Louis. The event made Tracy worry that she wasn’t initially ready to start dating again.
February 2014: Marshall and Lily’s second child, Daisy, was born.
The year 2015: Tracy learned she was pregnant, and by the end of the year, the “Mother” and Ted had their first child, Penny.
The year 2016: Barney and Robin decided to get a divorce while in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Late 2016: Lily gave birth to her third child.
The year 2017: Tracy and Ted had their second kid, a boy named Luke.
The spring of 2020: Barney’s daughter, Ellie, was born.
The year 2014: Tracy died from an undisclosed illness.
The year 2030: Marvin Jr began college at Wesleyan University, and Ted began telling his story to his children, which served as the purpose of How I Met Your Mother, before embarking on another romantic relationship with Robin.
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