'How I Met Your Mother' enjoying best year ever

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The mysteries that surround the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" extend to co-creator Craig Thomas' office on the Fox studio lot.

A white board on the wall that outlines the seventh season's episodes ends with Barney's wedding in the May finale. "___ is the bride," the board says.

You never know who's going to walk in, and Thomas and partner Carter Bays hold tight to their secrets. That will be a pivotal episode: Not only will the ultimate bachelor come off the market, but the show has revealed it's also the day that Ted meets his future bride — the mother that is the conceit upon which the entire show is built.

That doesn't necessarily mean viewers will meet the mother in that episode, however. Stay tuned.

This has been a big year for the comedy that launches CBS' Monday nights. Ratings are the best they've ever been, up 19 percent over last season, and it has the youngest average audience on the network's prime-time schedule.

"There's almost no scientific explanation and we couldn't have counted on that," Thomas said.

Time may make viewers more invested in the lives of Ted (Josh Radnor), horndog buddy Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), Ted and Barney's ex Robin (Cobie Smulders) and the married couple Marshall and Lily (Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan).

Another likely contributor is the boomerang effect of syndication making more people familiar with the series. "How I Met Your Mother," which just filmed its 150th episode, has been seen outside of prime time on local broadcast stations the past few years. Last year it was also on Lifetime, the cable network targeted at women, and this fall added FX, which is popular with young men.

The FX showings began with a Labor Day marathon and a clever ad campaign that pictured the cast and suggested: "Isn't it time you made some new friends?" ''How I Met Your Mother" hit the syndication market at the time there was a relative paucity of new comedies and reruns of "Friends" were getting tired from overuse.

"How I Met Your Mother" is the closest TV has to a modern-day "Friends." It started at a time, in 2005, when networks were desperate to replace that beloved NBC series and, frankly, the namesake gimmick distinguished it from other wannabes. The series opened with kids on a couch impatiently listening to narrator Bob Saget, as Ted circa 2030, explains how their parents met.

That first episode began with Ted establishing a romantic connection with Robin, ending with the kicker of Saget explaining, "that's how I met your Aunt Robin."

During an initial meeting with TV critics before the premiere, Thomas and Bays were taken aback by anger they faced about that pilot's twist. Were they really expecting to learn the mother in the first episode? Then they realized: People cared about the characters they created.

They don't regret the structure, even if "who's the mother?" is no doubt the cocktail party question they'd least like to hear by now.

"I always thought the frustration about it was a little misplaced," Radnor said. "There's so much to enjoy beyond the central conceit of the show that I always felt like, 'Relax.' If he meets the mother, the series is done, so if you like the series you should be waiting. Enjoy the wait. Maybe this whole series is some grand lesson in patience for people. It certainly is for Ted."

Many fans believe the mother should be revealed on the final episode. Others would like to see the future parents go through their first year of dating. This much Thomas will say: It will be one of those two possibilities.

That's why Thomas and Bays have some important meetings ahead of them this spring. The actors are signed through the end of next season (May 2013), so the producers will need to know soon if the series is stretching beyond that.

Revealing when Ted would meet his future wife turned out to be liberating.

"It's kind of a momentous thing to say," Thomas said, "because it retired one of the tricks on this show that we had milked for half a decade, which was that any girl that Ted bumped into anywhere could be the mother. Last year we said we'd done that enough."

The device the creators set up, where viewers know in the back of their minds there's a happy ending, helps ground the show, he said. It's comforting to know things turn out OK, and that knowledge enables writers to show the harder chapters in their lives.

"How I Met Your Mother" was born of the creators' own experiences. They moved out to Hollywood together to try and make it as they approached age 30, after having worked as writers for David Letterman. They missed New York, and were reflective of the times they had gone through in their 20s.

The show's set is a congenial one, with a calm warmth that flows through veteran director Pamela Fryman. Cast members have busy separate professional lives. Segel is a genuine movie star ("The Muppets" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"), Harris is a go-to awards show host and Radnor just directed his second film ("Liberal Arts") to open at Sundance.

"It's really a well-oiled machine here," Segel said. "You just come and do it and hang out with your friends. It kind of feels like going to summer camp every day."

The actors say they've been kept interested by how the show has explored storylines beyond sitcom wisecracks. Robin learned recently that she was unable to conceive and bear children. Lily is pregnant and the couple bought a house on Long Island, while Marshall experienced the death of his father.

The death of Marshall's father was one of the creators' secrets. The news wasn't distributed ahead of time, because some stolen scripts had found their way to the Internet before the episode aired. Segel learned as Marshall did, when Lily told him with cameras rolling.

When the episode aired, Thomas' wife, who had recently lost her mother, complimented him on writing Marshall's shocked reaction of "I'm not ready for this." He had to tell her that it was ad-libbed, not written. One take. Segel said it made for a better performance.

Harris said he occasionally goes online the Tuesday after a show to see what fans had written and often marvels at in-depth analysis of the characters. People seem to care about the show, he said, "and that's awesome."

"When this chapter is done we'll all look back and marvel at it probably being the best job we've ever had," he said.

___

CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; FX is a unit of News Corp.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options