My name is Carter Bays. I co-created How I Met Your Mother back in 2005 with Craig Thomas. We just aired our 200th episode last week. Craig's username is "himymcraig." Ask us anything!

Comments: 1883 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

SamSanti398 karma




Edit: Feel free to PM me your pineapple fantasies.... Or anything really.

HIMYMCarter371 karma

You might find out what happened with the pineapple eventually. We had always said we'd never reveal it, but now I'd say it's fifty fifty. It's always been an appealing idea to us artistically to leave it as the one mystery that never gets solved. But on the other hand, we do have an explanation for it that we like so it may make its way into these last few episodes.

ncljdm332 karma

Hi Craig and Carter!

Would you consider returning to /r/IAMA or /r/HIMYM after the series finale? I'm sure most of us have questions you obviously can't answer yet!

Thanks for creating such a great show, you guys are seriously fantastic writers!

HIMYMCarter453 karma

Wow, this is exciting! 76 comments already -- you guys are giving us a lot of work to do! Okay, here's the first answer: We would consider it, although we're already thinking we will probably stay pretty quiet after the finale, press-wise. We want the last hour of this show to speak for itself, instead of us going on and on in interviews telling you what you just saw.

gabbs131297 karma

How far were you into the series, and what made you decide that Robin and Barney would get married?

HIMYMCarter393 karma

Between seasons five and six. Season six was when we really locked in on what the endgame would be.

R2LUKE2276 karma

Did you guys get a good laugh from Jason Segel's comments on being in a sitcom in the movie This is the End?

HIMYMCarter295 karma

I loved that movie, and that scene was great. And I don't want to give anything away, but keep watching.

Minifig81255 karma

I'd just like to thank you.

My best female (married) friend uses "HAAAAAAAAAAVE YOU MET... " as her technique for introducing me to women when she's my wing woman.

HIMYMCarter215 karma

You're quite welcome!

RevolutionInTheHead255 karma


Was it hard casting The Mother? Did you have someone in mind before you began the process?

I really love Cristin Miloti and I think she is a perfect Mother!

HIMYMCarter330 karma

It was very easy casting the mother because Marisa Ross, our casting agent, had the idea very early on, and all we had to do was say yes. Craig had seen her in Once and I'd seen her on 30 Rock and then once we had her audition with Josh it was a very easy decision.

paudream240 karma

Hi!!! Do you regret any plot decision through the series? If yes, which one?

Love from Argentina.

HIMYMCarter409 karma

I regret the unfortunate moments of cultural appropriation in Slapsgiving 3. There are things about that episode I really loved -- the storytelling structure, Boyz 2 Men, the opening slow motion shot, all the slapping -- but I think we all regret Ted's Fu Manchu mustache very, very much.

B_Kid228 karma

Can you tell NPH I said hey?

HIMYMCarter317 karma

Will do, B Kid!

boone95219 karma

Why should I watch How I Met Your Dad?

HIMYMCarter222 karma

Two words: Emily Spivey.

tbrun08217 karma

Did you have Barney's "P.L.E.A.S.E." job planned out from the beginning or did you just improvise with the running joke throughout the series?

P.S. Thank you for doing this! This is by far my favorite show ever!

HIMYMCarter227 karma

Chris Harris gets the credit for this one. We were more than happy to never reveal it. But then Chris invented this whole Count of Monte Cristo scenario, and it was too delicious not to do.

Sharpam200 karma

Am I going to cry during the series finale?

HIMYMCarter291 karma

You might cry a few times in the next two months.

Misiman23176 karma

Carter and Craig, thank you so much for doing this AMA! I am a huge fan of the show’s theme song and think that the full version would be a great addition to one of these final episodes both musically and lyrically. Seeing as it is your guys’ band who sings it, is this a possibility? Perhaps maybe even a guest cameo by the Solids themselves?

HIMYMCraig288 karma

I don't know if Carter is reading my replies (we are not together - he is in 70 degrees and I am in NYC snow!), but CB, I think we could put the fuller version of the theme song in the finale in that one know what I'm talking about! So...yes to this, this could very well happen!

