'HIMYM' Works 'Blue' in Finale
Season ender answers questions, raises others
The answer will come in the show's second-season finale on Monday (May 14), titled "Something Blue," which takes place at Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall's (Jason Segel) wedding reception. With Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) hectoring them -- you may never want to hear the phrase "Tell people what?" again -- Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Ted (Josh Radnor) come clean, as it were, about their pasta-wearing antics of two episodes back.
That fans have been wondering about the pasta scene, from the "Showdown" episode that aired April 30, and speculating about its meaning is just what co-creator Carter Bays was hoping people would do. He says he, co-creator Craig Thomas and the rest of the show's writers have been consciously working to set up stories in one episode and pay them off later.
"Last season we knew where we were going from beginning to end, but I think this season we've done a little more teasing forward -- setting up things we knew we'd get to," Bays says. "I've always loved that in shows -- like Joss Whedon shows, how he could do that.
"On 'Angel' there was a mailroom guy who wore a Mexican wrestling mask. They sort of set that guy up, we saw him in a few episodes. You think he's just a weird guy, and suddenly there's a whole episode explaining who he is. I think we're trying to do that more."
Most prominently, the show had Marshall collect on his "slap bet" with Barney a full three months after the wager was laid. Segel says it was "very exciting" to see the bet pop back up, adding, "I love that that's going to be a running joke -- it could definitely last until the end of the show."
Adds Radnor, "One of the great things about the show, and especially this season, is you can tune into the show and just get it, but it also rewards committing to it. ... It definitely rewards attention to detail."
Though CBS hasn't officially said whether "HIMYM" will be back next season -- that announcement comes Wednesday -- Bays says he feels "pretty good" about its chances. If that does happen, viewers can expect more such callbacks in the future, including one involving a goat.
"There's been a lot of talk on the Internet about the infamous goat from the second-to-last episode last year," Bays says. (Narrating the show, Future Ted (voiced by Bob Saget) makes a passing reference to a goat in the bathroom during his 30th birthday celebration.) "I guess we're going to have to get to it next year and explain."
As for this season's finale, Ted and Robin recount the events that led up to their saucing through a series of flashbacks, demonstrating once again the show's ability to handle leaps back and forth in time. No spoilers will be spilled here, although Radnor has this to say about the moment: "It's just a deft handling of something that could become pretty soggy."
Getting there, though, required the cast and crew to do some backtracking, Bays explains.
"We had this idea for something that felt so beautiful for this moment ... but it was an idea that necessitated us reshooting a large portion of a previous episode," he says. "I have to hand it to the crew; they really take it in stride when our imaginations get the best of us. They did a superb job with it."
Bays chalks the ease of the reshoots up to having found a groove with the cast and crew that allows for both efficiency and good comedy. "Whatever the opposite of a sophomore slump is, we had that," he says. To a person, the cast seems to agree.
"I think everyone's really on their game," Segel says. "We all have the sense that this is something really special, and we're giving it all we've got."