• Gina Denny

Episode 1.4 - Return of the Shirt

Updated: Jun 16

Ted opens this episode with the line, "Some stories end with people getting hurt, and none of it would have happened if it weren’t for that shirt.”


That line gets overshadowed immediately by the conversation the characters have in the opening scene. In particular, Ted's friends love his shirt, so you forget that Ted already told you that someone will get hurt in this episode. This shirt is actually an old shirt, and it makes Ted think he should go back to other old things, like maybe old girlfriends.

Throughout the episode, Ted tries to reunite with an ex, but he withholds information from his friends (and thus the audience) in a way that makes the story more interesting and more engaging.


In the end, someone gets hurt (more than one someone, in fact), and it really is because Ted thought the shirt meant more than it did.


Writing Prompt:

Take one of these opening lines and write a story using this as an opening line, but you have to tease out the information piece-by-piece. This is sort of the opposite of last weeks’ episode, where you started at the end and worked backward. Now we’re giving you the beginning and the end and you have to slowly unravel the story in a way that 1) makes sense and 2) gives only one reveal at a time, with the audience able to guess it *just* before it happens.


Opening lines to choose from:


“Some stories end with people getting hurt, and none of it would have happened if it weren’t for that shirt.” - the line from this episode


“If it weren’t for my horse, I never would have spent that year in college” - from a Lewis Black standup special


“I went from the throne room to a courtroom, all thanks to Meatloaf.” - adapted from Cards Against Humanity


“I never would have gone vegan if I had seen the spray-painted sign.” - adapted from a random tweet


“If I hadn’t picked up that penny on the subway four months ago, I never would have missed my flight this morning.” - adapted from a later episode of HIMYM


Listen to the episode here


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