Oh baby, what a fuss
Baby talk changes everything, writes Yvonne Villarreal
THERE’S a baby bump on the set of How I Met Your Mother, but no one’s paying it much attention. In a flashback scene for an upcoming episode, the narrator’s memory is lapsing and he can’t recall whether Lily (Alyson Hannigan) was pregnant during the moment he’s recounting.
As Lily spars with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), her belly remains unmentioned, serving simply as a resting spot for a plate of Chinese food.
Now in its sixth season, the show is toying with the idea of employing a device much belaboured in sitcom land: the addition of a baby.
A due date is unknown — and for some fans, that’s OK. Much of the sitcom’s appeal has centred on the interminable mystery of whom Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) will eventually marry. But suspense can hold viewers’ interest for only so long before it grows frustrating.
Baby talk has loomed over the series for a while, with long-time couple Lily and Marshall (Jason Segel) flirting with parenthood for much of this season. And in fact, hints of a coming pregnancy stretch back to autumn 2009, when, in a flash forward, Ted tells his kids how his friends quit smoking: ‘‘ Lily stopped once she started trying to get pregnant and Marshall quit when his son was born.’’
Even if the stork doesn’t drop by this season, it’s fated to happen eventually. ‘‘ I think we’d be super cute with a baby,’’ Segel says.
Still, the show’s producers are proceeding with caution.
‘‘ There’s fear,’’ admits executive producer Craig Thomas. ‘‘ Will it limit us? Will the show lose something?
‘‘ However, the idea of opening up whole other stories is exciting.’’
In prime time, infants have a mixed record.
Some lamented that Murphy Brown lost her snarky edge after she gave birth at the end of the show’s fourth season. Others found that Mad About You got more maddening after Paul and Jamie welcomed a daughter near the end of the show’s run. Then there was Roseanne, which decided to add a fourth kid — named Jerry Garcia — to its household in its seventh season.
‘‘ It’s thought of as a potential death knell to a show,’’ Thomas says. ‘‘ But at the same time, the series is all about growing up, so to not address it, to not see this couple who has been together since age 18 get to that point, would seem dishonest.’’
The series isn’t alone in its baby quest. Scour the television landscape and youngsters are rampant. A little tyke was recently added to NBC’s The Office, shortly after Jim and Pam completed another TV convention — getting married. Dexter’s bundle of joy