After a failed pilot starring Greta Gerwig, How I Met Your Father is finally a feasible reality. Set in the same fictional universe (the MotherVerse!? No? Okay), it’s essentially a gender-swapped version of its beloved predecessor, How I Met Your Mother. While Greta Gerwig has gone on to greater things (including directing the 2019 remake of Little Women), Hillary Duff is taking center stage as the protagonist looking for her soulmate.
That said, with all the excitement surrounding this impending release, what better time is there to look back at the cast of HIMYM? The iconic sitcom is host to an array of memorable characters, both quirky and heartfelt. It made Neil Patrick Harris a household name and showed us Allison Hannigan was far more than Buffy‘s Willow or the girl from Bandcamp.
With that said, let us rank the characters of How I Met Your Mother in terms of likeability. Sit down, kids, and let us take you back to the years 2005-2014…
6) Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor)
Oh man, oh man, oh man. What can be said of HIMYM‘s protagonist? Not much, because – let’s face it, he’s kind of a bore. Ted’s Norman Rockefeller-esque white-picket-fence dream feels tediously dated – even back in 2005 when the show initially aired. However, his character adds ‘detestable’ to his resume once you think about him for a few minutes. He spends the series narcissistically prioritizing his own needs before his various romantic partners. How he stalks on-off-again love interest Robin Scherbatsky is also ominous, pressurizing her to consummate a relationship she isn’t sure about. Ted is forever lost in flights of fantasy that can never be truly realized. This, alongside his lacking character development, ranks Ted the least likable character in How I Met Your Mother’s main cast.
5) Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders)
Robin is a compelling character – for a sitcom, at least. She is a Canadian who was brought up to be masculine by her very masculine father. Because of this, Robin often subverts traditional romantic tropes in her relationships, being the ‘masculine’ to her boyfriend’s ‘feminine’. As a result of this unique interplay, Robin ends up being very endearing, her peculiar interests in guns and dogs making her a novel character. That said, she is often brought down by her ‘Ross-Rachel’ dynamic with Ted Moseby. The pair are frequently presented as incompatible due to their highly differing values (Ted wants to settle down and have kids. Robin doesn’t). This makes their season finale romantic reunion feel forced and unnatural. Especially so, given the show built up her relationship with Barney, only to nix it at the last minute. If not for this, she may have ranked higher in our list of How I Met Your Mother characters.
4) Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris)
If one thing can be said of Barney Stinson, it’s that he was a ‘sign of the times’. Following the exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s antics in 2017, it’s hard to watch some of Barney’s scenes without cringing. That said, Barney is a very fun, outgoing character, championing some of HIMYM’s most iconic lines (“Haaave you met Ted?”) and his obsession with suits as endearing as it is strange. Barney is redeemed greatly by his character development in the series – he eventually gives up his womanizing ways to be with Robin. And while this development is swiftly nixed in Season 9’s last few minutes, his story for the series’ majority earns him a high spot on this ranking. There is no doubt after all, despite his lack of political correctness, that Barney is responsible for the gang’s most memorable misadventures.
3) Lily Aldrin (Alison Hannigan)
Lily is smart, quirky, and fun. She is Marshall’s series-long partner – and you can see why. The pair of them have seamless chemistry due to their similar sense of humor (she is the “Lily-Pad” to Marshall’s “Marshmellow”) as well as genuine trust in one another. However, one thing that distinguishes her from Marshall is her role as Ted’s girlfriend-overseer. Thus quirky characteristic has her put Ted’s various girlfriends through “the Front Porsche test” to see if she can picture the woman gelling with the gang as elderly people. While her amusing inability to understand boundaries can be her curse, Lily is still an endearing sitcom icon who ranks among How I Met Your Mother‘s best characters.
2) Marshall Erikson (Jason Segel)
Who can deny the manchild lawyer Marshall Erikson? While poor Jason Segel tired of his antics later in the show, we simply couldn’t get enough of him. He and Lily bounce off each other so naturally, not merely because of their shared humor (for example, nicknaming her “Lily-pad” while she calls him “Marshmellow”), but also because of his genuine affection for her. Despite his silliness, Marshall is also there to support his friends (i.e. Ted) when they need him. This appealing combination of humor and compassion makes Marshall the second most likable character in How I Met Your Mother.
1) Tracy McConnell (Cristin Milioti)
Despite only being part of the main cast in the show’s final season, the Mother herself, Tracy, is easily the most likable character of the cast. This is truly amazing since the cast was around eight years before her full appearance and somehow – somehow – she outshines them all. What makes Tracy so likable (nay, lovable) are numerous. From her musical abilities, her humor, her unshakeable charm despite her past tragedy as well as her compassion, Tracy rules. Additionally, her strength and independence are the cherry-on-top of a woman who – let’s face it – deserves better than Ted Mosby. For us, it’s a no-brainer that Tracy ranks top among How I Met Your Mother‘s characters.
That said, this is just our take. Do you agree or disagree with our ranking of How I Met Your Mother‘s main cast? Who is the most likable out of the gang? And given the controversial season 9 finale, how would you change the conclusion to the story? Be sure to check out our article on why How I Met Your Mother is a great sitcom here.