I don’t really know what to do with this How I Met Your Mother news, except to share it with you the way I found it, lest I mix up the careful wording of this very Russian Nesting Doll development (thanks, TVLine!):

A CBS insider tells TVLine that while the Monday sitcom will flash forward to identify the bride and groom at the close of the May 16 season finale, that reveal is merely a piece of a much larger story that will unspool in the present.

“The wedding takes place ‘a little ways down the road’ — an unidentified, unspecified amount of time away,” HIMYM executive producer Carter Bays tells TVLine, echoing the onscreen subtitles that have appeared with each of this season’s glimpses at the future. “We will be jumping forward for the last scene of the finale, but then we’ll return to the present day when we start Season 7.”

Adds Bay, “The idea is that we’re going to keep revealing little details about this wedding day as we build toward [it] within the chronological story of the show.” And though clues will be dropped throughout Season 7, the ceremony itself won’t necessarily arrive before that finale, either.

Huuuuuh? Wait. I think I get it, thanks to this helpful “in other words”:

In other words, the mystery of the show’s titular mother — whom we know Ted meets at the aforementioned wedding — will itself be couched in the mystery of how that wedding comes to be, given the likely surprising identity of who it is trading vows.

Ah! Or, as Carter Bays puts it:

“It adds a new dimension where you’re not just asking, ‘Who is this woman that Ted’s going to meet, and how does he meet her?’ There are now other questions.” Namely, who’s getting married? And once that is revealed in next month’s season-ender, how will that couple get to the altar?”

When did How I Met Your Mother turn into a time-traveling mystery show?

Oh, you’re right. It was that from Day One. But this still seems extra-complicated. Or maybe extra-exciting, since it seems pretty clear now, with all this buzz and build-up, that the wedding is not Punchy’s, but maybe, just maybe … Barney and Robin’s? COULD IT BE?

But if it is Barney and Robin’s wedding, how does the mother get there?

And doesn’t that ruin the suspense if we know B+R end up together? Doesn’t that seem too simple?

Or, since it’s an “unspecified” flash forward, what if the wedding takes place in the middle-distance of time, not Happily Ever After time, and that means something could happen after the wedding to change who ends up with whom?

What if it’s Robin marrying someone else, or Barney marrying someone else?

Or an alternate, Sideways-esque reality that Ted sees in a vision and must battle to change the course of fate in order to save his friends from lives of eternal unhappiness?

OK, yes, I got carried away with that last one, but this news makes me feel like I’m watching Lost: The Sitcom. I can’t say I’m mad at it. This is sort of fun. Have your own theories for where this mystery is headed? Share them, PLEASE. I need all the help I can get.

Here’s what we learned about the Wedding Mystery last week: Nora might be there?

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.