Just a few days before production began on How I Met Your Mother: Season 5, I had the chance to talk to one of the show's creators, Carter Bays. Season 4 ended with a couple of major plot developments, including Barney and Robin admitting their feelings for each other and Ted taking a job as a professor â where we know he will ultimately meet his wife to be, who is one of his students. Bays spoke about the next step in these plot turns and more.
IGN: At the end of last season, you went a long way towards revealing the mother. You know your fans will play Where's Waldo with that last shot of Ted's class.
Bays: We would expect nothing less from our fans! We were actually thinking of sneaking inâ¦ Someone had the idea of getting, like, Amy Adams, and just put her in the back row as an extra. So if you freeze it and you look carefully, it's like, "Oh yeah! Wait a minuteâ¦" But we didn't do that unfortunately.
IGN: I would assume you might still hold off awhile on actually introducing the mother, but the way the show works, she could be snuck in there at some point, right?
Bays: As always, we want to take our sweet time with it, but it's definitelyâ¦ The pond just got a little bit smaller. As opposed to saying she's somewhere in the giant city of New York, she's somewhere in this little world that Ted's going to be in. Not every story is going to be in that world next year, but we'll be seeing more and more of it and we'll get tantalizingly closer than ever before.
IGN: Was it fun for you to do a bit of a bait and switch and then bait again with Stella?
Bays: That was tremendously fun and it was so cool to have someone like Sarah Chalke playing that role. She's game for anything. There's few actors where you can take a character that's really sweet and lovable and turn her into a demon and then turn her into a sweet, lovable person again and have it be pulled off as seamlessly as it was. I think it's to Sarah's credit... It's hard to not like her I think!
IGN: You must be very relieved to not have to hide pregnant actresses this season.
Bays: Oh, I don't know what we're going to do with all our giant purses and giant throw pillows! I guess we'll have a giant purse charity auction or something.
IGN: She was obviously the one who was pregnant for more of the season, but you guys got especially creative with Alyson [Hannigan].
Bays: She didn't give us much of a choice! She just walked in one day and said, "Guess what guys? You're going to have to deal with this." It was a fun challenge to have. There's kind of a family first mentality at the show and more than anything we're just so happy for Aly and Cobie [Smulders] and that they had beautiful, healthy babies. The whole thing was fun. It was fun that there's now a second generation of How I Met Your Mother.
IGN: The Barney and Robin relationship has taken a big new step. As the season opens, how are they doing?
Bays: Well, it's not classic happily ever after, to say the least. It's two people that aren't programmed for happily ever after and never would have prioritized that, were it not for the fact that they're crazy about each other. So it's going to be a bumpy road for them. We'll have a lot of good stories. Now that things are out in the open for Barney and Robin, there's a lot of fun to be had.
IGN: Anything you can tease about what's to come?
Bays: There's a lot of good stuff. Our 100th episode is going to be this year, and we're writing a big musical number for that. That's going to be fun. We're going to finally get to see Neil [Patrick Harris] and the rest of the cast show off their musical theater chops. And I think you'll be surprised. Everyone's seen Cobie do her thing, but Josh [Radnor] is a bit of a song and dance man and Jason [Segel] of course has written his share of music too.
IGN: I know Alyson was very happy to have little to do on the Buffy musical. Will this be a similar situation?
Bays: We haven't spring her aria on her yet, but she's going to have a fifteen minute solo. Just a capella. It's going to be great. I think she'll be up for it.
IGN: Any hints as to what would cause all the characters to sing together?
Bays: It's pure whimsy and fantasy. I think everyone at the show has pretty romantic sensibilities and it's going to be classic, old time Hollywood, good old fashioned musical number.
How I Met Your Mother: Season 5 premieres Monday, September 21st at 8:00pm ET/PT on CBS.