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The Proposal In HIMYM That Was Actually Completely Real

"How I Met Your Mother," the half-hour sitcom that aired for an astounding nine seasons, is based loosely on its creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, and Thomas's wife, Rebecca Alson-Milkman. The character of Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) was based on Bays, who told Cleveland Magazine that he "really wanted to get married. And as a single guy in New York, I felt that was not the normal experience." Thomas based Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) on himself, and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) on Rebecca. But there are a surprising number of other real-life events and anecdotes that also made it into the show.

In a Reddit AMA, Bays acknowledged that the decision to hire Cobie Smulders as Robin Scherbatsky influenced the writer's decision to make her character Canadian just like her actress, which meant they could have fun inside references for her "And Chuck Tatham is an executive producer, and he's from Guelph[,] Ontario. He's our Canada guy. And Cobie's there too[,] to keep us honest," he explained. Thomas also affirmed that they use their personal lives in the stories. "Some things are exactly ripped from real life, other things are entirely made up...and I guarantee that you would often not be able to guess one from the other!" he said. One scene that occurred in a made-up storyline was completely real, though, and made for an extremely memorable marriage proposal.

The restaurant proposal in the Season 2 finale was real

When Timothy Russo decided to propose to his girlfriend, Jana Rugan in 2008, he knew he wanted to make it special, but he never imagined it would also become a scene in Rugan's favorite show, "How I Met Your Mother." His original plan was to take Rugan to a taping of the show, and propose to her on a Santa Monica beach as they watched the sunset. But Russo's brother, a Los Angeles-based comedy writer, came up with a different plan. "Do you want to propose on the show instead?" Russo remembered, telling the New York Daily News how it came about. "I couldn't believe it, I was, like, 'What do you mean?' He said in the season finale, they were writing in a proposal, and had planned to use extras, so thought what a great chance to do it for real."

In Season 2, Episode 22 ("Something Blue"), Ted and Robin tell Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) the story of their breakup, and how it began at a restaurant when Robin discovered a ring in her champagne glass and freaked out, thinking Ted was proposing. Rugan and Russo were extras in the background, but after the director shouted a secret signal, Russo got down on his knees and proposed to a shocked and ecstatic Rugan. "At first she thought I was messing up the scene, then it dawned on her and she started crying and everyone was clapping," Russo recalled. "It was awesome." Fans obviously agreed, with the "How I Met Your Mother" Season 2 finale making it onto several best episode lists.