How I Met Your Mother Preview: Kal Penn's Role, Barney's Love Hexagon, Robin's Act of Violence

Cobie Smulders fans take heart: How I Met Your Mother executive producer Craig Thomas says Season 7 is “very much a Robin season.” Thomas and fellow EP Carter Bays spilled some key intel to TVLine about the unexpected and “forbidden” romance that will spring up for Robin and a new character played by Kal Penn, the love hexagon (or perhaps pentagon) that will ensnare Barney, and the “dark secret” Marshall will uncover about his new employer (played by Martin Short). Plus, there’s scoop about the HIMYM role Conan O’Brien purchased in a charity auction. (Two word hint: Where’s Waldo.) Read on for all the juicy Season 7 details!

TVLine | Season 6 felt like it was a lot about growing up. What about this year?
Carter Bays: This year is about birth. It’s about rebirth and becoming something and becoming someone new. It’s all bookended by this exciting new journey Marshall and Lily are heading out on.
Craig Thomas: It’s a season about looking to the future. We are in Act 3 of this story of How I Met Your Mother. It’s all the characters looking to the horizon. Who am I going to be when these cameras stop rolling and I have to move toward the year 2030? All the characters will ask that this year. You’re going to see Marshall and Lily wrestling with, who are we going to be as parents? What will our kid think of us? The fact that they’re having a kid is a huge catalyst for things to happen within this group. Ted, Robin and Barney all start to thinking about: “Will I ever have a kid? When will that happen? Will that happen? Where’s my future going?”
Bays: And who’s it going to be with?

TVLine | Entering the third act, are you feeling pressure to answer some questions?
Thomas: No, it’s not pressure. More like it’s fun that we finally get to answer questions. We ended the season on an enormous question: Who’s Barney marrying? We can say that for sure in Season 7 we’re going to answer that. It’s not going to be strung along. But there’s also callbacks to little mysteries and little things we set up in Season 1 and Season 2 that will come back around.

TVLine | Can you say when we’ll find out who Barney’s bride is?
Thomas: I don’t want to say when, but I’ll tell you our season begins at that moment [from the season finale].
Bays: It’s the central mystery of the season. Someone has convinced Barney to put on a boutonniere and walk down the aisle. We’re going to find out who that is this year.

TVLine | Let’s talk about Barney, Nora and Robin.
Thomas: When we begin Season 7, it starts with Robin trying to tamp down these feelings that are bubbling up about Barney again. Why should I have these feelings for Barney again? I should be happy for him? There’s this other girl he’s sort of pursuing. We pick right up on Nora, Barney and Robin. There is an element to this season of who’s Barney going to marry? There will be more than those two choices.
Bays: [The love triangle] will end up being a bit of a pentagon or hexagon.

TVLine | Is he going to have a few serious girlfriends? Or are they more like one-night stands?
Thomas: There will be several choices. It’s a little bit of a Mamma Mia season. There’ll be several options of who Barney could be marrying.

TVLine | Who is Kal Penn playing? What’s his dynamic with Robin?
Bays: It’s a very funny character. It’s a romantic interest for Robin. Basically, the way he meets Robin is he’s her therapist. Robin goes to get therapy. It’s in part due to what’s going on in her life vis-a-vis Barney. But in the process of getting that therapy, she maybe starts to have feelings for her therapist, which is kind of messed up. And her therapist starts to have feelings for her too. It’s a bit of a forbidden romance.
Thomas: She shows up to the therapy because it’s court-mandated, because Robin has gotten into a fight. The episode’s mystery is, who did Robin get into a fight with? Robin assaulted someone, and it takes Kal Penn as her therapist to get it out of her [and answer], “Why are you at this court-mandated therapy?” It’s a romantically very confusing beginning of the season for Robin, but there’s just so much fun to be had. I can say that it’s very much a Robin season.
Bays: Probably more than any of the other characters [next season], she’s going to really go through some growth. This year, Robin’s going to be taking her own intense journey [like Marshall did last year].

TVLine | Is Ted back on track about finding the mother next season?
Bays: He is. It’s really going to be about him reacquainting himself with what was at one point his life’s mission — to find the right girl and start a family.
Thomas: But also he’s wrestling with the fact that’s on a hot streak right now. He’s New York’s youngest architect designing a building ever. He’s a professor. He’s single. He’s in a great place. So he’s a little bit in that moral dilemma like, “I want to meet the love of my life. But there’s also chicks who want to date me right now.” With Lily and Marshall having a kid, it’s going to stir up a lot for him.
Bays: It’s going to make him ask, “Why am I not there yet?” This season is about finding those answers for Ted.

