“People will say ‘I love your show,’ and I go, ‘What show? Oh, I love that show too!'” Saget says.
Such is the life of Future Ted. Saget narrates the series as the older version of Josh Radnor‘s character, and since he’s never on camera, he doesn’t spend a lot of time hanging around on set. He considers himself an “outsider” in that he can watch the show at a bit of a remove — but that’s not to say he’s not a fan.
“I thought when it started that it was a blessed kind of thing, and I know CBS liked it a lot and believed in it,” Saget tells reporters at a celebration of the 200th episode, which airs Monday (Jan. 27). “And [director/executive producer] Pam Fryman‘s just super.
“… I’ve been canceled a bunch myself, and I didn’t feel that way about my stuff. But this, as kind of an outsider watching it, I wasn’t surprised. And everybody’s stars rose — the whole cast. … It was a really wonderful lining up of everything.”
Saget’s voice-over sessions typically don’t take very long, but he tries to prepare as much as he can, peppering creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas about what’s going on in present-day Ted’s life and why Future Ted overshares with his kids.
“I’ll say to Craig or Carter, ‘Boy, he’s telling them really about sex,'” Saget says. “Do you sit with your kids and tell them, ‘Well then I had the fake one, and then it was her, then we had a dummy in her place’? But I have three daughters in life and I do say terrible, terrible things. I don’t mean to, but you just talk if you’re an open person. He’s an open person, [and] he’s telling them too much.”
Saget says he and Radnor have become friends over the show’s run, and they commiserate over constantly being asked why Ted’s voice gets so much deeper as he gets older. “We want to hear maybe what alcohol does to him 20 years later,” Saget jokes. He also adds that very early on, he felt like he had a good read on the younger Ted and his search for true love.
“From the moment the thing started, I just got into his head. I knew,” Saget says. “Everything I would record, I wouldn’t see the rough [footage] before[hand] — when they went to picture I would see it. I wouldn’t be able to see the whole show, so I would have them run back as much as they could, and then I needed to know the back story: ‘Why is he doing this? Is Ted — he still loves her? Then why, if he still loves her, what’s he doing? That’s so much pain.’ I’m a b**** for the show — I got into everybody. ‘They’re in bed? What?’ It just serves the narration.”
Saget says Bays and Thomas haven’t told him if he’ll get to deliver the final line of the series, but he’s hopeful.
“It would feel to me like that would be the coda they put on it,” Saget says. “It’s an emotional thing — again, it was a silly gift of a job that I love doing, but it’s the show that’s so wonderful. … You kind of have to buy the who’s-he-in-20-years premise of it. People have been very kind and not outraged — ‘How dare they use not his voice!’ It always felt natural to me, and they thought it felt natural, which I was honored by.”
“How I Met Your Mother’s” 200th episode airs at 8 p.m. ET Monday on CBS.