Nowadays, Cobie Smulders is best known as Agent Maria Hill, the whip-smart second-in-command to Nick Fury in the MCU, but before that, Smulders did nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother, where she debuted her alter ego 'Robin Sparkles', the hyper-chipper Canadian teen pop star. Recently, Smulders reworked the lyrics to one of Sparkles' hit songs, 'Let's go to the mall', into a cautionary song about staying indoors titled 'Let's all stay at home', and posted a video of herself performing the song on Instagram.

"Welp. Here it is. I hope it takes your mind off some things. It certainly did for me! A huge thank you to Craig Thomas and Carter Bays for the new lyrics. And to Brian Kim, who helped compose this song originally. He wrote this new piano version and then rewrote it when it was too challenging for me. It was a wonderful journey down memory lane. If you are able and willing please donate to the following charities. There are links in my Stories. There are links in my Stories. @savethechildren @canadahelps @dailybreadTO."
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The post, which received almost half a million views less than a day after release, warns of the importance of following social distancing guidelines during the lockdown as Cobie Smulders sings the song and plays the music on her piano. Her warnings might have been directed in particular at the swathes of the populace across America that have been agitating against the enforced restrictions created by the lockdown, despite experts warning that they are necessary to contain the infection.

How I Met Your Mother was a career-high for Smulders. The sitcom explored the lives of a group of friends in their mid-twenties, with Smulders playing the role of Robin Sparkles, the tomboyish news anchor for whom the lead character of Ted Mosby cherished a secret passion ever since they first met.

Despite comparisons to Friends, the show managed to carve out its own identity based on its smart writing, and complex, meta-narrative style of storytelling. It also made stars out of many of its cast, particularly Smulders, Jason Segel, and Neil Patrick Harris.

Fans will be happy to see the return of Robin Sparkles from the show, even if Smulders was not wearing the character's trademark, aggressively 80's blonde wig and bedazzled jean jackets and accessories.

Smulders bringing the character of Robin Sparkles out of her closet for the benefit of fans is part of a growing trend of celebs using nostalgia to reconnect with fans, in the face of the majority of the ongoing movie and TV projects being canceled due to the lockdown.

We have seen Josh gad host reunion parties with the cast of classic movies like The Goonies and Back to the Future, and directors holding virtual watch parties for their previous blockbuster films, including Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Avengers: Endgame. We have also seen some of the cast from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings read their novels for online audiences in support of charities.

This new method of connecting with fans has been welcomed with open arms by the fandom of the celebs. It will be interesting to see if such a style of audience engagement will continue after the lockdown finally ends.

Neeraj Chand