Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Quirky Story Behind How I Met Your Mother's 'Guys Guys Guys' Running Gag

While the main storyline of the CBS comedy "How I Met Your Mother" is Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) pursuing different love interests, viewers are also drawn to the characters' platonic relationships. As fans are aware, Ted belongs to a close-knit friend group that includes William Zabka-obsessed philanderer Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), Canadian gun enthusiast Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), shopaholic kindergarten teacher Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), and cryptid-loving lawyer Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel). The New York residents are known for spending time at MacLaren's Pub and having recurring bits.

In a 2014 PaleyFest panel, alongside his co-stars, Josh Radnor shared he has a fondness for several of the show's running gags. He revealed that he appreciated when Ted and Robin salute every time the adjective "major" is used in casual conversation. He also shared he thoroughly enjoyed it when the characters hold interventions to stop harmless habits like making graphs or wearing eccentric hats.

One of the creators of HIMYM, Carter Bays, chimed in to note that the sitcom accumulated quite a few recurring bits throughout its nine seasons. "When you get to the ninth season, you've now collected so many things that, like, there are elements of our show that, like, I don't know how someone could start watching in the ninth season because there's just so many kind of insane things," explained the television writer. During a 2013 Reddit Ask Me Anything, Bays shared his favorite running joke on HIMYM.

Carter Bays revealed how his favorite HIMYM gag came to be

In the Reddit AMA, Carter Bays responded to a fan who was curious about his favorite "How I Met Your Mother" bits. Bays shared he had an appreciation for when the characters said "guys" consecutively. He revealed his writing team included the bit in honor of the show's assistant director, Michael Shea. The producer explained that Shea would use the phrase when he needed the cast and crew to focus.

Bays explained, "Anytime you see one of our characters say 'Guys guys guys,' three times like that, they're tipping their hat to our amazing Assistant Director Michael Shea [who has directed a few episodes as well]. The AD is the person who, among other things, has to get people's attention on set and keep everyone informed of what's being shot and how we're shooting it, and often the way Michael does that is by yelling out, 'Guys guys guys!'"

Bays' HIMYM co-creator, Craig Thomas, also replied to the Reddit user's question and revealed he appreciated Barney's inability to use chopsticks. He suggested that Neil Patrick Harris came up with the gag that regularly occurs when Ted and his friends enjoy take-out food.