TVLine | Is Barney very serious about Nora?
Thomas: He’s pursuing her [in the premiere]. It’s a new Barney. It’s Barney on Step 1 of this new path. But ultimately, Robin has feelings for Barney. He has by no means made amends with Nora.
Bays: Nora’s going to take some work. It’s not going to be easy for him to get Nora.

TVLine | Is he aware that Robin’s got feelings for him again?
Thomas: Not at all. Robin’s the only one who knows that. In the premiere, we see Lily spot that and try to get Robin to admit to it. Barney’s setting down this path away from Robin, and it’s making Robin really wistful. What will Robin do with that? Will she allow him to mature and go down that path? Or will she try to throw her ring in that a little bit too? It’s Robin wrestling with a big moral dilemma. Barney’s growing up, and it’s making her want Barney again. There’s some real fireworks between the two of them in November sweeps that we’re having so much fun writing. It’s really juicy.

TVLine | What’s Martin Short’s dynamic with Marshall?
Thomas: It’s a character with his own unique twist that we can’t pitch. I’ll say that he’s a superstar environmental lawyer, an idol of Marshall’s. Finally, Marshall gets the chance to go work for this legend, this philanthropist, this amazing, goodhearted guy. Except there’s a little bit of a dark edge to the character.
Bays: He’s got a bit of a dark secret we won’t reveal immediately. But there’s a good moment where Marshall discovers it.

TVLine | Are you writing Conan O’Brien into the show?
Bays: We immediately took [his winning bid] as like, great, we’ll make him Ted’s professor buddy. We talked to him on the phone and he was like, “No. I want to be an extra. I’m going to sit in the background, drink a drink and not be a part of the show at all.”
Thomas: Conan’s going to have as many lines as Waldo does in Where’s Waldo. [Laughs]
Bays: If you blink, you might miss him, but he’ll be there.

TVLine | So he’s definitely coming on?
Bays: Look, he bought it.
Thomas: If he doesn’t come on, he’s wasted thousands of dollars over charitable contributions. He’s paid for it. He has to do it.

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  1. Laura says:

    Am I the only one who thinks It would be LEGENDARY to have a HIMYM crossover with Big Bang Theory… I’m thinking it should involve Barney and Penny dating!

    • Bruce_F says:

      That would be damn near impossible since HIMYM takes place in NYC and TBBT is set in Pasadena, CA.

    • syd says:

      no. because even though HIMYM is not as good as it used to be. BBT has always and will always suck.

      • cerreno says:

        Of course you would think TBBT sucks, U haven’t got two brain cells to rub together…. TBBT is in an AWESOME league of its own which can never be compared to the almost always douchiness of HIMYM. and if you think I’m wrong, check how many awards TBBT has won when compared to HIMYM.

        • syd says:


        • Jooshua says:

          The Big Bang Theory has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe.. How I Met Your Mother has won 4 Emmys..

          And if you count other random awards.. TBBT has won 5.. and HIMYM has won 5.. and like I said previously.. 4 of them were Emmys

          So I don’t really see how either is outdoing the other in the awards department.

          • Sasha says:

            Not to add to this because I adore both shows.

            But TBBT won those awards for acting and HIMYM for other things (that I’m lazy to look up right now)

        • John Berggren says:

          We don’t really have to hate on one show to prove our love for another, do we?

      • akshata!!! says:

        it sucks coz u’r too dumb to get it!

    • puneet says:

      come on shut up. big bang sucks.

    • Kevin says:

      I had a dream about that nd Yess dat wud be awsesome :D Penny ;) <3

  2. Michelle says:

    Going back to season 1 and 2 mysteries? Will we finally find out about the Pineapple?!

    • Liz says:

      Not likely. Ted specifically states that they never learned where the pineapple came from– and Carter Bays says they learned a lesson from that. (i.e. don’t write yourself into a corner.)

      However, due to the goat incident– and the whole “Ted’s a slightly unreliable narrator” thing, they might be able to work it in. I’m not betting on it, much as I’d like to know!

    • Kate says:

      I’m still holding out hope that at the end, when we find out who the mother is, she will have turned out to be slutty pumpkin

    • chr says:

      that’s the first thing that crossed my mind when i read this.

  3. Legna says:

    Really looking forward to this upcoming season.

  4. syd says:

    this sounds good. i am particularly excited for more robin since she is my favourite character. cobie is great and i was sad she wasn’t given much to do last season…. i’m really looking forward this new season.

  5. Paul says:

    I hope they do the Barney / Lily situation from the Mermaid Theory episode sometime this season.

  6. madhatter360 says:

    Mysteries that I think will be revealed.
    1. Slutty Pumpkin
    2. Victoria’s embarrassing story
    3. What eventually happened to Victoria (since the fellowship was for 2 years)
    4. Who the matchmaker site paired him with
    5. More Robin Sparkles truths
    There are probably others but these are the ones I thought of first.

  7. eddie says:

    It frustrates me that 80% of that interview ^ was about barney! i like barney but i miss the good ol days in the earlier seasons when Ted was actually the main character!

  8. Mairead says:

    Remember the Re-return? Ted said that wasn’t a;; that happened that night.
    What if there was a RE-re-return, but Barney turned up instead if Ted…
    Just an idea.

  9. k says:

    I’m still waiting for the slap bet to be completed. I’m pretty sure Marshall still has one left, and I’m sad it’s taken so long for it to come out after the first 3 happened so quickly. Hopefully it’ll be good when it happens.

  10. M. says:

    I’d love to find out who is the Slutty Pumpkin.And the girl in the dating site.Perhaps the same person?Perhaps the mother?
    And I read somewhere they’re planning on bringing something new to Robin Sparkles this season.That’d be great.Sparkles is pure comedy gold.
    As for who’s Barney going to marry,my guess is Robin.They have a HUGE fanbase and a really awesome chemestry.

    The last slap?I bet it will be on the wedding.Barney would freak out or something and BOOM,slap.

    • Amy says:

      I can’t wait for the last slap! Funniest running story the show has had. Well, I also love the dopplegangers.

  11. Paul says:

    I hope we see Slapsgiving 3: The Final Slap.

  12. Bob says:

    You had an opportunity to ask if John Cho would be appearing as the character he played four years ago, Jeff Coatsworth, and you didn’t. They’d be crazy not to have some sort of scene (real or in a dream sequence) with the H & K cast!!!

    Jeff Coatsworth: Before you say anything, come take a ride with me in this awesome limo.
    Marshall Eriksen: Where are we going?
    Jeff Coatsworth: [Shrugs] Tuckahoe Funland.
    Marshall Eriksen: I’m sorry. It sounded like you said Tuckahoe Funland, The magic factory where dreams are made.

  13. manu says:

    what i want to know is why ted was wearing the green dress and said “all right, NOW we are even!”

    • steeds says:

      at the end of season 6 barney says to nora ‘here i was thinking it was too late for sundresses’ and nora replies ‘its never too late barney’ and barney says ‘challenge accepted.’ while this most likely has got something to do with barney and nora, it could also have something to do with ted in the green dress (too late for sundresses).

  14. Julie says:

    Oh madhatter360 I hope all of your possibilities are right… at least the ones that don’t involve Victoria would be awesome lol!

    I don’t really care that this article was pretty much about Robin and Barney, I’m just so happy that we got one heck of a juicy spoilery one!! :D Cannot wait for September!

    Oh, and I cannot wait to see Kal Penn! I’m glad he got away from his White House job! Good Kal!

  15. Tausif Khan says:

    The Kal Penn episode seems a similar structure to the episode of Frasier where Daphne figures out her feeling for Niles when she is seeing a court appointed therapist played by S. Epatha Merkerson:

    Dark Side of the Moon (#7.22):

    Directed by Written by Original air date
    David Lee Lori Kirkland May 11, 2000

    In a session with her therapist, Daphne recalls (through flashbacks) a series of unfortunate events following the surprise shower that her fiancé, Donny, threw for her.

  16. Mandy says:

    I am so glad they specified that Robin is in court-mandated therapy, because she would never go in therapy herself! It would be out of character.
    Sounds like they have a great season coming up. Can’t wait.

  17. Shannon says:

    YES! FINALLY a Robin and Barney redress! They left that bit way too soon, and hopefully it will be worth the wait.

  18. Alicia says:

    May be impossible but would be damn funny – imagine Sheldon meeting Barney!!!

  19. Alex says:

    They should bring Casey Anthony in and have her date Ted for a couple of episodes.

