|“Happily Ever After”|
| First aired:|
November 3, 2008
After Ted's break up with Stella, the gang bump into her in a restaurant and, while hiding under a table waiting for her to leave, recount other people in their lives they're avoiding.
The day after Stella ran out on their wedding, Ted is unusually happy. The rest of his friends (other than Barney, who is happy Ted isn't married) are worried about him, thinking that he is repressing his emotions. Over the course of two weeks, the group tries to be there for Ted, but he insists he is fine. Eventually, the group becomes frustrated, and pushes him to unleash his emotions. Though he refuses, he does reveal that he has a map of New York to help him avoid running into Stella. Using the map, they decide to go to dinner at a restaurant recommended by one of Lily's friends.
Unfortunately, it soon turns out that friend was actually Stella , who appears at the restaurant while the group is waiting to eat. Panicking, Ted ducks under the table, with the rest of the group reluctantly following his example. Stella places an order to go, so they decide to wait for her to leave. Lily tells Ted he is being stupid, and says he should face Stella. Ted replies that Lily would do the same thing in his position, if 'Gasser' walked in.
Lily reveals that, in ninth grade, she was sat next to a boy named Michael Sasser, who was on the edge of becoming a cool kid. In one lesson, Lily accidentally lets out a loud fart, and rather than be embarrassed, blamed Sasser, giving him the nickname 'Gasser', and he was teased so badly he had to move schools. Back under the table, Lily says that if Michael were to walk in, she would go over and apologize, and face her fear, inviting Ted to do the same. Barney agrees, saying that there are plenty of women he slept with he doesn't want to see again, some of them for the very first time, but he still would not hide from them. Ted mentions Becca DiLucci, which seems to upset Barney.
Becca is revealed to be a girl in prison Barney used to have sex with, during Conjugal visits. On one visit, Barney tried to chat up another inmate, "Barney Stinson, attorney at law. Let's talk about getting you off!", causing a fight to break out between Becca and the other inmate. Since then, Barney has received threats from Becca on multiple occasions. Ted decides that everyone wants to hide from someone, and that they should stay under the table until the problem goes away.
Robin agrees with Ted, saying she would hide from her father if he were to walk in as well. Flashbacks show Robin's father to be disappointed to have a daughter instead of a son, though this doesn't change his plans, giving her the middle name Charles and taking her deer hunting at a young age. Things got worse, when Robin's father found her kissing one of her hockey team-mates when she was fourteen, and she decided to move in with her mom, after which she became Robin Sparkles.
After hearing about how Robin's experience with her father messed her up, Ted realizes all his friends are haunted by problems in their past, but it wasn't too late for him to face up to his. He decides to talk to Stella, but finds she has already left. They hail a cab and follow her, but Ted still refuses to get mad, and instead wants to talk things out, despite protests from his friends. When they realize Stella isn't going back to New Jersey, but to Tony's apartment, he is enraged that she wouldn't move into the city for him, but would for Tony. Finally, Ted unleashes his emotions, to the joy of his friends.
Ted imagines himself confronting Stella, and tells her she made the wrong choice, and should have been with him, as Tony will only let her down again. When he actually goes to talk to her, he sees her and Tony with their daughter, and decides that they were meant to be a family, his anger quickly subsiding. Future Ted announces that rather than swallowing your anger, or throwing it in someone's face, the best idea is to simply let it go, so you can move on. Finally, Ted gets rid of his map, so he can get on with his life.
- Robin first alludes to her issues with her father, mentioning that she started smoking cigars to get his attention, in Zip, Zip, Zip.
- Robin reveals the origin of her career as Robin Sparkles, which the gang found out about in Slap Bet.
- In The Platinum Rule, Future Ted proposes a ninth step to the Platinum Rule called "Co-existence", where the exes simply let go of their anger and resentment, much like Ted does with Stella here.
- Marshall reveals that Stella hates Star Wars, a secret he learned in Do I Know You?.
- Ted is angry that Stella moves into the city for Tony when she refuses to do so for him in I Heart NJ, expecting him to move to New Jersey.
Future References (Contains Spoilers)
- Robin's mansion hints at her family's wealth, which her friends learn about in Unpause.
