‘Mother’ goes extra mile

Books, websites spring from sitcom's scripts

There’s life to “How I Met Your Mother” beyond Monday nights.

Eagle-eyed viewers have long known that “Mother” episodes frequently contain Easter egg-style references to bonus material on the Web. The show also has spawned musicvideos (starring, of course, one-time Canadian pop star Robin Sparkles, played by Cobie Smulders) and “The Bro Code,” a book compiling the wit and wisdom of lothario Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).

People are watching the show the way we want them to watch the show,” says co-creator Carter Bays. “When we mention a website or potential existence of websites, it will exist. It’s extra content that we worked hard on creating. We love the idea of the show feeling like it lives (outside of its time­slot).”

It all started with “Ted Mosby is a Jerk,” a Web page created by a guest character jilted by Barney (who had been posing as his pal Ted). The “Mother” team created a website that paralleled the one mentioned on the show — and added a ridiculous 20-minute song to the site.

A lot of effort went into that — and was the beginning of doing things that elaborate on websites,” Bays says. “Fans kind of dig it. It’s an extra way to write additional jokes.”

For one site — CanadianSexActs.org — Alan Thicke even made a cameo appearance. Other sites include Barney’s video resume, “The Mysterious Dr. X” (Ted’s college radio personality), MarshallandLilyWedding.com, and Slap Countdown — a website counting down the minutes until Marshall will next smack Barney as part of their “slap bet.”

Most recently, another faux Barney identity — “Lorenzo Von Matterhorn” — was the subject of multiple sites, and even his own Wikipedia page. Enforcing their ban against pages about fictional characters, Wikipedia pulled it down.

In order to keep the sites as organic as possible, Bays says the “Mother” team pays for the domains and engineers the sites without involvement from CBS or 20th Century Fox TV.

For the most part, it’s guerrilla-style,” he says.

Next up for the show: the sequel to “The Bro Code,” titled “Bro on the Go,” now in bookstores; and the site TheWeddingBrideMovie.com, a reference to a movie that is being written by the husband of Ted’s ex-fiance Stella. (That film, briefly mentioned last season, shows up on a movie poster in an episode this May.)

That’s a little buried treasure of something you’ll be seeing soon,” Bays says.

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