The March 31 one-hour series finale of How I Met Your Mother is so close I can almost smell the trash on the train platform where Ted will eventually meet the Mother. To celebrate the end of the road (without Boyz II Men, unfortunately), the cast and creators of the long-running CBS sitcom gathered in Los Angeles on Saturday evening for one last celebration at the Paley Center for Media's annual PaleyFest. Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris were unable to attend the event, but for a few brief moments, Harris joined the group via Skype from New York to share some of his fondest memories from the series. Series co-creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays were also in attendance, as was Pam Fryman, who's directed nearly every episode of the series and has been credited time and again for creating a warm, safe set. "It's all about what people think and how they feel," she said.
I've gathered up some of the highlights from the panel to share with everyone who couldn't attend or view the live-stream of the event. Let's get to it!
On what the cast members have learned from their characters:
Fans often mistakenly believe that actors are similar to the characters they play on TV, and while Josh Radnor said he's not very similar to Ted, he often found that the assumption sometimes worked in his favor because he was able to lean into Ted's inherent goofiness. The character's optimism and persistance, however misguided they might have been over the years, are what he'll ultimately take away from the role. He said Ted has been his "teacher of humility" and credits the character for keeping his pride in check. Cobie Smulders, for her part, said she admires Robin's honesty and her ability to confront problems head-on, while Alyson Hannigan joked that she no longer goes out after 2am anymore.
On their favorite running gags:
Radnor is partial to the gang's interventions and cited the fact that they actually had a professional banner made for the occasions as a highlight. Hannigan enjoyed the "Thank you, Linus" big from this season, and Smulders enjoyed the repetition of numbers throughout the series, like Barney's go-to percentage of 83 percent.
On being an actor:
When a young fan asked the cast for advice on how to become an actor, Cristin Milioti answered honestly and said that she dropped out of theater school and if the girl wanted to attend, she should "roll around in a dark room for a bit," while Hannigan warned against being a child actress, because it "sucked." When she was younger, she was told she wasn't funny enough to be on TV and she couldn't get a callback from Saved by the Bell or Blossom. Guess the jokes on those guys, eh?
On what inspired the series:
It's common knowledge that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas based the series on their own lives, but what many people don't know is that it was their shared nostalgia for the Big Apple after moving from New York to Los Angeles that really inspired them to create the show. They still stick by the idea of writing what you know, because in order to create 208 episodes of a sitcom, you really need that source material.
On the cast's favorite moments from this season:
The cast had a lot to say when discussing what the series has means to them and their fondest memories from set. When recalling their favorite moments from the final season, Neil Patrick Harris said that “getting to say my vows to Robin" was a highlight, while Smulders was just happy that the final season being set at the wedding meant they were all forced to be together quite often. Radnor's favorite moment was at the final table read, because it finally set in that this was the end of the series. Milioti noted that her final scene was the same scene she auditioned with. “To have that be the last thing... I could barely get through it,” she said.
On the final slap:
With only three episodes left, fans are very concerned about the final slap. Thomas confirmed that it does happen, and that they didn't forget. Don't worry, I'm currently busy tracking down his home address, just so we'll have it in the event that he was lying.
AIRED ON 3/31/2014
Season 9 : Episode 24