At the end of last season we finally did it. We met the mother. It was a moment eight seasons in the making, and delightful as it was, fans are still waiting to see the titular moment when Ted Mosby meets the future mother of his children. In honor of their ninth and final season the cast of How I Met Your Mother made their Comic-Con debut to a packed house of fans and bring them a glimpse of what to expect from the show’s conclusive season.
Following the panel actor Josh Radnor and director/executive-producer Pamela Fryman spoke with the press. During the interview they talked about finally seeing the mother, the structure of season nine, Ted’s litany of ex-girlfriends, the growth of the shows fan base, and more. Hit the jump to check out what they had to say.
JOSH RADNOR: Well there’s a mass migration to the Farhampton Inn for Barney and Robin’s wedding. So we last left our gang when Lily and Ted were driving out together, Barney and Robin were driving out together, and Marshall was planning to come back out form Minnesota for the wedding. So there’s this kind of mass –
PAMELA FRYMAN: It’s a road trip.
RADNOR: Yeah, it’s a road trip. Everyone’s got various states of problems along the way, because that’s what happens in television…we pick up literally where we left off from season eight,
FRYMAN: Quite literally.
You guys are such a close knit group; did you do anything with Cristin [Milioti] when she joined the cast to sort of break the ice and bond with her?
RADNOR: I read with her and we saw her in her musical on Broadway.
FRYMAN: Which was amazing.
RADNOR: She was amazing. We brought her in, and it was under the cover of darkness. It was really top secret.
FRYMAN: And the great thing was that the first thing that we shot with her, when she asks for that train ticket, all the background people that we work with, all of our crew, writers, assistants – everybody that’s in that scene, when she walked on the stage we literally got to turn to everybody – because nobody had met her, even the people that we’d been working with forever, so we got to say, “Ladies and gentlemen – The Mother.” And it was thrilling for everybody because we’ve been waiting a long time.
RADNOR: She just has an easy going personality, so she’s easy to kind of fold into this tightknit group for whatever reason. And that’s the luck of the chemistry draw. When they cast the five of us they didn’t know if we would all work together, and for some reason it did. Maybe we have some good chemistry karma.
FRYMAN: She fits beautifully.
RADOR: Yeah, she really does.
Obviously you all get along on set, did you end up with a lot of bloopers?
RADNOR: Yeah, we do a gag reel every year and it’s pretty long.
FRYMAN: It’s incredibly long.
RADNOR: Honestly, the wrap party where they unveil the gag reel is one of my favorite events of the year, because you see how much we’ve done all year.
FRYMAN: It’s remarkable.
RADNOR: You can’t believe it. You’re like, “That episode was this year?” It feels like so long ago. Plus just the level of loose energy,
RADNOR: We all have our moments where you say, “I’m a professional actor, but I’m not acting like it.”
Will the locket situation be dealt with this season?
FRYMAN: It’s a story that well be exploring quite a lot in depth.
RADNOR: It’s a thing.
How much of Ted’s relationship with the mother will we get to see unfold?
FRYMAN: You’re going to get to know her.
This season is taking course over the length of one weekend, but the show has always used a lot of flashbacks and flash-forwards. Will this season have a noticeably different structure or will it feel the same?
FRYMAN: You certainly have flashbacks in the weekend.
RADNOR: We’re not abandoning the structure of the show and what made the show so playful and inventive with time.
FRYMAN: It’s our show, but we’ve introduced this beautiful hotel in Farhampton. We all really want to go there, but it would be weird to live on the stage. We’ll be on a lot of different sets a lot of the time, but it’s our show. It’s 100% our show.
Can we just address how many nightmare girlfriends Ted has had?
RADNOR: The fans are kind of the unofficial record keepers of the show and one time I saw something that was like two rows of photographs of all of Ted’s girlfriends. I don’t know how many. There have been a lot. But it was shocking. And some of them I went like, “Who is that?” [Laughs] You’re like, “Oh, I forgot I dated that person.” They might have just been in one episode. There have been a lot.
The show’s audience grew over time. Do you remember a point in the series run where you felt like “Okay, we’re solid”?
FRYMAN: I certainly remember early on waiting for that pickup, and you didn’t know if it was going to come, and then I think our Britney Spears episode was a very highly rated episode. And then we just started growing in popularity. Then at one point we got a two year pick up and we were like, “Oh, my god!”
RADNOR: In terms of the two arcs that a series can go on, some series explode right out of the gate and kind of diminish in both quality and viewership over time. And we were the opposite. I felt like our quality was always there, but we were a different show. We really introduced some stuff that is now kind of commonplace in some ways, and I was actually talking with Carter [Bays] and Craig [Thomas] last night about how there’s this new fashion of dumping twelve episodes, like Netflix, giving all these episodes, and they can do really serialized arcs. And that’s what Carter and Craig excel at. That’s what they always wanted to do, you know, follow the locket, or follow these different threads. The network, initially, was like, “Do more standalone episodes. We want people to just tune in and be able to watch the show.”
I feel like in some ways we just did what we did really well and the public mood kind of caught up to us. But I think Netflix helped, and the DVDs really helped, because they became things that people would pass around. Not everybody was sitting in front of the TV Monday nights at 8:00. It just gathered all this momentum. It was quiet for those first few years, but I also had this confidence that it was just too good not to stick around. It felt like we had all guns firing on this show. And in some ways because the network and the studio let Carter and Craig make their weird show, and pick their music, and do their thing. And I feel like by the end you’re at the top of the mountain and you say – wow, we got to do some incredibly strange, amazing moments of television because in some ways people weren’t paying that much attention at first.
FRYMAN: I think that’s true. I think we did well enough at 8:00 on CBS and our demographic – all the sudden we had this young viewership. They liked that about us.
RADNOR: We were essentially brought in on some level to get younger viewers and we always did that. We always had the youngest demographic on CBS at that point.
FRYMAN: And we still do very well. And to be able to have this last season, to be able to finish this story the way that Carter and Craig always imagined finishing it is so gratifying. It is amazing that we’re even sitting at this table with you at this point. I don’t quite know how we got here.
FRYMAN: I think we’re all so excited about this, so many of the stories…we really know exactly where we’re going. It’s truly how we dreamed of finishing this tale so it’s just fantastic. And every week is like, “Oh this is the last episode two of a season.” Every week is sort of the end of something so we have to celebrate it and I think we’re doing that. We’re going to be a mess.
RADNOR: This one. [Gestures to Fryman]
FRYMAN: This one [Gestures to Radnor]. This one’s a mess all the time.
RADNOR: There’s a funny thing – if Carter is on set and if Pam is directing, which she always does, and there’s any kind of romantic scene, we have to do it over and over again. And they’re not even giving us notes. They just don’t want that scene to be over. [Laughs] So they make us to like eight to ten takes.
FRYMAN: We don’t even roll.
Click here for all our Comic-Con coverage.