TIME Television

Cristin Milioti on How I Met Your Mother’s Ending: ‘There’s No Way to Please Everybody’

Cristin Milioti
Cristin Milioti Richard Shotwell—Invision/AP

The A to Z star talks Tinder, her worst date ever and the nipple episode of Mad Men

Proving that television really is becoming the go-to place for romantic comedies, NBC’s new sitcom A to Z tells the complete story of Andrew and Zelda, who date for eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour. Mad Men’s Ben Feldman plays Andrew, the eager romantic; Cristin Milioti, otherwise known as How I Met Your Mother‘s titular mom (or sexy-baby-voice girl from 30 Rock), plays Zelda, who’s more eager to put the brakes on their relationship’s whirlwind beginning.

TIME caught up with Milioti to talk about the show (premiering Oct. 2), online dating and why you should still make mixtapes for your crush.

TIME: How does the show keep viewers on their toes when we know that the main characters break up?

Cristin Milioti: Gosh, it’s interesting, because your guess is as good as mine. They won’t tell us how it ends. Which I actually really like, because that means we don’t know how to play anything other than what the episode is. We’re not playing toward an ending. Ben and I differ in what are opinions are. I think they’re going to break up, he thinks they’re going to get married.

I was going to guess that there would be some bait-and-switch or reset that allows the premise to keep going.

Right? I thought that too. They have to go through the friendship of it, and we start the alphabet all over again. I’m not sure, to be honest with you. I think what the show does beautifully, as I’ve been working on it, is examine what it’s like to let someone into your life when you’re falling in love, which is the most incredible feeling in the world. But also terrifying.

You mentioned the alphabet — are there 26 episodes for each letter?

I think it would be 22, but I think they would combine some of the letters. I only say this because I heard [creator] Ben Queen say this at the TCAs. “LMNO” is — God, I sound like a grandma — texting code for “laughing my nuts off.” Those are his words.

Well, you learn something new everyday!

I always thought it was LMAO, which is “laughing my ass off.” That’s the one that I know. And obviously good old standard LOL.

I’m partial to ROFL.

I’ve seen that one too!

It’s almost onomatopoeic — that’s what I imagine rolling on the floor laughing sounds like.

Rofl-rofl-rofl. Yeah!

So this is the second show you’ve been on where the ending is somewhat known and what happens in the middle is the real meat of the story.

It’s interesting because I never thought that, not even for a second. And then we were doing the TCAs and people started asking questions like that. “Do you think it’s a coincidence that you’re doing a show that’s so much like How I Met Your Mother?”

But, other than that aspect, I don’t really think of them as that similar?

Yeah, but we do deal with a similar theme of whether or not destiny exists.

Do you believe it does?

I gotta tell you, I do for the most part. And then sometimes … I’m still trying to figure that out. Every now and then I’m like, are we the ones that need to take action and then destiny doesn’t exist? Do you create your own destiny? But then, if you create your own destiny, destiny already exists! And you just didn’t even know.

So you differ from your character in that way.

Ben Feldman and I sort of are each other’s characters in real life. I’m Andrew, he’s Zelda. He’s far more pragmatic. I think I believe more in love at first sight than he does.

Andrew works at an online dating company. Have you ever tried that?

No, I’ve never tried it. I’m not on any social media. I know people who have met on Twitter and through Facebook. I had a friend, someone liked her photos on Instagram and they started direct messaging each other and went out on a date! That’s so foreign to me. Whatever floats your boat. If it works for you and that’s how you find love, that’s wonderful. On the other hand, there’s nothing like meeting a person and knowing there’s that sparkly chemistry. But I guess you know that when you go out on that date after your profiles get Tindered.

Have you played around on someone else’s Tinder?

Last summer a friend of a friend gave me his phone and said, “Want to flip through and do my Tinder?” I had this crazy power rush. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m deciding who you’re going to go on a date with!” But I also felt terrible clicking no.

Destiny’s in your hands.

