Two years ago, Kal Penn abruptly left his regular role on House to work for President Obama in the White House. We’re talking really abrupt — the only way the producers could permanently get rid of his character Kutner was to make the doctor commit suicide even though he’d exhibited no signs of depression. But when the President calls, what else can you do?
However, How I Met Your Mother apparently has more sway than state affairs, because Penn’s back into acting, and his first gig is a recurring role on the sitcom. He plays Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) therapist Kevin, who she meets after she winds up attacking someone. We won’t know the reasoning behind that until the season 7 premiere this fall, but showrunners Carter Bays and Craig Thomas teased that Kevin will be do more than just help Robin through her rage issues.
“[I]n the process of getting that therapy,” Bays said, “she maybe starts to have feelings for her therapist, which is kind of messed up. And her therapist starts to have feelings for her too. It’s a bit of a forbidden romance.” Add that to the fact that Robin just realized at the end of season 6 that she has feelings for Barney again — as he’s about to walk down the aisle! — and you have what the producers are calling a love pentagon.
(I wonder if they made that joke just for Penn’s sake.)
He’s also on the roster for A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, but we think that Obama would have let him go for that anyway, because how can you keep H&K fans from the latest installment? Speaking of the franchise — it looks like Penn and Neil Patrick Harris (who actually remade his career by playing himself in the first H&K back in 2004) will have shared the same on-screen love interest. High five?