HIMYM creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays hosted a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) recently. The page ended up with over 10,000 comments, so we’ve compiled some of the most interesting information for you right here! There are many spoiler details ahead, so please consider yourself warned…
I think we should get to the good stuff right away. I’m going to start off with the content regarding this season so far and what is to come. After that we can jump back to general questions, details on casting and characters, symbolism, etc.
Here’s a cheat sheet if you’re not up for reading everything:
- THERE IS A PLOT TWIST AT THE END
- They fix continuity errors before airing re-runs on syndication.
- They try to avoid reading fan theories, and they aren’t familiar with the HIMYM subreddit.
- They won’t comment on “the mother is dead” theories.
- We will see Robin as a bullfighter.
- “The Robin” is their favorite play.
- We may discover the secret of the pineapple!
- We will discover The Mother’s name!
- Yes, Penny’s name came from the episode “Lucky Penny”, and Luke’s name came from Star Wars.
- There is more Robin Sparkles in our future!
- The end of this story has been planned since the very beginning.
- The writers want the show’s finale to convey a sense of hope.
- They decided that Barney and Robin would get married sometime between seasons 5 and 6.
- There will be flash forwards aplenty, and we will see the whole gang (including The Mother) together in the future.
Okay gang, let’s get to it! To make things easier, I’ve put the Redditor name in green, Carter Bays in blue, and Craig Thomas in red.
From here on out all of my commentary is in italics.
Casualfred: What’s your reaction to the reception of season 9? The general consensus (General Consensus), both on Reddit and other social media sites, is that half has been really bad filler, and the other half has been amazing, notably the episodes with the mother in them.
Thomas: First of all, I love that you did “General Consensus.” I think that reference is a bit of a sleeper hit through HIMYM and that maybe we could’ve done it even more (considering that we basically all can’t stop doing it around the office…it’s based on a couple friends of ours who used to do that all the time in college).
Thomas: Season 9 asked our audience to come on a bit of a different journey this year…we’re thrilled they came…much like Barney’s “Get psyched” mix, we wanted S9 to be “all rise.”
What we can anticipate throughout the rest of season 9:
marucat: The lack of MacLaren’s Pub in this season is kinda sad as the pub is where everything happens in the past seasons. There’s only 8 episodes left, will we see more of it?
Thomas: Yes! I’m writing a scene in there right now, actually! (One of the last, I guess…wow, I just made myself really sad…hang on…aaaaaaaaaand I’m back!)
princesstepha: Are there any story lines for any of the characters that you haven’t pursued but wish you had?
Bays: I want to know more about Ranjit’s life. We might get a little glimpse in a further episode, but he’s still such a mystery…
gabbs131: Will Robin’s mom make it to the wedding?
Bays: I can’t say.
CaraCompass: Will there be more singing and dancing before HIMYM’s final bow?
Bays: Of course.
boone95: Will there be another Robin Sparkles before the end?
Thomas: Stay tuned…people do tend to sing at weddings…
thearoy: can we expect another robin sparkles song?
Bays: Maybe not a song, but a performance isn’t out of the question.
LT711: Will we get to hear Murder Train again before the show ends? One of my favorite running gags.
Thomas: I’m pretty sure “Murder Train” will be the final song on the series, yes.
Beparmurma: Please, what happen with Scooter? some day he’ll have wife? Or husband? I don’t want he’s alone because is so cute.
Thomas: You may not have seen the last of Scooter…
mkteagle: Hi guys, have you considering showing Bob Saget and the older version of the mother in the series finale?
Bays: Stay tuned…
gokussr4: Will you be filming any scenes with the actors that play the kids at their current ages that are canon?
Bays: Can’t say.
TristinSchmilioti: Are we going to see a year-2030 version (or beyond) of the six main casts in flashforwards?
