While many of you were rewatching The Office during the pandemic, I sat down and binged another classic—How I Met Your Mother. For the uninitiated, it's a show about five friends who hang out at a bar and deal with love, life, and aging, while the lead character's older self narrates the story of how all their antics led to him meeting his future kids' mother. 

And when you think about it, it has the best sitcom conceit of all time. 

We'll get into that more later.

First, read and download the How I Met Your Mother Pilot script PDF here! 

Then, you can watch the CinemaSins video about the pilot to refresh yourself, though I think it's flawless. 

Did How I Met Your Mother Have the Best Sitcom Conceit of All Time?

How I Met Your Mother was written by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and was a massive success. It was nominated for 30 Emmy Awards and won 10 over the course of its time on the air. There are lots of things the show does well, but one thing I think it did better than every other show on TV was that it created a pilot that begged for more episodes. 

When producers or networks read a pilot script, the first thing they look at aside from the comedy and characters is whether or not the show has "legs."

Don’t know what “an idea with legs” means? Don’t worry, we got you covered.

When you’re writing a TV show, you need to have characters and storylines that can go on for multiple episodes and multiple seasons. An idea with “legs” means that it could run for a long time. Get it?

The legs of your show are also known as its conceit. 

What Is a TV Show Conceit? 

A conceit is a rhetorical device that refers to a situation that is needed for the plot. In this instance, it's the idea that a dad is telling his kids the story about how he met their mother. That conceit is so good because of how it gives the show its legs. There are so many different stories that this show can cover and so many years it can cover too.

The Conceit in Action  

Think about The Office or Big Bang Theory. Those shows were built around characters with a lot of problems, who lived in worlds where a lot of stuff was happening. Their locations or conceit add to the legs. A million stories can happen at a mid-level paper company or to neighbors who share a sexual attraction. 

If your idea has legs, you should be able to plan out the entire first season and where it would go from there. If your TV show is a procedural, you’ll want the characters to inhabit a world where problems can constantly arise. 

Well, what idea has the best legs?

How about the story revealing how you met the love of your life?! 

How I Met Your Mother's conceit gives you the ability to jump in time but also always had the audience hooked. We want to know if the person he dates winds up being the mother. We want to know where his friendships go as well, but we always have the conceit hanging over our heads. Who is the mother? It's one that lasted from 2004 through 2014.

Sure, in the later seasons the show wandered, but by then it was one of the most popular shows on television. 

What show do you think has the best conceit of all time? Let us know in the comments.