Not only will she charm Lily in How I Met Your Mother‘s Season 9 premiere (airing Monday at 8/7c), but she’ll also win over Ted when the two share some “exciting” screentime together in the CBS comedy’s swan song, new series regular Cristin Milioti reveals to TVLine.
Read on for scoop from the actress about meeting Ted’s pals, learning the future Mrs. Mosby’s name and much more!
TVLINE | How has the experience of joining the show been for you? Have you had a particularly surreal moment?
It’s been amazing… I’ve had such a wonderful time. I’ve been made to feel so welcome by the cast and by the creative team and by the crew. It’s just been like a warm, fuzzy, wonderful experience. Surreal moments probably include when I was given an official parking spot. I was very excited. Certainly on set, I’ve had to pinch myself and be like, “Oh, my God, I’m working on this fantastic comedy show with all these wonderful people.”
TVLINE | In your chemistry read with Josh [Rador], did you feel it click then?
I did. [Laughs] I won’t speak for him, but I certainly did. I just felt an instant connection with him from the moment we met each other. There’s an ease there. He’s just the loveliest guy. So immediately, I felt very safe with him. We were making each other laugh. It was great. … You can never predict. Chemistry is extremely unpredictable. And it just so happened to be there.
TVLINE | Despite the fact that you just joined the show, your character has been in the title for eight years. Does that add a strange pressure to represent and live up to viewers’ expectations?
It never had until it was brought up in an interview a couple weeks ago. We did a behind-the-scenes feature, Josh and I, and the interviewer asked, “How are you dealing with the pressure of taking on this role?” That thought had never crossed my mind until that moment. Sure, sometimes the thought will come up, and I’ll think, “Oh, my God, I hope everyone likes me, and I hope I’m doing the character justice.” [But] it’s pretty fleeting, because I’m in excellent hands. Also, oddly, I had never seen the show before I got the role, so I watched all the episodes [on DVD] knowing that I’m The Mother. If I’d seen the show and not known that, I would have been much more frightened. [Laughs]
TVLINE | We’ve gotten little tidbits about The Mother over the years. How would you describe her?
I’ve said before that she’s the female version of Ted, but that’s too much of a blanket statement. She’s really warm and openhearted, which you can see in that first episode with [Lily]. I would certainly never offer a stranger cookies on a train who looked like they were having a hard time [the way The Mother does]. As a New Yorker, I’d be like, “Oh, my God, they probably have a knife on them!” She’s just so direct and openhearted and caring — but also at the same time, [she's] a complete dork and shares that dad humor with Ted, that well-intentioned, but corny sense of humor. In my life, sense of humor is number one when it comes to romantic relationships or friendships. That really binds people together.
TVLINE | How much will we see of Ted and the mother together?
Not to sound too cryptic, but you will see a very exciting amount. We just shot an episode this week… I’m sworn to secrecy, but I think it will be such an exciting episode for the fans.
TVLINE | Going into this last season, there was worry that because it was taking place over this 56-hour weekend, we weren’t going to see Ted and the mother’s relationship. Do you feel pretty well assured that fans are going to be satisfied?
They will not be let down. They totally will not be let down. I will leave it at that. They’re in for some really great stuff.
TVLINE | The producers have said Ted’s friends will meet The Mother before he does, and Lily is the first in the premiere. How does that go, and do they get along?
In a way, isn’t Lily the ultimate barometer? She’s always meddling and is like the den mother. But then I think everyone is equally important to meet because they’re such a close-knit family of friends. Again, it speaks to the character’s openheartedness and warmness that she immediately wins Lily over. And she’s not trying. She’s just being a good person. They click. I think Lily and The Mother also have a good chemistry.
TVLINE | Does every meeting with one of the gang go as well as that one?
I will say, from what I know so far, yes. [Laughs] But I could rue those words. I’m pretty, pretty sure yes.
TVLINE | Which meeting were you most looking forward to before the season started filming?
I am very much looking forward to when The Mother meets Robin. That is going to be such an epic meeting. It would depend on what I was watching. Certain ones, I was like, “Aww, what’s it going to be like when she meets Barney? Are they going to sing together?”
TVLINE | Ted’s been our narrator this whole time, but there’s another side to this story. Will we learn or see what The Mother has been up to these past eight years?
I have no idea. But I certainly hope so. That would be an amazing idea for an episode… I totally know people will learn everything there is to learn about The Mother throughout the season, but I don’t know when that’s happening.
TVLINE | Is there an episode you wish you could have been a part of?
I would have loved to have been in the musical number where Barney sings about suits. That looked like a lot of fun.
TVLINE | And lastly, when are we finally going to be able to call you by your name instead of The Mother?!
Again, no idea. I don’t know her name. It’s anyone’s guess.
TVLINE | Do you hope to learn her name, or would you rather that remained a mystery?
I guess because I played someone without a name ["Girl" in the Broadway musical Once], it doesn’t matter to me. It’s fine with me either way.