1 sleepless night courtesy of pre-flight anxiety jitters.
2 hours of waiting in line to check my bag.
5 really awkward minutes getting getting searched a little-too-thoroughly by airport security.
6 hours of flying next to a ‘loud talker’.
An evening spent at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills (Zip Code, actually 90210!) with the cast of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER celebrating 100 legendary episodes: Totally worth it! See for yourself after the jump.
ON THE BEGINNINGS:
Cobie Smulders: Going into the pilot, I was Canadian at the time, I remember being so grateful I got a work Visa (Thank you FOX) and just kind of hoping that this would go for a long time. But also being a jaded actor and being like, “This is a pilot, it will probably just be a week and then I’ll never see these people again.” Yet it just kept going. That first year we got picked up for 13 episodes, we were all celebrating but at the same time thinking, “Who knows.” Then we got our back nine, it felt like a very celebratory year.
Neil Patrick Harris: Television is such a weird medium. Shows that are lauded critically fail and shows that no one seems to like sometimes seem to stick around for a long time. For a good two to three years we were constantly on the bubble. Up against DEAL OR NO DEAL and then DANCING WITH THE STARS we never had a lot of light shining on us. We would always have to wait until one or two days before the networks had to announce their lineup. That first year, none of us felt secure enough although we were all proud of the show.
Alyson Hannigan: I really wanted to get back to series and definitely wanted to do a comedy and HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER was the best script i had read and Carter [Bays] and Craig [Thomas] were adorable and sweet. Then when I saw Neil [Patrick Harris] when we were both at the network test we were like, “Whaaattt!” We’d known each-other for so long. ‘Oh, that would be so cool!” I think Neil was doing a summersault in his audition and I was like, “Hit the wall so I can hear you, like that was going to help, and you did.
Pamela Fryman [Director]: When I met Carter and Craig at a Starbucks, having red the script and loved it, it was like a great first date. They were so enthusiastic so we decided to do this and what happened when we got on set is that they had no bad habits. We would do something wonderful and they would go up the camera operators and complient them. The hole process was all so exciting. The actors were so fabulous and the words were magnificent, my job was easy.
ON THE GUEST STARS:
Jason Segal: I’m like a super comedy dork. No really I am. So working with both Chris Elliott and Bob Odenkirk, those are guys that I feel like I’ve learned from coming up. So when you have someone who’s going to be there for two days, you just want to impress them in a way that brings otu the best in you. The idea of making Chris Elliott laugh at something I did or Bob Odenkirk, that gives me a bigger thrill than I can even describe. It’s the coolest thing ever.
We’ve been very lucky, people want to do our show. We came on at the time when sitcoms were dead. People weren’t going to do this anymore, it was all going to be reality shows. We made it through some tough times and now people want to do the show. You should see the people lining up. It’s ridiulous. We told Clooney No!
Craig Thomas [Co-creator/Executive Producer]: Britney Spears. Carter and I were friends with her before. That goes waaaaay back!
Carter Bays [Co-creator/Executive Producer]: Every now and again the phone rings in the middle of the night, “Britney wants to do your show.” And you’re like alright, so that’s what next week is going to be. You just roll with it.
Craig Thomas: At the table read, one of the actors joked, “I hope I pronounce this correctly, “Brit-ney Spears?” For us, Bob Odenkirk, Chris Elliott coming up to Carter and I and saying, “Just so you know, this is my favorite comedy on television.” For us those are the greatest thrills, when someone you admire enjoys doing the show. That’s huge.
ON TED MOSBY:
Josh Radnor: When i first started doing the show, I felt much more connected to Ted somehow. Maybe I was looking at ways to connect to him, but five years later I feel quite different but i find him easier to play and I find that i’m a little bit charmed by him. He’s almost like an aggressively nostalgic guy. He’s a good friend, wants his friends together, to create memories and there’s something very sweet about it. Ted is a very self aware kind of character. He’s a rather charming creation that these guys [Carter Bays and Craig Thomas] have conjured up and you don’t see a lot of that on television.
Craig Thomas: He’s this guy who wants to find this one but at 100 episdoes he’s banged like 600 girls!
Carter Bays: He’s the dad of the show. We like the idea that he doesn’t have kids but he’s already a dad. He is the guy who says everyone get in the picture because it’s Christmas, very dad like.
