Scoops, spoilers, hidden answers, inside knowledge, a look into the minds of the producers. Call it what you will, but there are certain shows out there you're just dying to try to learn more about. One hopes that being part of a conference call with an executive producer will help provide such insight. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't.
Yesterday, Carter Bays, one of the creators and executive producers of How I Met Your Mother took some time out of his day to give us a look into the production, answering some questions about the rest of the fourth season and possibilities for what could come down the line. So, let's get down to business, shall we?
First off, I can report that due to Alyson Hannigan's being "with child," the season finale for the show has already been filmed. In fact, it was filmed way back in January so as to ensure that she would be available. The final few episodes leading up to the finale are still being written/tweaked, and the writers have found themselves writing to a finale that was already in the can for a significant portion of the season. Though not necessarily the normal way of proceeding, it's certainly something that hasn't seemed to hurt the creative output as this past week's episode was one of the funniest of the season.
When asked, Bays attempted to remain mum about whether or not Ted (Josh Radnor) would meet the mother at the end of this season. He refused to answer the question directly, suggesting he didn't want to spoil anything. However, when asked about the potential for the next season, Bays stated that there would be a slight shift in setting and that the season would "bring us closer to meeting the mom." That latter remark would certainly indicate that we will not be seeing her come the end of the current season.
Ask any fan of the show why they like it and eventually an answer will come out about how the show manages to wisely, and regularly, recall old episodes and foreshadow things that will happen down the line. One of the recurring jokes has been a "slap bet" between Marshall (Jason Segel) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), which resulted in Marshall being able to slap Barney a total of five times at any point that Marshall may wish.
The first two of these slaps were quickly disposed of, and the third, which took place last season, had a huge buildup. In an early episode of season three, Marshall called Barney to let him (and us) know about a website with a countdown clock, a countdown to the third slap. The slap, of course, occurred right on schedule and still managed to be surprising and funny. When asked about the final two slaps, Bays discussed the fact that the show would try and stretch out the length of that recurring joke as long as it could, that if the show runs for five more seasons, they wouldn't want to blow all the slaps right now. He also acknowledged the pressure of having to keep upping the ante with the slaps. With only two left, there are none to waste.
Bays also touched on another fan favorite recurring joke, Robin Sparkles, the '90s teen singing sensation alter ego of Robin Scherbatsky (Smulders). So far, the show has revealed two hilariously retro (to the '80s because, as explained, the '80s only arrived in Canada, Robin's home, in the '90s) videos and songs, including "Let's Go to the Mall!" The second Sparkles song, "Sandcastles in the Sand," was discussed on the show as being the "other" one; however, Bays revealed yesterday that the possibility for more still exists and that the book on Robin Sparkles isn't yet closed.
Though he revealed few specifics about what the future of How I Met Your Mother would hold, Carter Bays made it apparent that the writers of the series are still hard at work thinking up new, wacky things. Will we see Barney pitch for the New York Yankees next season? Maybe (it was a discarded idea that may come back). Will Barney get together with Robin? Tune in and find out. Will the yellow umbrella return? Definitely. Who exactly will Danny Glover be when he guest stars on March 30? That we didn't find out, but we don't have too much longer to wait to get an answer. Hopefully CBS won't keep fans in suspense for much longer on the show's status for the fall either.
But, whatever happens, remember that we can always go to the mall.