PaleyFest: ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Creators Dodge Finale Questions

Creator and cast of CBS‘s Monday comedy series How I Met Your Mother declined to give up any information about the series finale at the PaleyFest tonight. Right off the bat moderator Wayne Brady (who played Neil Patrick Harris’ gay brother on the show) asked creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays about the “rumors swirling” that Cristin Milioti’s character, aka The Mother, “is dying. Would you really kill of the mother?” Brady asked.

Thomas and Bays began to tap dance, saying they are “wildly excited” about the finale, that “it’s great” and “we can’t say anthing” about it, with Thomas adding apologetically,  “We have been the worst interview in show business” for the show’s nine seasons, likening himself and Bays to “disgraced politicians” with their evasive answers – especially about the mother, whose identity had been kept secret for eight seasons.

They also dodged a question as to what will be the show’s final slap – slaps being a thing on HIMYM. “It will happen; we won’t forget, ” Thomas promised. In re whether there will be another of the CBS comedy’s trademark musical production numbers before the show ends at the end of this month, Thomas responded, “We won’t confirm or deny. But no.”

Nobody mentioned the spinoff, How I Met Your Dad.

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Jason Segel was a no-show and Harris appeared via Skype in only the first few minutes of the PaleyFest session, because he’s in New York rehearsing his B’way rock musical play Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Harris said he very much enjoyed Barney’s evolution from a “one trick pony” who was “always the devil on Ted’s shoulder” to a guy who falls in love with Ted’s ex. He told Cobie Smulders, who plays his love interest Robin Scherbatsky, “There’s no girl in my life I’d rather marry than you.” EP/director Pamela Fryman he called “the greatest director I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.”

Most of the Q&A was devoted to asking the actors and EPs on stage, “What was your favorite HIMYM [Fill In the Blank]?”  Bays said he and Thomas strived to write stuff that’s fun on TV and fun on the set” explaining,  “that’s why we have lots of animals” on the show. Thomas is a big fan of the musical numbers, and the scene in which Ted meets The Mother.  “Spoiler: He does meet the mother at some moment,” Thomas joked, adding, “We decided to leave it until the end, and it was beautiful and wonderful. We waited so many years for Cristin to show up.  Imagine if we’d cast that wrong. We would have just had to issue an apology and go off the air,” Thomas said, adding, “That was such an amazing moment… We got to wait nine fucking years before we meet the mother. It took nine fucking years, and somehow you all watched! Thank you so much!”

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Radnor, who professed to being a huge fan of HIMYM interventions, said it became more fun to play Ted when he stopped trying to look for some version of himself in the character and, “started to think of him as ‘This Other Thing’.” He described Ted as “my annoying brother” who was “heroic” and “persistent – some times in the wrong direction.” And because Ted doesn’t get his “big win until the end, and was constantly getting knocks, he was a teacher of humility for me.” Alyson Hannigan spoke fondly of the time they all went to Comic-Con and “I got a real glimpse of everybody there who loved us.”

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When fans who’d bought tickets to attend the PaleyFest tribute to HIMYM finally got a chance to ask questions, one told Hannigan “I can’t begin to explain how much Buffy the Vampire Slayer had, and is still helping me through puberty” before asking what is each cast member’s favorite running gag of HIMYM. “That staking thing was really fun,” responded Hannigan, who played Willow on Buffy.

Another fan asked the cast to give a shout out into her smartphone to her friend Eric, who had tried to propose to her best friend, Linda during a taping of HIMYM until he realized it was not shot in front of a studio audience – because Eric found a way to propose to Linda anyway and today was their engagement party.

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Near the end of the Q&A, a young girl asked the actors on stage if they had any advice for an “aspiring actress.”

“You sound really talented,” Radnor joked.

“That’s hard because I was a child actor and it sucked, because I loved it so much and it’s so hard,” Hannigan said, explaining “I was told I wasn’t funny enough to be on television because I was auditioning for Blossom. And I could not get a Saved By the Bell callback to save my life. So it’s really hard, but if you love it, it’s totally worth it — I hope you have a good therapist later.”

Radnor suggested the girl, who said her name was Abigail, go to theater school.  Milioti strongly disagreed, telling Abigail, “You want to go to theater school? Roll around in the dark a little bit…pretending to be a zebra, and pay someone $80,000. Sorry, no offense,” she said, turning to Radnor. “It’s not a problem” Radnor said, nothing he has an MFA.

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