Yes, exactly! My my, how the tables have turned.

What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?

I went on a date with someone that I had not been seeing for very long — I’ve pulled a real Andrew here — but I was very sure: “I have feelings for this person and I’m going to tell them tonight.” We went out to dinner and had a couple glasses of wine, and I was finally like, “I just have to tell you, I really, really like you and have all these feelings and just needed to get that off my chest.” He just stared at me and was like “Oh, okay, I’m sorry, I don’t feel the same way.” We had just finished dinner!

And you just had to sit there until it was over?

Yes! It was a nightmare.

Okay, happier thoughts: what is your ideal date?

It would probably involve the beach and eating.

Very good choices.

Or like something wild that I’ve never done before like being driven to a lookout and being able to see the city. I feel like I could come up with a better one.

I don’t know. Eating at the beach is hard to top.

That’s all you need!

Going back to How I Met Your Mother for a second, were you surprised about the backlash regarding the ending?

Oh no, I wasn’t surprised. That show — which speaks to the quality of that show — always had such a passionate fanbase. I remember talking with one of our props guys about what the reaction was going to be, because some people all along had rooted for Ted and Robin, even when she was going to get married. There’s no way to please everybody. There’s no way to please 10 million people, unless you take them to the beach and give them food.

Do you watch Mad Men? Because Ben’s character went a little crazy this season.

We were just talking about this yesterday. I’ve never seen Mad Men. I want to do it leisurely and really soak it in, but I don’t have time to get to season five [when Feldman's character is introduced]. I just want him to send me his scenes, but he won’t do it.

Do you know what happens?

I do, because we did the upfronts the day after he cut his nipple off.

Oh my God.

We were in the press line together, and all the questions were like, “Cristin, how do you feel about dying?” “Ben, how do you feel about cutting your nipple off?” It was a really dark press line.

My first thought after watching that scene was thankfully A to Z isn’t on until October — we have some time before we have to think of him in a rom-com way.

Yeah, and he does it with aplomb. I really, really want to see Mad Men. I’ve YouTubed — he doesn’t even know this — I’ve YouTubed parts of his performance when he was first being brought in for the role of Andrew. I loved it. I loved what he was doing, and I want to see more of it, but he was like, “It’s important that you know what’s going on.” I basically asked him for his reel.

In addition to acting, you’re also musical: you’ve been nominated for a Tony and the Once soundtrack won a Grammy. Are you going to go for EGOT status?

Haha, geez, I don’t know — I’ll try, I guess? I’m in complete disbelief of what has happened to me. And the Grammy thing, it seems like I just went to a store and asked them to make me a Grammy. It’s so unbelievable to have that thing in my house. It just looks like when you’re little and you’re playing and you get an Oscar that says “Best mom.” That’s what it feels like. I still can’t believe that.

Speaking of music, will Andrew and Zelda swap mixtapes this season?

No, but they should!

Maybe as like a DVD extra you can include them.

Yeah. Do people still do that? People should do that.

I would, but I feel like people catch on too quickly now — they know what’s up when you give them a mix CD.

But hasn’t it gone retro yet now? Maybe not. I don’t think mixtapes will ever go out of style.

You need to speak out and make them cool again.

This is a public statement: I’m in favor of mixtapes.

A version of this story appears in the Oct. 6 issue of TIME, on stands this Friday.

TIME Tech

Tinder Settles Sexual-Harassment Suit With Co-Founder

The startup quickly settles out of court

Dating-app startup Tinder and its parent company, IAC, have quickly settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by one of their co-founders.

Whitney Wolfe alleged in a complaint filed June 30 that her fellow co-founders, Justin Mateen and CEO Sean Rad, subjected her to “horrendously sexist, racist and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages” before stripping her of her co-founder title for being a 24-year-old woman and then firing her. Mateen was suspended following the claims that he had called her a “whore” and “gold digger” in Rad’s presence. The complaint included many screen grabs of text-message conversations among the three co-founders.

Wolfe’s lawyers argued that the Tinder executives symbolized “the worst of the misogynist, alpha-male stereotype too often associated with technology startups.” The suit came at the end of a summer filled with charges of misogyny in Silicon Valley: Valleywag leaked emails from Snapchat CEO and co-founder from his days in a frat at Stanford filled with misogynist comments; Julie Ann Horvath left GitHub because of alleged sexual harassment; a sexist flier was found in Twitter’s headquarters; one of the RapGenius co-founders was ousted for making annotations on University of California, Santa Barbara, killer Elliot Rodger’s misogynist manifesto that included calling Rodger’s sister “smokin hot.”

The case has been resolved and Wolfe has dropped the case, one of her lawyers told BuzzFeed. The firm declined to comment on the sum of money involved in the settlement.

TIME animals

Why New Yorkers Are Getting Matched With Dogs on Tinder

Swipe right to adopt

Posing with a puppy to prove your humanity is a Tinder trope as old as, well, Tinder. But starting last week, New Yorkers found themselves swiping right with literal dogs. Like, the four legged kind, not the kind that sends you lots of suggestive eggplant emojis.

East Village no-kill shelter Social Tees Animal Rescue teamed up with The Barn at ad agency BBH to push pet adoption … via a dating app.

Since Tinder requires a Facebook account for entry into its vortex of swiping, Social Tees set up ten separate Facebook pages for various abandoned puppies looking for a home. Bios ranged from typical exhortations of “Single and ready to mingle!” to the less subtle: “Roses are grey, Violets are grey, and everything is grey because I’m a dog.”

The adoption initiative began July 31, and Social Tees told TIME that its staff had individually approved all potential matches. There were 2,500 matches as of Monday, and people are encouraged to foster a dog for two weeks or to adopt one permanently.

This isn’t the first time shelters have targeted lonely singles on dating sites. The ASPCA put targeted ads on OKCupid in February, right in time for Valentine’s Day, in a pro-bono promotion that resulted in 6 dog and 35 cat adoptions over the course of a weekend.

TIME celebrity

Watch Conan O’Brien and Dave Franco Test Out Tinder

The results are hilarious

Well, it looks like Conan O’Brien decided he was sick of hearing about Tinder and that it was time to try it out for himself. He enlisted certified young person Dave Franco to take the plunge with him. Watch as the pair bust out their smartphones and give the popular dating app a whirl. Naturally, the whole thing ends up being pretty hilarious. WATCH: 6 Minutes of Conan Wrecking Chicago in Video Game WATCH: Conan Plays The New Super Smash Brothers. Horribly.

TIME Companies

Former Tinder Exec Sues for Sexual Harassment

Co-founder Justin Mateen has been suspended pending an internal investigation

A former executive of the mobile dating app Tinder is suing the company for discrimination and sexual harassment, according to a case filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday.

Whitney Wolfe, former marketing vice president, alleges that co-founder Justin Mateen got rid of her co-founder title because having a “24-year-old girl” made Tinder “seem like a joke,” USA Today reports.

Wolfe also claims Mateen called her a “whore” in front of the company’s CEO, Sean Rad. When she tried to complain about the behavior she experienced, Wolfe said she was pushed out of the company. She also alleges that Rad ignored her complaints, Reuters reports.

“I had hoped this would be resolved confidentially, but after months of failed attempts, I have decided to pursue this suit,” Wolfe said in a statement.

A spokesman for IAC, one of two Tinder parent companies named defendants in the suits, provided that following statement to TIME:

“Immediately upon receipt of the allegations contained in Ms. Wolfe’s complaint, Mr. Mateen was suspended pending an ongoing internal investigation. Through that process, it has become clear that Mr. Mateen sent private messages to Ms. Wolfe containing inappropriate content. We unequivocally condemn these messages, but believe that Ms. Wolfe’s allegations with respect to Tinder and its management are unfounded.”

