15 Terrible Gags In 'How I Met Your Mother' (That Made Us Uncomfortable AF)

If you don't know already, How I Met Your Mother is a CBS mid-2000s sitcom that lasted for a full nine seasons (and has remained a staple on Netflix) — all for very good reasons. Set in the year 2030, with the majority of the content taking place in then-present day New York City, the cast was your archetypal late 20-somethings searching for love. If you never had the chance to catch an episode (where have you been?), HIMYM is the perfect mix of sass, silliness, and friendship for many viewers. While critics and fans alike can agree that HIMYM has overwhelming similarities to its '90s counterpart, Friends, and some of the gags are considered recycled or updated, the show's quirky (and often eccentric) humor kept its audience smitten for almost a decade.

For those of us who kept up with all of the episodes, we all have our own opinions on the series finale, but for the most part (thankfully), it's the running gags in the show that we will all remember. Some of them have become household staples and inside jokes between fans — after all, who can hate Barney's catchphrases ("Challenge accepted, "Suit up," "Legend—wait-for-it—dary") and Ted and Robin's military salutes? Unfortunately, like most running gags, there are just some that either got old quick, or made us uncomfortable from the get-go. 

15 The Lusty Leopard

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with strip clubs if that's your jam; there's no judgement here. However, there are a number of incidents that occur at The Lusty Leopard, Barney Stinson's bar of choice (aside from MacLaren's Pub - the group's usual hangout). Not only is it a little creepy (and kind of sad) that Barney is a regular customer there, but the gang's constant and infamous awkwardness just make the innuendoes and inappropriate jokes that much more cringe-worthy.

In one episode, Ted-in-the-future tries to joke with his kids that a stripper he meets there is their mother (why??), and in another, the gang encounters 'Stripper Lily' (which is just plain weird). Eventually, Barney even ends up dating a stripper who works at The Lusty Leopard, though we don't think anyone was surprised when that ended. Overall, though the strip joint was harmless, sometimes it was just all sorts of awkward and unnecessary.

14 Robin Sparkles

Robin Scherbatsky may be one of HIMYM's most interesting character, if not its saving grace. A tom-boyish Canadian-born news reporter, Robin was obviously Ted Mosby and Barney Stinson's main love interest across the series. We were all intrigued by her sarcastic nature and ability to hang with the boys, but it was during an episode in season 2 where we really got to know her. When Barney investigated Robin's past (believing her to have starred in Canadian porn), the gang finds out that she was in fact a teenage pop star with the alter ego Robin Sparks. Her hilariously terrible single "Let's Go To The Mall" was all sorts of amazing, and her later emo alter ego, Robin Daggers, was just as funny. However, there are only so many times you can recycle Canadian popstar jokes, and after awhile, this gag started to fall flat. Not only that, but with the advent of teen superstars in the 2000s, Robin Sparkles' character got just a little too real.

13 The Red Cowboy Boots

It may have been cute in the beginning, and may even have given Ted an edge of self-confidence he lacked throughout the entire series, but the red cowboy boots just didn't make any sense. They become a staple gag between the gang, where on many occasions Ted will insist that he can pull the boots off because a woman in the store told him he looked hot in them (NEWS FLASH: he did not look hot in these boots). Despite the fact that before this, he was making fun of anyone who would wear them, Ted is also validated later on when a gay couple agreed with him that they were a solid fashion choice. However, we have to be the bearers of bad news here, because no, Ted - you could never "pull them off."

12 Interventions

The 'intervention banner' is one of those jokes that seems mildly insensitive and inappropriate at the time, and just becomes worse and worse the more it's used. When the gang first has an intervention, it's actually for a legitimate cause as they were helping their friend Stuart with his drinking problem. Then, because many of the characters (if not all of them) possess slightly narcissistic qualities, they decide this method of intervention can work for any future problems. Not only is the entire concept of hosting an intervention a very sticky subject, but the fact that the gang uses it for relatively insignificant issues (Marshall's obsession with graphs and typical relationship problems) is definitely politically incorrect. Although it's clear the 'intervention banner' was meant as a familiar way for friends to express their worry, it missed its mark in the show.

