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'How I Met Your Mother': Jennifer Morrison goes for laughs

99702_FOX_0043b On “House,” Jennifer Morrison tried to save lives. Now she's making life miserable for Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) on “How I Met Your Mother” as passionate activist Zoey. After bonding over their mutual love of architecture, Ted and Zoey realized they were on opposite sides: Zoey's trying to save a historic building, which is  about to be torn down for Ted's new building. To top it off, Ted discovered Zoey was married. Recently, Show Tracker visited the set of “How I Met Your Mother” as they were filming Monday's episode, “Blitzgiving,” and chatted with Morrison about joining the comedy series, what's ahead for Zoey and whether she could be the mother.

What's it like jumping into the comedy world?
It's super fun. I'm having such a good time. I really am. Absolutely no complaints right now. I did a couple of comedy pilots before I did “House.” I was in “Big Stan” with Rob Schneider. I played his wife in that. I was in “Surviving Christmas” and played a funny character. My career's sort of been speckled with comedy here and there. I grew up doing both comedy and drama on stage. For me, it was nice to jump on something that was the opposite of what I'd been doing for so long.

Was it important to you to find something lighter after “House”?
Yeah. I definitely wanted to do that. I think for some reason in the industry, people think that even if you had done something funny before doing a drama, it's like, “Oh, she's been on a drama for six years, so she must have forgotten how to be funny.” [Laughs] I think people somehow have it in their mind that once we do one thing that's all we can do. So I definitely, for multiple reasons, wanted to jump on a comedy. Partly just personally because I thought it'd be really fun to do something light and fun and funny and goofy for a while. And also because I wanted to continue doing more than just one thing.

How many episodes are you signed on for?
I think officially 10. They've said probably between 10 and 13. I don't know exactly what their plan is with everything. I actually enjoy the surprise element of it, especially with this character. I like discovering her as time goes, as well. It's been really fun. I don't know exactly what they have planned. They keep teasing me, “We have so much good stuff!”

Was it hard to come into an established cast like this?
This show is not hard to come into at all because everybody is so lovely and so welcoming. Everybody has made me feel completely at home. I feel like I've been here forever in a good way. Most of my scenes for the first several episodes were with Josh [Radnor]. Josh and I actually were friends from before. We didn't know each other super well, but had run into each other here and there and knew each other. He just went so out of his way to make me feel comfortable and make me feel a part of this world. I honestly feel like it's been amazing to just to be embraced within this family as if I've always been here.

Had you watched the show before?
Oh my gosh, I've been such a fan! I've been like freaking out because I'm doing a scene in the bar for the first time in this episode. I'm like, “I'm at the booth!” I'm definitely genuinely a fan.

Are you excited to be part of Ted's journey for the mother?
Absolutely! I still can't quite believe it! I hadn't watched every episode. I watched whenever I could see it. I had always been a fan, so I've gone back now and I've been going through all the seasons. I saw all of Season Five and I saw one and two. I'm halfway through three, so all I have left to re-watch is half of three and all of four. Especially going back and watching everything in order, I'm like, “I can't believe I get to be a part of the whole idea of the this world.”

Do you think she could still be the mother?
We kind of know it's headed toward them liking each other even though it's antagonistic. I think anything's possible, but I have no idea what they have planned.

99866_FOX_1270b We see Zoey interact with the whole group for the first time in the Thanksgiving episode. How do they accept her?
They actually really like Zoey, which is what makes Ted really mad because we end up all having this great, fun night together. And Ted's like, "But she's my enemy! You can't be friends with my enemy!"

Will Ted and Zoey find some common ground?
Definitely more of that grows by the end of the Thanksgiving episode. It's a definite slow burn. The audience is going to get little pieces of information about Zoey very slowly. There's not huge things that come out. There's not a bunch of things that come out all at once. It's sort of like each episode, you get another piece of the puzzle, figuring out who she is and what she means to Ted.

Kyle MacLachlan plays your husband.
He's so awesome. Just as a person, he's so sweet and so funny. It's such an eccentric character, and he so completely goes for it and you completely buy it. Like, “Yup. He is that guy.” It's so great.

What kind of a marriage would you say they have?
Clearly, there's problems or this situation wouldn't be going on. I think that at some point they did have a great marriage, and I don't think that it's necessarily bad. I just think they may be at a place in their lives where they're realizing they're not meant to be forever. I'm guessing because it hasn't come out yet. Maybe they rushed into something at some point. It may not be something that can sustain in the long run.

Will Zoey continue to make Ted's life difficult?
When they first meet, they obviously have chemistry. They obviously like each other and have a lot in common. It isn't until the building issue starts that they are in conflict. [In the Thanksgiving episode], it's the first time that we return to that feeling between them where there's some sort of truce at least for the moment, for the holiday, and realizing that they do have a lot in common. It'll be interesting to see how they maintain conflict after we get to that place of starting to see eye-to-eye a little.

-- Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

Don't forget to come back to Show Tracker on Monday for more about "Blitzgiving" and Jorge Garcia's guest spot, as well as my episode recap.

Photos: Zoey (Jennifer Morrison) and Ted (Josh Radnor); Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Marshall (Jason Segel), Robin (Cobie Smulders), Zoey (Jennifer Morrison) and Ted (Josh Radnor) in "Blitzgiving." Credit: Ron P. Jaffe / Fox; Eric McCandless / Fox.

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Comments () | Archives (20)

“Oh, she's been on a drama for six years, so she must have forgotten how to be funny.” The thing is she doesn´t know how to be funny. As an actress, Jennifer Morrison doesn´t fit in this show and is making this season really hard to watch for me.

Said that, the show is not what it used to be. I terribly miss seasons 2 and 3, for me the best by far.

I'm always amazed how talented she is, she is SO great in drama AND comedy. I liked her on House, I've also been watching HIMYM for quite a while now, and I think she fits very well. I know she won't be on the show forever, but I enjoy everyone of her episodes.

The show jumped the shark big time with this ridiculous arc. A shame.

I have to say I had never heard about this girl before HIMYM so I couldn't quite understand what all the fuss about her was when they first announced she was going be on the show as a new love interest for Ted (which let me add is becoming pretty annoying...after 6 seasons watching the show I think it's about time they reveal who the mother is...).
After a few episodes I have to say I am not quite liking her addition to the show.It's not that she's not good looking,which she is, the problem is this might be only good thing about her.
Her acting skills are practically none existent...Either that or she's not a good fit for the show.I cringe inwardly whenever she appears on the screen.
I was about to give up on the show after a dreadful season five, but decided to give it another opportunity before dropping it for good...Now I realized season five was not as bad as I used to think ...
Please go back to the good old years of HIMYM and stop bringing mediocre good-loking actresses..this ain't doing the trick anymore!

I was so excited when I heard Jennifer was going to be on HIMYM! She has a great aura that inhibits every role she takes on. I'll be following her career closely.

I started watching this show *because* of Jen, she is an amazing actress!

Great interview! :) I noticed she said how she loves watching HIMYM, or did before...funny, since it airs against her previous show. Though after how she was treated on "House," I wouldn't blame her if she watched HIMYM in favor of her prior employer.

I think she's great on the show -- nice to see her loosen up, and she's got great adversarial (for now) chemistry with Ted. Too bad she's probably not the mother, 'cause I don't think it'd be the worst thing in the world.

I've watched HIMYM from day one and I think Jennifer Morrison is a great addition to the show. Really looking forward to the Thanksgiving epi with Jorge Garcia too.

Thanks for the interview, it was great!

I started watching this show after finally dumping House, so I'm delighted to see Jennifer Morrison on my TV screen again. I think she'll fit in nicely with the group, and I enjoy the spark between Zoey and Ted. It probably is hard for the show's fans to accept a new face among their established favorites, so I hope the writers don't make Zoey too spiteful. I loved the scene in her first episode where she and Ted were talking about getting old; she's very likable there. I think Jennifer Morrison is quite capable of doing comedy as well as drama.

I hate so much Zoey. This idiotic arc is ruining my mood this season. She is NOT the mother, can we please move on?

