How I Met Your Dad: Highlights From the Newly Leaked Pilot Script

Haaaaaave you ever wondered how How I Met Your Dad might have turned out had it snagged a series order? Well, now you don’t have to!

The “kindred spirit” to How I Met Your Mother was shelved by CBS after being developed in 2014, but the script has made its way online. The pilot, which starred indie film darling Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) and was narrated by rom-com vet Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally), is not an exact replica of the Mothership’s own pilot episode, but remains tonally true to its predecessor.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the script (which you can read in its entirety here, courtesy of the website TV Writing), along with some highlights:

THE CAST | Gerwig as Sally Javits, Tiya Sircar (The Crazy Ones) as Juliet, Andrew Santino (Mixology) as Danny Javits, Drew Tarver (Bajillion Dollar Propertie$) as Todd, Nick D’Agosto (Masters of Sex) as Frank, Anders Holm (Workaholics) as Gavin and Ryan as the narrator/Older Sally.

THE PLOT | * Party girl Sally moves in with her brother Danny after husband Gavin kicks her out after less than a year of marriage. The guest room she’s expecting to use has been turned into a nursery for the baby Danny and his husband Todd are set to adopt, but the adoption eventually falls through. (We guess she’s staying!)

* Juliet, the Barney Stinson to Sally’s Ted Mosby, is happy the marriage falls apart and quickly sets her  BFF up with IT guy Frank for a rebound “nail and bail.”

* Sally and Frank’s date goes horribly wrong when Sally attempts to be sexy. This in turn causes Frank to have a panic attack over dinner when he thinks they’re about to have do the deed; they ultimately decide to just remain friends.

* Sally almost goes back to Gavin, who had a tendency of trying to “fix her,” but the husband and wife ultimately agree that they’re better off apart. In other words, the split is amicable.

* How does it end? Sally, Juliet, Danny, Todd and Frank toast to new beginnings at a bar, though it’s unclear if that bar happens to be MacLaren’s Pub. Oh, and this part is really important: Just as the pilot cuts to black, Older Sally refers to Frank as “Uncle Frank.”

RELATED Jane Levy Joins My Time/Your Time, CBS Comedy Pilot From HIMYM EPs

THE SIMILARITIES TO HIMYM |  The comedy isn’t as similar to its predecessor as you might expect, outside of the framing device and the reliance on flashbacks (and yes, there are plenty of those).

UPDATE: Co-creator Carter Bays insists that the ending as seen in the leaked version of the script is not the version that was actually used:

Now it’s your turn: Would you have watched How I Met Your Dad? Sound off in the comments.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jason says:

    Thank god that didn’t happen. Recycled ideas are too prevalent as it is and to go to a well that had just been drained usually doesn’t lead to success. Although to change things up, maybe the Dad would have lived at the end of this one…In case you hadn’t noticed, it still bugs me.

    • Christina says:

      I’m still bitter about that too. Too bitter to have watched this. (Though I like the actors, and it looks like it could have been good.)

    • Meh says:

      One of the worst series finales EVER. EVER. EVER. Still not over it. Yea, let’s spend years trying to meet the mother only to kill her off 5 minutes later and have the dead horse beaten beyond recognition storyline of Robin and Ted play out as end game. Just terrible. If this show would have been run by the people then not being picked up was for the best.

    • Kate says:

      I totally understand why people don’t like how HIMYM ended. I remember feeling really torn apart and having trouble sleeping after watching the finale. But after a week or so I realized that it was actually the perfect ending for that show for several reasons. One, HIMYM never shied away from sad, real-life moments (Marshall’s dad dying, Marshall & Lily’s break up). These moments didn’t happen all of the time (just like they don’t in real life) but when they did happen, they let us fully feel what was happening. It makes sense that they held true to that at the end of the show.

      Two, there are a lot of people who have lost loved ones, and I don’t know that we are genuinely represented on television, let alone comedic television. Whenever I see people complaining about the end of HIMYM, I think about how that ending made myself and so many others feel more included in the story. Especially when we rarely can fully relate to comedic sitcoms or the lives they depict.

      • Anna says:

        Honestly, I thought the ending was stupid af not because the mother dies (true, there are a number of sad things that happen in sitcoms), but because it effectively kicked aside years of character development that made people love the show. This would have made a great ending if the show wrapped up after season 3. But for anyone paying attention to the character and relationship development that progressed really well from seasons 4-8 for these characters that we love, this finale made no sense. It honestly seemed like they thought the viewers were idiots and wouldn’t realize that the ending didn’t work.

  2. Ian says:

    You know, I was thinking about this show the other day. It was my first time seeing both Andrew Santino and Drew Tarver on @midnight, and it occurred to me how cute a gay couple they would have made. The show was probably cast well. So it could be a shame the show didnt go to series.
    I’m not getting the Older Sally saying Uncle Frank thing though. The possibilities are disturbing (and unfunny).

