If you haven't yet watched last night's How I Met Your Mother, don't read another word.
'Cause the final, highly memorable scene, which no one saw coming, is one that "we kind of built the whole season around," executive producer Carter Bays just told me.
So what's next for Marshall? What was up with the countdown clock? And what "mother" clues lie ahead? Read on...
Why the decision to kill off Marshall's father?
We felt like one important ingredient in the early seasons of the show was that there was some angst and there was some sadness, and it was a way for us to really mine our own lives and to really fully explore emotions about situations that we've been in. There are a few touchstones in life that are really sad, and this is one of them. It's something that a few writers on the show have gone through and we kind of built the whole season around this moment as will be revealed in the remaining 11 episodes. The first half of the season was kind of us getting our ducks in a row, and this event will set off everything else that follows.
A lot of viewers were asking about the countdown clock that ran throughout the episode. What was the reason for that?
We called the episode "Bad News" and we felt like it was a way to cue the audience that something is going to happen. Obviously it builds this anticipation and you don't know if it's going to be something good or bad and I guess it being a comedy you think it might be something good, but we wanted to heighten awareness that there's going to be a moment in this episode at the end that you're going to want to pay attention to.
What kind of reaction have you heard about the clock?
There have been some pretty charged reactions to it in both directions...it's hard to strike a tone of foreboding in a half-hour sitcom, and that's kind of what we were going for. And I really should credit an art film from the 1980s, called Drowning by Numbers, that did something kind of similar to this and that's where we got the idea.
What can you tell us about how this is going to affect Marshall? Is Jason Segel going to have some weightier material?
He really is. Marshall is a character with so much heart and it's hard to see him go through something bad. I remember the season finale of season one, it was sort of gut-wrenching seeing him after Lily dumped him. We knew we wanted to do something to explore this particular milepost in living life in your thirties. It's something that does happen to people. We always knew that this might be something Marshall goes through, and it felt like this was the right time to do it.
It seems like we haven't gotten a lot of "mother" clues lately. Will we soon?
Now that we have stated for the record exactly where Ted is going to meet her, which is this wedding, I feel like what we're hoping for is to somewhat nullify the "Who is she?" and make it more about "How does Ted get to this wedding?" That's kind of the new mystery that we're spinning right now, and there will be a few more illuminations about that particular wedding as the season goes on.
So, just to clarify, it is definitely someone he meets at the wedding? And it is definitely Rachel Bilson's roommate?
It is. It is.
How far out have you planned this "mother" thing?
[Laughs.] Not to take anything away from Lost, because I love Lost, but I read interviews with them and they're like, "We had no idea what we were doing" and I look at our season-arc maps that we have made, all this work, and I'm like, "Why are we wasting our time with this?!"
True or False: Neil Patrick Harris' twins will be in consideration to play Marshall and Lily's baby.
They're definitely well connected and they have a foot in the door so we'll see what happens!
What's ahead for Jennifer Morrison's character?
We're hoping to have her back and the Captain back. They've both been terrific. Working with Kyle MacLachlan has been a dream come true for me...Twin Peaks and Get a Life I think are the two shows that made me want to write television. I've now gotten to work with Kyle and Chris Elliott so I think I can retire now.
How did you feel about last night's episode? Weigh in down below in our comments. And if you need a group hug, join me!