4:55pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'How I Met Your Mother' Hits 150 With Big Answers Planned for Season 7
Premiering all the way back in 2005, How I Met Your Mother turns 150 episodes old with the Jan. 16 episode, "46 Minutes."
Building on the last two years of dramatic changes for the series -- death, pregnancy, unrequited affection -- the episode finds Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) leaving their friends in Manhattan for a subdued suburban life in Long Island.
It throws a confused Ted (Josh Radnor) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) in the arms of Lily's stripper doppleganger, first seen in the fifth season, but as creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays promised a small group of press last week, the move won't likely stick.
"It's a fitting 150, because it's about a moment of big change in the dynamic of the group," said Bays, "[But] that's not a permanent living arrangement. It's pretty fun, the shifts that happen in terms of where Marshall and Lily end up and how it sets up the next season."
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And big changes are ahead. Thomas and Bays talked about the development in Robin's (Cobie Smulders) season-long arc dealing with multiple suitors and the revelation of infertility, how that will affect her relationship with Ted and how much more of the sixth season's cliffhanger wedding viewers will see this season.
"The month of February will answer a lot of questions and resolve a lot of things that have been kind of simmering below the surface," said Bays, noting that reverberations from recent return of Victoria will be felt.
"She called it," said Thomas. "Victoria was kind of the fortune teller in that episode. She calls that there's going to be some fireworks involved with Ted and un-dealt with remaining feelings for Robin. And for sure, in February sweeps, we return to that in an interesting way... What Victoria came back to sort of prophesize will come true in February sweeps."
That "complicated relationship," as the duo put it, makes the characters reassess their decision to be roommates as Robin continues to date Kevin (guest star Kal Penn) and Barney licks his wounds over her turning him down, something that will also rear its head.
And the end is likely nigh for Kevin. While Bays said how much they've enjoyed working with Penn on the series, he was quick to point out that the waters don't run as deep with Kevin as they do with Barney or Ted."
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As for the series two biggest questions, the identity of the titular mother and Barney's unseen bride, Bays and Thomas say the Season 7 finale will take viewers back to the scene of the crime -- though the timelines are not ready to intersect.
"We've promised the where of how Ted meets the mother," said Bays. "We took a very big swing a the beginning of Season 6 and we realized we were ruling out a lot of types of things that we've done before... I Remember feeling a sense of loss when we did that. We can't do those fake outs anymore. But we'd done a bunch of them and we felt like we kind of got all of the ball on that. It was reinvigorating for us to pinpoint it more. That for us was a big shift in the series, once we nailed that down."
The duo said they've known how most of it will play out for some time, but as the guards of one of the most well-kept secrets in sitcom history, they're united in their vague assurances.
"We have a plan," Bays insisted. "We just can't tell you."