When you're a popular sitcom that runs for nine seasons and have to figure out a way to bring a story to its conclusion, it's going to be tough to appease all the fans and critics. How I Met Your Mother ended its run three years ago, with its finale causing passionately split reactions about the direction the show went, with even the show's cast disagreeing with the outcome.
One of the core concepts of the sitcom was that its narrative included a father relaying the story to his children of how his romance with their mother began, leading many fans to question how things would turn out for the show's central couple, Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders).
The two had an on-again-off-again relationship with one another, with the final episodes revealing that another friend, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), married and divorced Robin, but that the real mother on the series was played by Cristin Milioti, who died from cancer.
The finale split social media with positive and negative reactions, with Alyson Hannigan, who played Lily Aldrin on the series, falling more in line with the negative reactions.
“I didn’t think Barney should have ever gotten married,” she revealed to News.Com.Au. “I liked Barney and Robin. But in my heart, I always wanted her with Ted. I just feel they [Barney and Robin] shouldn’t have gotten married.”
Throughout the series, Barney had a reputation for being a lothario, rarely having any extended relationships with women, which is why it came as such a surprise that Robin would see anything in him worth committing to.
That's only the beginning of the actress' frustrations with the finale.
Another issue the actress had was the material that was cut to fit the broadcast running time.
"I was bummed they didn’t just make it a two-hour season-ender, so they would get to show certain parts [that were cut]," she confessed. “The table read for the finale was so good, so right, but it was also like 14 hours long. So when I actually saw the final version of the show, I was like ‘they cut out everything!’”
It's possible, however, that she found it hard to say goodbye to characters she'd been helping bring to life for nearly a decade.
“It just seemed too quick," she explained. "Obviously it was a tear-jerker, but with all the stuff that got cut out it was too fast...like ‘OK, now we’re going to find out the mom’s dead, then suddenly, OK — he’s with Robin now’, and you’re just like, ‘wait, what happened?!’”
With all of the most secretive shows on television, fans assume that the actors are well-aware of all the various twists and turns, but Hannigan revealed she didn't find out the identity of the mother until shortly before filming for the final episode took place.
Hannigan recalled, “I knew something was up because I was called in to the make-up trailer to take a picture with an actress — and when I got there, the door was locked. In nine seasons, the door had never once been locked.”
The interesting reason for Hannigan having to be called in for the photo is that the show's producers wanted to make sure that there weren't going to be any problems casting Milioti, based on her appearance.
Hannigan pointed out, "They were concerned before they actually cast her that we looked too similar."
Hannigan is lucky enough to have starred in two different long-running TV shows that built a fervent fanbase, having previously starred in the genre-bending Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
When asked which role she'd rather reprise, Lily on HIMYM or Willow from BTVS, the decision seemed to come quickly for the actress.
"How I Met Your Mother — I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was so much fun going to work every day...we laughed and laughed. It was just pure, lovely fun,” Hannigan said.
“We all appreciated it while we had it — we knew how special it was. I don’t think that always happens.”
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