On the show’s beginnings, Thomas said that it was a matter of writing what you know. “Carter and I wrote two pilots that year, the other pilot crashed and burned horribly and was sort of embarrassingly bad. It was set in a school about a teacher. It’s stuff that we didn’t know. What we did know was getting drunk and making bad relationship decisions. We thought that was our forte.”
Bays said that right from the pilot the actors clicked and really came across as real friends. “These guys, a lot of it is extraordinary acting talent, but it’s also just they’re five great people who did hit it off right from the start.”
“Craig and I were both huge dorks for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Thomas remarked.  So Alyson Hannigan was always first in their mind when creating the character of Lily. However, for Barney they originally pictured a John Belushi-type but that quickly changed when Neil Patrick Harris came in to read for the role.
Harris said that the early years were tough before they were up against rating giants like “Deal or No Deal” and “Dancing With the Stars” and so renewal was never a certainty for the first several years. “TV’s such a weird medium because shows that are lauded critically fail and shows that no one else seems to like sometimes stick around for a very long time and everything else falls in between.”
“I definitely wanted to do comedy…” Hannigan recalled, “And this was just the best script that I read and then I met Carter and Craig and they were adorable and sweet. And then when I saw Neil, we were both at the network test, it was just like, ‘What?!’ because we had both know each other for so long and I thought, ‘Oh, that ‘d be so cool.’”
Regarding when the mother will be revealed, Thomas said, “We should just set a date. We should say it’s going to be May 15th, 2000-whatever.” However Harris had a different take on the subject. “I think it begets too many questions when you know the mother is. I think the show is the journey. That is the show. It’s called ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ You know what I mean? Like once you meet her then it becomes, well, did you cast the right person? And now what happens? It becomes sort of a jump the shark moment.”
A running joke amongst the cast, Hannigan revealed, is to work in as many cat-related puns as they can. Segel started it off by stating, “Sometimes it feels like the whole cat and caboodle.” Harris chimed in after a Segel remark, “Jason that was a pur-fect answer.” Even the audience got into the act during the Q&A, when someone asked if there’s an actor or actress that they’re “clawing” to have on the show.”
Harris wrapped up on his time of the series so far, “I’m so grateful to Carter and Craig and the whole staff. They are always not complacent ever. They’re always just trying to come with new, interesting things to do. So we’ve all had chances to wear old age makeup and to film on green screen teeter-totters. I love the process of making it. We don’t have much control over whether people like it or laugh; we only have control of enjoying it while it’s happening.”
On what’s ahead for the show, Bays said, “From a writing standpoint just getting inspired by how amazing the cast is… It’s just so fun to discover the new superpowers, to have the time to discover the superpowers of this cast and like we starting writing this show and we thought, ‘Oh, it’s kind of based on us and our friends’ but then these guys are so much cooler than us and our friends. And so it’s great to sort of dig deeper and discover who they are comedically and emotionally.”
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