The creators of “How I Met Your Mother,” Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, appeared in front of the nation’s critics with two of their stars, Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel, on Wednesday morning. During the panel, they talked about how the February sweeps period is going to be a big reassessment period for Ted (Josh Radnor), whose journey to meet the title mother we’ve seen over the last seven years.
But during a lunch with a group of critics later that day, the pair dove a bit deeper into how much reassessment Ted is going to do. Part of it will show Ted reexamining his relationship with his roommate / ex-girlfriend Robin (Cobie Smulders), something that was prophesied earlier this season by one of Ted’s other great loves, Victoria (Ashley Williams).
“Victoria was a fortune teller in that episode,” said Thomas. “There’s going to be some fireworks involved with Ted’s undealt-with remaining feelings for Robin. And in February sweeps we return to that in an interesting way.” He went on to say that “stome stuff happens which makes Ted and Robin question their living arrangement and if how it’s been with them as friends and if it’s actually way weirder than we’re letting on… which it would be.”
Namely, the two go back to a statement that they made when they broke up way back in season two. “They ask themselves the question ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’,” said Bays “And Robin thought she was going to be living in Russia or Afghanistan or whatever. And now it’s five years later and we’ve made it to that spot and it’s interesting exploring why is it that Robin is still in this apartment, exactly where she was when ted asked that question.”
During the wide-ranging conversation, the pair discussed a number of issues, including the fact that fans will actually see who Barney is marrying in the future wedding we see everyone participating in early in the season, the one where Ted supposedly meets the love of his life.
“We’re going to go back to that wedding day and learn more about it, who Barney’s marrying, and I don’t want to say what else,” said Thomas. “That’s a huge thing we’re going to learn by going back to that future wedding day. but I can’t say whether we’re going to meet the mother or not for obvious reasons.”
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The pair knew the Robin pregnancy fake-out episode would tick some people off, but it was worth doing. “We wanted very much to tell her story from her shoes at the time,” said Thomas. She wasn’t sharing what was going on with her friends at the time. Clearly it’s something that Ted (as an middle-aged adult) found out later. So we wanted to do an episode from purely her limited and somewhat unreliable perspective. Some people loved it some people didn’t.”
Marshall and Lily won’t be staying in Long Island for long, which will be a disappointment to Thomas’ family, who live out there. “I said, yeah…. We’re going to talk a little smack about Long Island and they won’t be there forever. It’s pretty fun, the shifts that happen where Marshall and Lily end up and it sets up the next season.”
Monday’s 150th episode has a few iterations of the opening titles. “You see them a couple of times and they’re weird,” said Thomas.
Kevin (Kal Penn) and Robin aren’t over yet, despite the presence of Ted and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). Barney and Robin will always have the potential to come together, though. “They’re so in love; they’re kind of a clearinghouse for all our romantic dysfunctions,” said Bays. “They’re doomed as a relationship in some ways because they’re so messed up. But part of the show is them taking themselves apart and rebuilding themselves. They’re learning how to move past everything that’s screwed them up in the past to make this work for real.”
Adds Thomas: “We will watch them move in diff directions for a little while. but those two characters and those two actors have such huge crazy chemistry I can’t say we’re done exploring. they inform each other’s lives in enormous ways and we’ll see more of that. Before the series is done we’ll have to address it more.”
Casting the Mother is going to be extremely difficult. Everyone’s contracted through the eighth season, and the guys have a skeleton of a storyline to follow. But they know that when it comes time to figure out who to cast as Ted’s “the one,” it’ll be tough. “We’re always brainstorming,”said Thomas. “Either (it’ll be) a crazy big name or someone you’ve absolutely never heard of. It”s a running debate and it’s getting more and more important that we answer that debate the further we get into the show. we’re getting there.”
When to bring in the Mother is also a big decision they need to make. “We get asked that question a lot and we never have a good answer,” said Thomas. “There’s clearly two choices: one you meet her and there’s a series that continues and the another where it’s the end. It’ll be one of those.”
The most anticipated guest appearance amongst the ‘HIMYM’ staff? Weird Al. Even fellow guest Chris Elliott, playing Lily’s dad, wanted to meet him. “I felt everyone was going up to him and saying: thank you for making my life a little better,” said Thomas.
You’ll see the return of a doppelganger on Monday night. Hannigan shot a “weird” scene as Stripper Lily right before the crew went on holiday break. Any later, she would have had too much of a belly bump to do it.
Victoria would have been the Mother if the show didn’t get a second season. “Twelve episodes into season one, if we didn’t get the back 9 Victoria would be the mother,” said bays. “But we had a whole story planned for her. Naivete got us through a lot (of the first season). We always had a long term plan for the show.”