Hulu's follow-up series to How I Met Your Mother, titled How I Met Your Father, debuted today on the streaming service. Two episodes dropped, including the series pilot, which introduces audiences to the show's ensemble cast, including Hilary Duff (Lizzie Maguire), Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars), and Josh Peck (Drake and Josh). While these characters are not related directly to the cast of How I Met Your Mother, there were two big moments likely to bring a smile to the face of longtime fans of the original series. One comes right at the beginning of the show, and one at the end.
The episode opens with the theme song -- a snippet of "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids. While casual fans might only know that this is the original theme from How I Met Your Mother, hardcore fans likely know that The Solids is a band that counts How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas among its members. Bays and Thomas are producers on How I Met Your Father, along with Pamela Fryman, who directed the pilots for both shows, and more episodes of How I Met Your Mother than anyone else.
The group had previously tried to get a version of How I Met Your Father on the air shortly after the finale of How I Met Your Mother, but it failed to gain support from CBS (the network that aired the original series) or 20th Television (the studio behind How I Met Your Mother).
The theme song isn't exactly an Easter egg, and might even have been expected. What's more of a surprise is the appearance of the apartment set from the original show.
Near the end of the episode, the freshly-engaged Sid (Suraj Sharma) invites the crew over to his apartment, seemingly for the first time. That's a pretty big departure from How I Met Your Mother, which opened with the whole gang (minus Robin) already close and hanging out daily. It's a storytelling device, because it means Sophie (Duff) now has multiple men she met on the day she "met your father," but it also gives them an opportunity to weigh in on Sid's place.
That place? The apartment where Ted and Marshall lived at the start of the original series. At various points during the show's run, different configurations of characters lived there, with Marshall and Lily eventually moving in and living there until the end of the series in 2016. In the finale, Older Ted (the series' narrator, voiced by the late Bob Saget) told his kids that someone outside of the group now lives in the apartment...and now, it seems, we know who.
According to Sid, he got the apartment for a bargain price after finding it on a Wesleyan alumni group. Ted, Marshall, Lily, and a number of their friends from the original series attended Wesleyan, which makes it pretty likely that the "old married couple" they got it from was Marshall and Lily.
In case there was any doubt left, there is a pair of crossed swords mounted on the wall, which Sid says the couple left behind. The swords were a decoration that were in the apartment throughout all of How I Met Your Mother, and periodically came down for playful swordfights. In "The Duel," Marshall and Ted swordfight to determine who will keep the apartment when Marshall and Lily decide that they need to live separate from Ted. It happened often enough that you can find multiple HIMYM swordfight compilations on YouTube.
The first two episodes of How I Met Your Father are streaming on Hulu now.