BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- It took eight long years, but we finally met their mother.
Unfortunately, he -- meaning the father, meaning Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor -- has not yet met the mother. But he will, and soon, as the long-running CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother prepares to launch its ninth and final season on Sept. 23 (also on Citytv) with an hour-long premiere episode.
The much-discussed final season will take place over the course of a single weekend, as the show's characters venture to fictional Farhampton for the wedding of Robin and Barney (Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris). Also headed for the resort-destination wedding -- as revealed in the final few fleeting moments of last season's finale -- is "the girl with the yellow umbrella," whom the voice-over version of Ted had begun describing in earlier instalments.
The girl, as it turns out, will be played by Broadway performer Cristin Milioti, who reportedly arrives in the final-season HIMYM storyline as a member of the band booked to play at the wedding.
According to recent reports, the season-long run-up to the series finale will show how "the girl" meets and befriends various members of the Josh-led group of friends before finally meeting her eventual groom.
"I'm really excited about this year," Smulders told the Free Press at an elaborate celebrity-filled party that capped CBS's portion of the U.S. networks' semi-annual press tour in Los Angeles. "I know some people are a bit apprehensive, but I'm excited, first of all because it's refreshing to do something new and different. I also think it's a great opportunity to meet Cristin, who's going to be playing the mother, and see her interact with the other characters.
"I think most people were anticipating, as I was, that it would be a case of meeting the mother and then... we're done. But this way, you get to see her interact with us, and eventually with Ted, and see the attributes that he falls in love with."
Smulders, the HIMYM cast's resident Canadian, said she's been flattered by all the Canuck-mocking humour that has been built into the series over the years -- from her shady background as '90s hoser pop star Robin Sparkles to questions of the validity of our early Thanksgiving to the infamous Two Beavers Are Better Than One song to a poke at Tim Hortons that resulted in the ubiquitous doughnut chain actually creating a Jason Priestley pastry.
"I was just up in Canada, and I was asking people, 'It's OK, right? We're OK with the jokes we make, aren't we?' " the Vancouver native said with a laugh. "And Canadians are the kindest, sweetest people, and they're so good-natured that I'm not worried about it.
"I mean, there are times in the table reads when I go, 'C'mon, guys, really?' But it's always in good fun; it's never a negative thing. Because there's nothing bad to say about Canadians. Am I right?"
Uh, except when it comes to the Priestley pastry...
"There was a lot of Twittering about that," she recalled. "I'm really just pissed off that Jason Priestley got his own frickin' doughnut. I mean, they made a Jason Priestley. Where's the Robin Sparkles? I feel like that could be a delicious doughnut."
Faux-cruller indignation aside, Smulders said she hasn't tried to influence the manner in which the show's writers will end the series, and she's confident Robin, Barney, Marshall (Jason Segel), Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Ted and "the girl" will all end up precisely where they need to be.
"You know, I trust in Carter (Bays) and Craig (Thomas), our (show's) creators, so much," she said, "and I feel like they have a very specific end game, and it's a good one.
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