Fans of How I Met Your Mother gathered at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater on Saturday, Mar. 15, for PaleyFest 2014. Cast members Alyson Hannigan (Lily Aldrin), Cobie Smulders (Robin Scherbatsky), Josh Radnor (Ted Mosby), and Cristin Milioti (The Mother) attended, as well as the show’s executive producers Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Pamela Fryman. Wayne Brady moderated the bittersweet celebration.
With a preview screening of tonight’s episode, and a surprise appearance via Skype from Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson), the evening was full of fond memories, serving as an unofficial goodbye — not only from the cast and crew to each other, but also to loyal fans of the series, which ends its nine-season run on Mar. 31st. In case you weren’t among Saturday’s sold-out audience, here’s what you missed:
1. The biggest question of the night:
Rumors swirled a couple weeks ago that The Mother dies and that’s why Ted is telling his kids how he met her. Of course, this was the first question of the night and creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas kept their lips sealed, refusing to refute or confirm those rumors. This didn’t come as much of a surprise, considering how all the seasons have avoided the “Who is The Mother?” question.
2. Will Ted meet the Mother?
Yes, Ted will meet The Mother on screen. Up to this point we’ve only seen snippets of Ted and the Mother’s life together, but not how they came together. (Oddly enough, the question wasn’t raised as to what The Mother’s name is.)
3. Neil Patrick Harris’ high point:
When asked about his experience on the show, Harris reflected via Skype, remarking that he really appreciated the creators’ commitment to the structure of the show throughout its nine seasons. Also, thinking initially that Barney would be a one-trick pony, NPH said that reciting Barney’s vows to Robin was the highest point in the series for him.
4. The cast on shooting the final season:
Josh Radnor told the crowd about the final table read, saying that it was the most memorable because for him it felt so raw and intimate with real-life laughter and tears. “It was beautiful and it was so sad. It was kind of like everything you love about How I Met Your Mother; it was hilarious and sad and bittersweet and lovely and truthful, but that was happening in the room and in the script. Alyson Hannigan too said she was flooded with emotions. Cristin Milioti revealed insight into filming her last scene, coming full-circle from her audition in which she acted out the same scene, not realizing she was up for HIMYM. (Bays and Thomas had Milioti think she was auditioning for a USC film project in order to keep the fact that they were finally casting The Mother a secret.)
5. The cast on their “Pinch Me” moments:
Carter Bays: The two-minute date episode.
Craig Thomas: The musical numbers. The yellow umbrella, but especially that “we got to wait 9 f—ing years” before introducing The Mother.
Pam Fryman: The episode “Drum Roll, Please”
Alyson Hannigan: Shooting the pilot. There were butterflies outside during shooting which Hannigan took as a good omen. Second to that was going to Comic Con.
Cobie Smulders: The “Let’s Go to the Mall” episode and the creation of Robin Sparkles, because, as she said, “Where did they get the idea I could sing?”
Josh Radnor: Shooting on “New York Street” (the New York set on the FOX lot).
Cristin Milioti: Singing “La Vie En Rose” because it had a strong meaning to her and her family growing up.
6. Will there be a final slap?
Bays and Thomas replied, “Of course.” They were vague on when and where, but with only three episodes left, the scene is imminent.
7. Hannigan working the crowd:
As a couple in the audience exited the balcony midway through the panel, Alyson Hannigan told the crowd, “They thought this was Lost.”
8. The cast’s advice on acting:
Hannigan jokingly advised aspiring actors to “definitely get other hobbies.” She also shared anecdotes about auditioning for Blossom as a kid and being told that she wasn’t funny enough, and how she couldn’t get a callback from Saved by the Bell to save her life. Cristin Milioti’s advice was: “Don’t go to theater school. Roll around in a dark room and pay someone 80K and BAM! You got a BFA.”
9. Radnor’s favorite running gag:
“I’m a huge fan of the interventions,” Radnor said, cracking up over how they had professional banners made every time there was an intervention for something as ridiculous as Lily’s British accent.
10. NPH: Shirtless
Before signing off, Harris said sweet goodbyes and then ripped off his shirt, saying he had to go be a rock star. Watch: