Cobie Smulders on How I Met Your Mother, Reprising Robin Sparkles and On-Set Jam Sessions


She may not be a former Canadian pop star in real life, but Cobie Smulders plays one on TV. As Robin Scherbatsky on CBS's Emmy-winning How I Met Your Mother, the Vancouver-born actress plays a morning-news anchor who dabbled in bubblegum pop music in the early '80s under the stage name Robin Sparkles. And while Robin's clique of thirtysomething friends -- played by Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan -- have only uncovered two recordings to date, the music videos have been so popular that they have inspired dozens of fan parodies on YouTube. Aside from being a former pop star though, Smulders' character is also the show's consummate bachelorette who just this season won the heart of Neil Patrick Harris' comically machismo bachelor.

As How I Met Your Mother's fifth season winds down, Cobie Smulders caught Movieline up on her character's lost variety show with Alan Thicke, the scenes she hated filming this season and her favorite guest star to date.

[Spoilerphobes beware: Smulders revealed a few mild plot twists ahead in the series' fifth season.]

So when are we going to see Robin Sparkles again?

I don't know! Hopefully soon. She took a little bit of a respite, didn't she?

The writers are really spacing out her appearances.

They dropped the idea of Robin having a variety show too.

I wanted to ask you about that. Earlier this season (in the episode "The Rough Patch") Alan Thicke revealed that he and Robin co-starred in a Canadian variety show together and then Barney ran off to try to find the footage but --

[The writers] never made anything of it, so I am hoping that when we come back for season six that we will get some crazy variety show with Alan Thicke. That would be amazing. Any excuse to bring Alan Thicke back on the show.

Your show gets so many great guest stars -- from Britney Spears to Peter Bogdanovich. Did you hit it off with one in particular?

I love -- just as a person -- Sarah Chalke. She's now one of my good friends, so I think I am probably biased towards that, but we also had her for quite some time. She was with

us for what, seven episodes or something like that? So it was nice to have someone actually there for a good chunk of time and allow her character to develop and all that stuff.

Speaking of characters sticking around on the show, what happened to Robin's new beau Don? Even though he and Robin have been dating, we haven't seen him since their first date.

Well, there is a pretty big season finale coming up where some stuff goes down with Don.

Bad stuff?

Some bad stuff goes down with Don, so I have a feeling he may not be with us for much longer.

Message received. You guys also shot an episode with Chris Kattan and Jason Lewis.

I think that is the episode before the season finale. But I was bummed! I am a fan of Chris Kattan actually and we weren't on set that day. They actually shot a movie that will be shown within the show, which actually didn't involve any characters from the show so none of us worked that day. Our crew basically shot a mini-movie while we were at home. I hear it's pretty funny and amazing and I am excited to see what Chris Kattan comes up with in terms of what his thoughts on Ted Mosby are. He's playing sort of a cartoon version of Ted.

That's such a genius casting choice. Chris Kattan really has the Ted Mosby spiky hair.

We have some really good writers who have some pretty awesome ideas.

Can you talk about how the movie within the show fits into the season?

Was it last season that Sarah Chalke was on the show?

Right, season four.

Yeah, so we ended the season with Sarah's character Stella moving to Los Angeles with Tony (Jason Jones). Basically, he went to L.A. to become a movie writer and wrote this movie that we end up watching and sort of discover is about his relationship with Stella and the whole leaving-him-at-the-altar sort of thing. But it's not entirely fact-based. It's kind of made-up -- his version of what happened.


Moving on to Robin's love life, what did you first think when the writers told you that they were conceiving a Robin-Barney romance? As a viewer, it seemed like it would be a complete disaster but it turned out that Robin and Barney had really sweet chemistry.

I was surprised when they decided to do it and then like you, I got on board with it. I love working with Neil. He is so much fun and we just have a really good time on set together. So it was fun to play more intimate scenes together but I think that relationship definitely had an expiration date so it was just a matter of time before they broke up. But it was sort of bittersweet. I feel like it is something that they could maybe touch upon again, but you never know. I think they like to leave things kind of open-ended on our show in case they want to hop back, because the timeline is just so all over the place .

And Ted is a totally unreliable narrator --

Yes, we can definitely rely on that, "Oops! Ted told the story wrong, so let's tell it again the right way."

It's funny how that makes for entertaining television, but if someone kept pulling that in real life, they would be one of the most annoying storytellers ever.


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  • syd says:

    oh, how nice! a cobie interview. i think she is great and so underrated.
    its a shame this season of himym sucks so much. i still watch it but its just not the same. cobie is getting better though, she is the best actress at the moment on the show, i love love neil but i get the feeling that lately he has been over-acting a bit? or is it just barney getting annoying? hard to tell...
    jason segel is great as well, but they haven't given him much this season.