True or False?: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ References Wesleyan University in Connecticut

As a Connecticut native and fellow NESCAC school graduate (Bates College Class of 2009!), I was thrilled to see references to Wesleyan in one of my favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother. 

I’ve known for awhile that the New York-set sitcom’s lead characters Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) are Wesleyan graduates. So, naturally I set out to write a post about a show with Connecticut connections fitting my blog code (no, Barney, no Bro Code for me as a lady) .

But today is the first time I had my knowledge of the Connecticut connections debunked. When researching the Wesleyan tie to How I Met Your Mother, Google revealed articles that not only reported on the show’s references to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, but also Ohio Wesleyan University in Ohio. To make the state references more confusing, Ohio Wesleyan University is in Delaware, Ohio.

A new question emerged for me. Did Ted, Marshall and Lily attend the Wesleyan in Connecticut or Ohio?

Let’s break down the case for both:

Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.)

  • Ted, Marshall and Lily landed in New York, so the proximity to a Connecticut college makes sense.
  • Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, co-creators of How I Met Your Mother, are Wesleyan University alumni. The liberal arts school near the corner of High Street and Route 66 in Middletown lists Thomas and Bays as notable alumni on its website and identifies them as the co-creators of the show and the lead writers. They graduated from Wesleyan in 1997 and How I Met Your Mother first aired in 2005, according to IMDB.com.
  • Craig Thomas wrote a post on wesconnect.wesleyan.edu, published June 9, 2011, about creating How I Met Your Mother called “Craig Thomas ’97 and Carter Bays ’97 tell tales out of school.” In the article, Thomas outlines the Wesleyan connections. Thomas met his wife, Rebecca Alson-Milkman ’98 at Wesleyan and wrote that he and Bays based Ted, Marshall and Lily on themselves and Rebecca. Marshall and Lily meet and fall in love on campus in Westco, a nickname for the West College dorm at Wesleyan (Is that why Ted calls himself Teddy Westside?).
  • The Wesleyan shirts we see the characters wear resemble the Wesleyan University lettering and colors. Ohio Wesleyan University’s mascot is the Battling Bishops and the shirts have a bishop leaning on OWU on the front rather than Wesleyan spelled out.

Knowing that, all of the evidence seems to point to Wesleyan University in Connecticut. But not so fast.

Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, Ohio)

  • In “Not a Father’s Day,” the seventh episode of Season 4, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) talks to Marshall in his law office about an idea for a new holiday that celebrates people who aren’t fathers. About six minutes into the episode, you can clearly see Marshall’s Ohio Wesleyan University diploma framed on the wall. Ohio Wesleyan University posted that piece of trivia on its website Nov. 10, 2008 in its OWU Newsmakers segment. I watched the episode on Netflix to verify and the university was indeed correct.
  • Ted Mosby is a Cleveland, Ohio native and Yahoo TV reported in a July 20, 2011 article called “‘How I Met Your Mother’ Profile: Josh Radnor” that Ted’s alma mater is Ohio Wesleyan University.
  • Josh Radnor, the actor who plays Ted, was born in Columbus, Ohio, according to IMDB.com and exudes Mid-Western charm and kindness. Case and point, read his article, “Hollywood Rules: Kind Over Matter,” published recently in the LA Times. He went to Kenyon College and earned the Paul Newman Award for his drama work there, Yahoo TV reported. As a side note, Paul Newman, a Shaker Heights, Ohio native, also lived and passed away in Westport, Conn., according to IMDB.com.
  • Bays, who the Ted character is based on, grew up in Ohio before moving to New York to pursue a career in television and attending Wesleyan in Connecticut, according to clevelandmagazine.com.

All evidence considered, the diploma on the wall in Marshall’s office does most logically place How I Met Your Mother‘s Wesleyan in Ohio as Ohio Wesleyan University. But their alma mater is also based on the Wesleyan University we know and love in Middletown, Connecticut given the co-creators’ tie to the school and Craig Thomas’ statement about looking out for the Wesleyan references in the show. After all, a lot of the show is based on Thomas’ and Bays’ life experiences, including college.

Fiction is hardly ever based on just one place, one person and one memory. While one subject might be the foundation for a setting in a fictional story, writers write best when they write about what they know.

So, I guess the answer is Ted, Marshall and Lily attend Wesleyan University in Ohio and Connecticut. But there isn’t a definitive true or false about the Connecticut Wesleyan connections. It’s a trick question.

Which clues do you see in How I Met Your Mother that point to Ohio Western University in Delaware, Ohio or Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.? Tell me in the comments!

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Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates Shoot ‘Boychoir’ Film in Connecticut

Have you seen Dustin Hoffman or Kathy Bates around Connecticut recently?

