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Are How I Met Your Mother's Doppelgangers the Group's Darkest Desires? – CBR – Comic Book Resources

The doppelgangers in How I Met Your Mother could be something far darker, at least according to a wild fan theory.
Even though the popular sitcom has been gone since 2014, How I Met Your Mother still arouses curiosity from both new and faithful fans of the show. The internet is still rich with fan theories, some more plausible than others. One fan theory, in particular, suggests that the sitcom’s infamous doppelgangers that reoccur throughout the show are representations of the character’s darkest desires and not actual doppelgangers at all. But of all the wild fan theories out there right now, this one actually seems to make some sense.
The main characters of How I Met Your Mother — Ted, Lily, Marshall, Barney and Robin — grow and change throughout the nine-year sitcom. They encounter both positive and negative experiences both personally and professionally that challenge and empower them in their individual identities. But all of them, at one point or another, question their identity and career and wonder if they’ve betrayed their true desires.
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If the doppelgangers are supposed to represent each of the character’s darkest desires, then it seems to be hitting the mark with each example. Barney’s doppelganger, which turns out to be Lily and Marshall’s fertility doctor Dr. John Stangel, gets to fulfill one of Barney’s most honest desires — examing women all day, every day. Mexican Wrestler Ted epitomizes the masculinity and confidence that Ted strives for, while Stripper Lily reveals the adventure and daring that Lily suppresses to become a kindergarten teacher. And Mustache Marshall is as simple as it gets — the desire for the full and luxurious mustache that Marshall always wanted to grow.
It makes sense that the doppelganger gimmick would be used to express the character’s darkest desires. For a character to achieve growth, they need to face the darkest part of themselves. In How I Met Your Mother, the main characters actually get to do that, which is rare in a comedy sitcom. Robin, who struggles a lot with her identity because of the way her father raised her, faces a doppelganger that looks like a tomboy version of herself — entirely masculine and sporty. This is what Robin’s father wanted, and deep down, what Robin wanted to be so that she could impress him.
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But the fan theory is off the mark a little, as the doppelgangers aren’t just the manifestation of their darkest desires. In reality, they could be a culmination of their desires, regrets and past ambitions that fell by the wayside. To generalize and say that they are simply their deepest desires leaves a lot of questions. But it would be possible if the doppelgangers also encapsulated, say, their deepest regret or fear.
Though the theory is mostly true, it could use a bit of development in terms of specificity. These doppelgangers, which are certainly not actual doppelgangers since the odds of seeing five of them within one friend group is insane, can definitely be seen as an amalgamation of the character’s desires, regrets and ambitions. But regardless of its validity, the theory’s popularity just goes to show how much interest How I Met Your Mother garners almost a decade since its conclusion.
KEEP READING: Why How I Met Your Mother’s Finale Inspired an Angry Fan Petition
Nicole Waxman is a graduate of Screenwriting from York University and spends most of her time watching anime, movies or reading. She writes features for CBR in both the anime and film/tv sections. Follow her otaku antics on Instagram at @auroraphilia.


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