  20. bill says:

    Please think about this theory- What if all along the story ted has been telling those kids, was how he met their mother,wait for it, Lily. That those aren’t his kids. They are really Marshall and Lily’s. Ted always just says “Kids” but does he ever refer to them as his kids.

    • Shannon says:

      That is actually a pretty good theory…haven’t thought of that before. However, if that is true, I will kill my television set.

    • jenna says:

      It would be an interesting theory but its been said numerous times that he met her in college so I don’t really see that working out

    • Sophie says:

      Yes, He does. And very occasionally (mainly in the first two seasons) the kids call him dad.

    • Lisa says:

      How would that be possible? Ted refers to Lily and Marshall as “your aunt Lily and your uncle Marshall” and the kids call him “dad.” There is a lot of evidence that prove this theory to be unlikely. Even last season when Ted buys the house, he makes a comment about how that house is the house they all “live in now” so that does not seem to line up. Someone else said this, but they did have a flash forward scene in one of the episodes with an older Marshall and Lily so they are obviously still alive. Plus, if that was the case, the show would no longer be a sitcom. That would be a depressing ending.

  21. Matthew says:

    I think that thoery has been brought up before Bill. I get Deja vu looking at it. I think it was knocked on the head back in a season 2 discussion, but there is no way I can find the thread now to prove that.

    Having said that, Ted’s a 30s year old ARchitect who is getting a rather big office skyscraper built. Im thinking its ‘Ted Mosby.. ARchitect’ time. :) Do I think he will get more screen time because of that this season? Thats a possibility

    (Lets be honest here. Every year has seen a gradual decrease on the amount of emphasis the show puts on finding the mother. It is stired every now and then but just think how many times it was brought up this season.. then plot back to season 1. While the ‘heart’ of the show is Ted.. characters still always comeback to him as the straightguy I think the actual mission for the mother isnt really that important anymore)

    You could also make the same point with Barney. Every season he has used his Legendary and suit up lines less. How many times did he say Suit up in Season 6? They are showing the change in his character almost in a verbal manner.

  22. Mildred says:

    does anyone know when is the new season going to air ???

  23. willow says:

    my theory: lily is the mother. actually lily and marshall are the parents but they died so ted becomes the dad.

  24. Scs says:

    Ok first off they are teds kids. They call him dad in an episode. I forget the episode but it’s when Ted tells his kids that the thanksgiving stripper (Tracy) was their mother.

    Also Marshall and lily are not dead. In a flashforward when marshall and lily wrote letters to each other in the case of one of them died, you see a 60+ yr old Marshall reading lily’s letter.

    My theory is that it is Barney’s half sister. If you remember Jerome mentioned his son, JJ, and his daughter who is at college (remember the daughter is a student at the college Ted teaches). Ted meets the mother at Barney’s wedding, which makes Ted and the half sister meeting at Barney’s wedding plausible, and makes for an interesting storyline. Especially since Barney was also into teds sister, so what if the roles were reversed?

    • steeds says:

      cant be barneys sister because the mothers name as you pointed out is Tracy. In season 6 ep 19 11 minutes in ‘legendaddy’ jerome says his daughters name is carly when he shows barney a photo of the family.

      • Samantha says:

        Thats just a theory, there isn’t super legitimate proof of that. Ted never actually said “your moms name is Tracy.” I like the theory, but I think they just put it there to throw everybody off.

  25. As soon as i saw that mysteries from season 1 would come out I thought of the slutty pumpkin. I really want to find out who she is. But if we find out before Barneys wedding, does that mean she’s not the mother? By the way, I’m pretty sure she walks by behind Marshall in “The Leap” at the Halloween party.
    Also, I’m HOPING Barney is marrying Robin because I’ve always loved them together from the moment they played laser tag together and went to the cigar bar :)
    And right now, my moneys on the half sister theory :)

    Also, http://slapbetcommisioners.blogspot.com/ is my blog.

  26. Beate says:

    Can’t wait for the new season! However, I think I read some months ago that one of the producers said Barney’s wedding would not necessarily end happy (it’s all very vague and nothing along these lines is mentioned in newer interviews). But if it’s true I hope Barney won’t marry Robin because we have seen them come together, then break up before. I am probably in a minority here, but I don’t think the two of them would really work as a couple in the long run. Well, HIMYM is built on mysteries, so we’ll have to watch the new season to find out :-)

  27. rupak says:

    Is kate perry also featured in the new season.
    The girl set by the match maker is certainly one who could be ted’s wife.