At first I was really excited to see her in HIMYM because i´m a huge House fan and i missed her on my screen but i need to say that she is making the character too unlikable for my taste. I enjoyed her as Cameron but i don´t find her funny at all and How I Met Your Mother is about fun. I think that another actress with more experience or talent in comedy would have been a much better choice.

I find it impossible to believe you watched HIMYM from day one if you think this story arc is good...
I don't think I am alone here when I say "please get rid of Zoey"..or at least make her likable..hire another actress..just do something!
You just have to go on Twitter and see what all the other REAL fans like me are saying there...
Maybe I should start a petition "Free HIMYM from Zoey"...

It's tough to bring in a new character on to an established show, and tough to be the actor show does it.

I liked Zoey in her first episode, not so much in the second, and liked her again in the third although in the middle part she was pretty unpleasant. I hope they will continue to redeem her in the next episode.

I think Jennifer Morrison does as good a job as anyone could in the role and her bubbly personality is a good contrast to Ted and the other female characters. Not too simple, not too complex.

But I agree, it's time to bring on the mother for real.

As a fan of the show i feel betrayed. HIMYM was so good in previous seasons...but season 6 is the worst season ever and Zoey is part of it. I feel the show is going downhill and i hate it.

I believe we are supposed to have mixed feelings about Zoey at this point, although it sounds like she is going to start being more pleasant to Ted by the sounds of this interview. I think Jennifer Morrison is doing a fine job with what she has had to work with so far and is playing it exactly as she is supposed to play it. Like someone else said above, I thought her scenes with Ted in her first episode were very sweet, and it sounds like we will see more of that in the future.

@Marc - I had to laugh at your assertion that REAL fans hang out on Twitter. Since I have a life of my own, I don't want to read the inane minutia of other people's lives on Twitter, but I can't figure out how that makes me less of a fan of the show. Your Twitter friends do not represent the fandom as a whole, fortunately.

Zoe has been such a small part of this season, three episodes and only a few scenes in each. She's not enough to make or break the show or even this season. If you hate that Ted has yet another love interest who isn't the mother that's understandable. But as a character, Zoe seems to fit into what the show has presented over the past seasons. And IMO, Jennifer Morrison is doing okay with the material. It's hard to make Zoe sympathetic in that scene where she tricks Ted and tapes him but by the end of the episode, she had redeemed herself somewhat.

It feels like the anti-Cameron contingent from House has come over here to attack Jennifer Morrison. Please, go back to your old show and let us talk over HIMYM on its own merits without the House baggage.

@Marc: I consider myself a real fan and I never follow the show talk on twitter. Too busy with life, I guess. But not too busy to tune in to Monday's Thanksgiving episode. Sounds like a good one.

I never watched House because i hate the concept of a mean doctor being mean because he is mean. Period. I haven´t watched Jennifer Morrison in anything else before BUT i find her boring and untalented in HIMYM. Watching the show a couple of weeks ago i was thinking about how much i dislike the character. Then my friend told me that the problem is not the character, is the actress who plays her. An unlikable character played by a terrific actor can become likable. This doesn´t happen with Zoey and Jennifer Morrison. She makes Zoey a boring part of the show.

And it looks like the people who are posting positive comments here are her fans. Of course fans are gonna like the character. But sadly, all fans are biased.
As a fan of the WHOLE show i say: get rid of this character now that you have time.

This character is making me really angry. Why is she hanging with the group? She is not funny, she is annoying and there is zero chemistry between her and Ted. I she is the mother i´ll stop watching.

I am a huge fan from day 1 of HIMYM and I think she works great as a conflicting character to Ted. Jennifer hasn't been written in with the rest of the cast much yet but once she is, she will be another one of the crew. She is an amazing actress - almost to the point where I didn't recognise her from House.

Her 'husband' is a bit eccentric to be realistic but is also very good in the role.

I like her, I like the character... and i feel those who don't like her are afraid of change in the series. HIMYM Rocks!

I like her, she is cool and for most part she really fits good in this great show. I think she is pretty and also oh!honey.


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