Known for its unique structure and eccentric humor, How I Met Your Mother has gained a cult following over the years.
The show initially received positive reviews, while the later seasons received more mixed reviews.
In 2012, seven years after its premiere, the series won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Network TV Comedy, and Neil Patrick Harris won the award for Favorite TV Comedy Actor.
The ninth and final season began airing on September 23, 2013, and concluded on March 31, 2014, with a double-length finale episode, which received polarized reviews from critics and fans alike for its controversial twist ending, as many believed it contradicted many of the previous episodes.
The series concerns the adventures of Ted Mosby (played by Josh Radnor) and how he met the mother of his children.
The story starts in 2005 with a 27-year-old Ted Mosby living in New York City and working as an architect; the narrative deals primarily with his best friends, including the long-lasting couple Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan); the eccentric, womanizing-playboy Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris); and news anchor Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders).
The series explores many storylines, including a "will they or won't they" relationship between Robin and each of the two single male characters, Marshall and Lily's relationship, and the ups and downs of the characters' careers.
The show's frame story depicts Ted (voice of Bob Saget, uncredited) verbally retelling the story to his son Luke (David Henrie) and daughter Penny (Lyndsy Fonseca) as they sit on the couch in the year 2030.
This future-set frame is officially the show's "present day" and How I Met Your Mother exploits this framing device in numerous ways: to depict and re-depict events from multiple points of view; to set up jokes using quick and sometimes multiple flashbacks nested within the oral retelling; to substitute visual, verbal or aural euphemisms for activities Ted doesn't want to talk about with his children (sexual practices, use of illicit substances, vulgar language, etc.); and even to add some elements of humor: in the episode "How I Met Everyone Else", Ted describes his dates with a girlfriend whose name he has forgotten, leading all characters to act as though her given name were "Blah-Blah." While the traditional love-story structure begins when the romantic leads first encounter each other, How I Met Your Mother does not introduce Ted's wife (Cristin Milioti) until the eighth season finale, and only announces her name (Tracy Mc Connell) during the series finale.
The show instead focuses on Ted's prior relationships and his dissatisfaction with those women, thus setting the stage for his eventual happiness with Tracy.
Ted Mosby is relaying the story of how he met his wife to his daughter and son.