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Network Graphs in How I Met Your Mother

‘How I Met Your Mother’ scoop: Barney, Robin, Ted storyline will ‘take a few episodes to explode,’ says boss

How I Met Your Mother was a TV comedy running from 2005 to 2014 detailing the love life of one of its main characters, Ted Mosby. The first episode of the show actually begins with Ted going on a date with a woman named Robin; however, Ted later ruins this date by saying “I love you” that night. While Ted and Robin’s relationship does not blossom here, a great friendship does, and Ted and Robin grow to become great friends, lovers, and eventually just friends again. This specific article was published after Ted and Robin’s romantic relationship ended for the first time. By that time, Robin has already assimilated herself within Ted’s friend group, and one of Ted’s friends, Barney, grows to like her. A rivalry then seems to grow between Ted and Barney as they both try to win Robin’s love.

We can actually represent these relationships with network graphs! Beginning with Ted, we can see the following relationship diagram, because Ted and Barney have always been friends, and then Ted becomes friends with Robin.

The strong triadic closure property is displayed when Robin and Barney then become friends as well.

This is a balanced network. Once Ted and Barney both begin to pursue Robin however, their friendship experiences some tension. This causes there to be an unbalanced network.

While I won’t spoil the show for some of you, I will say that Ted and Barney realize their “bromance” is more important than Robin eventually, and the network graph regains its balance. However, before that happens, their friendship truly endures a tough time, and the effects of an unbalanced network can clearly be seen. At least the story does have a happy ending! For more information on this post, check out the website linked above.


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