ON THE QUESTION OF THE MOM:
Carter Bays: We really should just set a date, May 15 2010.
Craig Thomas: Like LOST.
Carter Bays: Or we can say we already met her in season 3. You didn’t see that one? Have you guys not been watching the same show?
Craig Thomas: There are clues. We’ve even shot a piece that will bring you to the mother already because of those kids. The actors who play those kids are respectively 40 and 42.
Jason Segal: I just want to say that if we keep pushing this long enough science will catch up and there’s no reason Marshall can’t be the father. We could make this work. we get along so well.
Josh Radnor: That is true.
Neil Patrick Harris: I feel the show is the journey, that is the show. It’s called HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. Once you meet her then it becomes, “Did you cast the right person, now what happens.” It becomes sort of a jump the shark moment.
Craig Thomas: You haven’t seen the next episode yet. We should talk after.
Josh Radnor: I don’t think people really want to know. But it’s the first thing people want to talk about. I don’t know why people are so obsesseive about it.
Carter Bays: Maybe because it’s the title of the show.
Craig Thomas: We’re thrilled that people want to know but we always feel like a Bush era press secretary. How long can we deflect this?
Josh Radnor: Was it you [Looking at Bays and Thomas] who said one of the great things about HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER is that there is this belief that the show will be around in 2035.
Carter Bays: Absolutely! For me that’s something i like about it a lot. There is an optimism because it is so easy in this day and age to worry that maybe there won’t be 2035.
Craig Thomas: I should say in our minds, the living room where he’s telling the kids the story is half a mile below the earth’s surface.
Jason Segal: They should open a window and see flying cars.
ON BARNEY AND ROBIN:
Neil Patrick Harris: I loved it. I angled for it almost all of last season. I would do random things…
Cobie Smulders: And weren’t even shooting which was akward.
Neil Patrick Harris: Robin is such a sexual figure in the show in a way that I think that it would have been silly for Barney not to at least acknowledge her attractiveness. Those lingering looks sort of became a little bit more of the two of them getting together. And they had similar likes with the shooting, the guns, cigars and sex. Than it became a thing, but it’s a dangerous thing. I think it was only supposed to last a couple of episodes originally and it ended up going seven episodes which went by very very quickly.
Cobie Smulders: It went my so fast.
Neil Patrick Harris: It was great fun. But I will say in a twenty-two minute show it’s great to have a character like Barney that can come in and be a catalyst, say random absurd things and then go without then having to then cut to someone have emotional ramifications and deal with that. Barney seems like that guy who runs in and says, “Party on a yacht, let’s go! You won’t believe what I just did last night.” you don’t have to deal with that all the time and I respect that.”
ON THEIR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS:
Josh Radnor: It’s fun when all five of us are together. You’ll do the odd 13 hour day where you want to be gone but there’s also that time when you kinda feel like you’re in the bunker together and you’re really going through something, They fly in that fourth wall and you’re like I want to get out of here. You start eating a lot of Chex Mix. But It’s just one of those moments where you kind of go this is what you wish for in these moments. Personally I’m so grateful for this show and this opportunity I like it all.
Alyson Hannigan: I don’t remember what season it was, but the 88, that band was on and during lunch they played a set and I just remember everybody dancing around and thinking it was just really cool. This is our job. It’s so cool that we’re in this environment where peple feel comfotabl to listen to the band and jump around and dance during lunch, that’s very rare. Just stuff like that I’ll take away the memories off set. Now we do a bunch of puns that’s been really fun this seaosn. We’ll just spend hours doing cat puns. How can you work into a cat into a sentence. (Note: You’re about to find out, as the cast spends the rest of the panel doing just that)
Jason Segal: My favorite is more of a concept than a particular moment. We met five and a half years ago and over the past year Josh directed a movie, they [Alyson and Cobie] had babies, Neil hosted the Emmys and directed an episode and i’ve been doing my thing. Watching us all grow up togheter and sort of achieve our dreams has been my favorite part. Like,”Wow, we really did it.”
Neil Patrick Harris: Jason that was a purrrrfect answer.
Cobie Smulders: We had this magical day when we shot “Sandcastles in the Sand.” We took our whole crew down to a beach just north of Malibu and it was so the most beautiful day. We were on this beach, there were 80 of us shooting and there were Dolphins jumping in the water.
