Spinoffs are far from being television gold (Joey is just one example that comes to mind), but that isn’t stopping Carter Bays and Craig Thomas — the duo behind How I Met Your Mother – from looking for success with How I Met Your Dad. The cast started to take shape Tuesday when it was announced that Greta Gerwig will play the “I,” otherwise known as Sally, in the new series.
Gerwig is known for her role in Frances Ha, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She wrote the movie with Noah Baumbach, and is reported to be a writer for the new show, as well as a producer. When the audience meets Sally, she is coming to the realization that she and her new husband have nothing in common, New York Daily News reports. Sally — a New Yorker in her late 20s — then goes on her search for her true soulmate with the help of her friends.
With How I Met Your Dad, CBS will be looking to fill the lucrative shoes of How I Met Your Mother. The series, now in its final run, has seen boosted ratings throughout its ninth season. Its 200th episode drew a 3.8 in adults aged 18-49 years old and had 10.7 million viewers, an increase of 23 percent over the previous week.
In an interview with reporters, Thomas discussed the spinoff, and IGN published his remarks. Thomas said the new show will have “curveballs,” because he believes “this new show has to prove how it’s its own thing and how it’s different.” Part of this is accomplished by having a female perspective, because that introduces new possibilities and problems. “The character in How I Met Your Dad, the main character Sally, is very different from Ted Mosby,” Thomas explained. “We meet her at a very different and tumultuous moment of her life.”
During the interview, Thomas revealed new perspective had been introduced into the writers room as well. Emily Spivey, who has written for Saturday Night Live and Up All Night, had joined the pair in creating the script.
Thomas is aware that How I Met Your Dad will have to fight against the doomed spinoffs of the past and the stereotypes that followed. “People will say, ‘Comedies can’t do that. Spinoffs only work if it’s like Frasier. You choose the right beloved character, and you spin it off in the right way.’ If you do it wrong, it’s The Tortellis on Cheers or something. Cheers has the two extremes of how it can go: Frasier and The Tortellis,” he remarked.
He quotes and credits How I Met Your Mother character Barney for the mentality he and Bays used when approaching the new series. Known for his phrase “Challenge accepted!” Barney entered into a variety of situations on the show. Likewise, Thomas and Bays are viewing a spinoff of the beloved original as a kind of challenge accepted. “We want to at least try. It’s worth writing 48 pages,” he said.
At the heart of How I Met Your Dad is an idea Bays and Thomas have been invested in since the earliest days of How I Met Your Mother. In an interview with the Writers Guild of America, Bays said the show was premised on an idea everyone can relate to. “Everybody wonders that about their parents. It felt like something we could tap into,” Bays said. “Then that sort of got applied to Craig and I writing about our lives and friends and the things that happen in our world.”