Thomas: Good question — we will see more and more flash-forwards in the remaining 8 episodes. There’s an episode called “RALLY” coming up in a few weeks where we do a whole bunch — everyone gets a flash forward peek into the near and far future…
TristinSchmilioti: Will we see the Mother physically interact with year-2030 Luke and Penny?
Thomas: Stay tuned!
Idr2013: Any other Flashfowards or backs planned for the next few episodes
KaBoom752: Do we see flash-forwards of the ENTIRE gang (With The Mother of course) at say a holiday get together or even at MacClarens?
Bays: Yes, we’ll definitely get to see the entire gang with the Mother. We’re very much looking forward to that moment.
Some quick and dirty details on the very last episode:
gokussr4: Is there ANY sort of twist that exists at the end?
devilsnj30: Is the finale, Episodes 23 and 24 combined for one hour?
Sharpam: Am I going to cry during the series finale?
Bays: You might cry a few times in the next two months.
Thomas: If we do our job correctly, yes.
Questions about continuity popped up several times, and I thought the responses were really interesting. It is very easy to assume that they have it perfected, but it’s also easy to believe that they don’t try very hard. I mean, the show has amazing continuity but also glaring mistakes. Here’s what Craig and Carter had to say about it:
gokussr4: How do you guys abide by continuity? Many people are critical of it, which is why I ask.
Bays: We have copious notes, we search scripts for keywords, we have a few writers who have been here from the start and are very smart and have encyclopedic memories. And also sometimes we’ll go on twitter to make sure we’re not contradicting ourselves. Beyond that, we just do our best. As you can imagine, it’s not easy!
AngelWoosh: The continuity is amazing in himym. Is it a pain to get everything right? And how do you do it!
Thomas: We work on it really hard. And then occasionally just mess up colossally! But when we do, we often go back and fix it before it reruns again…look for that, America, in repeats!!!
peepay: Can you give any example of when you messed up and fixed it after airing?
Bays: There’s a few little mistakes in the 200th episode that we’re going to fix for future airings. The “couple of years” thing is being changed, and the St. Patrick’s Day in April thing… man… that one was all me. Total blind spot. The fact that St. Patricks day is in March and not April was, if I may borrow the HIMYM term, my chameleon.
Thomas: Another dumb thing we did was conflating mariachis (typically Mexican) with Ted’s college trip to Spain. A bunch of our Spanish and Mexican fans said, “Hey, don’t put those two together!” So we went back in and fixed that. Another moment of unintended offense, but all done out of ignorance, not malice! It’s nice when you can fix these things. In future repeats, Ted will be on a college backpack tour of Mexico, not Spain!
kaystina: One of the things I love best about HIMYM is the fact that you always seem to tie up loose ends and are always connecting events from one episode to a later one. How do you keep track of all these little continuity details during the show?
Thomas: We have a google doc called “Loose Ends” that we check and update; our writers’ assistants do something similar. These last few eps will wrap up A LOT of loose ends!
People were also curious as to whether the writers delve into the fan forums and theories:
gokussr4: What do you think of what people post on r/himym?
Bays: I have to confess, I don’t read it!
longlineof: And are there any plot ideas that are “borrowed” from fan theories?
Bays: Nope. Never. We try not to read fan theories.
ncljdm: Do you guys browse through /r/himym?
Bays: I didn’t know it existed until right now. Should I look? Will it totally bum me out? I try to avoid that stuff for the most part.
mariedl: Did you know about the very active How i met your mother subreddit (www.reddit.com/r/himym) and their theories? Because it sometimes seemed you knew what the hivemind’s theories were (e.g. the Barney’s sister is the mother theory) and actively showed the audience that you knew what was going on!
Bays: I have to confess I hadn’t heard of it until today!
arielmeme: How do you feel about all the “the mother is dead” theories?
Bays: We like all theories. It’s really cool knowing people are invested enough to have theories about the show. Obviously we’re not going to comment on it, but we very much appreciate and are grateful for the fact that our show is meriting so much discussion.
Thomas: Agreed — we invite, and are honored by, all possible theories!
