How I Met Your Mother slams the door on the Carly theory

himym carly ted barneys sister

‘How I Met Your Mother’ eliminated my prime candiate for the identify of the mother this week. Is there any mystery left in who the mother is, or is it just about marking off the checklist of clues at this point?


It’s funny how quickly things could change. It was just last week that we lived in world where Lance Armstrong didn’t dope, and Manti Te’o actually had a girlfriend. Mostly, though, it was just eight days ago that I was a card-carrying member of the group of How I Met Your Mother fans that believed that the titular mother would eventually be revealed as Barney’s half sister Carly.

I was a card-carrying member of the group of How I Met Your Mother fans that believed that the titular mother was Barney’s half sister Carly.

I jumped on board this particular theory as soon as the episode introducing the character first aired. It was a throwaway line as we learned more about Jerry Whitaker’s family. Just enough of a clue for people who pay close attention, but nothing overt and obnoxious; if producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas were going to throw fans a bone, this is the way they’d do it.

But last week, a solid piece of evidence seemed to put that theory in doubt. In a flash forward, we learned from guest stars Rachel Bilson and Kaylee DeFer that Ted’s soulmate would be playing in the band at Barney and Robin’s wedding. It would really stretch the imagination for Barney’s half-sister to get a gig playing at her half-brother’s wedding from a random third (fourth?) party.

But the events of “Ring Up” have finally definitively disproved that theory. It had been speculated — especially amongst the more ardent supports of the Carly theory — that Ashley Benson would be playing Barney’s half-sister ever since her guest role was announced; it was teased that she had a connection to Barney in some unknown way. As someone who really took the theory seriously, I didn’t think there was any way she could be playing Carly, as it would basically disprove the possibility that she could be the mother.

That was about the only thing I was right about.

At least Bays and Thomas had a little fun with the story. It was hard not to giggle when Barney rolled out the impromptu wedding for the couple. It’s obvious that the two were aware of the theory and camped it up for the audience. A couple of “I Dos” were all that stood in between Carly fulfilling the destiny imagined by so many fans – well, that, and rings, families, yellow umbrellas, that pesky marriage license and, oh yeah love.

It think the reason I though it would work out the way it did was that it was the only way there was any mystery left to the identity of the mother. At this point, it’s just a matter of marking off the checklist of clues the show has provided throughout its eight-season run. We know when, where and how they’ll meet and how fate brought them together. At this point, the only mystery left is who Bays and Thomas will cast in the role.

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Photo Credit: CBS

5 Comments on “How I Met Your Mother slams the door on the Carly theory

  1. Shouldn’t there be a “like” button here? A lot of time I read a post here and feel silly commenting “I agree”..Like would sum it up.

  2. Ok…color me blind. I didn’t realize there was a toolbar at the bottom of the article. Just not used to looking down for tools.

  3. I just saw this episode(“Ring up”) now, and I believe your right but for another reason!!
    I was thinking, it was interesting that when the we won’t sleep together again thing they both winked!! Because of this I actually wasn’t gonna rule her out, kinda of lead on to future hook-up(maybe marriage like) possibilities .
    + She did seem the eccentric type who I could picture holding a yellow umbrella & enough the rock type that I could see her playing bass at a wedding.
    + just because Cindy recommended the mother to play at the wedding doesn’t mean that is wasn’t Carly!! I mean couldn’t you picture that Cindy could have said “My old roommate Carly Whitaker has an amazing wedding band” & Ted responds “That actually the grooms half sister!! We didn’t even think to ask her”, Then they ask & she responds with a yes instead of simply attending.
    While there Ted sees her in a new light, I mean he does have a habit of going back to old loves!!
    Then I also thought that Barney & Robin could ask Victoria to bake the cake for the wedding & either she pushes Ted to go after Carly since he hasn’t seen Ted that happy since Robin, Or between seeing Carly, Victoria & Robin all in the same place & having made big changes (Weddings, maturing since college, baking career since we didn’t see how the course in Germany really affected her ) he ends up leaving to the train station where he meet’s Carly after the wedding & she makes it clear how she never should have let him go, she was going through father issues like Barney (same father after all) & that the wedding really made her reflect on life and stuff and then a flashback of all the clues and the we see it was her.
    Also maybe throw Zooey & Stella in there at the wedding to because I don’t think they would have included the arcs with Vic & Zoe without there really being a reason. I’d say they all help somehow.
    Another reason, which would be a very stretched reason but not way to out there for the writers, would be if Carly returned preggers?!?! I know it seems crazy but they did sleep together, and it would be a very interesting twist. Or just ignore it XD
    Still the wink was important ;-)
    This episode didn’t really put me off at all & the inclusion of the wink made me believe it was for real!!
    & did ye notice that she is nearly the only relationship that wasn’t dashed straight away aside from the longterms (Robin, Victoria, Stella, Zooey)?! As he normally makes it clear it wasn’t them.
    BUT THEN for only one other reason my hopes and ideas were dashed for the most irrelevant, stupid and annoying reason.
    Her age, if she wasn’t allowed in to the MacLarens to meet the gang in “Ring up”, she wouldn’t have allowed in to the bar in St. Patricks Day all those episodes ago. Also it would have been likely that Barney would have spotted her but not a deal breaker as he could have missed her.
    The age thing does kinda ruin the college thing to now that I think about it!! But I guess the woman-in-question would have to have been an older student returning or something. It’s not likely she would be a member of staff living with Cindy XD
    But ya basically the only reason I can see that she wouldn’t be the mother is the age. . . . . . . unless the make a clause I guess the search is still on. I really hope the mother isn’t some1 introduced & unneeded in the last ep.

    • The only additional problem with that is they have said in episodes that Ted MEETS the mother at the wedding…not in a hook-up a few months before hand. I’m as disappointed as everyone else, I truly thought it would be Carly who was the mother; I had an entire story that fits in just about perfectly.

      Yet I somehow still hold a glimmer of hope that it will be Carly. Despite any facts…what would be more surprising that having someone be the mother who has already seemingly, and all-but-officially been eliminated. Only one left in that category is Carly.

      • The only thing I could say 2 that is I still hold hope 4 her 2!!
        Only thing is that the could talk themselves out of the Wedding thing, such as “I knew Carley was the one when I met her again, something had changed, at that moments kids, I knew I hadn’t just met another girl, I had my future wife, (That’s how) I met your mother”.
        U know , kinda saying he didn’t really know she was the mother but at the wedding he knew & he considers that as when he met her!!
        Like I said the only thing that completely crashes it is the age as she can’t get into bars!! Unless she snook in or something, or maybe she was there for something earlier with the family but I suppose there could have been any reason!!
        Still it seems less likely everytime I think about it