HIMYMCarter319 karma

CA-CHING! Uh... I mean... yes, Craig, let's use that song by The Solids. They seem like a good band.

HIMYMCarter173 karma

Okay. It's been 4 and a half hours, my eyes are bleary, my fingers hurt... I have to stop and get back to work. This was super fun. Thank you all so much for participating in this, I hope it was insightful or enlightening or at least not too confounding. I'm sorry if I didn't get some peoples' questions. Hopefully we'll do this again and we'll have more time to get into it. Thank you all so much for watching this show for all these years. Please make sure to tune in tonight -- it's a really good one! Sincerely, Carter (and Craig)

HIMYMCarter170 karma

Oh my gosh, there's so many questions! I'm trying to get to all of them. I'm going to do my best, but it may take a while.

Craig had to go, but he wishes you all the best and thanks you immensely for being such amazing fans. As do I.

Okay, back to the questions...

Himymfangirl163 karma

Will there be a doppelganger of the mother?

As Lucy Hale comes back as Robin's sister, will we see Ashley Benson as barney's sister as well?

HIMYMCarter134 karma

Not sure on either of those. We'll see!

themrmohr149 karma

How does josh Radnor become Bob saget?

HIMYMCraig474 karma

How do ANY of us become Bob Saget? I like to think that no matter how hard you try, it's really something that just "happens."

HIMYMCarter244 karma


AngelWoosh147 karma

The continuity is amazing in himym. Is it a pain to get everything right? And how do you do it!

HIMYMCraig200 karma

We work on it really hard. And then occasionally just mess up colossally! But when we do, we often go back and fix it before it reruns again...look for that, America, in repeats!!!

peepay102 karma

Can you give any example of when you messed up and fixed it after airing?

HIMYMCarter274 karma

There's a few little mistakes in the 200th episode that we're going to fix for future airings. The "couple of years" thing is being changed, and the St. Patrick's Day in April thing... man... that one was all me. Total blind spot. The fact that St. Patricks day is in March and not April was, if I may borrow the HIMYM term, my chameleon.

gokussr4128 karma

  • How were you originally going to end it in Season 8 if there was no Season 9?

  • Is there ANY sort of twist that exists at the end?

  • Where did you guys come up with the motif of the Yellow Umbrella?

  • Do you really utilize what most call “The Color Theory” in the show?

  • Is there any deeper meaning to the objects in the background of the kids?

  • Will you be filming any scenes with the actors that play the kids at their current ages that are canon?

  • How do you guys abide by continuity? Many people are critical of it, which is why I ask.

  • As an aspiring filmmaker, how’d you guys come up with the idea and eventually began writing the show in the time-jumping format you did?

  • What do you think of what people post on r/himym?

  • Can you give some insight on some artists you’ll be using for the soundtrack of future episodes?

EDIT: Just wanted to thank you guys for taking time out of your day to do this. I started watching the show in Spring 2012 thanks to a friend. He got me addicted to it with a random episode and I watched up to Season 6 on Netflix until Season 7 came out in the fall. Luckily, I was able to watch Season 8 and now Season 9 as they were airing. Thank you guys for such an awesome show. It gives me hope in my life with friends, brightens my Monday, and gives me an idea of the type of movies/TV I would want to one day make.

HIMYMCarter181 karma

  1. We would only have met the mother in the last scene of the series. Which, looking back on it now, seems unthinkable!

  2. Yes.

  3. I don't know where it came from. Ubmbrellas are romantic I guess?

  4. I don't know what the color theory is.

  5. No, there wasn't initially. The yellow bus came into play later, but nothing was planned from the start.

  6. Can't say.

  7. We have copious notes, we search scripts for keywords, we have a few writers who have been here from the start and are very smart and have encyclopedic memories. And also sometimes we'll go on twitter to make sure we're not contradicting ourselves. Beyond that, we just do our best. As you can imagine, it's not easy!

  8. It just kind of happened naturally I think. Our last job had been in animation, writing for American Dad, and before that a very energetically paced single cam show called Oliver Beene. So I think despite the multicam format, our writing brains were already trained that way.

