'How I Met Your Mother': Cobie Smulders on Robin's boyfriends, Robin Sparkles and the 'dramatic season finale'
If you've been wondering about Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) on “How I Met Your Mother,” you're not the only one.
Cobie Smulders had been having a hard time understanding why Robin was always in the room while Barney flaunted his conquests right in front of her. But last Monday, the show finally revealed through flashbacks that Robin was not as cool with it as she seemed.
Smulders talked with Show Tracker last week about Robin's and Barney's relationship, Robin's new boyfriend and how her many ex-boyfriends are going to lead to a emotional threesome that shakes up the dynamics of the group. We also discussed when Robin Sparkles might be making a reappearance.
The last episode was a great one for Robin and gave you a nice showcase. Were you glad that they followed up on the breakup and addressed Barney's behavior?
I really was. I was quite relieved. When we were shooting, going through all these scenes, I was constantly saying to them, “This is crazy. I shouldn't even be here for this conversation. There's no way I would be sitting here while they're yapping about his latest conquest.” I kept writing myself out of scenes. I feel like Robin has been redeemed in a sense. I feel like she's finally shown she was really upset about this. Barney, hopefully, learned something from the whole experience as well, from the effect that he can have on people and that Robin is human.
You didn't know ahead of time that they were going to address this later?
No. I'm not sure if they did it because I was complaining so much or if they were doing it because they thought it was a really fun way to – because our show is all about flashbacks and flash-forwards. They love teasing the audience and going all over the place. I think it was a really great way to be able to go, “Remember this? Remember this?” and to flashback to all these moments where I, as a character, felt awkward and to show she really did feel awkward and there was a reaction from it.
There was a lot of reaction to the Barney and Robin breakup. Were you surprised when it ended?
I wasn't surprised that it ended. I was surprised that it ended so soon. I would have loved to see it go a little bit further. But I think it always had an inevitable end. I feel like those two characters are not really meant to be with each other. They may be in a few years if they're in different places. I think it was a pairing that was built more for comedy than for longevity.
Do you think could they find their way back to each other eventually?
Oh yeah. This is TV. Anything could happen. I always thought that actually when they got together, that would be the series finale and they would end up together. That's why I was sort of bummed when I saw that they were pitching it. I thought, “Oh, no. Maybe they won't end up together now.” I liked the build throughout the whole series to that. Who knows? Maybe they'll still decide to do that.
Are you rooting for them or someone else? Maybe for Don (Benjamin Koldyke) or even Ted (Josh Radnor)?
I have a soft spot in my heart for both Ted's and Barney's characters. I think it could really work out either way. I think it would be great for Barney to find someone to love him. I sort of go that direction. But I also hope every character ends up happy. That's really what's most important. I guess if I had to root for anyone, I'd be rooting for Barney because then I would get to yell at Neil more. [laughs] I feel like that's all we did when we were a couple is fake-yelled at each other every time we were on set together.
For the first time, your character is getting a recurring love interest outside of the main cast. Is that exciting or nerve-racking for you as an actress to have someone new to play with?
It's nice actually to switch it up a little bit and bring someone else in and give someone else the spotlight for a little bit. I just love Ben, who plays Don. We got along so well. We're shooting the end of the season right now. It's all about Robin taking a step back from the group of friends to feel out this relationship with Don. Every time she hangs out with her best friends, two of them are ex-boyfriends, so it's always tinged with awkwardness. It's playing with the dynamic of the group a little bit. I think we'll get back to the core of it eventually, but it's kind of nice taking a step outside for a bit.
So we're going to be seeing Don a lot more in the rest of the season?
Definitely in the last couple of episodes. I think we're building up to some sort of dramatic season finale. I don't even know what that is. I've been told that it's quite dramatic. I was hardly working this week, and they're like, “Don't worry. The season finale, we're building up to something.” I think that they have an idea for a Robin climax at the end.
One of the things the show teased this year was a Robin Sparkles-Alan Thicke variety show.
I know! I don't know if we're going to get to that. I have no idea what is in store for that. I know it's still in the works. I think maybe getting a season six pickup this early in the game is somewhat to a lot of story lines' determent, where it's like, “Oh, we'll do it next season.” Maybe I'll get the script tomorrow for next week, and it'll be like, “The Robin Scherbatsky Show!” I never quite know, but I have a feeling that we might have to wait until next season.
You've gotten to work with so many great guest stars like Alan Thicke, James Van Der Beek, Alyson Hannigan's husband Alexis Denisof, Enrique Iglesias.
They give me a lot of the good ones, don't they?
And usually Marshall ends up crushing on them.
That's true. That is the new running joke, where like every guy that I am involved with, Marshall has a mancrush on. That's the new running bit because that's how he feels about Don now.
Do you have a favorite guest star? Or someone you'd like to work with that hasn't been on the show yet?
I'd love to have Meryl Streep if she's available. I know she's probably busy. I loved working with Sarah Chalke. I felt like she'd been there the whole time. It was like, “Yeah, you're the sixth member of our group.” It just worked. That was the greatest. She's amazing and now a good friend of mine. She was probably my favorite to have worked with. There's definitely the thrills. Jennifer Lopez was really fun to work with last week. She was awesome. I feel like Sarah was the one that we got for a while.
When I talked to Carter Bays, he said, “There's going to be some big shakeups in the second half of the season between the characters.” Can you give some hints as to what's going on with Robin?
What goes on in Carter's head, I don't even know. I feel like there is going to be like – without it sounding dirty – a threeway. [laughs] Robin, Ted and Barney – I think their emotions are going to come to a head. I don't know how it's going to end up. I know it involves me and the guys and Don. That's really all I've been told. I don't know if I'm going to end up with Barney again. I really have no idea. But I know it'll be something in terms of shifting in their relationship.
– Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)
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Upper photo: Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) during their brief relationship. Credit: Ron P. Jaffe / Fox
Center photo: Smulders frolics on the beach with James Van Der Beek for a Robin Sparkles music video Credit: Randy Tepper / CBS
Lower photo: Ted (Josh Radnor), Barney (Harris) and Robin (Smulders) during Thanksgiving. Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS