When you name your show “How I Met Your Mother,” you have to expect a certain number of questions from fans and reporters about when the mother might be met. But exec producers Craig Thomas and Carter Bays have sometimes struggled with how often they’ve gotten that question over the last 100 episodes — and how many different nonanswers they’ve had to give.
We’ve become douche-bag politicians over the years,” Thomas says. “When asked about the mother, I hate myself as soon as I start talking.”
I love when we get the question ‘Who’s the mother? Bays says. “Because you want to go, ‘Oh, it’s Amanda Jenkins from Queens.’ It’s not like it’s your next-door neighbor.”
Still, neither man has any regrets about the title or the premise, even though so much of the series is just about five friends hanging out, with nary a mother in sight.
I regret nothing,” Thomas says. “I feel like if people are still coming up and wondering about who the mother is, we’re doing something right. But if it’s all you’re thinking about, then that would be a huge problem for me.”
The series has waxed and waned on the prominence of the search for the future mother of Ted’s kids. Ted spent the entire second season in a relationship with Robin, whom we knew from the pilot wouldn’t be the mother, and it gave Bays and Thomas license to focus on other things, like the classic episode “Slap Bet.”
But that will change when we reach the 100th episode.
I think episode 100 is going to play really great to that crowd that’s so invested in the mother,” Thomas says. “We have never been closer.”
Bays and Thomas have to be intentionally vague not only on who the mother will be but when we might meet her. Some fans feel she shouldn’t turn up until the final scene of the series, while others argue the show could run for several years after Ted finally meets and even marries his dream woman.
Our plan has always been to do it one of those two ways,” Thomas says.
But if their public answers remain fuzzy, their private plan is getting ever clearer.
Between the first and second season,” Bays says, “we figured out where the show would end. We knew what the last episode would be. Just this year, we’ve tentatively reverse-engineered what gets us to that final episode, but we’ve left it loose, because who knows if we’ve got eight or nine years in us. But we’ve finally got a sense of what the last few seasons will look like.”
And the mother not only gives the show a title and an air of mystery but a bit of reassurance for the audience, who hear these stories narrated by the Ted of the future.
There’s something so nice in knowing that it all works out for Ted,” Thomas says.