11 Incessant Canada Jokes

Everyone loves a good Canadian joke — especially Canadians! Known for their easy-going attitudes and penchant for apologizing whether or not they were at fault, Canadians can usually take a joke with a grain of salt. That is, as long as the jokes are original. We're not even mad at the fact Barney seems to have a strong opinion against all things Canadian (though it's just a bit weird). But the constant, tireless "oots, aboots" and references to snow get out of hand really quickly. It's as if that humor is catering to people who know absolutely nothing about Canada — which, admittedly, could very well be the case. Even Robin's quick comebacks and attempts at redeeming her Canadian roots are lackluster at most — and the rest of the gang just keeps perpetuating it.

10 Everything About Ted

Perhaps one of the longest running gags—and the most annoying—in HIMYM is the main character and series protagonist himself, Ted Mosby. Painted as your average Joe who just happens to be a successful architect in Manhattan (go figure), Ted is dopey, clueless, and a hopeless romantic. But despite all the clues that point to his vulnerability and kindness, let's be honest, he can be kind of a jerk. He's so intent on finding "the one" that he does idiotic things (saying "I love you" on the first date being a prime example), and never seems to really learn how to be by himself. Many of his failed relationships go on for far too long, and it's not an endearing quality at all. He lets many of his girlfriends walk all over him. Additionally, Ted's dad jokes and grammar-correcting habit make him come across as condescending, even if he has only the best of intentions.

9 Patrice

For the most part, Robin is a pretty cool character; she's spunky, intelligent, and says what's on her mind. Sadly, what's on her mind—often at work—is her arch-nemesis and coworker Patrice. Patrice works with Robin at World Wide News, and is upbeat and optimistic — almost to a fault (at least in Robin's opinion anyway). No matter what she does to win over Robin's affection, Patrice is constantly aggravating her with her nonstop cheer and kindness. Despite the many times Robin screams at her in dismissal whenever she pipes up at work, Patrice sucks it up and continues to butter her up. This gag can actually be kind of sad, and we can't help but feel sorry for Patrice every time she is treated poorly.

8 'Boats! Girl'

Becky was one of Ted's many girlfriends during the show, and made her first appearance in "Subway Wars." She happens to be Robin's incredibly animated and child-like co-host of their morning show "Come On, Get Up New York!". And despite her bubbly nature, she appears incredibly annoying and over-the-top. Of course, this never deters Ted, who acts almost like a father-figure to Becky while they date. Finally, he realizes how childish she really is, and breaks up with her (although he begins dating her again a couple years later).

Becky is probably best known for her hilarious and ridiculous part in the "Boats! Boats! Boats!" commercial, which becomes a running joke for the rest of the series. Becky eventually grows up a bit and snags the wealthy Captain as her fiancé, so we don't feel too bad for her.

7 The Playbook

Oh yes, The Playbook — Barney Stinson's Holy Grail. Barney Stinson (portrayed by the incomparable Neil Patrick Harris), is one of HIMYM's most obscene, yet somehow charming, characters. Known for his prominent daddy issues, Barney is the resident ladies man, and prides himself on how many "chicks" he can pick up on a nightly basis. Since this number adds up, by season 3, Barney was already at number 200. As a way to accumulate all of his pick up lines and plays, Barney assembled them into the notorious "Playbook" — which is no more than a take on Neil Strauss' infamous book, The Game. Although the book is at times super witty, for the most part, Barney's plays are lewd, degrading, and overall severely misogynistic. In fact, his entire persona is one ball of misogyny that gets harder and harder to find funny over nine seasons. After all, is it really a "play" if all you're doing is getting girls drunk, or looking to manipulate them when they're sad? Shame on you, Barney Stinson.

6 The Naked Man

Despite the fact that "The Naked Man" is one of Barney's most beloved plays from the aforementioned Playbook, it's essentially just a rip off from one of Joey's pick up tactics from Friends. Even so, initially "The Naked Man," a seemingly harmless technique that will either humiliate you or score you a lady or two, is a cheap shot at some laughs. But when we really think about it, this play isn't so harmless. What would you do if a near-stranger or man you met on a first date suddenly dropped his pants in front of you in your apartment? Of course, Ted adopts this tactic, and eventually succeeds with his date. This only makes everyone feel a little bit of redemption when Barney fails and ends up roaming the streets naked after getting kicked out of his date's apartment.