  9. I have to confess, I don't read it!

  10. Well, it's getting down to the wire here, so we're trying to squeeze in every band or musician that we love but haven't yet used on the show. We might be using a Bob Dylan song at a pivotal moment in an upcoming episode. I'm very excited for that one.

arielmeme124 karma

How do you feel about all the "the mother is dead" theories?

HIMYMCarter188 karma

We like all theories. It's really cool knowing people are invested enough to have theories about the show. Obviously we're not going to comment on it, but we very much appreciate and are grateful for the fact that our show is meriting so much discussion.

ktrinh97122 karma


HIMYMCarter385 karma

Two Minute Date.

Mannykeyz120 karma

Will there ever be a studio version of "For the longest time" by Josh & Neil?

HIMYMCarter114 karma

I don't know. Probably not, sadly. In hindsight, we should have recorded the full length version while we were there in the studio. It might be hard to get together at this point.

ncljdm112 karma


HIMYMCarter206 karma

I didn't know it existed until right now. Should I look? Will it totally bum me out? I try to avoid that stuff for the most part.

mihirchheda13102 karma

Which was the most difficult episode to manage and why?

HIMYMCarter260 karma

The episode with the two minute date. Getting that scene all in one shot felt like pulling off the moon landing. Every member of the crew had a job to do, and had to do it with perfect timing. It was like watching the inside of a clock. I was so proud of our show that day. I wish we'd had a camera running on the backstage goings on, because it was heroic. We have a scene like that in our third to last episode, Gary Blauman, that may top it in terms of difficulty of execution. It'll be a fun challenge for our third to last week of shooting!

stopkat100 karma

Hi Carter and Craig! First, thank you for 9 years of wonderful entertainment. I'm a Canadian living in NYC, and love all the Canadian references you sneak in. Some of the Canadian jokes/references are really specific (I mean I thought I was the only one who knew of Wawa, Ontario). Anyway, I was just curious why you decided to make Robin Canadian? Was it because of Cobie's background? Also are there many Canadian ex-pats working on your show, or do you do your research on your own?

HIMYMCarter146 karma

It was indeed because Cobie is Canadian. I don't know when it was decided to steer into it -- it just kind of happened in the first season.

And Chuck Tatham is an executive producer, and he's from Guelph Ontario. He's our Canada guy. And Cobie's there too to keep us honest.

Jsouth1287 karma

Which of the recurring jokes over the past 9 seasons has been your favorite?

HIMYMCarter191 karma

There's been an inside joke, I'm not sure how many times it's been on the show, but it involves the word "guys." Anytime you see one of our characters say "Guys guys guys," three times like that, they're tipping their hat to our amazing Assistant Director Michael Shea (who has directed a few episodes as well). The AD is the person who, among other things, has to get people's attention on set and keep everyone informed of what's being shot and how we're shooting it, and often the way Michael does that is by yelling out, "Guys guys guys!" So if you hear someone say "Guys guys guys," that's what that's about.

Salemcz71 karma

How Max died?

HIMYMCarter288 karma

I'll just say this, when you break a story like that in a room full of comedy writers, a lot of very unfortunate and tasteless but admittedly very funny ideas come up. At one point the pitch was: "He was eaten by a lion. But he died doing the two things he loved: running, and feeding animals." We decided to leave it unspoken.

Kneddoapro67 karma

Hey guys, love your show!

  • What is THE hardest laugh you've had during shooting sessions? I am talking multiple days of cracking up.

  • I've always admired your ability to twist the plot. Especially the episode where Marshalls dad passes away. Do you have any methods of coming up with these, or do they just come along during writing?

  • Which one of Lily, Marshall, Barney, Ted and Robin remind the most of their actors and in what ways?

Thanks alot for producing this great show, would love to hear from you guys!

HIMYMCarter135 karma

Blink answer to the first question: NPH's various different reads of the line "You think I can't talk my way out of a ticket?" in "As Fast As She Can." We had him repeat that line about eighty times, and each time was different and hilarious. I think only three of them made it into the episode, which in hindsight was a shame. It could have been a full 22 minutes of that line.