It’s not a figment of your imagination. They’re starring in a new film called Boychoir. The film is in production and started shooting in Connecticut in February, according to the state’s film website. The Connecticut shoot is slated to conclude at the end of the month. Crews were at Yale University most recently, according to the New Haven Register.

An 11-year-old boy named Stet (Garrett Wareing) moves east from Texas after his mother dies and joins an all-male choir at school, according to IMDB’s plot description. The choir director recognizes talent in him and challenges him to reach his potential. Hoffman plays Master Carvelle and Bates stars as the headmistress of the school.

Sweet Home Alabama’s Josh Lucas and Glee’s Kevin McHale (Artie) co-star with Bates and Hoffman. McHale will play a character named Wooly and IMDB does not list the role Lucas plays.

The state lists films in production in Connecticut on its website: http://ct.gov/ecd/cwp/view.asp?a=3880&q=454812

Legend to Headline at Torrington’s Warner Theatre

Many legends of local and national talent have graced the Warner stage in Torrington, from Northwest Connecticut Idol singers to the likes of Alice Cooper and Steve Martin.

In June, another musical legend will headline a concert at the Warner Theatre. John Legend, that is.

Norfolk’s Infinity Hall is hosting “An Evening with John Legend” at the Warner on June 10. Infinity is in the process of opening a second location on Front Street in Hartford.

This is the nine-time Grammy winner’s first time at the Warner, according to a press release from the theatre. Warner Brothers first opened the theater in 1931 as a “movie palace” with 1,772 seats, according to the Warner. The facility was renovated in 2008, now run and owned by a non-profit.

“The All of Me Tour features Legend in an intimate, acoustic, and stripped-down setting, highlighted by guitar/vocal accompaniment and a string quartet,” the release said. “A singer-songwriter, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, John Legend has revealed many personas during his prolific career. The All of Me Tour features Legend at his best—creating an immersive experience about romance, love, hope, commitment and optimism.”

Infinity Stars and Warner Members can start purchasing tickets through the Warner box office on Tuesday, March 18 a few days earlier than the general public (March 21). Tickets cost $46.50 to $96.50.

You can visit http://www.warnertheatre.org for more information or call the box office 860-489-7180 Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong’o and Other Connecticut Residents Represent at the Oscars

Seeing Meryl Streep on the 86th Annual Academy Award nominee list is no surprise.

But did you know that this frequent Oscar winner also lives in Connecticut?

Streep, a Salisbury, Conn., resident and Yale drama program graduate, and Lupita Nyong’o, also a Yale drama graduate and the Academy Award winner for the Actress in a Supporting Role category, both made it into Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres’ viral selfie. The comedian hopes the picture, taken by Bradley Cooper, will become the most widely retweeted photograph in history on Twitter.

Here’s a list of other Oscar nomineespresenters and attendees with Connecticut connections:

  • Meryl Streep – The Salisbury, Conn. resident was nominated for Actress in a Leading Role as Violet Weston in August: Osage County (2013). In 2012, she played Kay in Hope Springs, filmed in Stonington, Norwalk and Guilford, Conn., according to IMDB. She is also a Yale drama graduate, according to the Hartford Courant.
  • Lupita Nyong’o – The graduate from Yale’s drama program in New Haven, Conn., according to the Hartford Courant, won Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave.
  • Robin Roberts – The Good Morning America broadcaster, who has a house in Farmington, Conn., interviewed actors and their guests on the Red Carpet before the Oscars.
  • Kristen Bell – Oscar presenter and Frozen voice actress may not be a Connecticut native or resident, but she debuted on Broadway in 2001 as Becky Thatcher in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer based on former Hartford, Conn. resident Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens) book by the same name. She was also in the 2002 Broadway revival of The Crucible, written by Roxbury, Conn. playwright Arthur Miller.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Speaking of Arthur Miller, Oscar presenter Day-Lewis, who won Best Actor in 2013 for Lincoln, is married to actress and playwright Rebecca Miller, Arthur Miller’s daughter, according to IMDB. Day-Lewis and Miller live in Roxbury, Conn.
  • Jessica Biel – The Oscar presenter is rumored to have lived in Connecticut during part of her childhood. Growing up in Farmington, I often heard she lived in Avon, but select internet searches place her as a former Simsbury resident. This is unconfirmed, but I’d certainly like to find out and set the record straight! Biel is a Minnesota native.
  • Glenn Close – Close, an Oscar presenter this year and six-time Academy Award nominee, grew up in Greenwich, Conn., according to IMDB.
  • Harrison Ford – While Ford is a Chicago native, but he reprised his role as Indiana Jones in  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, shot partially in New Haven, Conn.
  • David Piendak – My fellow Farmington High School classmate (Class of 2005!) works on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and was lucky enough to attend the Oscars this year!

Connecticut Magazine published a comprehensive list of Connecticut actors and celebrities on Feb. 27. Take a look at other Connecticut stars!