5 Marshall And Lily

In retrospect, Marshall and Lily appear to be the perfect couple despite their codependency. They have adorable and disgusting nicknames for each other (Marshmallow and Lilypad), seem to have the utmost respect for each other, never fail with their sexual chemistry, and can't wait to start a family together. On the other hand, there are a few running gags between the two of them that make us very uncomfortable (and sometimes even near unhealthy). Of course, Lily's obsession with Marshall's calves is just weird and slightly fetishized, and the code words they use for sexy time together is incredibly childish.

What makes us really scratch our heads about their relationship, is the fact that though they love each other dearly (and we can't take away anything from their love-at-first-sight romance), they did what no couple should ever do: give up on their individual dreams and aspirations. This comes full circle and is resolved by the end of the series, but really, for years, both Lily and Marshall shelved their desired futures (artist and environmental lawyer) in such a way that they were separated for a brief period of time. This just goes to show that you can be as cute a couple as you want, but sometimes things don't always go as planned.

4 The Kids

Future Ted's two kids from 2030 are probably the most irrelevant part of the entire series and are purely kept for the show's continuity. We meet Penny and Luke Mosby (although, does anyone really ever know their names?) in the first episode, and they are introduced in every. single. episode. since then. Even though we can't fault the show's writers for being steadfast about keeping their appearance on the couch consistent, it gets repetitive and downright dull. Because it was always unknown how long the network would keep the series going, the actors wore mostly in the same outfits and had the same reactions for nine whole years... Only near the very end of the season is this switched up. We can't help but feel bad for the actors who played these characters. Wouldn't that be an incredibly boring gig?

3 The Slap Bet

Okay, admittedly, the slap bets in HIMYM were pretty amazing, and some may even argue that they redeemed all the show's other terrible gags. 'The slap bet' is a bet that takes place between Barney and Marshall, and is introduced in the show during the episode where Barney is convinced Robin did Canadian porn (we now know she was just Robin Sparkles). Lily was deemed "The Slap Bet Commissioner," and essentially whoever lost the bet would be granted slaps to dole out whenever they wanted to the other person. Eventually, Marshall wins eight slaps, and proceeds to torment Barney over the years. There's not much worse than anticipating a slap that never comes, so we definitely feel for Barney in those painful incidents over the past nine seasons.

2 The Threeway Belt

"The Threeway Belt" was yet another questionable gag between Barney and Ted (and, again, was probably the misogynist brainchild of Barney). Essentially, the belt was to be awarded to whichever friend successfully had a threesome with two other women. Simple enough in concept right? Think again — because of course these two "bros" had a number of stipulations. Firstly, the combined age of all three participants (including them) could not exceed 83 years. Meaning at the very most, one could not be over 47 years old. Secondly, the combined weight of all three participants could not exceed 400 pounds. Which means, in classic body-shaming Barney fashion, none of the girls could be over 110-120 pounds each. Come on, guys!

Thankfully, the belt only made a few appearances during the series, and surprisingly—whether or not a threesome was accomplished—neither Ted or Barney ever successfully claimed it. 

1 The Blue French Horn

At last, the gag that started the whole show and ended it with a big ol' bang (but not the good kind). The blue French horn gag appeared in the Pilot episode of HIMYM, when Ted and Robin go on their first date at Carmichaels. On the wall, a tacky French horn reminds Robin of a "Smurf penis," and Ted steals it for her in an over-the-top romantic gesture that doesn't end well (theft usually never does). The horrible blue horn makes a number of appearances over the series, either in Robin's apartment, chained back up at Carmichaels, and finally in the series finale in 2030, when Ted steals it for (what we really hope is) the last time, showing his decades-long devotion to Robin. After all those years, we could never rid ourselves of that awful blue French horn.

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