If you watch enough TV, you've spotted that awkward situation when an actress is pregnant -- but the baby bump doesn't work with the storyline. Suddenly your favorite character is shot only sitting in bed or with her torso placed carefully behind a filing cabinet or giant potted plant. For the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," the challenge is twofold: The show's two lead actresses -- Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders, who play Lily and Robin, respectively -- announced their real-life pregnancies, within weeks of each other, last fall. As co-creator/executive producer Craig Thomas said in his congratulatory statement, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go down to our wardrobe department to check out the large burlap sacks Robin and Lily will inexplicably be wearing for the rest of the season." Series co-creator/executive producer Carter Bays talked to us about how, aside from a wink-at-the-viewers stomach bump after a hot-dog-eating contest, the show will deal with the moms-to-be.
We always sort of knew that with two young women in the cast, that we'd have to deal with this eventually. We just thought maybe they'd go in shifts. There's a couple things coming up in other episodes where we sort of take advantage of Lily's expanding belly. There are a few other little jokes we try to pepper in here and there. I don't want to give anything away, but we try to use every tool at our disposal to not just hide this, but take advantage of this.
But we still try and hide it to some degree, and the wardrobe department has just done a stellar job. There's a lot of flowy tops, a lot of giant scarves. There's a lot of foreground in the second half of the season, of things blocking stomachs, and there's a giant globe in one scene that's very comically right there in the middle.
I feel like we have the advantage of being a comedy show that our fans take the show with a grain of salt. I don't think there's anyone out there that's a big fan of the show that doesn't know both Alyson and Cobie are pregnant. So when Alyson's sitting on the couch holding a giant bowl of chips, I don't think anyone's wondering why. People know, and they play along.
It's funny, because the conversation we had as writers is the conversation that young couples have, where we had to make the decision. It would be wonderful to add a baby to this storyline, but would we stop having as much fun? And I think we decided that as a show, we're too young to become parents just yet. But someday, we want to.
-- Interview conducted and condensed by Emily Yahr
PHOTOS: Michael Yarish - Twentieth Century Fox Television WEB EDITOR: Stephanie Merry - washingtonpost.com