Ted Mosby’s middle name, Evelyn, didn’t gain enough attention throughout How I Met Your Mother, leaving many fans wondering the story behind the gag. The character, played by Josh Radnor for all nine seasons of the sitcom, served as the central character as he shared the story about how he ended up meeting the mother of his two children. Over the course of the series, many details about Ted’s life were uncovered, but How I Met Your Mother never fully explained Ted’s middle name, so we drew our own conclusions.
Prior to the events of How I Met Your Mother, Ted attended Wesleyan University, which was where he met his future best friends, Marshall Eriksen and Lily Aldrin. Going back even further, Ted grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with his parents, Alfred and Virginia, and a sister named Heather. Whereas Heather was more of the rebellious of the two, Ted played everything safe and by the book. Viewers only got brief glimpses into Ted’s early life, but those flashbacks were very telling.
The character’s full name, Theodore Evelyn Mosby, was first revealed in the season 2 episode, “How Lily Stole Christmas.” After Ted and Lily get into a fight, the latter took all of the decorations out of the department to ruin the holiday spirit. This action caused Ted to call Lily a “grinch”, which was the PG-substitution to the real name he used. Lily then called Ted’s mother who in turn contacted her son about his bad language while referring to him with his full name. The use of “Evelyn” was referenced a few more times, but the origin behind the name was never given. It was most likely used as a long-running joke.
One of Ted’s closest friends, Barney Stinson, had a history of not letting things go when it pertained to amusing details about those around him. Just like how he constantly made fun of Robin for being Canadian, Barney had a tendency to bring up Ted’s middle name and purposely using Vivian instead of Evelyn. Many viewers thought that Evelyn was a female name, which remains true in today’s culture, but it was once common for both genders. Ted was very old-fashioned in his personality and views on the world, so it was fitting that he had a middle name with an interesting history.
Ted’s middle name of Evelyn also balanced out the fact that Robin’s middle name was Charles. Robin’s full name was explained in a series of flashbacks revealing her father initially thought he was going to have a son. Even after Robin was born, he gave her his namesake and raised her as a boy. These two middle names give both characters more amusing backstories in How I Met Your Mother. Evelyn could also be a nod to Friends character Chandler Bing, whose middle name was Muriel. Chandler explained that it was a family name so maybe that was the case with Ted’s situation.
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