Eleven years after How I Met Your Mother aired an episode entitled “Duel Citizenship” — and 15 after the show premiered — Cobie Smulders is following in the footsteps of her Canadian character Robin Scherbatsky: She too has achieved dual citizenship.
“I have a foot in each country,” the new American citizen tells Yahoo Entertainment.
Smulders recently ventured out of her home in Los Angeles to attend her naturalization ceremony. This one, due to the coronavirus pandemic, was a little “underwhelming,” she says. “It was like me and four other people.”
Thankfully, she aced her test. “Nailed it. A hundred percent,” she says. “First exam I've taken since high school because I never went to college. It’s been a minute.”
She decided to become an American citizen primarily so she can vote, both in the upcoming presidential election and locally in L.A. On Instagram, she’s said she’s voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
“I've been in this country as an immigrant [since] I was 20, 21,” she says. “I have been working here for so long and yet I'm not afforded the same benefits as people who are citizens. And honestly, I was sick of not voting.”
As a passionate environmental activist (she’s working with the Planet Oat Project for this month’s National Clean Up Day), she also wants a voice in making sure the world is safe for “future generations” like her two kids, which she shares with her husband, actor Taran Killam, who is American.
“This is where my children are being raised,” she says. “I am very much Canadian at heart but this is where my family is.”
That Canadian pride was imbued — and frequently made fun of — through her How I Met Your Mother character. The show is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and Smulders recalled how even landing the role of Robin had an effect on her immigration status.
“I think I got like a year visa and I was like, ‘I'm good, no deportation for me,’ she says. (Similar to the “Duel Citizenship” episode, art imitated life when in a Season 4 episode, Robin must find a job in order to avoid deportation back to Canada.)
Much of the show, which ran for nine seasons from 2005 to 2014, focuses on Ted Mosby’s (Josh Radnor) on-again-off-again relationship with Smulders’s Robin, and their close-knit group of friends: Couple Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) and Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), and wild card Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).
“I met Josh when we were testing. We got along so well, and it just kind of all happened,” Smulders says. “It just was the best job that I think I'll ever have.”
The show is also, however implausibly, told via one very long, extremely tangential flashback as Ted, in 2030, explains to his kids how he met their mom. A few scenes take place in the year 2020, and a tweet recently went viral jokingly asking how Ted could never once mention the coronavirus pandemic to his children. Show co-creator Craig Thomas even chimed in.
Which begs the question: How would the show, set in real-life early hotspot New York City, theoretically handle the pandemic?
Smulders thinks she knows what Robin, who becomes a successful TV reporter, would do — and it’s not reporting.
“I think Robin probably would have gone back to Canada [to live] in a cabin in like Northern Alberta,” she says. “Totally isolated, like, end of days. Not reporting at all. She would be like, ‘All right, I'm going to go and hunt deer and live off the land.’”
Meaning that this year, both literally and fictionally, Smulders is staying here in L.A. with her dual citizenship while Robin is escaping to the frozen north with hers.
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