HIMYMCarter110 karma

Oh, in answer to the other questions:

There's no real system for coming up with plot twists, just a lot of ideas that swirl around and wait for the right moment to take shape. The numbers counting down thing is something we'd wanted to try for a few seasons. There was something so dark and haunting about using it here that it just felt right. I know it set a lot of people on edge when those numbers didn't count down to something happy, but instead the saddest moment of the show to date. But I'm glad we used it.

And re: the last question, it's very hard to say, but I guess maybe Neil is the most like Barney maybe? Only because of the magic thing, and plus I feel like Barney would have no problem hosting an awards show.

Tokyomaneater6967 karma

This is most likely going to get buried, but I wanted to share a fun story with you guys. HIMYM is probably my favorite show ever and I started watching it with my squad in Afghanistan (I'm a Navy Corpsman with a Marine unit) in 2012. Every free moment we had we would all gather around my laptop in our tent and watch HIMYM. After a a few seasons we started pretending we were part of the show, and would even go as far as saying "man I can't wait to tell Ol Swarles about this when we get back to base." One of us actually got in a bit of trouble because he said "Come again for big fudge" over a secured line when he didn't understand what was last said over the radio. The show brought us back home for the brief periods we could relax and watch it, and for that I thank you guys. To this day we are still watching it and still reference stupid situations we have and how it coincides with the show.

HIMYMCarter38 karma

Hey man, I know the AMA ended a few days ago but I just read this one and had to reply. I'm so glad we could help bring you guys back home, even if just for 22 minutes at a time. Thanks so much for your service. And thanks for watching!

mihirchheda1363 karma

Who conceptualized Barney Stinson? One heck of a brain I must say!

HIMYMCarter145 karma

So much of the credit goes to NPH. He took a few funny jokes and a suit and turned it into a juggernaut.

Elodiaaaa_62 karma

How came the idea of ​​Robin Sparkles?

HIMYMCarter103 karma

Greg Malins came up with it the summer before season 2. Craig and I pounced on the idea, if only as an excuse to try our hand at writing an eighties pop song.

ataris81657 karma

I just wanted to say thanks. I sent you guys a letter and one of our save the dates last year and you guys took the time to write my now wife and I back! I shared that story on r/himym about a year ago here You guys and George Sloan absolutely rock.

Will George write on HIMYD?

HIMYMCarter56 karma

George, is that you?

Okay, let me toot George Sloan's horn a little bit. George Sloan is a real success story -- he worked his way up from PA on the show to writing some of our best episodes. I have no idea what the deal will be with staffing on HIMYD -- it's not even a pilot yet -- but wherever George ends up he's got a big future ahead of him.

Crap, now I feel like, having said that about George, I could say that about any one of our writers. They're just an amazing bunch of people. If HIMYD doesn't go anywhere, and there's a HIMYM writer diaspora into the far flung writing staffs of other shows next year, all I can say is those writing staffs will be very lucky indeed.

Anyway, congratulations on your wedding!

TheViewerMarcus54 karma

Why is Bob Saget the voice over of Future Ted?

HIMYMCarter124 karma

We always liked making the distinction that who Ted is in the present day is different from who he eventually becomes. This series is a journey of transformation. Using two different actors helped key the viewer in to that right off the bat.

CallMeRG354 karma

Did any of the guests ever seek you out because they wanted to be on the show?

HIMYMCarter206 karma

We got a call a few weeks after the writers strike ended saying that Britney Spears wanted to be on our show. And she specifically wanted to be in the episode "Ten Sessions," which sent a chill down our spines, because that's the one where we meet Stella. I immediately imagined Britney playing Stella and had a minor panic attack, because it's such a big role and needed an proven, experienced actress like Sarah Chalke. But to her credit, Britney liked the character of Abby, and wanted to play that part. So we said sure! And by golly she put our show on the map. It can't be overstated. Britney Spears rescued us from ever being on the bubble again. Thanks Britney!

legendary1000awesome50 karma

do you guys have a favourite music moment of the show? mother of pearl is mine also which season do you think is best? not just humour-wise but the character relationships and storylines/plot of the show.

HIMYMCarter65 karma

Thank you for saying that about "Mother Of Pearl!" It was a real touchstone for me in the first season. I love that song so much. It's one of those songs that I think says everything we've tried to say in 9 seasons in the length of a pop song. Well, a very long pop song, to be fair, but a pop song none the less.