    • Falcon says:

      I assume they wanted us to know that because at the end of the HIMYM Pilot, Older Ted/ Bob Saget narrates “And that kids, is how I Met….. Your Aunt Robin”.

      As we all know, Ted ultimate does get with Robin (ick) in the ultimate bait-and-switch 9 years later in the show’s finale.

      • Ian says:

        Ah, ok. So he would have been the “Aunt Robin.” The article made it sound ominous. Like it should be taken literally.

        Maybe if they hadnt tried to greenlight this show so soon after the whole Mother disaster, Dad may have had a chance.

  3. NM says:

    I think what worked so well last time was the cast and their connection. This pilot sounded somewhat promising though and would have been watched whether people said they wouldn’t after HIMYM.
    Btw, season 9 of that show was the worst and I’m glad Robin and Ted ended up together.

    • Delirious says:

      Regardless of how HIMYM ended… And how the finale sucked (not just for killing the mother, but for how Robin became a massive d*ck after marrying Barney, and why it was idiotic that THAT Robin ended with Ted)… I would’ve still watched, if only for Gerwig.

    • Cas says:

      I was glad too!! :)

  4. A. D. says:

    Horrible cast so glad it was passed on.

  5. Jack says:

    I never liked the idea of the main character having been married and divorced. To me, HIMYM was always a little bit of a fairy tale (ending aside. Still not over that.), and I would have wanted this to be in that spirit as well. Having her be a divorcee wrecks that.

    • Victoria says:

      I agree. One of my favorite parts was that Ted was a romantic in HIMYM and holding out for that fairy tale.

    • Guest says:

      I also agree. The thing about HIMYM is that it was able to tell a story about New York 20-somethings and still preserve its… innocence I guess?

  6. Tim says:

    The copy of the script I have is pretty much identical to this, except that Frank is revealed to be the kids father.

    • Tim says:

      I just took a look at the copy I have…it looks like it’s the first draft from 1/27/14. I guess somewhere along the lines they changed him from being the father to the uncle or an “uncle”.

  7. Nero tTVFiddler says:

    A huge fan of HIMYM, but I had my doubts about this HIMYD concept back in 2014, and now that I see the script concept and cast, probably best that it didn’t happen. I think CBS/Nina T. pulled the plug going into Upfront’14, and for that, I think we owe her our gratitude.

    Sometimes better to let things go and move on. Like Ted, we have to let that red balloon go.

  8. Airie says:

    Wow that is…the exact same set up, with a divorce added for flair.

  9. Jayemay says:

    Yep, still mad.

  10. Bark Star says:

    Ahhhh…. even after all these years the tears of those silly people being bitter about not getting the HIMYM ending they wanted taste so sweet.

  11. This show lost its shot when the writers gave us that horrible finale of HIMYM. Such a great show that basically slapped a loyal audience of millions in the face. I’m glad the alternate version made it to Youtube, but holy cow–the idea that they even THOUGHT that was a good idea still makes me mad enough that I would NEVER watch this show.

  12. felicia says:

    where can I find this? ;o

  13. handsatlanta says:

    Count me as another who deeply disliked the finale of HIMYM. So much so, in fact, that I will specifically avoid anything involving Bays and Thomas.

  14. Nellie says:

    There was no way this show was going to get a series pick up with the reception of the finale. I hated it. About 90 percent of the viewers hated it. And the media instantly picked up that narrative so this show was doomed from the beginning.

    Just the worst comedy finale ever in my opinion. Whenever I see the show now I just sigh.

    • Nero tTV Fiddler says:

      But at least you feel something – even if regret and disappointment. I think that has value. How many series come and go, and we do move on rather quickly and don’t feel much, one way or another? It’s on to the next series.

      How many people ten years from now will look at a series such as, Everybody Loves Raymond, or Two-Half Men, shows that did very well, made an impact. And yet, I don’t think they will engender a heart-tug or regret, or a sigh when people think about them, even as they are enjoyed in syndication rerun heaven.

      HIMYM will be very hard to replicate, in any form, because in the end, I still believe, it was a ‘comedy’ about heartbreak between two couples, with one couple essentially being made up of three people. It was two *men* writers, writing about love and friendship and the women in their lives… one Ted (Bays), the other Marshall (Thomas), and Barney was the guy they aspired to be. All guys want to be like Barney, but all of us inevitably are either ‘a Ted’ or ‘a Marshall’… if we’re lucky. Are guys like that *valued* by women like Lily and Robin? That’s the core question of HIMYM, particularly with reference to Robin. As we found out in the very end, it was about Robin – it always was, and her impact on Ted… and her impact on Barney. It was Robin. I think guys can relate to that. We’ve all met ‘a Robin’ at some time in our lives, and most often, she’s flown away.

      That is the mark of a successful series – good or bad, we are going to feel something about that show, HIMYM, for a long, long time. As I watched the series, and now watch it in reruns, I relate to ‘Ted’, so I saw the series finale from a different perspective than another viewer who might relate more to Marshall, or Lily, or Robin, or Barney. But I think that conflict of how people feel about the series and the finale is a good thing… I think that has value. In my mind, that’s great television – it stays with you over time, good or bad memories. It makes you sigh, and think.

