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The Ted Theory That Changes Everything On How I Met Your Mother

A lot of work has gone into trying to excuse Ted Mosby's behavior over the years. It's not his fault that he winds up a borderline sociopathic human romance thresher, driven by a seemingly subconscious desire to pummel the heart of any woman between the ages 19 and 33 that happens to drink at MacLaren's Pub in the mid-to-late 2000s. He is, after all, an artistic soul with dark, sticky-up hair and a career as a college professor, and as such, can't be held responsible for his emotional terrorism. (In legal terms, this is what's known as "the Ross Geller precedent.")

But that doesn't explain why Ted feels that it's acceptable to force his children to sit through 200 episodes worth of stories about the old days without offering them a chance to sleep or get snacks or change clothes more than once. Even Ross, with all his flaws, had the decency to recognise when it was time for a break.

And sure, in-universe, the whole thing comes down to Ted's desire to get his kids' blessing to hook up with their aunt. But what if there's a darker side to Mosby's epic? One fan theory posits that there is — a detail so dark that it takes the already Nicholas Sparks-adjacent plot of "How I Met Your Mother" and bury the narrative needle all the way in third-act-of-"The Notebook" territory. Here's the fan theory about "HIMYM" that could change everything for Ted.

I Forget Your Mother

The theory goes like this: Ted Mosby, despite his puckish charm, is not a terribly reliable narrator. He has been intimately involved with women whose names he forgets, dubbing them things like "Honey" and "Blah Blah." Recollections of his friends involve behaviors that would make more sense coming out of a cartoon character than, say, a high-powered attorney or a kindergarten teacher or whatever Barney does.

And according to the theory, all of this comes down to Ted suffering from an early-onset degenerative brain disease, with Alzheimer's being a popular frontrunner. He's not forgetful or prone to purposeful embellishment, and he's not the sort of man who would force his children to sit through 76-ish straight hours of largely unnecessary details and Sarah Chalke retrospectives. Instead, he's a terrified man, relaying his life story to his kids before there's no one left to remember the details of his unique, irreplicable youth.

Is there any evidence of this? Not beyond a vague assertion that Ted doesn't remember things clearly enough and seemed to be in a big hurry to talk to his kids about the dangers of sandwiches. Still, if you're looking for a new lens through which to watch nine seasons of a primetime sitcom, looking for fresh angles besides "Tracy died" and "Lily bought too many shoes," this might just be the opportunity you've been waiting for.