Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, co-creators and showrunners of How I Met Your Father, spoke with Hindustan Times about the extended second season, having fun with the main character, and Easter eggs from the How I Met Your Mother universe.
In January, the second season of How I Met Your Father premiered with new episodes on Disney+ Hotstar. A spin-off of the popular series How I Met Your Mother, this version follows Sophie (Hilary Duff), who wants to fall in love but has the worst luck when it comes to dating. Surrounding her in New York are her friends, Valentina (Francia Raisa), Jesse (Chris Lowell), Sid (Suraj Sharma), Charlie (Tom Ainsley) and Ellen (Tien Tran), who help in her journey. Kim Cattrall plays the adult Sophie who narrates the tale from the future.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, the co-creators and showrunners of How I Met Your Father, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger shared their thoughts about the extended second season, with 20 episodes, having fun with characters, and hidden Easters eggs from the How I Met Your Mother universe that viewers can expect this time around. Excerpts below:
There are always going to be connections to How I Met Your Mother, but how does this spin-off claim its own identity? How did you work to ensure that?
Elizabeth: Much like the original, we are a romantic mystery and an ensemble show. That being said, our show takes place in 2023 and hopefully it feels of the moment. We have a female protagonist in ours and I think that also makes it feel very different that you’re following a woman’s journey as she navigates friendship, life, growing up and searching for love. There’s stuff that we hope feels authentic to the original in terms friendships that you love to follow and that general core mystery, but we also think that those things really set it apart.
Having said that, we’ve already seen some Easter eggs and connections to Mother universe so far, even this season. How many more can we expect in this second season?
Isaac: There’s a bunch. Part of what’s so fun about the show is that we exist in the same ‘sitcomified’ New York as the original. It really means that there’s limitless potential for overlaps, for Easter Eggs, and for cameos. Whether it’s the tiniest little detail or background character, or all the way up to the end of season one we had Cobie [Smulders] back. This year, we had Neil [Patrick Harris] come back, like major crossovers. From big to small, there’s tons of ways that fans of the original are going to be rewarded throughout the season.
There’s a Lizzie McGuire connection as well. How did you manage that?
Elizabeth: (laughs) Yes, we even got to use a little Lizzie clip which we are hopeful people will find very exciting. The writer of the episode had a really great idea to work it into the episode and then we very quickly ran it by Hilary because we wanted to make sure that she liked the idea and she thought it was so funny. I think it took her all of three seconds to say ‘Yes, do it’ and laugh. We think it’s a really fun little nod for Hilary and Lizzie fans.
Is the cast privy to any extra information about their characters? Maybe about what’s going to happen down the line?
Elizabeth: It’s a mix. Whenever we run into an actor on set, if they have questions and we have answers, we are happy to tell them. Some of what they are asking is stuff that we think we know the answer to but is also a little bit fluid in our minds. But yes, we’re always happy to sort of fill them in, on the next chapter, as much we know, because we think it only helps inform their performances.
You have told them about backstories as well?
Isaac: Yes, like Hilary came to writer’s room early on this season to meet all the new writers. She’s a producer on the show too, so she loves getting a lay of the land and to know where she’s headed and what she’s going to get into. Whenever they come to us with questions about what a joke means or moment means, we fill them in on what we’re thinking.
How I Met Your Mother, of course, had nine seasons. How have you laid out the plan for the big reveal of the father?
Elizabeth: Sure, it’s a little bit tricky because you don’t really have the answer for how long your show is going to run. You have to make a plan that’s a little bit modular where you can move things around so the way we do it and we sort of learned this on This Is Us where we worked before. The way we would figure things out is we would have our big things we knew we wanted to hit throughout the series and what they would be. And then where they can go, we leave some room for it to shift around, depending on how many we actually end up doing. So we have our plan but we can shift our pieces around a little bit depending on what our ultimate order ends up being.
Which are your favourite characters to write for on the show?
Isaac: It’s too hard to pick but what I’ll say is, doing 20 episodes this season, we’ve gotten to pair up all these different combinations and duos. 10 is such a short order, we couldn’t possibly try out all the [characters]. Getting to try out these actors together and putting them in stories together has been so exciting. They all are so unique, funny and weird in their own ways. We did a couple of stories this year with Tien and Suraj who didn’t share too many last year and getting to see their energies together was so unexpected. You find these little nuggets of comedy and heart in there that you never would have seen on the page.
Do you think the viewers going to be satisfied with the direction the show is taking in the second season?
Elizabeth: I hope so. Our first season, we were very focused on every episode needing to push forward the romantic mystery because you have so little real estate. This season, there’s just a lot more room to just have fun and do those hangout episodes and episodes where you’re just being friends together, living life. I think that was really good for the show in order to just build up those friendships and build up what makes them click. On the romance front, we also had room to progress our mystery and story in a way that hopefully, people will find really satisfying.
I read that the season two finale was filmed in front of a live audience. How was that experience like?
Isaac: We wanted to put the show in front of an audience since we started doing it. And because of COVID-19 and the complexity of the show, it was too hard. But we really targeted that goal for our finale and we wrote an episode that was conducive to filming in front of an audience. The cast was so excited. It was really incredible. We got to bring in 200 fans of the show. They were so thrilled to be there and get to see it live. The energy was just at 1000%, it was so electric getting the chance to do that and really just want to do more audience shows. It was so much fun.
Disclaimer: Except the headline and synopsis, this story has been taken from the HT News Service.