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Jim Parsons, who would later find fame on another CBS sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, says he went out for the show as well, auditioning for Neil Patrick Harris' Barney Stinson—something he told Live with Kelly and Michael was "one of the stranger experiences" of his life.According to Parsons, the character description for Barney was a "big lug of a guy," something the actor couldn't quite figure out the meaning of.The character most notably appeared in the season nine episode "Gary Blauman," in which the gang debated whether or not he could stay at Robin and Barney's wedding; even though he ended up being invited to the party thanks to Robin's insistence, he left anyway, prompting one of the show's most complicated shots as Ted gives a long explanation of where some of the show's more minor characters ended up. to see his real-life wife get married to someone else. The series' stars weren't the only ones who got to appear with their spouses (or future spouses) on the show: one very lucky couple actually got engaged on set.The ring Ted accidentally proposed to Robin with in "Something Blue" was used for a real proposal just minutes later by Timothy Russo, who popped the question to his girlfriend Jana Rugan.Bays and Thomas have confirmed that Victoria was the show's backup plan in case of cancellation, adding, "Ashley Williams reading this, like 'Motherf—er! '" According to Alyson Hannigan, the rest of the cast would have been pretty happy with Victoria as the mom as well. "We just loved everybody." Thomas echoed this sentiment in a Reddit AMA, saying, "It was hard to say goodbye to Victoria, she and Ted had such chemistry," and calling her the hardest of Ted's girlfriends to write off the show.The actress said the cast was always pushing for characters to be the mom whenever "somebody great" came on set, including Williams. How I Met Your Mother became a family affair behind the scenes, with the main cast becoming good friends and playing big roles in each other's lives.Smulders married Saturday Night Live actor Taran Killam in 2014, with the pair since having two daughters.Killam appeared for six episodes as Gary Blauman, Ted and Marshall's Goliath National Bank co-worker.
Neil's better for the part, let's be honest, and it all went that way." One other rumored recast comes from Sarah Chalke's Stella, who reports say was initially supposed to be played by Alicia Silverstone.
The show's friendly environment allowed Hannigan, Harris, and Smulders to bring on their real-life spouses to star with them.
Alexis Denisof, who married his Buffy the Vampire Slayer co-star Hannigan in 2003, appeared on the show as Sandy Rivers, Robin's conceited co-anchor at both Metro News 1 and World Wide News.
Silverstone dropped out, supposedly, after a star with an even bigger profile signed on—Britney Spears, who had a multi-episode arc as Stella's put-upon office assistant Abby.
Reports at the time said that producers were trying to write another part for Silverstone; however, that never came to fruition. A multi-camera sitcom with a laugh track but also a serialized plot was practically unheard of at the time, and co-creators Thomas and Carter Bays were unsure how it would be received.
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