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HIMYM Theory Suggests Ted's Kids Never Existed

"How I Met Your Mother" follows Ted Mosby as he tells his two children about the trials and tribulations of his adult life. However, the fact Ted's kids never change their clothes (after the first episode anyway) suggests that he recounts all of these tales over the course of a single day. That's a lot of talking for one sitting, but what if Ted's children are actually figments of his imagination?

Redditor u/FlimFlamAndFlamJam pointed out that basic math and logic indicate that Ted's children aren't real. Every episode is a detailed anecdote of memorable moments from Ted's life, but they also delve into side stories about his core group of friends. It's a lot of complex history to explain in a matter of hours. At most, Ted would have had 16 hours to recount all of these tales, as the final episode sees him head to an open restaurant and steal the blue French horn for Robin (Cobie Smulders), proving that he stopped talking before everything closed for the night. 

There are 208 episodes of "How I Mey Your Mother," each one representing a detailed and complex anecdote. There's no way that Ted could have told all of them to other people in such a timely manner. People need breaks. They ask questions. Tangents happen. That said, it's entirely possible that Ted is able to tell his stories so efficiently because he's all alone.

Ted's children are figments of a grief-stricken imagination

"How I Met Your Mother" takes some dark turns toward the end of the series. Ted meets the titular mother, Tracy (Cristin Milioti), and they move into a renovated house to live happily ever after. Sadly, things don't go according to plan. The couple spends years trying to have kids before it seemingly happens. Tracy eventually dies and Ted remains in the house, far away from his friends.

The aforementioned theory posits that Ted imagined his children as a means to cope with his grief and loneliness. This would explain why his memories of his kids aren't as detailed as the anecdotes about him and his friends. For example, in one episode, he talks about watching "Star Wars" with his daughter. In another, he mentions leaving her with Marshall (Jason Segal) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) around Christmas time. For the most part, though, Ted's kids aren't a big part of his story.

The series ends with the children — who patiently listened to complex stories for hours — giving Ted their blessing to get back together with Robin. Maybe this was the process he had to go through in order to process his feelings and finally move on with his life after Tracy's death.

The theory answers some big questions

Fan theories are always divisive, but some "How I Met Your Mother" viewers support this one as it clears up some unanswered questions. For example, as Redditor u/TheDivineSappho pointed out, it explains why Ted's children are okay with him talking about Robin so much, all the while glossing over the story of their mom. The Redditor also noted that it explains why Ted barely mentions the circumstances surrounding Tracy's death and how the children dealt with the loss afterward.

Elsewhere, some fans are so fond of this theory that it's made them wish that "How I Met Your Mother" ended on a bleaker note. "Now i kinda of wish it ended with the kids fading away and it revealed they weren't real. That would have been a great bitter end," u/MrMexican78789 wrote.

Furthermore, given that the ending of "How I Met Your Mother," is a polarizing topic to this day, some fans wish the creators confirmed this theory to be true in the farewell episode. "I'd rather this than what the show became," another Redditor stated.