      • D. says:

        I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’d be wistfully pining for a “Robin,” given how the show handled her character in later years, and especially how it handled the relationship between Robin and Ted in the latter seasons.

        The show went to great lengths to show us just how WRONG Robin was for Ted, over and over again, especially in the latter seasons of the show. It also demonstrated that Ted’s fixation on Robin was both toxic and was what kept him from finding real happiness. It also didn’t help that the show kept appearing to finally close the book on any romantic fixation Ted had, having him walk away from her so many times, only to later reveal that, nope, Ted’s still stuck on her. All that did was make their interactions ultimately look toxic and make Ted look like a schmuck for pissing away so much time chasing after someone who was (a) wrong for him, and (b) totally unavailable to him.

        • Nero tTVFiddler says:

          Good points … the question is, does that happen in real life? Do guys piss away years of their life, wistfully pining for a ‘Robin’… and perhaps more important, did Carter Bays, who Ted was (somewhat?) patterned after, did he encounter his ‘Robin’ somewhere in his life? Yep, the story may end looking toxic, but is there some truth behind the story?

          I guess I’m left with that question as I watch HIMYM in reruns now. Is it true? Is there some truth behind the story? Because, at the very end, we do discover something we didn’t really know in the story line leading up to the future 2030 event. Yes, Ted was stuck on Robin, but we also finally find that Robin may also have been stuck on Ted… she just didn’t realize it… or perhaps did, but she didn’t want to mess up his life and his goals and plans.

          • D. says:

            I think it can be true, but it’s a lot less likely past a certain age. Like, it’s very true when a guy is in his early 20s or so. But by the time you’ve had as much experience as Ted had? Not likely. Or at least it shouldn’t be likely. That kind of fixation is, ultimately, kind of juvenile. Particularly when it’s invested in someone who is completely unavailable.

            There’s also a big difference between being fixated on the “idea” of someone, and fixated on the actual person. Ted’s problem was that he was more fixated on his “idea” of how great life could be with an ideal version of Robin, but because he was constantly in such close proximity to her, he couldn’t separate the “idea” from the reality in front of him. And it was about a whole lot more than just Robin not wanting (and later not being able to have) kids. Like, that was the final straw, but there were PLENTY of things that made them generally wrong for each other aside from that.

            As for Robin secretly pining for Ted…sorry, I just don’t buy it. The show never really demonstrated that. Rather, it demonstrated that Robin was someone who lacked the ability to really commit to anyone, and who regularly only went after things when she realized she couldn’t have them. If anything, Robin thought of Ted as her “back pocket” guy. Like, no matter what happened, now matter how she screwed up her relationships, she could always reach into her back pocket and pull out Ted for a little self-esteem boost, until she found a better offer. Ted was always there. Ted would always love her. And she only wanted Ted when Ted said “Nope, I’m done.” In “The End of the Aisle,” she only reconsiders because of Ted’s various gestures throughout the series. In the deleted scene from “Last Forever,” she only starts thinking she wants Ted after he’s already with Tracy, has kids, etc.

            Put simply, Robin, after their 2nd season breakup, was never actually into Ted as a person. She loved him as a friend, but she was never in love with him. Whatever attraction she felt was always conditional upon her own circumstances. She wanted Ted when she felt low. She wanted Ted when it seemed like she’d be on her own, or when she was worried about whether Barney was the right choice. She wanted Ted because of the gestures he made for her, but not because of who he was as a person. Robin’s love for Ted was only exhibited in the context of what it did FOR Robin herself, rather than in any sense of appreciation OF Ted himself.

  15. Gerald says:

    I loved HIMYM and Happy the way it ended (yes Sad about the mom, but if she were alive he wouldn’t have needed to tell the story – it is like the daughter said, he only told the story to get the kids approval to date “Aunt Robin” – It made perfect sense)
    And I would have watched this show if it got made. I think the cast had a lot of potential as well as the premise.

  16. Heather says:

    I would have watched it, the premise of a newly single woman after a marriage quickly dissolved with interesting side characters like her brother attracts me. I think it had some interesting potential

  17. robandco says:

    I would have watched that. I love HIMYM. I loved the pacing, the flashbacks and the flashforwards, the crazy, the love, everything. Clearly the show was about Ted’s journey rather than who the mother is. I am glad I enjoyed the finale because nothing is ruined for me and I am not bitter!

  18. I cant even bring myself to watch reruns anymore because of that abysmal finale.

  19. John says:

    Yes, How I Met Your Mother sucked, please give use more.

  20. TJC says:

    I was expecting them to introduce Barney as the father, since they awkwardly never mentioned the details of how he became a father on the original show.

  21. Mike says:

    What a copout ending, especially when the original draft ended like this: