How I Met Your Father review: a return in every way except the way it takes to be

Hillary Duff, Kim Cattrall and Josh Peck star in this nostalgic flashback to How I Met Your Mother

Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice about How I Met Your Father is what feels like a throwback. Intentionally, even self-consciously so; despite being made for a streaming service (Hulu in the US earlier this year, now releasing on Disney+ in the UK), it feels like a standard network sitcom to the entire world. that you’ve watched over and over again for a decade.

That’s the point, of course. If you haven’t connected, How I Met Your Father is somewhere between the sequel and the spinoff to the previous How I Met Your Mother, a nine-year series from 2005 to 2014. (Sequel , spinoff, remake – it’s basically the same idea with some elements that go back and reference the previous version of the show, but you don’t have to be the most casual viewer of the Josh Radnor/Cobie version Smulders to get this to happen.) Currently, Sophie (Hilary Duff) has experienced 87 failed dates; In the year 2052, Sophie (Kim Cattrall) reminisces about the past and explains to her son how she met his father.

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So this show is trying to fit that mold: it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, or even really catch up to the pace of television comedy in 2022. How I Met Your Father. it’s pretty fun to be the third or fourth best (or seventh or eighth best) movie you’ve seen a couple of years back – whether you find it flat and unattractive or light and familiar belonging will be more down to personal taste than anything else. It’s not always the wittiest show – one of its most memorable short stories is “what did you polish it with, pork juice?”, which says a lot – but it’s easy enough to get into its fundamental wavelength.

In many ways, it almost feels nostalgic. A large part of that comes from casting, with Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire) in the lead role and Josh Peck (Drake and Josh) in a substantial supporting role; they were all child stars of the early 2000s and the show clearly caters to audiences who grew up with them. “The original thoughts are back,” commented one character at a time, and you can see they certainly hope so, with the show providing tips for numerous references. about other 2000s culture. But Duff’s casting isn’t just a nostalgic ploy – she’s still a sharp comic talent (check out Younger, she’s great at that) and really ties it all together. .

Sophie (Hilary Duff), Drew (Josh Peck), Charlie (Tom Ainsley), Jesse (Chris Lowell), Jasper (Stony Blyden) and Valentina (Francia Raisa), sit on a brown leather sofa in a bar. (Credit: Patrick Wymore/Hulu)

However, for all that How I Met Your Father is nostalgic, it also feels a bit wary – immediately defending against some of the criticism on par with its parent show. Most notably, it alludes pretty strongly to who the father might be, ending the first episode by revealing it’s one of the few people Sophie (and we) met that night. How I Met Your Father doesn’t stop at just holding up a big “trust us, we know where we’re going” sign, but it’s clearly meant to reassure those who didn’t like the How finale I Met Your Mother. (Interestingly, Greta Gerwig/Meg Ryan tried to repeat this, How I Met Your Dad 2014, which also made the same choice in its pilot episode.) Won’t it? It’s hard to say – it’s like a misdiagnosis of the main thrust of those complaints, if nothing else – but it’s clearly on their mind here.

Sometimes, really, it’s hard not to feel that this could have worked better if it hadn’t been connected to How I Met Your Mother. Part of that is because the show doesn’t take as many advantages of story-frame as its predecessors; where HIMYM often indulges in different narratives, HIMYF is considerably more forthright in its presentation. What’s more, though, that’s because Kim Cattrall is the show’s obvious weak link – possibly because older Sophie is acting in front of the camera instead of just narrating like Bob Saget did on HIMYM, but Cattrall was clearly out at sea on set alone, calling a son more like a stand-up actor than an actor. Cutting those scenes would improve the show a bit: as it is, the obligation to imitate How I Met Your Mother is a shackle for this show.

Roundingly speaking, however, the real fundamental problem with How I Met Your Father – which all of its problems eventually follow in its tracks – is that it is a point back to almost any way but for the matter that it necessary Okay. As we’ve already established, it has the tempo and style of a network sitcom (basically something that airs on a regular TV channel), from the staging to the amusing song. Its streaming homepage means they can be a little more liberal with the language (they swear softly and give stronger undertones than before) but otherwise it’s all the same as any series. What sitcom?

Except it’s also only 10 episodes, not 24. What quickly becomes clear is how this style of humor benefits from the extended run time – more space to breathe, more space to learn the characters, more space to grow and self-correct inside the first series alone. How I Met Your Father has six main characters (already one more than HIMYM), and several more important supporting characters, but not enough time for any of them to make much of an impact beyond initial sketch. What you end up with is a show that almost consciously avoids making much of an impact, something that seems to want to grow to you first and foremost – but gives itself barely any space to do so. that.

How I met your father will be available as a boxset on Disney+ from Wednesday, May 11. I watched all ten episodes before writing this review. How I Met Your Father review: a return in every way except the way it takes to be


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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