- In The Playbook, one of the plays in Barney's Playbook is the "Ted Mosby", where he tells girls he has been left at the altar, apparently while wearing the same clothes that Ted does here.
- Ted and Robin argue about Ted's tendency to avoid confrontation in The Burning Beekeeper.
- Barney is seen using "get you off" as a double entendre again in Nannies.
|Ted:||It's funny looking back on it now. I was so sure Stella was the one. And when she left me, I was so devastated. But you guys got me through it. And now the painful part's over, I've come out the other side a little bit stronger. You know, I hardly even think about her anymore. That's what time does, I guess.|
|Lily:||Ted, the wedding was yesterday. It's been twenty-four hours.|
|Ted:||You picked the wrong guy.|
|Ted:||You picked the wrong guy. You made a really, really, really bad choice. What were you thinking? That guy? Are you kidding me? Have you learned nothing in the last eight years? You're just gonna regret this. You know that, right? You are going to regret this, and now there is nothing you can do about it because it's too late. All you can do now is go up there and start your crappy, disappointing life that will never be nearly as happy as the one you could have had with me. Good-bye.|
|Ted:||Look, Stella, I am not here to win you back. I am here because I need to know that you know you made the biggest mistake of your life.|
- —Ted imagines confronting Stella
|Ted:||(pointing to a map of New York City) Red areas, places to avoid. White areas are safe. Blue is water.|
|Lily:||That is just ridiculous!|
|Robin:||Well, water is blue.|
|Future Ted:||From that moment I wasn't angry anymore... Kids, you may think your only choices are to swallow your anger or throw it in someone's face, but there's a third option: You can just let it go, and only when you do that is it really gone and you can move forward. And that kids, was the perfect ending to a perfect love story. It just wasn't mine. Mine was still out there, waiting for me.|
Notes and Trivia
Goofs and Errors
- Robin said she never played team sports in Slutty Pumpkin, which is contrary to the flashback to her hockey team visiting her house after a game.
- Robin says she hasn't spoken to her father in three years, however in Dowisetrepla only 1 season before she mentions that Barney watched her dogs while she visited her father.
- When referring to his break-up with Lily, the flashback shows Marshall with his current haircut rather than his shorter hair in Season 2.
- Robin compares how far you get on a date to hockey, saying "'the blue line' is kissing, 'the red line' is getting naked, and I think 'in the crease' speaks for itself." In hockey, there is a blue line on both sides of the red line, making the analogy either incorrect or oddly vague.
Allusions and Outside References
- After revealing that Stella hated Star Wars, Marshall adds, "She lied to you. Search your feelings, Ted. You know it to be true." It is a parody of a line from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
- In Robin's flashback when her father (Eric Braeden) catches her making out with her hockey teammate, the cheesy organ followed by the dramatic overacting and piano background music is deliberate soap opera satire, playing on Braeden having played Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless for years.
- When they first arrive at the the restaurant where they accidentally meet Stella, a guitar can be heard in the background playing the phrase from Francisco Tárrega's Gran Vals that comprises the Nokia tune.
- All the World (I Tell Myself) - Correatown
- Better - Regina Spektor
- The German episode title is "Unter dem Tisch", meaning "Under the Table". The French episode title is "Ils vécurent très heureux ... sans enfants", meaning "They Lived Very Happily... Without Children".
- International Airdates: Germany: December 12, 2009 on ProSieben; United Kingdom: January 21, 2010 on E4.
- Sarah Chalke - Stella Zinman
- Jason Jones - Tony Grafanello
- Eric Braeden - Robin Scherbatsky Sr.
- Darcy Rose Byrnes - Lucy Zinman
- Max Prado - Michael Sasser
- Shelby Zemanek - Robin 8 years old
- Michael Bolten - Kyle
- Meegan Godfrey - Becca DiLucci
- Chris Dotson - Waiter#1
- Andre Navarro - Waiter#2
- Donna Bowman of The AV Club gave the episode an A rating. 
- Michelle Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.5 out of 10. 
- Television Without Pity gave the episode a B. 
- The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 9 out of 10 stars. "...hiding under a table..'Let's talk about getting you off.'..."
- Happily Ever After at the English Wikipedia
- Happily Ever After at the Internet Movie Database
- Happily Ever After at TV.com
|Shelter Island||Happily Ever After |
|Not a Father's Day|