Farewell, HIMYM: Director Pamela Fryman Relives Robin Sparkles, Stinging Slaps and More
"The feeling on that pilot was that we had all sort of known each other forever. It was a wildly easy time getting comfortable, and it was just fun. I remember there were just so many scenes, so it was just a lot of long days, a lot of late nights and a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. If it was a late night over the past nine years, I’d just yell, ‘Grilled cheese!’ and [craft services would] start making grilled cheese sandwiches! [Laughs] It’s like giving everybody a hug. ‘Just hang with us, guys. We’re doing something important!’ And somehow, melted cheese has a way of bringing people together. That is what I learned on the pilot!"
Barney goes on The Price Is Right in "Showdown"
"I started my career in game shows and soap operas. So that’s my turf! It was a very familiar group. I ran into people I knew. I’d never done The Price Is Right, but certainly had done some things with people there, and Neil loves games and game shows more than anything in the world so he was like a kid in a candy store. I’ve got photographs of Aly [Hannigan] and [co-creator] Carter Bays and all these people in the hallway of CBS, spinning the wheel, and they are all so excited. People think, ‘People on TV, gosh, we get to do everything, and it’s like no big deal!’ Alyson spinning that wheel from The Price Is Right was like one of the greatest moments of her life! We were all children. We were a wildly immature bunch of children on the set of a game show that we all adored."
“Let’s Go to the Mall” music video in "Slap Bet"
"I immediately said to [creators] Craig [Thomas] and Carter [Bays], ‘You might want to check my resume because nowhere on there does it say, "Shoots music videos." There’s not anything that would lead you to believe that I know what I’m doing here.’ And their signature in the series is to turn to me and say, ‘We know you’ve never done this before, but have a good time!’ They never doubted me for a second, and it gave me great confidence. And there are no real rules when you shoot something like that. By the way, we have more footage that we didn’t use than footage that we did use, all wonderful. … Cobie [Smulders] was so excited about it, and there’s such pure joy in her face. And her band in that scene was, of course, made up of people on our show — our prop master, a writer, two assistants from upstairs."
The two-minute date in "10 Sessions"
"I think we ended up doing it five or six times. Hats off to our crew — to set dressing to props to cameras to everybody — for getting that done. The real shot should have been from the actors’ point of view, looking out at everybody who was running at 100 miles a second to get this in place as they moved on. That was the real magic of that. And to make something like that look pretty effortless is fantastic. That was teamwork, that is all I can say about that. That was pure teamwork. Carter is someone who loves magic. He loves to see magic happen on screen, and he just wanted to see that happen in one shot."
Marshall and Lily’s reunion at the airport in "Three Days of Snow"
"The band members were so excited to be doing it. They were like, ‘What?! We get to do what?! They were giddy, and we had to do a lot of rehearsal for that, specifically, because all these kids had to hit marks, and they had to play their music at the right time. It was so ridiculous, but for me, it was like the height of romance… Aly and Jason [Segel] were so into it. The first few times, the band played over their lines, so we had to get everyone on the same page. It was a bit of a confusing mess to shoot, and then we just hit it right. And it was like Love Actually. It was a real movie moment to me."
Barney’s spin atop a cab in "Girls Versus Suits"
"Ladies and gentleman, Neil Patrick Harris. That’s all I can say for that. He is so game. It’s really important to Neil that if he’s going to do something, that he attacks it 100 percent, and then he perfects it so that when you’re watching it, you can enjoy it and not be on the edge your seat, worrying that he’s going to fall or something is going to happen. He just has such confidence, and he’s just so talented. I promise you there were times when [he] didn’t land very well, but he kept doing it until it appeared effortless."
"That was actually a high degree of difficulty because we shot a lot of that on stage at Fox. Then we went to Universal [Studios]. They had just opened their new backlot, so we did a lot of it in this spanking new, huge backlot. But it was a lot, and every moment was so specific because we had to really tell that tale just right. There was more meetings on that episode than probably any other. There were more scouts and more location moves and stuff. That was just hard work." And it paid off: Fryman earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for the episode.
Marshall finds out his dad died in "Bad News"
"Aly and Jason did not rehearse it. They couldn’t say the words out loud to each other. Jason was very much like, ‘I want to do this once.’ So I rehearsed it with second team a bunch. Then I stood Aly and Jason on their marks and told them exactly what I needed them to do so that I wouldn’t have to do it again. We made sure that cameras were good, that audio was good and then called action, and that’s what you got. It was everything. Some of it at the end was just ad-libbed. They did what they do so beautifully."
Three Barneys and Teds in "The Time Travelers"
"That’s a director taking great direction. That’s what that is because, in order to do that, our special effects people, our post-producer gave me rules. They said, ‘When you do this, please make sure to do the following and to not do the following.’ I knew how I had to shoot it to make it happen. I knew where each person had to sit for what part of the song and the scene, and I had to have this sleeve and this side of the head — it’s a math problem more than anything. What’s so amazing about Neil — and it happens in this scene and so many — is [he] has an uncanny ability with continuity. He is very continuity-savvy. … There’s a lot of magic that has to happen, and Josh [Radnor] was great at that, too. So it was like everybody just had to really pay attention. That was a very detailed, specific performance."
Barney proposes to Robin in "The Final Page: Part 2"
"To me, that is vintage How I Met Your Mother, that kind of storytelling. It was just so romantic, and Cobie and Neil have such chemistry, which is a great thing for us, but they also love each other deeply as people, and they love acting together. It was just so wonderful to give them the gift of that to do together."
The Mother’s first scene in "Something New"
"We had just our crew, our writers, our production staff on stage with her. They were all the extras. There were no people on that stage except the family. So to be able to walk her on the stage and turn to everybody in our family and say, ‘Guys, this is The Mother,’ it’s pretty awesome. And she really didn’t have a full grasp what she was walking into. And as spectacular as we thought she was, we had no idea how spectacular. I mean, we hit the lottery when we cast her."
"Slapsgiving #3: Slappointment in Slapmarra"
"When Jason was in the hallway, getting the slaps from all of Barney’s girlfriends, there were girls who knew how to slap properly and girls who did not. At one point, you could actually see the outline of fingers on his cheek. So that day he got it bad! That day, more than any other day, he thought, ‘Are we done yet?’ Because make-up was like, ‘Can you get the red out of Jason’s cheeks?’ So that was the only time that it stung probably a little too much."
The tracking shot/faces from the past in "Gary Blauman"
"We’ve established such great relationships with the guest stars who’ve appeared on the show, that when we brought it up, they were so game. And Jen Morrison traveled through the night to get there to do that little moment. It was so fun to have everybody there together at the same time. We were in the parking lot waiting for the cast to show up so that we could rehearse it. The van pulls up — because it was a bit of a walk from the makeup trailer to the location — and all of these actors step out together. It was like, ‘What is happening?!’"
The last scene Fryman shot in "Last Forever"
"There we are, cuing the rain, and the stage got very crowded with everybody from our production team and studio and network executives and friends and family… This particular scene is so beautifully written and so perfectly acted and is so the perfect scene to end on. I had, initially, wanted to end with the scene that we will see that is the the last scene of the five of them together. That was always our plan even though that’s not the actual last scene of the show, and because of scheduling issues, we couldn’t do it… To end at the train station, for real, was just a beautiful moment, and it felt like exactly the moment that this show deserves to end on. And everybody was wrecked [laughs] — me included. When we finished, I said, ‘Stop the rain,’ and I ended up talking spontaneously because my heart was just so full. It was just beautiful. There will never be anything like that moment for me."