Tuesday, April 01, 2008

HIMYM: TedMosbyIsAJerk.com is a legendary idea

The immediacy of blogging has many advantages, but every now and then, the rush to get a post up and start discussion seems a mistake in retrospect. Case in point: last night's "How I Met Your Mother."

I watched the episode, made a quick run over to TedMosbyIsAJerk.com just to make sure it existed, then started typing away without pausing to reflect -- or, for that matter, to unmute my computer long enough to realize that the website features a 20 minute-long song -- more of a screed with musical accompaniment, really -- by the woman who hates Ted/Barney.

And the more I thought about the episode -- in particular, the long-awaited "Doogie Howser" homage at the very end -- and about the amount of effort put into what was essentially a throwaway sight gag, the more I grew to love "The Bracket." If it's not at the top of the "HIMYM" pantheon like a "Slap Bet" or "Single Stamina," it's only because of some of the dialogue, which as I said yesterday (at greater length than it deserved, given the episode's strengths) feels like the muscle that's coming back the slowest post-strike. The basic concept was great, and everyone got a hilarious bit of side business, whether it was Lily's dance, or Marshall not knowing what to do with his hands, or even Ted's insistence that Fake Baby was far, far worse than Lost At Sea.

So, to make up for not showing the episode quite enough love yesterday, and with so many people interested in the origins of the TedMosbyIsAJerk.com song, I decided to ask "HIMYM" co-creator Carter Bays for info on that -- and on Neil Patrick Harris' willingness, after all these years, to re-embrace his inner Doogie.

On the site and the song:
TedMosbyisajerk.com had kind of the same origins as Barney's Blog -- it was initially just a joke in the script, nothing more. Then we realized if we're saying "tedmosbyisajerk.com" on the show, we should buy that web address, just in case someone else bought it and threw a bunch of porn up there or something. So once we had the web address, we decided to put a little site up, with just some really simple text and a few images. And then Carl MacLaren, our associate producer, had this crazy idea of doing a song. Craig and I love any chance to write music, and I had just bought some cheap recording equipment, so we decided to write and record a little theme song for the website. Then the whole thing got out of hand, and it turned into this 20 minute opus. We wanted it to be like a long Patti Smith song, with this rambling poetry, or like the song "Turn Blue" by Iggy Pop.

Anyway, the whole thing happened really quickly -- Carl had the idea last week and we recorded it this weekend. The vocals are by Charlene Amoia, the actress who plays Wendy the Waitress on the show (hence the Wendy the Waitress reference at the end). We all sort of wrote it together -- some of it was written out, and some of it was just Charlene at the mic going off like Mick Jagger, which was hilarious to witness.

And yeah, it was surprising how quickly people devoured the whole thing. Although, as we were doing the "Wendy is the mother" backmasking, it did sort of feel like, okay, we're proud of ourselves for being this sneaky, but let's be honest, it's 2008, this'll be unveiled on the newsgroups within five minutes of the show airing. And
sure enough it was.
Vis a vis Doogie:
Neil loved doing the Doogie tag. Craig was on the set for this one, so I don't know if he said anything more about it, but I think he agreed it definitely felt like too great of an idea not to do at least once. And Season Three seemed like the time to do it.

18 comments:

peter said...

There's one more thing you can do Alan: a complete transcript of the lyrics ;)

SoCal said...

Alan-

You're the man when it come to this stuff. Great that you have relationships with all these showrunners that you can ask them a question from your blog readership, (like you did when i discussed Slim's status on the Wire after gunning down Cheese)or something that interests you and you are able to post same day. This blog is a tremendous resource for TV heads like me and thanks again for all your work.

Once 30 Rock comes back all will be right in the comedy world!

Nicole said...

Thanks for getting the inside scoop on the episode! Any chance they let you whether or not Stella is the mother? :-)

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for the tech-savvy amongst us. Any idea how I can download the song from the site? The ever-ready right click and save as seems to have failed me, and I can't find an .mp3 on the CBS site.
Thanks in advance.

Jeff L said...

The MP3 is available at http://www.tedmosbyisajerk.com/audio.mp3

jcpbmg said...

That's awesome how much thought they ultimately put into the site, especially considering they could have just bought the url and had it just re-direct to the 20th century homepage or something.

I also love that they're still updating/using Barney's blog. It was used a lot in S2 and it's awesome that they're going back to it

Crystal said...

Please tell me you got to the part where she screeches about her Dr. Baltar and calls Ted a frakking toaster with no feelings.

Crystal said...

And speaking of you tube links, did you enjoy a featured video link today?

Scott said...

what does he mean by "Wendy is the mother" backmasking?

David J. Loehr said...

Another nice callback on the website is that "she" mentions October 9, 2006 as the night she met Ted Mosby, Architect. Because the episode Ted Mosby: Architect originally aired on, yes, October 9, 2006...

Beautiful work.

Myles said...

Crystal, I definitely just noticed it while in the middle of completing a project about how I wrote my thesis about Battlestar Galactica, and it made me do what can only be described as giggling. It was fantastic.

JD said...

The "backmasking" refers to the dialog at the end that's played backwards. Played forward it says "Wendy the Waitress is the Mother, Just kidding". Listen to it here

Alan, since you're in touch with the creators, I was hoping you could help me. A solider in Iraq contacted me with a very nice story about how much they love the show over there and was hoping to get in touch with someone on the show so he could tell them his story. Check it out here, I'd really appreciate any help.

Evie Garland said...

Thanks for the follow up, Alan! And for giving HYMYM the love it deserves....

LA said...

Thanks for this.

I really think HIMYM has stepped up in these post-strike episodes.

Christy said...

The song on the site is very reminiscent of Marianne Faithful's "Why'd Ya Do It" on her Broken English album.

The CineManiac said...

The website is amazing, thanks for the backstory!

Anonymous said...

The site is registered to Marc Geller. Who is he??

Anonymous said...

the site reg'd to Marc Geller ...

Marc is in the series 3 credits as Production Staff.