Alyson Hannigan recently announced that she is pregnant with her first child. She is set to give birth sometime next Spring. Hannigan’s character on How I Met Your Mother, Lily, is happily married and without children. The opportunity to incorporate Lily’s pregnancy into How I Met Your Mother is right there, ready for the writers to take advantage of. But – will they? Should they? Depending upon how open Hannigan has been to Carter Bays and Craig Thomas about her pregnancy, How I Met Your Mother might already be in the process of working it into the show. Hannigan may have told producers weeks ago that she was pregnant. Working around actress pregnancies has been done before on television (Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld, Angela Kinsey on The Office), but it can be a pain and limit what that actress can do on screen. A difficult question for How I Met Your Mother lies ahead.
How I Met Your Mother is rare in the sitcom world – the on going plot lines are important. Every season, How I Met Your Mother has had an over-arching story line. I don’t know exactly how Bays and Thomas map out each season, but they do know where the show is going, and there is a sense of momentum going from episode to episode. They know what’s going to happen over the course of the season, which means that writing in a pregnancy for Lily at the last second could wreak havoc on the writers’ room. It’s a major event for a television show, one which typically becomes the focus for multiple episodes or an entire season. How I Met Your Mother isn’t your typical series, however, and if they were to deal with a pregnancy, it would be in as unconventional a way as possible.
For instance, what would stop How I Met Your Mother from beginning an episode with a fully pregnant Lily? Future Ted could say, “Oh, I forgot – for most of that year Aunt Lily was pregnant. They didn’t talk about it much and Lily still hung out, so everyone only really started to notice when she got huge.” That’s the beauty of How I Met Your Mother’s premise – while the plot line is important, the way in which specific events are relayed are not. Things can happen out of order. Mistakes in the chronology can be explained away by narrator error. The audience would buy the fact that Future Ted forgot about Lily’s pregnancy.
That’s one way to work Hannigan’s pregnancy in to How I Met Your Mother. Though the opportunities are there, I only think they should work it in if they were planning on Lily and Marshall having a baby in the first place. There’s no way the writers are going to drastically rework the season in order to incorporate a birth. Kids rarely work on sitcoms anyway, especially ones where much of the action takes place in a bar. Lily and Marshall, realistically, probably have too much going on in their lives to think about having a kid anyway. Marshall is still struggling with selling out at his job, Lily is a full-time teacher and they still have that slanted apartment. Having a baby just seems, on the surface, to be a very un-HIMYM story line. I’ll go on the record and predict that the show opts to hide Hannigan’s stomach bump over the rest of the season rather than acknowledge it by writing it into the series.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)