Henry Hanks, CNN
After 208 episodes, countless “legendarys!” and any number of pineapple incidents, slaps and slutty pumpkins, “How I Met Your Mother” comes to an end on Monday night.
One thing we’re absolutely certain will happen is that Ted Mosby will finally meet the future mother of his children and the nine-year-long story that future Ted has been telling the kids will be over.
Before we say goodbye to Ted and his friends, and the hit sitcom that often challenged the conventions (like, say, telling stories in chronological order), the cast and the creators look back.
Kids, here’s how they’ll remember “How I Met Your Mother.”
How they knew the show would last
Carter Bays (co-creator): When we first started making the show, we had this weird, naïve idea that it would run a long time. It was our first show and we didn’t really know about how often shows get canceled, but there was always this special feeling about the show, that it would really last a while.
Craig Thomas (co-creator): The cast were like, “This is too fun, this is doomed to fail, we can’t be allowed to do this for nine years.” And we were just stupidly optimistic. It could have failed a few times, but thank God it didn’t.
Pamela Fryman (director): The pilot was so special, getting to discover who these characters were to become. Whether it’s a two-minute date or a song-and-dance number, everything has made me better. If you asked me before if I could do any of those things, I’d probably say no.
Josh Radnor (Ted Mosby): I remember feeling that first episode with Ashley Williams, I remember Pam called us into watch that. I remember thinking, “This is a really special show.” It does things differently than other shows. It uses so many different styles. We half-intentionally created something new and we hope it will stick around.
How much impact guest stars had
Bays: Having Britney Spears here was pretty memorable. We were such a garage band show, we were doing OK in the ratings but weren’t really on anyone’s radar, then suddenly this international superstar parachutes into the set and it was a very bizarre week.
Alyson Hannigan (Lily Aldrin): Jennifer Lopez was adorable. She called my little girl a coconut.
How they made their favorite episodes
Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson): Barney had a big musical number about suits on the 20th Century Fox lot, like an old Gene Kelly musical, I even swung around a lamppost. I loved that episode, plus I got to sing and dance.
Cobie Smulders (Robin Scherbatsky): I loved our “Two Minute Date” with Josh and Sarah Chalke. I love anything that involves music. Carter and Craig are so musical. They were in a band together and I was really happy that they brought their musical talent to our show.
Hannigan: There was one scene where I was pregnant with my first baby. Marshall was meeting me at the airport and had this marching band play for me and greet me at the airport. It was really awesome.
Radnor: I love when you get to see what’s in Ted’s heart. When he’s just really present with someone. I did some great stuff with Cobie this year. I’ve had a nice parade of co-stars, co-girlfriends for Ted.
Everyone brings out something different from me.
How they feel about the show’s catchphrases
Hannigan: I really like “you son of a bitch”… “youuuu son of a beetch.”
Harris: I like the way Barney uses “legendary,” because it’s a very loaded word. No one should ever use the word “legendary,” because if you’re talking in the present tense, you sound kind of pompous. Unless you’re Barney Stinson, because he thinks every single thing he does is massive. “This interview right now is legendary. This will be in the Smithsonian!”
How they spent nine years
Jason Segel (Marshall Eriksen): Watching my co-stars have their children was special. I didn’t literally watch the act of giving birth, but it’s been special watching them grow up.
Smulders: A lot of these people have been here for the whole nine years. We have a family dynamic on our set and I will miss that.
Hannigan: I went through both of my pregnancies on the show.
Harris: I’m gonna miss “It’s Wednesday, we’ve gotta go to work.” Now it’s Wednesday, I’ve gotta get a job.
Thomas: We’ve worked so hard for nine years, we don’t have any friends. These nine characters are our friends. Thank God we have each other.
How they said goodbye
Smulders: We had our last table read and I cried puddles of tears. It’s such a good group of people, such a great show. I get to play such a wonderful character. I’m so blessed and I’m sad to say goodbye, but we’ve been blessed to be on the air for nine years which doesn’t happen anymore.
Thomas: We’re five seconds from crying at any given moment.
Segel: I don’t want to go out on a limb, but I will. This is potentially the best finale of any show ever … with the possible exception of the second “Newhart” series.