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: “How I Met Your Mother” was going to reveal the secret of “The Pineapple Incident” in the final season but cut it from the show.
Few shows were quite as dedicated to getting every little detail right than Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, the showrunners of “How I Met Your Mother.”
The show, about a man (Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor) telling his children the (rather long) story of how he met their mother through a series of flashbacks to his 20s and 30s, was famously meticulous with the plot points revealed over the show’s run, as the whole thing was headed towards a specific point in time. As the show kept going and going and going, however, things had to be stretched. I wrote a while back about how the show initially had “back-up” mothers in case the show was canceled early. By season 3, however, they not only knew who the mother would be, but they had actually already filmed the ending of the series, which they would just sit on for a number of years until the show ended in 2014 after nine seasons. However, having a reputation for being so detail-oriented can have a downside – what happens when you introduce a mystery but then never solve it? That was something that weighed on Bays and Thomas’ mind with “The Pineapple Incident,” a mystery from Season 1 that they nearly DID solve in one of the last episodes of the series but it never quite happened. Read on to find out what went down!
“The Pineapple Incident” was the tenth episode of the first season of “How I Met Your Mother.” In the episode, Ted wakes up after going on quite a bender the night before (after first, of course, bragging about how well he can handle his alcohol). He thinks he is in bed with Robin (played by Cobie Smulders), the girl of his dreams, but instead he is in bed with a mystery girl and there is a pineapple next to him on the nightstand AND his ankle is injured.
The rest of the episode is Ted and his friends trying to figure out what happened last night.
Eventually the girl, Trudy (played by Danica McKellar from “The Wonder Years”) helps fill in most of the details and pretty much everything is explained, including Ted’s injured ankle – but she has no idea how the pineapple got there.
Ted ends the episode noting that they never discovered the truth about the pineapple, but it WAS delicious. Carter Bays has later said that them saying, “we never found out where the pineapple came from” was a bad piece of dialogue, as it wrote them into a corner, and that was something he would try to avoid in the future.
As the series went on, the “Pineapple Incident” would occasionally be referenced, like when Ted would run into Trudy again in Season 3. Ted’s friend, Marshall (Jason Segal), was particularly obsessed with figuring out the truth behind the pineapple. There was even an elaborate board dedicated to the mystery!
However, Ted eventually gave up on it. Fans did not, though. So Bays and Thomas actually planned on revealing the truth in one of the very last episodes of the series. The final season was already filled with a lot of little fan service moments, like a return of “Robin Sparkles” (Robin was a pop star when she was a teenager in Canada named Robin Sparkles) and even a clever moment we featured in the past where the show teased Jason Segel over his complaints about the series. In the twentieth episode of Season 9, “Daisy,” Bays and Thomas planned to reveal that the “Captain” (Kyle Maclachlan), the ex-husband of one of Ted’s ex-girlfriends, Zoe (Jennifer Morrison), kept a “Welcome Pineapple” at the front of all of his homes, as an old sailor good luck tradition. Ted then flashes back and realizes that he took the pineapple from the front of the Captain’s townhouse in New York City.
Ultimately, the scene was cut for time. Bays and Thomas allowed Buzzfeed to show the scene as part of a promotion for the release of the complete series on DVD last year. You can check it out here.
The legend is…
Thanks to reader Frank W. for writing in about this one! And thanks to Buzzfeed for the video!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.