[USA Today]

TIME Sex

Everyone at the World Cup Is Getting Laid, Thanks to Apps

Tinder and Grindr see a huge uptick in use in Brazil

An estimated 600,000 tourists and 3.1 million locals will be traveling in Brazil for this summer’s month-long FIFA World Cup, and they won’t be lonely. Soccer fans are taking full advantage of the event to meet new lovers using location-based hookup apps, Quartz reports.

Hookup apps like Tinder and Grindr, which are popular around the world, allow users to swipe through pictures of potential matches that are geographically close to them. If two people select one another, they can choose to start chatting and then take it from there. This simple, quick setup caters perfectly to short-time travelers looking for a fling after their soccer team of choice wins a game—or better yet, looking for some comfort after a devastating loss.

Tinder is reporting a 50% uptick in downloads and usage in Brazil—which already has the dating app’s third-largest user base, after the U.S. and the U.K.—since the World Cup began. Grindr, an app designed specifically for gay and bisexual men, has seen a 31% increase in the number of times users have opened the app in the area since the tournament began in June.

This isn’t the first time Tinder has made a splash at an international sporting event. Olympians admitted to frequent use of the app during the Winter Olympics in Sochi this past winter. And why not? There were so many in-shape people to choose from.

Hookup apps are probably not as popular among the athletes in Brazil right now: Some of the World Cup players are restricted in their romantic escapades by their teams. But even if the players may not be getting any action, that’s not stopping the fans.

[Quartz]

TIME App

Tinder’s New Photo Feature Is A Lot Like Snapchat

Tinder

The dating app added a "Moments" feature that allows users to share photos with matches that will disappear in 24 hours

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday

In a continued attempt to move away from its “just a hookup app” stereotype, Tinder added a new feature Thursday that turns it into more of a social sharing platform. “Moments” allows users to show their matches photos taken throughout the day that will disappear after 24 hours — longer than your average Tinder relationship.

“We’ve done a really good job of helping people form new relationships, so good in fact that we just reached 2 billion matches this week, but making the connection is just the start,” founder and CEO Sean Rad told TIME. “We wanted to give our users a better way to get to know their matches and communicate with them. And that’s what led to Moments.”

A user can click on a camera icon at the top of their “Matches” tab to take a photo that will be shared with all potential suitors and then get erased from existence in 24 hours. (But keep your pants on—literally—users can easily report and block inappropriate photo sharers).

While the “Moments feature certainly has some Snapchat-esque elements—people can draw, caption, and put filters on the ephemeral photos—it still stays true to the Tinder user experience.

“I think Tinder is different [from Snapchat],” Rad said. “Of course we’ve taken inspiration from other experiences out there, but the core user experience with moments is very Unique and familiar to our users in the way we present the content. The action of swiping is very unique to Tinder.”

Users have the ability to swipe through their potential suitors’ Moments, found on top of their “Matches” tab. A swipe right alerts the photo taker that you “Liked” their Moment, creating new opportunities for communication.

Rad said that Tinder decided to make the pictures self-destruct in a day to “take away that pressure of wanting to make it perfect and allow you to be more yourself.”

Tinder claims to produce 800 million swipes and 10 million matches a day. And the founders promise that it is adding more features that will expand on the dating functionality.

As Josh Stein, a partner at VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, told Bloomberg,”Tinder might end up competing with Snapchat or Facebook.”

This could be seen as the next step to making Tinder—which Rad says “is already about more than just dating”—a social platform.

“I think you could look at it as an evolution,” he said. “To us social means meeting new people and strengthening the bonds that you have with existing relationships. We’ve done the meeting people well, now it’s about giving unique and fun tools to people to connect with those matches.”

TIME health

This Nurse Is Using Tinder to Remind Dudes to Get Prostate Exams

via Matchesformenshealth.com

Men's health outreach, Tinder style

“Nurse Nicole” sounds like every man’s fantasy: She’s young and beautiful, loves “dogs, warm weather, and spontaneous decisions,” and has that whole sexy nurse thing going for her. It’s no wonder that she’s been catching many suitors’ eyes and their eager right swipes on Tinder. But when the men match with Nurse Nicole, they realize she has a somewhat strange fixation on prostates. Specifically, getting young men to have annual prostate exams.

