Now that Barney and Robin are out of the bag, it's time for the Emmy-nominated How I Met Your Mother (premieres Monday, 8/7c, CBS) to have even more fun this season. "We've kicked the door open on them together — I guess you can say together — and the floodgates of hilarious stories have opened up because there's nothing funnier than two people who are just terrible at being in relationships trying to be in a relationship," creator Carter Bays tells TVGuide.com. Of course, Barney and Robin aren't the only ones with plot turns as Ted starts a teaching gig at Columbia University, where he will meet his future wife. Bays tells us what's in store for everyone and why it would be an "outrage" if Neil Patrick Harris doesn't win an Emmy on Sunday.
TVGuide.com: Are you ready for the Emmys?
Carter Bays: I am. I just tried on my tux and I think I've grown in the four years that I've last worn it! [Laughs] But other than that, I'm ready. I need elastic waistbands — that's what I need. ... I'm trying not to think about our [chance of winning] because I just want to enjoy the night. It's like going to prom. I just want to put on the tux and get the picture taken and that's it. I don't want to think about actually going up on stage.
TVGuide.com: I think you should win. We have you as a dark horse. Neil's definitely looking good, especially with Jeremy Piven MIA.
Bays: Oh, thank you! That's very nice of you to call us a dark horse! Honestly, it sounds so corny, but just the nomination is nice. It was such a happy day on set when we found out. It was, like, the best day in the history of the show. Neil — it'd be an outrage if he doesn't win. Neil's chances are great. And he's hosting! I've been working with him a little bit. We've all been kind of contributing to it over here. They have a lot of fun stuff planned out. He's such a great host. He's so good at this stuff.
Bays: That's another thing that's interesting. Robin's suddenly in the position of being the expert on relationships, which she certainly hasn't been historically. But she's Lily compared to Barney. It's not going to be easy for them. It's not going to be happily ever after. Barney has to change his lifestyle to fit into the couples' world. I think he sees himself as the Luke Skywalker of single people who's getting seduced by the Darth Vader of relationships. Obviously there are suspicions [of cheating]. It's Barney, so of course he's someone you want to keep an eye on at all times.TVGuide.com: What's going to happen to the Bro Code?
Bays: The Bro Code will be expanded upon. There's going to be another book in addition to the Bro Code that we're going to unveil at some point. It's Barney's Playbook. It's his picking-up-girls playbook. TVGuide.com: Shannon made Barney who he is. Can Robin undo what she did?
Bays: Shannon, that's right! There's definitely much more to explore there. I've always like the idea of meeting Shannon and hearing her side of the story because we only know what Barney told us. I think a lot of things have made Barney: the fact that he grew up without a dad and Rhonda, his mom's friend who deflowered him. A lot of ingredients went into the casserole that is Barney. We will see how those things play into this relationship.
Bays: We've got an episode coming up all about that. Barney, as far as he's concerned, was the best at being single, and he's going to be just as competitive about being a couple as well. There's also the whole element that Marshall and Lily have been looking for someone to double-date with for their whole lives basically. Their drive in the entire first half of the season is essentially, "We want to go on a double date." [Laughs] That's all they've ever wanted and there are complications that arise that prevent their perfect bridge night.TVGuide.com: What about Ted? He's the lone singleton. Is he going to be more focused on his new job or his love life?
Bays: It's mainly going to about his job. Last year, so many bad things happened to him that ended with this one good thing that he winds up with a new job he ends up loving. Life's going to be a little easier for him this year. Ted will be dating, but there are no big relationships coming up on the horizon for him. We've created this whole new exciting element of [narrowing the mother to] one of the 3,200 enrolled in the grad department at Columbia. I can't say whether we'll meet the mother, but she'll be a part of the show in a way she hasn't before.
Bays: [Laughs] We were so tempted to try and call, like, Jennifer Love Hewitt or someone and get them to come sit. In hindsight, we should've done that, but it will make some extra's day when someone will put her up on the Internet and say, "This is her!"TVGuide.com: Are we going to see Sarah Chalke again? The Wedding Bride's supposed to come out.
Bays: The Wedding Bride is set for May! We haven't explored whether Sarah's going to be there. ... [She's pregnant so] she could actually just be pregnant on the show. That would just make it that much worse for Ted. "Oh, great! She's pregnant now!"TVGuide.com: Neil's been lobbying for Betty White to come on. Will she?
Bays: I think the fans would really have to make a case for it. I think if we get, I'm going to say, 10,000 signatures, then we'll think about it. If there's an online petition and the fans make a stink about it, we'll get Betty White. And they have to be dating, that's the thing. It's not like it's Barney's grandma.TVGuide.com: Your 100th episode is a big musical number. Alyson didn't really sing in the Buffy musical episode, so how much is she going to do in this one? She did karaoke with Jason in the first season.
Bays: Yeah, the number is kind of an ode to suits. It's Barney's ode to suits. Craig [Thomas] and I are writing the lyrics. I'm sure everyone's going to pitch in. We have such a musical cast that I'm sure we'll get help. We've always kind of threatened Alyson with that and she adamantly does not want to sing. I don't think her voice is as bad as she thinks. Although, if you watch that episode ["Life Among the Gorillas," in which she sings karaoke], she sings, like, two words! All day long she was like, "I'm not doing this. I'm not doing this." So we'll see!