October may not go down as a very auspicious month for the characters on “How I Met Your Mother,” romantically speaking. In fact, to hear one of the show’s executive producers describe it, it will be a relationship bloodbath.
How bad is it? The show’s writers have dubbed it “breakup month.”
“October is a very rough, unromantic month for the group,” co-creator Craig Thomas tells Zap2it. There is a bright side, though, he adds: “It’s all to get them toward bigger and better things.”
We already know Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) make it to their wedding day at some point in the future, which means his relationship with Quinn (Becki Newton) and hers with Nick (the returning Michael Trucco) are doomed. We also know Victoria (Ashley Williams) isn’t the mother of Ted’s (Josh Radnor) kids, so they can’t be too long for the world either.
The carnage will begin in Monday’s (Oct. 1) episode, “The Pre-Nup.” Thomas sets the scene: “We show a split screen of four different couples — Marshall and Lily, Barney and Quinn, Ted and Victoria and Robin and [Nick]. We say, ‘Kids, October was breakup month. These couples were all doomed.’ Then it will be, ‘Well, not Marshall and Lily. Of course they stay together,’ and their split screen slides out. Then it becomes a three-way split screen, and there’s a real feeling of, Tune in each week. …
“Remember the sequence in ‘Goodfellas’ where they’re just murdering people to, like, a really good Rolling Stones song? That’s October on ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ Without the Rolling Stones song, because that’s way too expensive.”
“How I Met Your Mother” has frequently told us where stories end, if not how they end, and then gone back and filled in the details later. It can be a risky way to approach things — if people know the ending, will they care about the middle? — but Thomas says he and his fellow writers like the challenge of filling in the blanks.
“Eight years into any project, you’re kind of looking for challenges and ways to make it new again,” he says. “The truth is, we told the audience exactly where and essentially when Ted’s going to meet the mother two years ago. So the whole phenomenon of, ‘Tune in this week to see if Ted’s gonna meet the mother,’ we retired that a while ago. So we look at it like, the audience likes these characters. We’re working off the assumption that the audience likes these actors and these characters, and will go on a journey with us where they know the outcome to certain things and yet certain other questions are still mysteries. And they’ll go with us because they want to see what happens to these characters.”
Thomas also isn’t worried about retroactively tarnishing the way fans look at Victoria, who’s one of the most-liked of Ted’s exes.
“I think everybody has, when they get married, everybody looks back and thinks there was a viable runner-up,” Thomas says. “There was that other person that, if a few things had gone differently, that could be my life story. That could be the person I grow old with. … Is Victoria the right answer for Ted? Ted, in the moment, he doesn’t have a crystal ball. He doesn’t watch ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and see that there are flash-forwards to the year 2030 where all the answers already exist.”
“How I Met Your Mother” airs at 8 p.m. ET Monday on CBS.