The TV critic in the New Jersey Star-Ledger had a chat with the creators/producers of "How I Met Your Mother." It turns out that the big twist at the end of Episode 1 -- where we find out that Robin is not the kids' mother -- isn't looking like such a great idea to the producers anymore, because Ted and Robin are exhibiting such amazing chemistry together. Now they're trying to spin it as a bittersweet element -- that you don't always get to marry your soulmate. Yeesh. By Alan Sepinwall PASADENA, Calif. -- We like to believe the perfect match is out for us somewhere, and if we don't meet them -- or, even worse, if we meet them and screw it up -- then we blame it on fate or rotten timing or some other outside force. Ted, the lovelorn hero of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," can only blame it on himself -- or, rather, the version of himself who exists 25 years after he blew it with his soulmate. "How I Met Your Mother" is narrated by Future Ted (Bob Saget), who in the year 2030 tells his teenage children the story of his young love life. In the show's premiere episode, present-day Ted (Josh Radnor) fell badly for newscaster Robin (Cobie Smulders), but just as viewers were settling in for the story of their courtship, Future Ted threw a huge monkey wrench into the works by telling his kids, "And that's the story of how I met your Aunt Robin." Okay... so the twist was a warning shot to make viewers expect the unexpected. But as the season has gone on and "How I Met Your Mother" has established itself as the first real heir to "Friends" -- sweet and silly and likable and genuinely romantic -- the producers have realized the huge problem the twist created for them. "Mother" has a lot going for it, from the inspired naughtiness of Neil Patrick Harris' Barney to the unexpected toughness of Alyson Hannigan's Lily to the uncontrollable energy and dancing of Jason Segel's Marshall. But given the show's focus on relationships, its greatest strength has been the chemistry between Josh Radnor and Cobie Smulders, which is so potent you could bottle and sell it. But because Future Ted has already decreed Robin isn't the kids' mom, the show is stuck on a course that can't pair them off romantically for very long, if ever. When Smulders plays a scene opposite Radnor, "magic happens," Smulders says. "Chemistry flows, fireworks get set off. I can't explain it, but it's kind of meant to be -- and obviously not." "We love watching Josh and Cobie together," says the series' main director, Pamela Fryman. "It's like, they'll do a scene and we'll get misty and say, 'Can you do that one more time? We want to see it again.'" "It's heartbreaking" that the two characters are destined to end up apart, says co-creator Carter Bays. At the same time, there are no plans to quietly do away with Future Ted, or to reveal him to be a pathological liar, or to have Barney claim Ted's biography as his own in the future, or any other means of overturning the "Aunt Robin" proclamation. "Robin's not the mom," says co-creator Craig Thomas. "We're sticking by those guns." "I feel like with great art, you have to create constraints for yourself," says Bays. "You look at The White Stripes, they only want to have a guitar and drums, so they have to make all their music around guitar and drums. We have to make all our comedy around what the narrator says." "They know we're a good combo," says Radnor. "We've even talked about this idea that 'Oh, it is a shame,' but in a way it's kind of the brilliance of the show. Obviously, every girl I've dated, I'm not going to end up with. It doesn't make the relationship any less valid or special. I don't know; they're clever writers, so we'll see what they come up with." What they've come up with right now is the introduction of Ashley Williams as Ted's new love interest, who appeared for a few seconds at the end of the last new episode. No one wants to say much about Monday's show -- even the CBS Web site features no information except for the title, "Drumroll Please." With a title like that, should we assume Williams is the mom-to-be? "You never know," says Thomas with a cryptic smile. The only person willing to spill any details is Smulders, who says, "There is a bit of an arc between Robin and Ted that we're getting into now. She decides that she does have feelings for him, and he isn't returning them, and it's a struggle for them." While they let Future Ted paint them into this particular corner, Thomas points out Robin's non-motherhood doesn't automatically preclude a Ted/Robin fling. "We definitely will see them together at some point in the series," he says, "but not necessarily that way (getting married). People in the course of their lives have relationships, and this is going to be the story of what happened between them, why it didn't work." Bays is talking himself into the idea that the show is more interesting if Ted and Robin don't get to walk down the aisle and into the obstetrics ward. Wishing they could go the distance, he says, "taps into the part of me that thinks, 'Damn, I wish I had asked out that girl five years ago that I'm never going to see again.' It's wistful. "It stinks, though," he admits, "because they are great together."