How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney and Robin took a big leap forward when the former bachelor popped the question to his ex-girlfriend. But just because they are headed to the church doesn’t mean the former commitmentphobes will be doing a complete 180 when the CBS comedy returns on Jan. 14.
“They haven’t changed who they are as people,” maintains executive producer Carter Bays. “There’s more to [commitment] than putting on a ring and being engaged.”
For the resident cad, in particular, there’s “the fact that this is it for him,” Bays continues. “He’s got to hang up his spurs and go off the range. No more one-night stands for Barney. He loves Robin enough that it’s worth it, but we’ll see him grapple with that.”
Among the other challenges ahead for the pair: Moving in together – there “might be” an episode about that monumental step, says Bays – and facing the parents. (It seems Barney forgot one very important, not-so-little step before he proposed.)
“Robin’s dad is a very scary guy, and Barney has not asked his permission yet,” Bays previews. “That creates a little mission for Barney to convince this guy to let him marry his daughter.” And with a wedding being “a natural time for the parents to come out of the woodwork,” the writers have “a few ideas for some fun stuff to do” with the introduction of Robin’s never-before-seen mom.
Marriage also brings up another significant family topic for the reunited couple: Kids. Barney in the past has expressed a desire for some little ones, but Robin doesn’t want and can’t have children. So how will the two – and the show – handle her infertility and their differing desires?
“We’re still sorting out how we deal with it,” admits Bays. “But that’s an issue that’s going to have to come up. It’s going to have be a part of what they talk about.”
One thing is clear: Things can’t stay exactly as they are now that Robin and Barney are engaged. As they merge their lives and get used to the idea of forever, “There are some fun, little changes that they’re going to have to make to their personalities and how they operate,” the EP notes. “And that’s not going to be easy necessarily. Like with all things that are worthwhile, it’s a lot of work. But ultimately, they’ll be better people because of it.”