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The Secret Behind Marshall and Ted’s Apartment Clock Always Reading 4:20 in How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother, the beloved sitcom that captured the hearts of millions, had a recurring detail that left fans scratching their heads: the clock in Ted and Marshall’s apartment was always frozen at 4:20. While this might seem like an innocuous detail, it actually held a deeper meaning.

The Hidden Meaning Behind the Frozen Clock

How I Met Your Mother - Marshall and Ted
How I Met Your Mother – Marshall and Ted

According to the show’s creators, the clock’s time was a subtle nod to Ted and Marshall’s college days, where they frequently indulged in a certain extracurricular activity. As one of the writers explained in an interview, “The clock was always set to 4:20 as a reference to how often Ted and Marshall smoked weed in college.”

However, the show maintained a clever façade when addressing this topic with Ted’s children. Whenever weed came up in the story, Ted would simply substitute it with the more innocent “eating sandwiches,” perhaps to avoid uncomfortable conversations.

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Ted and Marshall’s Apartment: A Revolving Door

How I Met Your Mother - group
How I Met Your Mother – group

The apartment in question was a central setting throughout the show’s nine seasons. Almost everyone in the gang has lived in Ted and Marshall’s apartment at one point or another. Despite the constant influx of new residents, the clock remained stubbornly stuck at 4:20.

In the show’s continuity, Marshall and Ted began renting the apartment in 2000, shortly after graduating from college. Lily, Marshall’s long-time girlfriend (and later wife), practically lived there as well, even before officially moving in after her engagement to Marshall.

The apartment witnessed various transitions, from Lily and Marshall’s brief stint in their own place to Robin’s extended stay after moving out of her boyfriend’s apartment. Yet, through all these changes, the clock remained a constant reminder of Ted and Marshall’s carefree college days.

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How I Met Your Mother aired its series finale on March 31, 2014, after nine successful seasons on CBS. The spin-off series, How I Met Your Father, premiered in 2022 on Hulu.

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