Several loose ends were addressed in this AMA. Some involved mysteries that are still at large, and others questioned how prior loose ends were resolved:
thekotoz: I just hope you guys have not forgotten about Robin’s bullfighting career.
Bays: No, we have not forgotten.
Ricardo2409: In an episode you mentioned that Robin even became a Bull Fighter, what are you doing about it?
Thomas: Stay tuned — we will get to it! We haven’t forgotten! And by the way now that I think about it — Cobie Smulders as a bull fighter? Hello next TV project!!
carmelthunder31: I was wondering what your initial intentions were for “bump girl” and if her scene was simply just a red herring that fit in with the 200th episode all along?
Bays: Oh the intentions were 100% to get people talking. It was too exciting a situation — having Ted and the Mother in the same place — not to do something like that. I don’t know if we knew at the time if it was a red herring or not. It just was what it was. I’m glad we got to go back and acknowledge it years later.
TheHugeBastard: Why did you tell us Barney’s job? I’m so sad that I know…. :( That’s one of few things from the series I didn’t want to know….
Bays: I know how you feel. It’s always a risk revealing something like that. Ultimately, we just loved the idea. Chris Harris pitched it to us, and we thought it was too funny not to do. (You can always pretend that episode never happened.)
ResetNothing: One thing I’ve always wondered about is Robin’s Scherbatsky doormat. In season one she gets a new one after Ted admits to throwing up on her old one. Then Narrator Ted says (over her looking at her new mat) “but of course not every secret was told that night, but that’s getting ahead of the story”.
We still don’t know what the secret was! Are you planning to revisit that?
Bays: I think that secret might have been Robin Sparkles.
TristinSchmilioti: Did Penny and Luke’s names come from the episode Lucky Penny from Season 2?
Thomas: Yes, the names came from “Lucky Penny” and also Ted’s love of Star Wars!
CaraCompass: Are there any unanswered questions that will be forever unanswered?
There’s also a little matter called THE PINEAPPLE INCIDENT to consider…
SamSanti: DAMMIT GUYS WHAT ABOUT THE PINEAPPLE
Bays: You might find out what happened with the pineapple eventually. We had always said we’d never reveal it, but now I’d say it’s fifty fifty. It’s always been an appealing idea to us artistically to leave it as the one mystery that never gets solved. But on the other hand, we do have an explanation for it that we like so it may make its way into these last few episodes.
Next up is something that I wouldn’t consider a loose end, per se, but something that many of us are hoping to see:
Himymfangirl: Will there be a doppelganger of the mother? As Lucy Hale comes back as Robin’s sister, will we see Ashley Benson as barney’s sister as well?
Bays: Not sure on either of those. We’ll see!
KaBoom752: There are 2 big things right now that I was to see happen in the show. – Will The Mother get a doppleganger?
Bays: I won’t answer the first one.
Speaking of pressing questions…there is one HUGE piece of information that we’re still waiting on. Thomas and Bays were very clear in explaining that we will discover The Mother’s name soon!
gryffinpanda: Hey! I was just wondering, when will we find out the mother’s name?
Bays: I can’t tell you that. Sometime in the next two months!
Idr2013: Will we find out The Mother’s name by the end of the series?
crystalbluecurrents: Are we ever going to find out The Mother’s name??
Thomas: And thank you for watching…we’ll get to it, promise!
Some stuff regarding the Josh Radnor to Bob Saget transformation:
TheViewerMarcus: Why is Bob Saget the voice over of Future Ted?
Bays: We always liked making the distinction that who Ted is in the present day is different from who he eventually becomes. This series is a journey of transformation. Using two different actors helped key the viewer in to that right off the bat.
themrmohr: How does josh Radnor become Bob saget?
Thomas: How do ANY of us become Bob Saget? I like to think that no matter how hard you try, it’s really something that just “happens.”
An interesting note – they refer to Bob Saget’s voice character as “the Narrator” instead of future Ted, old Ted, etc. Many Redditors jumped on this as a potential ending plot twist, but there wasn’t much revealed to support that.
ImAThrowaway_AMA: My question is whether you guys write with the fact that the story is being told by future Ted in mind. What I’m asking I guess is do you write the stories as they really happened in the past (present?) or do you write them as Ted’s recollection of his past?
Thomas: I’d say we vary between the two modes — we try to write the show in a grounded emotional way, but when we want to do something insane, we have the safety net of the Narrator embellishing within his storytelling or misremembering, or exaggerating for effect. Our best episodes combine both…
Bays: We write them as memories, because that’s where so many of our best stories have come from. Craig and I created this show after spending our early twenties in New York, having a lot of fun. When we got out here to LA, it wasn’t long before we were very nostalgic for those days. So we put that nostalgia into a sitcom.
Craig and Carter’s favorite episodes:
9percent: I know it hard to choose, but what episode of HIMYM do you think is the best? Not necessarily your favorite, but rather the most well made and the most effective in what you guys were trying to do that episode…
Bays: It’s impossible to pick. But one episode that really fired on all cylinders for me was the season finale of season 4, “The Leap.” That’s what it was called right? I’m forgetting episode titles in my old age, but that whole final sequence with the AC Newman song ad the cast jumping from rooftop to rooftop really felt satisfying.
Thomas: I loved the episode “Last Words,” where Marshall is mourning the death of his father. The way the group bonded together for Marshall, wanting to help him, and the way Jason Segel played the pain of that loss… beautiful. That was a special one for all of us.
Craig and Carter’s favorite scenes:
ktrin97: What’s your favorite scene of HIMYM?
Thomas: We haven’t shot it yet, but I’m really looking forward to the very last scene.
Bays: Two Minute Date.
Craig and Carter’s favorite guest stars:
hjs24gl2814: Who were your favorite guest stars?
Thomas: Chris Elliot is a personal idol of Carter and mine, so that one meant a ton. If 15 Year Old Us standing in line for “Cabin Boy” could’ve only known…
Bays: Agreed on Chris Elliott. Kyle MacLachlan also brightens up the stage like a beaming summer sun whenever he’s in an episode. And for Bryan Cranston to come back and do another episode after winning TV for all eternity in between appearances was the menschiest menschiness that’s ever been mensched.
Craig and Carter’s favorite jokes:
Jsouth12: Which of the recurring jokes over the past 9 seasons has been your favorite?
Thomas: Someone just did a “General Consensus” joke (salutes!) on here and I really do love that…one of the most-oft repeated in the writer’s room, actually!
Bays: There’s been an inside joke, I’m not sure how many times it’s been on the show, but it involves the word “guys.” Anytime you see one of our characters say “Guys guys guys,” three times like that, they’re tipping their hat to our amazing Assistant Director Michael Shea (who has directed a few episodes as well). The AD is the person who, among other things, has to get people’s attention on set and keep everyone informed of what’s being shot and how we’re shooting it, and often the way Michael does that is by yelling out, “Guys guys guys!” So if you hear someone say “Guys guys guys,” that’s what that’s about.
Thomas: Neil also has a joke where, when the gang’s eating take-out, Barney can never get the food to his mouth while eating with chopsticks…look for that, it happens a whole bunch. Maybe in the final episode, we’ll see him actually take a bite…payoff!
And the not-so-favorites:
paudream: Do you regret any plot decision through the series? If yes, which one?
Thomas: I regret that we had the Narrator say he “never” found out about the pineapple. That said, we may have found a clever way around that, and a way to bring back the pineapple. Stay tuned…
Bays: I regret the unfortunate moments of cultural appropriation in Slapsgiving 3. There are things about that episode I really loved — the storytelling structure, Boyz 2 Men, the opening slow motion shot, all the slapping — but I think we all regret Ted’s Fu Manchu mustache very, very much.
xXaoSs: What is the episode you regret the most? why?
Bays: I wish we’d had an extra week of writing, an extra week of shooting, and an extra week of editing for “the Burning Beekeeper.” It was a science project that we just ran out of time on. I want to turn it into a movie someday, just to get another crack at it.
Lots of people wanted to know more about Barney and Robin getting together:
gabbs131: How far were you into the series, and what made you decide that Robin and Barney would get married?
Bays: Between seasons five and six. Season six was when we really locked in on what the endgame would be.
marieelaine03: How has the show been different than originally expected years ago when it started? Any storylines that were forgotten or left in which changed the show’s direction? Thanks :)
Bays: Barney and Robin becoming an item definitely changed the gameplan of the show, but in all good ways.
RevolutionInTheHead: When did you realise that Barney and Robin were a good match?
Bays: Zip Zip Zip.
greeny74: What was your favorite “play” or scheme that you wrote for Barney in the show?
Bays: It’s gotta be “the Robin,” right? Nothing else even comes close!
Thomas: For me, I am proudest of The Robin — everything that came before led up to that…it just felt like the only way Barney Stinson could possibly propose.
Craig and Carter confirmed that Robin was a strong contender, but she was never going to be The Mother:
BiggaKid: Was there ever a stage where robin or even lily were strong contenders for ted?
Bays: Robin’s always been a strong contender. Lily, never. That would be way too weird.
legendary1000awesome: did it occur to you to use cobie smulders as the mother? like not as robin but as a doppelgänger/twin/anything
Bays: Nope. It was always way more interesting to us to make it more complicated than that. The fact that Cobie turned out to be amazing only made it that much more interesting.
Casualfred: Did you ever plan on using Robin as a fall-back for the mother despite the first episode labeling her as “aunt?” Many people thought, throughout the series, that Robin was the mom regardless (I personally never bought into that). I’ve read that you guys have set up “backup moms,” Stella and Victoria being some of them, just in case the series didn’t get renewed for more seasons.
Thomas: Robin was never going to be The Mother. The pilot always ended the way it does.
Others wondered why Cristin Milioti was cast as The Mother:
cryogenicmilk: So, what was the deciding factor for Cristin Milioti to become The Mother?
Bays: There wasn’t any one deciding factor except that she’s an amazing actress. But her singing voice was a nice bonus, as evidenced last monday.
RevolutionInTheHead: Was it hard casting The Mother? Did you have someone in mind before you began the process?
Bays: It was very easy casting the mother because Marisa Ross, our casting agent, had the idea very early on, and all we had to do was say yes. Craig had seen her in Once and I’d seen her on 3/span0 Rock and then once we had her audition with Josh it was a very easy decision.
Bays and Thomas also addressed why it seems that Cristin has been under-utilized this season:
pizzadewillary: Do you feel like you have included The Mother as much as you would have liked in season 9? Is there more to come of her in the near future?
Thomas: There is more of her to come. We wanted her to gradually be seen more and more through Season 9 and for everyone to slowly discover how amazing she is. Thanks to Cristin Milioti, that has happened — we are grateful and relieved!
ninjames: What was the main reason you pulled back/kinda ignored the wonderful Cristin for most of the first half of this final season?
Bays: We didn’t want to overuse her. We wanted to keep her special. We wanted to leave you wanting more. Maybe we leaned to far in that direction, but between “show more of Cristin!” and “ugh, enough with this Cristin girl!” I’ll take the former any day of the week.
Some random casting and character info; we got some good HIMYM trivia and tidbits out of these questions!
Hippon: How hard was it to write the series, casting and starting the whole process?
Thomas: In terms of casting, my wife cast Lily by saying “If you’re going to base a character on me, it has to be Alyson Hannigan!”
doilookfatinthis: Hey guys, would my dog (the husky) be able to be an extra one day?
Bays: Tell your dog we’d love to but unfortunately we’re just not going to be able to make it work. But tell her she’s a very good girl, yes she is. Incidentally, Arthur’s dog Tugboat was played by my dog Ham. Shameless nepotism. Welcome to Hollywood
ncljdm: “After what Bays and Thomas described as “a pretty famous actress” turned down the role of Robin, they cast Cobie Smulders, also an unknown.” Will you ever tell us?
Thomas: Jennifer Love Hewitt did “The Ghost Whisperer” instead of HIMYM!
colejosephhammers: Hey guys! Huge fan of HIMYM, are any of the characters based on real people? I’ve caught some of the subtle references (like how MacLaren’s is a reference to a guy that works for you) anything of that sort?
Bays: Carl Maclaren was our assistant in the early days of the show, and then he was our new media coordinator for a few years. He’s a solid dude. The heart and soul of the series.
Marisa Heller is based on a swimsuit model named Melissa Keller who lived in my apartment on Alta Vista Blvd in West Hollywood before I got there. I used to get mail addressed to her, including invitations to Victoria’s Secret parties and stuff like that. But I never had the guts to sneak into any parties the way our characters did in “Robots Vs. Wrestlers.”
mbsob: Obviously a lot of the main characters spouses have been on the show. Was this something that you two suggested or the actors themselves?
Bays: Mostly it was our doing. The actors were way too cool to ever say anything. But we were always huge fans of Alexis Denisof from Angel and Buffy. And David Burtka quickly became part of the family and was so great as Scooter that we had to keep bringing him back. And Taran even back then was clearly gonna be huge eventually, so we obviously wanted to use him in some capacity. I’m excited that he’s coming back for one more ep — it’s been a while!
We were never meant to meet Max, and his cause of death is still undetermined:
devoldmx: Did you have someone in mind when you wrote Max character? What actor would you think be Max?
Bays: We always knew you’d never see Max. The name Max is taken from a character named Maxence in a movie called “The Young Girls Of Rochefort” that I got totally obsessed with this year. It’s a musical, all about characters searching for love and having a series of near misses, and Maxence sings a beautiful song called “Chanson de Maxence.” So that’s where we got the name. I never wanted to see his face. It’s better left imagined.
Salemcz: How Max died?
Bays: I’ll just say this, when you break a story like that in a room full of comedy writers, a lot of very unfortunate and tasteless but admittedly very funny ideas come up. At one point the pitch was: “He was eaten by a lion. But he died doing the two things he loved: running, and feeding animals.” We decided to leave it unspoken.
There’s more HIMYM music to come!
Misiman23: I am a huge fan of the show’s theme song and think that the full version would be a great addition to one of these final episodes both musically and lyrically. Seeing as it is your guys’ band who sings it, is this a possibility? Perhaps maybe even a guest cameo by the Solids themselves?
Thomas: I don’t know if Carter is reading my replies (we are not together – he is in 70 degrees and I am in NYC snow!), but CB, I think we could put the fuller version of the theme song in the finale in that one spot…you know what I’m talking about! So…yes to this, this could very well happen!
Bays: CA-CHING! Uh… I mean… yes, Craig, let’s use that song by The Solids. They seem like a good band.
boone95: Will there be another cd released of HIMYM original songs?
Thomas: Yes, our series album of original music, HOW I MET YOUR MUSIC is avail on iTunes, but it only covers stuff up to Season 8 (we thought at the time that S8 might be our last!). Now that we’ve done a whole other season, and many other original tunes, our hope is to release a Deluxe version of the album that updates and adds to the original, probably after we go off the air…
gokussr4: Can you give some insight on some artists you’ll be using for the soundtrack of future episodes?
Bays: Well, it’s getting down to the wire here, so we’re trying to squeeze in every band or musician that we love but haven’t yet used on the show. We might be using a Bob Dylan song at a pivotal moment in an upcoming episode. I’m very excited for that one.
Note – could be a song he references later in the AMA, when discussing “Mother of Pearl”:
Bays: I love that song so much. It’s one of those songs that I think says everything we’ve tried to say in 9 seasons in the length of a pop song. Well, a very long pop song, to be fair, but a pop song none the less. The other song that’s like that for me is “Bob Dylan’s Dream” off “The Freewheeling Bob Dylan.” That song gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. The fact that he was like 22 when he wrote it is something I just can’t handle one bit.
I was happy to see that the writers addressed character development throughout the series. Ted’s journey has been so up and down that I think it needed some clarification from the powers that be at HIMYM.
HeyDude378: My question is, how did Ted go from himself to being a caricature of himself? I really could relate to him at first but as time went on he was crazier and less believable. Is Ted going to come back to Earth?
Bays: I know Ted bounces back and forth between being grounded and ungrounded. It’s always been how we do our show — we go high and low, tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight, et cetera. For better or for worse, that’s how we do it. But I will say this: Josh Radnor, starting with tonight’s episode, is TREMENDOUS in the final episodes of this series. There’s still two left to shoot, but in this last stretch there’s some stuff that he plays so gutwrenchingly beautifully… I’m in awe of him as an actor!
orangejuicemachine: How do you feel your characters have grown over the last 9 seasons, or how have they stayed stagnant?
Bays: I think they’ve changed as we’ve changed. When we wrote the pilot, I was working on the script in between going to bars and going on terrible first dates. Now I’m writing scripts in between dancing with my daughters to the Frozen soundtrack. Life has changed immeasurably for all of us since we started this thing, and the fun part is how the show has documented the whole ride.
I said this above, but it bears repeating: this ending has been planned since the very beginning. There were some backup plans in place, but ultimately this is a story that has had the same ending the whole time…
operabass93: Did you guys have a backup plan as to who the mother would be if the series hadn’t been very successful?
Bays: If the show had ended in season 1, it would have been Victoria.
gokussr4: How were you originally going to end it in Season 8 if there was no Season 9?
Bays: We would only have met the mother in the last scene of the series. Which, looking back on it now, seems unthinkable!
naus226: how nerve wracking was it to build up a character you knew we would not “meet” for several seasons and not know how the fans would react when she finally appeared? How much of a relief was it when you decided on Cristin?
Bays: Infinity nerve racking. The initial plan was to never meet her, or only meet her in one scene. Which looking back on it was probably a really bad idea. It’s been a huge relief seeing how good Cristin is in this role.
Casualfred: How much of the story was revealed to the actors who played the kids when you filmed the final scenes? How much of the ending did you guys set in stone by filming it (was it something major? maybe some vague reaction?)
Thomas: We had to tell both David Henrie and Lyndsy Fonseca the very end of the series when we shot part of the end in 2006. David remembers it exactly. Lyndsy instantly deleted it from her brain (she knew it was a secret) and literally does not remember to this day!
angryblackmail: I am wondering in the process of creating the series did you have a certain ending in mind at the start of the show under the premise it didn’t make 200 episodes?
Bays: Yes, we always knew what the last episode would be. We always hoped it would take a while to get there, but it was always there as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency kind of thing. The joy in knowing this would be our final season has been the chance to arrange the telling of the story so that it leads gracefully into that final hour, setting everything up for the grand finale.
LtDarien: Carter and Craig. How far have you strayed from your original vision of how you wanted the show to end?
Thomas: We have not changed the very end of series at all. In fact, we shot part of it back in 2006, before Ted’s kids got much older! We just looked at that footage, which will factor into the end of the series — it totally worked and was kind of haunting to watch! Shot 8 years ago and it will now help end our series on March 31st, 2014!
CpeanuT: How many times have you rewritten the last scene throughout the series?
Bays: We’ve been slowly crafting the last ten minutes of the show probably since it started, but the actual writing of it hasn’t happened until just recently.
joshi38: So, you guys are great about fore-shadowing and planning things way in advance, but I also know you guys like to create little writing challenges for yourselves (such as where Marshal was when his son was being born).
