Is How I Met Your Mother Becoming Modern Family?

Here’s irony for you: a couple of years ago, How I Met Your Mother was a series where elaborate measures had to be taken to disguise the fact that two of its stars, Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders, were pregnant in real life when their characters were not. And now, both characters are pregnant and both actresses are not.

The very end of Monday’s How I Met Your Mother revealed that Robin (Smulders) is pregnant, which opens up the possibility of a whodunit, since she cheated on boyfriend Kevin with Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). Kal Penn, who plays Kevin, is not part of the main cast, and we know from an earlier episode that Barney’s wedding can’t be far off, so that might point in the direction of Robin and Barney finally getting together, and Ted (Josh Radnor) meeting the mythical Mother at last.

This seems like a potential shark-jumping plotline, and a strange one considering HIMYM is doing as well in the ratings now as it ever has. The upcoming baby for Lily and Marshall (Hannigan, Jason Segel) is the logical next move in their relationship (another logical potential move, leaving the city for a suburban house, was also dealt with on Monday). But a second baby, and a possible pairing off of Robin and Barney as a result, would truly change the nature of the series. A show that has always revolved around five people hanging out at MacLaren’s would have to evolve quite a bit if four of them were busy raising a baby.

But maybe that’s the point – that the show is about young adults gradually becoming “Adults,” and that means beginning a career, getting married, having kids, and generally getting serious. How I Met Your Mother is renewed through next season, and it’s possible the producers and CBS are already thinking ahead to spring 2013 as an end date. If so, then a Robin pregnancy that leaves Ted relatively isolated could be the signal that we’re heading into the home stretch of what has been one of TV’s best comedies of recent years.