Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.
TV URBAN LEGEND: An episode of How I Met Your Mother contained an genuine wedding proposal!
How I Met Your Mother is a TV sitcom that is about a man telling his two children the story of the events of his late 20s and most of his 30s that led to him meeting their mother (the show will finish its run next season after nine seasons – quite a long story!).
One significant “obstacle,” of sorts, is that the first two seasons of the show told the story of how the man, Ted (played by Josh Radnor) fell in love with and ended up having a serious relationship with Robin (played by Colbie Smulders). In fact, the big twist of the first episode (really, for the record, just so you know – this is all going to involve plots from How I Met Your Mother – you might want to quit reading if you don’t want to be spoiled) is that right after Ted professes his love for Robin we learn that Robin is categorically NOT the mother from a voiceover by Future Ted.
In any event, at the end of Season Two of the series, Ted and Robin (who had been together since the end of Season One) break up. The incident that incites the break-up is that the two are out to dinner when Robin thinks that Ted is proposing to her via a ring in a glass of champagne.
Here she is freaking out over what she thinks is Ted proposing to her.
In the background are two actors eating dinner.
The male actor stands up and says that no, it was HIS ring.
He takes it from Robin…
And proceeds to go over…
and propose to his date…
It’s a funny enough bit, especially as it establishes that Robin really does NOT want to get married to Ted at this point. However, here’s a twist. That was a REAL proposal!!!
The other couple were not actors, they were Timothy Russo and Jana Rugan. Russo’s brother was a friend of Matt Kuhn, one of the staff writers on the show. Timothy and Jana were both big fans of the show, and they asked if maybe they could get tickets to a taping. Instead, through Russo’s brother, Kuhn got them a gig as extras in a scene. What Rugan did not know was that Russo was ALSO planning on proposing for real, and the show was going to aid the pair.
In the rehearsals, another actor takes the ring and does the bit.
However, during THIS take, Russo takes the ring and proposes – FOR REAL.
Check out the expression on Rugan’s face, and at the same time, look at Colbie Smulders’ expression, as well!
This scene, where the “character” played by Rugan says yes, actually had to be dubbed over, because Rugan was far too emotional to say yes clearly enough.
And then they kiss…
Isn’t that incredibly sweet?
Obviously, at this point, the other actors broke character and the scene ended.
One last bit of information that I find interesting about this episode. At the time that this episode aired, fans (and heck, the producers of the show, even!) did not know if the show would be coming back for a third season, so it has a great wistful ending that I remember, at the time, being bummed out about, not knowing if the show was coming back. When you watch it on DVD, though, knowing there are SEVEN more seasons after this one, it loses a bit of the original poignancy. That’s neither here nor there, but I just figured I’d share!
The legend is…
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.