The other song that's like that for me is "Bob Dylan's Dream" off "The Freewheeling Bob Dylan." That song gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. The fact that he was like 22 when he wrote it is something I just can't handle one bit.

naus22649 karma

how nerve wracking was it to build up a character you knew we would not "meet" for several seasons and not know how the fans would react when she finally appeared? How much of a relief was it when you decided on Cristin?

HIMYMCarter82 karma

Infinity nerve racking. The initial plan was to never meet her, or only meet her in one scene. Which looking back on it was probably a really bad idea. It's been a huge relief seeing how good Cristin is in this role.

marieelaine0344 karma

Hey hey love the show!

How has the show been different than originally expected years ago when it started?

Any storylines that were forgotten or left in which changed the show's direction? Thanks :)

HIMYMCarter91 karma

Barney and Robin becoming an item definitely changed the gameplan of the show, but in all good ways.

princesstepha42 karma

Are there any story lines for any of the characters that you haven't pursued but wish you had?

HIMYMCarter116 karma

I want to know more about Ranjit's life. We might get a little glimpse in a further episode, but he's still such a mystery...

yesitsdhang39 karma

Where did you get the inspirations and the catch phrases of Barney?

HIMYMCarter100 karma

Justin Stangel, our old boss at Letterman, invented "Have ya met Ted." It wasn't even like he'd make a big thing out of it. You'd just be hanging out in a bar with him, having a conversation, and a girl would go by, and he'd stop her and say, "Have you met Carter?" It was very cool. And a very nice memory.

CpeanuT37 karma

How many times have you rewritten the last scene throughout the series?


HIMYMCarter80 karma

We've been slowly crafting the last ten minutes of the show probably since it started, but the actual writing of it hasn't happened until just recently.

fudgethecharacterlim35 karma

Josh recently noted that he and Neil worked together (very closely too, apparently...) on a play prior to being cast on HIMYM. Did their experience with each other influence your casting decisions at all, or is this just simply a coincidence?

HIMYMCarter61 karma

Totally a coincidence, but a very entertaining coincidence. From what I hear, they got pretty damn naked together. By the way, I saw them do a staged reading of that play -- "The Paris Letter" by Jon Robin Baitz -- a couple years later (with their clothes on) and it was marvelous. Those kids can act. I can't wait to see Josh back on stage in the future, and NPH + Hedwig is making my brain explode, I'm so excited.

danistinson35 karma

Hi guys! I loved the "La Vie en Rose" scene, was it inspired in the "Moon River" scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's?

HIMYMCarter37 karma

Yes definitely. There's a lot of Audrey Hepburn DNA in that episode -- "La Vie En Rose" is right out of Sabrina.

greeny7435 karma

What was your favorite "play" or scheme that you wrote for Barney in the show?

Also, thank you both sooo much for 9 wonderful years of this show! Can't wait for the endgame!

HIMYMCarter88 karma

It's gotta be "the Robin," right? Nothing else even comes close!

Thank you for watching!

flammabled33 karma

Who's responsible for so many wrestling references on the show over the years?

HIMYMCarter90 karma

We all grew up watching wrestling on Sunday mornings. It was like church.

The fact that Barney's diamond suit is called the DiBiasi is one of my favorite jokes from the whole series.

rememberzack30 karma

Love How I Met Your Mother!!!!!

Whoes idea was the slap bet?

Was it based off something you guys did in your days?

HIMYMCarter65 karma

My friend Jon Read and I used to make slap bets in high school. And by the way, Jon's a terrific artist, and the elephant painting from "The Ashtray" and the robots bowling painting from "HYMMM" were both his work.

ResetNothing28 karma

Hey guys! I love the show and have been a fan for years.

One thing I've always wondered about is Robin's Scherbatsky doormat. In season one she gets a new one after Ted admits to throwing up on her old one. Then Narrator Ted says (over her looking at her new mat) "but of course not every secret was told that night, but that's getting ahead of the story".

We still don't know what the secret was! Are you planning to revisit that?

HIMYMCarter50 karma

I think that secret might have been Robin Sparkles.