Familiarity breeds anything but contempt

When a person spends five years of his or her life with one group of people, like it or not, they become part of a family.

The cast of CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” is no different, and all five are in agreement when it comes to the familial roles they play.

(Director) Pam Fryman is really the mama of the set,” says actor Josh Radnor, who plays Ted Mosby on the show. “The five of us are the kids.”

Which kid am I?” asks Neil Patrick Harris, who plays the show’s womanizing Barney Stinson.

You’re like the older brother who’s just back from the war,” Radnor laughs. “What happened over there?!?”

Kids indeed.

Since the show’s 2005 debut, Fryman has every reason to be nothing but proud of her five tots.

Hitting the 100-episode mark is a milestone not often seen in sitcom television these days, and the cast believes they owe a lot of the show’s success to the family-like dynamic they share on set.

Production families aren’t new to thesps Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel: Hannigan was a member of the Joss Whedon clan for years, and Segel is an alumnus of Judd Apatow’s “Freaks & Geeks” gang.

But both of them see the experience of “HIMYM” differently from past ones.

I’ve never done anything this long before,” explains Segel. “I’ve never been in a school for this long; I’ve never been in a relationship for this long. With the exception of my actual family, this is the longest I’ve known a group of people.”

Relationships grow stronger and deeper over the years,” Hannigan adds. “We trust each other so much now.”

According to actress Cobie Smulders, the dynamic clicked early on.

In the beginning, we were all just happy to be working,” she explains. “But once we got into the back nine episodes of the first season, that’s when we really started to jell.”

The success of the show over the past half-decade has helped create other opportunities for the cast. Radnor wrote, directed and starred in the film “HappyThankYouMorePlease” which was recently accepted into Sundance. Segel penned a new Muppet film for the Jim Henson Co. and the screenplay for next year’s Apatow-produced “Get Him to the Greek.”

And when Harris isn’t busy acting on a sitcom, hosting awards shows or becoming a webisode phenomenon, he likes to try his hand at directing, which he recently did for an episode of “HIMYM.” Although when asked if he’ll be directing an episode again any time soon, he jokes, “When I direct, Pam doesn’t get paid, so probably not.”

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