Does This Fall Mark the Beginning of the End of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, What’s Wrong with Ted and Will the Mother of all Mysteries Ever Be Solved? Co-Creator Carter Bays Answers Our Burning Questions

Between the identity of Barney’s bride and the ever-expanding mother mystery, the upcoming seventh season of HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER has a heck of a lot to answer for. Which is precisely why we took it upon ourselves at the recent television critics association press tour in Los Angeles to corner co-creator Carter Bays, also known as one-half of the show’s dynamic show-running duo in attempt to get some much-needed answers. See for yourself after the jump.

Be honest, just how tired are you of getting asked about the identity of the mother?
Carter Bays: [Laughs]

Next to LOST and the mystery surrounding the island, you could probably form a support group with Damon Lindelof.
Carter Bays: You know, we [referring to himself and his co-creator Craig Thomas] were just talking about how we’d love to take Damon out for drinks and just find out how you deal with a show in its later seasons with a big central mystery.

As luck would have it, I can tell you. Having recently listened to a fantastic interview with Damon Lindelof on the Kevin Pollak Chat Show, the key is to set an end date for the show!
Carter Bays: It definitely worked for them and at the very least stopped that question.

But in all seriousness, with season 8 just around the corner, has there been any real consideration about setting an end date for the show?
Carter Bays: We have a couple of different contingency plans. We’re booked through the next season, season 8 and if everyone wants to do a season 9 and we feel like we have more stories to tell, we’ll gladly do it. We’re only looking at the episode directly in front of us right now, but we’re open up to any scenario. There are certainly other things that I think we’d all love to do beyond this show but at the same time it’s the best job any of us have ever had and no one wants to end.

You obviously set up a whole lot of things in May’s finale, but let’s first talk about Marshall and Lilly’s situation. Has it been fun writing the two of them as expectant parents?
Carter Bays: It has been. My wife just had a baby and all last year as we were heading towards the end of the season that we knew would end with Marshall and Lilly getting pregnant it was just me filing away stories and observations and all the funny things about being pregnant and having a baby on the way. So it’s been fun being able to explore that.

is your wife going to appreciate you airing your dirty laundry in front of 10 million viewers per week?
Carter Bays:Oh she’s used to it by now!

On the Barney front, just how long will fans have to wait to discover who the lucky lady is?
Carter Bays: We realize we didn’t announce this ahead of time, but we always looked at last season as let’s do the story of how the groom ends up being the groom. At the beginning of last season we just said there was a wedding, we didn’t say who was getting married. We knew that we wanted to do a story about how Barney comes to be the guy getting married and we told that story, it was about him exercising the demons of his relationship with his father and getting to a place where he’s ready to make a commitment and ready to try a relationship that lasts longer than 8 hours.

Like everyone he does, John Lithgow was pitch perfect. Are there any plans to bring him back this season?
Carter Bays: We’d love to bring him back, we absolutely would love to. We don’t have it actually planned out yet, but we had so much fun working with him and he’s such a gentlemen. He fit in with our group so well that we’d love to bring him back. It’s exciting that he’s now apart of the mythology of the show.

How would you describe Ted’s character arc this season?
Carter Bays: With Ted, it’s funny. The series began the day that Ted found out his two best friends were getting married and it made him realize that he’s ready to settle down. And now this season will begin with those same two friends having a baby on the way, yet Ted is still no where near his goal and this season is going to be about him examining why that is. What is it that is standing in the way and holding him back.

In examining himself, is there any chance that we might see him revisit past relationship to see what went wrong?
Carter Bays: That’s going to be part of it. We’re really digging very deep this season, sort of excavating. One of the fun things about having done a show now for six years is we have this huge backstory that we can explore, bring back a few faces that we haven’t seen in a long time and also answer some questions that have been lingering out there and some mysteries that haven’t been solved. We’re going to start giving some answers to some things.

And speaking of ghosts of girlfriends past, I recently had the pleasure of stumbling across a repeat episode featuring Victoria (Ashley Williams) and there was just something about the chemistry between the two of them that for lack of a better word I’m going to call magical. Has there been any talk of bringing Ashley Williams back?
Carter Bays: She’s terrific and we’ve always talked about it. We loved Ashley and we loved working with her so who knows. The great thing about her show is that no one ever goes a way for ever and people can resurface. The fun in this show is sort of like the fun in life, you’re never going to know who you’re going to bump into.

And finally, as a Canadian I have a special affinity for Robin and her alter-ego Ms. Sparkles. Where did this obsession about Canada come from?
Carter Bays: Well you know it was very early on in the series we were sort of just looking for interesting angles and hooks to write about about Robin and Cobie [Smulders] is canadian so I think early on we made the decision to sort of incorporate that into her character. Cobie always jokes that we pulled her aside and said we really what to present her “Canadianhood” as a this fascinating exotic thing and then it turned into us just cracking Canada jokes for six years but it’s been a great extra layer to the show and it all comes out of love. We love our neighbours to the north.

have you spent much time in canada yourself?
Carter Bays: I grew up in Cleveland Ohio so I’ve been to Toronto a couple of times which was always fun. I wasn’t one of those kids who went to Windsor just to get drunk. I had much more of a respect for the culture and beauty of canada, not so much the lower drinking age.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER returns with new episodes on Monday September 19th at 8PM on CBS (CityTV in Canada). Catch up with past episodes you may have missed for free online at