Alyson Hannigan: Were their any cat-amarans?
Jason Segal: I just hope you didn’t litter.
Cobie Smulders: It was a great day!
Josh Radnor: Thinking about that season, wasn’t that episode nine? Nine lives.
Alyson Hannigan: This is what we do.
Pamela Fryman: This is why the days are a little longer.
Neil Patrick Harris: I remember random little things. The finale of one episode we filmed and the beginning scene of the next where Ted and Barney were outside on the patio, I had cigar and the season ended with a “Wait for it…” and then the next season began with the dare or whatever. I loved filming that weird scene. I loved the Bob Barker stuff going over to the actual PRIE IS RIGHT, that was just a weird once in a lifetime thing and that was my highlight for a long time. But i have to say doing the music video… we do the same sort of show over and over again. And I’m so grateful to Carter, Craig, and the whole staff, that they are not complacent ever, they are always trying to come up with new and interesting things to do, not only story-lines, but styles of things to do. So we’ve all had chance to wear old age makeup, film on green-screen teeter-totters. I love the process of making it. We don’t have much control over whether people like it or whether it last, we only have control over enjoying it while it’s happening and we get to do random things with goats. we filmed an entire episode in a limo. So ending the 100th with every inch of ‘New York Street’ on the 20th Century Backlot where you’ve know that these giant movies have been made for decades, we get to do that. I feel very blessed.
Jason Segal: Makes you take a second and paws.
Neil Patrick Harris: Nice!
ON ROBIN SPARKLES:
Cobie Smulders: Someone told me this year they saw someone dressed as Robin Sparkles for Halloween which I would have loved to see. Robin Sparkles was such a gift from these guys. I don’t know why they thought I could sing a song? Sing, dance, work with a choreographer, lay down tracks…these are things I would never do. I just feel really blessed that they trusted me.
Carter Bays: We hired a Canadian writer two years ago, Chuck Tathem, He’s given us a lot.
ON THEIR DREAM GUEST STARS:
Neil Patrick Harris: Christopher Guest would be fun.
Jason Segal: My mother should be Hillary Clinton.
Alyson Hannigan: I keep pitching Jennifer Aniston, she likes the show, she told me.
ON HOW THEY FEEL 100 EPISODES LATER:
Craig Thomas: From a writing perspective, finding out more about of these characters, like how Barney thinks Bob Barker is his dad as a way to cover up his daddy issues, or that Robin was a Canadian pop star, seeing the three of these guys [Ted, Marshall, Lily] in college become a family, adding Barney and Robin. Getting inspired by how amazing this cast is. It’s so fun to discover the superpowers of this cast. When we started the show it was kind of based on us and our friends but these guys are so much cooler than us and our friends. It’s so great to sort of dig deeper and discover who they are comedically and emotionally. You don’t get that if you’re cancelled after 14 episodes.
Neil Patrick Harris: The excitement at the beginning is a little fleeting. But the confidence that we gain from longevity means we can appreciate the journey a little more because it will last a little longer. When you get to 100 episodes the show is syndicated which means it’s on a lot more during the day and people think it’s lot more successful show which allows for a sixth season. And if you’re going to do six you might as well do seven.
Jason Segal: My assumption going in from my experiences was that show would be great then we’d be cancelled. That was what I was used to [See: FREAKS AND GEEKS]. I was thinking about it the other day This is the longest I’ve ever been apart of anything, besides my immediate family, it’s longest realtionshp I’ve ever had, longer that I’ve ever gone to any school, this is the longest I’ve known a group of people. We know each-other really well and have kind of grown up together which is really cool.
Josh Radnor: We’re on this stage the FOX lot and you sometimes forget that the show is being beamed all over the world. I i went to a wedding in india and on five separate occasions including at an Ashram at the ceremony where my friend was getting married, this Indian family came up to me because the daughter recognized me. I don’t even know if the show plays in India, but it’s just amazing the reach that this thing that we do is so intimate, is just ours, yet it goes everywhere. People have these really emotional responses to it. It’s really gratifying when you meet fans, they love the show. A girl came up to me this summer and said she went on match.com and wrote that she wanted to meet a ‘Ted Mosby’ and she met him, they got married. It’s an amazing thing that we can kind of contribute to the cultural currency.