After six long years, Ted’s sweets-making ex-girlfriend (played by Ashley Williams) returned in the final moments of Monday’s one-hour premiere. Although things didn’t end well between the pair — he cheated on her with Robin — executive producer Carter Bays tells TVLine that “there was a palpable electricity in the air when we were shooting her stuff” for next week’s episode (Monday, 8/7c).
“I don’t normally talk this way about episodes because there’s no bigger critic of our own work than me, but I think [the Sept. 26 episode] is one of the best we’ve ever done,” he declares. “I’m very excited about it.”
TVLine chatted with Bays about what’s in store for Ted and Victoria this season, why he decided to bring her back now and what role she plays in the show’s endgame.
TVLINE | How long have you guys been planning to bring Victoria back?
It’s been in the works since she left. That’s the funny thing. It really has. I know while it seemed like maybe we’ve forgotten, we always knew that there’s more to the story there with Ted and Victoria. The truth is, Ted has dated enough girls on the show that it almost puts Barney to shame. There have been a lot of girls. But you really could count on one hand the ones that really had this kind of indefinable chemistry with Josh [Radnor], and Ashley’s right at the top of that list. There’s something about that story and those actors together that first season that really was something special. We knew it at the time, and in the six years since then, nothing has quite… Great other ladies have come and gone in Ted’s life, but Victoria was always someone very special. We knew we wanted to see a little more to that story.
TVLINE | Why did it take six years?
It had a lot to do with where the series is going and where we’re going to end up. That’s not to say that the end is coming too soon because we have at least two more years, maybe more. We knew that she would be part of the endgame of the series. She’s all over the third episode. And I don’t know exactly when she’s coming back beyond that, but there’s definitely going to be more to the story.
TVLINE | What else can you say about next week’s episode?
The most fun thing about being in the sixth season with this particular show is that the characters have lived a good chunk of their lives between when the show began and right now. … It’s been fun thinking, “Well, OK, that’s what happened to Ted. What’s been going on with Victoria?” We haven’t seen her since she got on that plane to Germany, essentially, and this will sort of be catching up with her, seeing what her life has been about, and seeing how there’s a little bit of destiny to the fact that he happens to run into her this particular night. She’s bringing with her a little bit of wisdom that will become very important to Ted as the season goes on and as the series goes on.
TVLINE | They didn’t leave off on the greatest note. Is it a happy reunion?
It’s not all peaches and cream. It’s interesting because we all looked at our own lives. When you’ve been in a situation like this, where you see someone with whom you had this very intense experience, and maybe it ended badly and you haven’t seen them in a long time, what’s it like when you bump into that person after all these years? It’s a different reunion than it would’ve been if he had bumped into her six months later, for instance. It’s six years, and they’ve lived life since then. So it’s not as simple as just Ted did her wrong, and then she’s angry about it.
TVLINE | Is he going to try to make amends for what he did?
Yeah. … The last episode that Victoria appeared in, Ted cheated on her with Robin, and the narrator called it the worse thing he’d ever done. I think that’s something that Ted’s been turning around. He feels bad about what he did. This episode is him taking steps to right this wrong that now, six years later, maybe doesn’t even need to be righted, but that’s just what makes him Ted.
TVLINE | At one point, I talked to [HIMYM co-creator] Craig Thomas and asked him where he thinks Victoria is. He said, “She’s probably 600 pounds.”
Oh yeah. That was a running joke, actually. We came very close to doing that storyline. We’d put Ashley in a fat suit. All signs point to her being enormously fat now. She’s going to pastry school in Germany. I can’t imagine staying in that profession and not at least putting on a buck-50. We decided to spare Ashley Williams the fat suit.
TVLINE | Ashley brought scones that she made from lemons in her backyard to the set when I was there last time. I don’t know if you got to taste them.
Oh, I did. Those were delicious.
TVLINE | So who’s the better baker: Ashley or Victoria?
[Laughs] All due respect to Ashley — she’s a wonderful baker — but I think the expression of joy on Marshall’s face in the “Drumroll, Please” episode when he bites into her cake says it all. Victoria’s got something very special in the cooking department. But Ashley’s no slouch [either].
TVLINE | You guys are also bringing back the slutty pumpkin girl.
That’s in the works, as well, yeah. There’s a thematic undercurrent that’s been slowly emerging on this season about exploring our past and exploring our history. … [The characters are] all in a place where they’re ready to be grown-ups now, but there’s just so much baggage that they’re carrying around. We’re going to see some faces from the past. Victoria’s one of them. The Slutty Pumpkin [is another]. There may be more down the road. It’s [Ted] exorcising some of his demons.
HIMYM fans, were you surprised by Victoria’s return? Are you glad to have the cake-maker back? And what did you think of the season premiere? Hit the comments!