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Cobie Smulders Revives ‘Let’s Go To The Mall’ For The Age Of COVID-19

Let’s actually not go to the mall, OK?
Cobie Smulders as "Robin Sparkles" in the 2006 "How I Met Your Mother" episode "Slap Bet."
CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images
Cobie Smulders as "Robin Sparkles" in the 2006 "How I Met Your Mother" episode "Slap Bet."

Social distancing in the age of COVID-19 means a lot of staying at home and very little mall-going.

Frankly, the idea of crowding into an enclosed space with several hundred other people all shopping and breathing on each other is one of the least appealing things I can imagine right now. And a packed food court? Forget about it.

It’s a fact Canadian actress Cobie Smulders — best known for portraying Robin Scherbatsky on the now-defunct hit sitcom, “How I Met Your Mother” — knows all too well.

Smulders surprised fans Thursday with an Instagram video featuring her performing an updated piano version of “Let’s Go To The Mall,” re-titled “Let’s All Stay At Home,” thus reviving “HIMYM’“s iconic, fictional pop star, Robin Sparkles, for the COVID-19 age.

The original song was first performed by Smulders in the season-two episode “Slap Bet,” which first aired in 2006. The plot involved the gang discovering Robin’s secret past as a Canadian teenage pop star in the 1980s named Robin Sparkles, and the “Let’s Go To The Mall” music video.

It’s a painfully synth-pop track all about, not surprisingly, going to the mall with your friends, complete with references to jelly bracelets, jean jackets and skipping out on homework.

But despite being written as a joke for a popular sitcom, the song slaps, and was blasted on many a nighttime ride in my high school best friend’s Pontiac Sunfire through the small Alberta town we grew up in.

The song also leans into both Smulders and the fictional Robin Sparkles’ Canadianness with some iconic Canadian references — the boy she likes at the food court has “hair like Gretzky” and she sings about how she’s gonna “rock your body ’til Canada Day.”

And yes, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney makes an “appearance,” because why not! (Spoiler: it’s not really him.)

The new version packs in even more Canadiana with references to eating Timbits with all your friends, “CBC and chill with some hot poutine” and getting hot and sweaty at an Alanis Morisette concert.

Mulroney dropping by the mall is even replaced with a reference to turning on the tv to watch one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s daily coronavirus updates.

But underscoring it all is the message that as much as we want to go to the mall, now’s the time to stay at home and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The mall is in our hearts, that’s what it’s all about,” Smulders sings — of course giving “about” that extra Canadian umph.

The new lyrics were written by original “HIMYM” writers Craig Thomas and Carter Bays. Original “Let’s Go To The Mall” composer Brian Kim adapted the synth-heavy original for piano for Smulders to play.

“It was a wonderful journey down memory lane,” Smulders wrote on Instagram about reuniting with Thomas, Bays and Kim.

She also encouraged fans to support coronavirus relief efforts from Save The Children, Canada Helps and the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank.

The song’s final message is clear. Even though we all want to go to the mall, it’s time to stay home for now.

“We’ll go the mall … when it’s safe for y’all,” she sings.

Agreed.

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