My question is, after last weeks amazing episode, how long had you guys known the Mother’s story? Was it for years or was it something you began putting together when this season came about? If the former, how much of it had changed before you finally got to that script?
Thomas: We knew some of the story — some of the intersections with the HIMYM cast — but some of it was filled in as we did that episode…We needed that episode to have its own drive and through-line, and ultimately it was about The Mother moving on…becoming ready for love again…(Lucky for Ted!)
Johnhenry: Watching HIMYM every week gives me hope that I’ll find my yellow umbrella, no matter the challenges that seem to always get in the way of realizing that end result. I think other people feel that same connection, so I’m curious: Was this at all your intention in creating the show, or is it simply a byproduct of getting to know these characters over the last nine years.
Thomas: I believe you’ll find “your yellow umbrella” (as long as you mean that as a metaphor for love…because if you just mean it as an actual umbrella, there’s a good chance that shit is GONE.) No seriously, we wanted this show to be about one thing above all else: Hope. We hope that is the impression people will be left with after our finale airs. It’s easy to write comedy that is sarcastic and jaded…we wanted HIMYM to be different.
ScottH87: How scared are you that the show is finishing? It must be pretty terrifying to think that a story you’ve spent years telling, which has to have a ending worthy of the 9 seasons and the fans that have stuck with you is soon to be open for scrutiny?
Bays: Terrifying. It’s beyond feeling like, “oh that was the period of my life when I did HIMYM.” It just feels like it’s my life, and it’ll be over soon. Craig and I have poured ourselves into this show. It’s a lot of work. And yeah, there’s now kind of this trope of “the Series Finale” as some sort of final flip in a gymnastics routine, where if you stumble on this one, everything you did before that doesn’t matter. Which is silly, but it’s the price you pay when you make a show that people give so much of their love and attention to. And honestly, knowing how the show ends, it does scare me that some people will hate it. But here’s the thing: this is the story we’ve been telling all along, and this story ends the way it ends. That’s all there is to it.
Misc Fun Facts!
gokussr4: Where did you guys come up with the motif of the Yellow Umbrella? Do you really utilize what most call “The Color Theory” in the show? Is there any deeper meaning to the objects in the background of the kids?
Bays: I don’t know where it came from. Ubmbrellas are romantic I guess? I don’t know what the color theory is. No, there wasn’t initially. The yellow bus came into play later, but nothing was planned from the start.
Note – Really Bays? No idea about color theory? I find that suspicious considering that everyone has been wearing mainly purple for the past 3 seasons, but whatever.
dhtwentythree: What’s the obsession with the number 83?
Bays: I have no idea, that one just happened and we ran with it.
MANCREEP: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT DOING A HIMYM MOVIE????
Bays: I feel like this season has been the movie. Plus, I think our show belongs on TV.
R2LUKE2: Did you guys get a good laugh from Jason Segel’s comments on being in a sitcom in the movie This is the End?
Bays: I loved that movie, and that scene was great. And I don’t want to give anything away, but keep watching.
danistinson: I loved the “La Vie en Rose” scene, was it inspired in the “Moon River” scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s?
Bays: Yes definitely. There’s a lot of Audrey Hepburn DNA in that episode — “La Vie En Rose” is right out of Sabrina.
Mutt1223: Whose idea was it to have the characters actually laugh at their own jokes instead of sitting uncomfortably until the audience stopped laughing, I thought that was a great touch.
Thomas: I truly think that was the chemistry and rapport of the actors. They found each other funny, so they laughed. Our set felt friendly and inviting, so they laughed…the crew laughed…It just became a part of our world, and it felt like real life…because it WAS real! (Good question!)
So what are your thoughts on this AMA and all of the information that was revealed? Are you happy with where the rest of the season seems to be heading?
Friends with Better Lives A New CBS show right after the HIMYM Final Episode
M I X O L O G Y Show Series Premiere Wednesday 2/26/14 about One bar, One night, Ten single people. Welcome to Mix.
Reposted with permission from Ted-Mosby.com.