Nurse Nicole does not actually exist. Instead, her Tinder profile was set up as part of a health awareness campaign run by Matches for Men’s Health. When a Tinder match is made, Nurse Nicole responds to the sometimes salacious texts from suitors with pithy, health-related comebacks encouraging trips to the doctor for prostate exams, testicular cancer screenings and colonoscopies. If the men get too worked up, she will even suggest blood pressure monitoring.

It’s a clever campaign and it should be effective, but based on the text exchanges that appear on Matches for Men’s Health, it’s not clear that the men getting the health tips actually realize that when Nurse Nicole suggests a colonoscopy, she really means a colonoscopy.

[Via The Daily Dot]

MORE: Sick of the People on Dating Apps? Now There’s a Tinder for Dogs

MORE: Dating Show Contestant Reveals He Murdered Wife And Mistress, But Is Still Looking For Love

TIME society

Dating Show Contestant Reveals He Murdered Wife And Mistress, But Is Still Looking For Love

Ladies, he's single

When it comes to looking for love, maybe skip the dating shows and hitch a ride on the hook-up truck instead.

While honesty is usually the best policy, Sefer Calinak, a man looking for love on a Turkish dating show, missed his chance to meet a potential wife when he got a little too open and honest too quickly.

The 62-year old shocked the audience of Flash TV’s The Luck of The Draw by admitting — on air — that he had murdered his first wife and later killed a lover with an axe during an argument.

Calinak said he killed his first wife, a cousin, when they were both 17. As is common with young love, things didn’t work out. Less common, Calinak killed her and was sentenced to 13 years in prison, serving four before being released due to an amnesty.

He then started an affair with a married woman and when she refused to leave her husband for him, they argued and he “accidentally” killed her with an axe. “I killed her after she tried to kill me,” he said according to Hurriyet Daily News. “She was accidentally killed when I swung the ax.” He then served another six years in prison, before heading to the bright lights of television to look for love.

According to USA Today, the show’s producer knew that Calinak had murdered someone, but he was allowed to appear on the show because he had served his legal sentence.

In the game show’s defense, the host did ask Calinak to leave after he confessed to the second murder.

As for us, we’re sticking to that cupcake on Tinder.

[Via USA Today]

MORE: This Is the Most Glorious Way to Respond to Creepy Tinder Advances

MORE: E.T. Is Right Here: Lost Atari Cartridges Unearthed in New Mexico Dump

TIME

China’s Tinder Plots IPO in the Shadow of Anti-Porn Crackdown

Chinese officials launch a ceremony to d
Chinese officials launch a ceremony to destroy thousands of pornographic books and video materials in Beijing on April 24, 2011. AFP/Getty Images

China's dating app has 120 million user profiles, some of which may be too hot for Beijing

China’s dating app Momo has 120 million users, a possible valuation of $2 billion, and an ongoing flirtation with U.S. banks, eager to get a piece of the action should the company go public on a U.S. stock exchange, but a few of the racier user profiles have investors on edge.

The Wall Street Journal reports that some of the photos could run afoul of China’s widening crackdown on internet pornography. A reporter from state news service Xinhua logged onto the app in a popular bar district of Beijing and reportedly found scantily clad women “wearing bikinis to show off their physiques” and profiles suggestive of escort services. The salacious details may not shock users of dating sites the world over, but in China, the pictures can trigger regulatory crackdowns. Web companies Sina and Sohu.com have seen their publishing licenses revoked for explicit content.

In an email to the Journal, a company spokesperson insisted the company supported the government’s crackdown and would expand its team of internal censors from 60 to 100 employees, saying its commercial interests were “totally incompatible with lewd and sexual content.”

[WSJ]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser